Thursday, January 5, 2012

Get Lost with Readers Choice Nominee Lois Winston

Today, we welcome back the extremely “crafty” author of the Anastasia Pollock mystery series. 

 “Anastasia is a crafting Stephanie Plum, surrounded by characters sure to bring chuckles as she careens through the narrative, crossing paths with the detectives assigned to the case and snooping around to solve it.” –Booklist

ABOUT:  Anastasia:  Crafts editor Anastasia Pollack’s stress level maxes out when her well-intentioned mother meets and seduces TV producer Lou Beaumont. Suddenly, Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors find themselves roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show. However, not everyone involved enjoys the idea of the overhaul, and a disgruntled staffer takes action by trashing the studio set. When that doesn’t halt production, vandalism escalates to murder, and a member of the production team is found with one of Anastasia’s knitting needles plunged through his heart.

The network decides the show must go on, but morning TV turns crime drama as a blackmail plot is uncovered, and another body is found. Because Anastasia fears the killer might go after her and Mama next, she has no recourse but to launch her own investigation. Unfortunately, her snooping lands her directly in the killer's unforgiving spotlight.

Read an excerpt of Death By Killer Mop Doll at

Now to the juicy part!  Fun questions for Lois!
DONNELL:  When writing, how likely are you to be sipping coffee, tea, or something stronger?
LOIS:  Extremely likely! And it’s coffee all the way, every day. I’m a cheap drunk. Anything stronger and I’d be typing gibberish after a single glass of wine!
DONNELL:  In your series, Anastasia Pollock is a craft editor.  Your stories revolve around craft.  Are you a crafty person yourself?
LOIS:  Like Anastasia, I worked for several years as a craft editor but for craft book publishers, not a magazine. I’ve also been a craft and needlework designer for most of my adult life.
DONNELL:  Character driven or plot driven author?
LOIS:  Definitely plot driven. That’s why I like writing mysteries.
DONNELL:  In your book, Anastasia’s mother and mother-in-law have been described as funny over-the-top-characters.  Do you have relatives that you consider over the top, or is this completely the author’s imagination.
LOIS:  My relatives definitely put the “fun” in dysfunctional. It was hell growing up, but now I have lots of rich material to draw on for the characters in my fiction. Lucille, Anastasia’s mother-in-law, is very much patterned after my own mother-in-law -- personality, political leanings, and all. The big difference? My mother-in-law never owned a French bulldog.
DONNELL:  You’re writing a series.  How do you keep the storyline fresh, or do you ever panic you’ll run out of ideas?
LOIS:  I panic all the time! Right now I’ve turned in Book 3, and I’m in OMG-what-am-I-going-to-write-for-Book-4? mode!
DONNELL:  Your glue gun has started a fire.  What character do you want with you to put it out? 
LOIS:  Definitely not Mama! As well-intentioned as Anastasia’s mother is, she’d probably grab a glass of wine instead of water and wind up burning down the entire house. Anastasia would be my go-to gal. She’s extremely resourceful. She has to be, given her circumstances.
DONNELL:  What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
LOIS:  I really didn’t do it! Honestly! Of course, I’m not going to tell what “it” is. Just know I didn’t do it, okay?
DONNELL:  What turns you off?  What turns you on?
LOIS:  Tall people turn me off. I always feel like they’re looking down at me. Wait! They really are looking down at me. And I’ve got to crane my neck to look them eye-to-eye. Being short sucks. What turns me on is coming across someone over the age of twelve who’s shorter than I am. Actually, it happens so infrequently that when it does, it feels strange. I’m so used to looking up at people, not down at them.
DONNELL:  (trying to shrink here).What’s the most surprising thing you learned while writing/researching a book?
LOIS:  I learned the importance of exercise. If you sit in a chair at a computer all day, your bottom starts spreading and spreading and spreading. I had to join a gym and begin exercising to counter all that spreading.
Twitter: @anasleuth
Death By Killer Mop Doll officially goes on sale January 8th. For those of you who will be attending the American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference in Dallas, stop by the Midnight Ink booth (#1459) on January 20th to register for the drawing to win signed copies of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun and Death By Killer Mop Doll, as well as the mop doll shown in the photo. (I’m the one who looks like she’s fighting a cold!) The drawing will take place at 7pm during the opening reception.

In addition, as part of my blog tour throughout January, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll. To enter, post a comment to any of the blogs on the tour. The full tour schedule can be found at my website,, and the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com I’m also giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads,

BIO: Lois Winston is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. The first book in the series, Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was recently nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award by the Salt Lake City Library System. Lois is also an award-winning author of humorous women’s fiction and romantic suspense, an award-winning designer, and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit Lois at

LOIS’S TURN TO ASK A READER A QUESTION. I write humorous amateur sleuth mysteries, not that I think murder is a laughing matter, but my protagonist approaches life with a strong sense of humor to help her get through difficult situations. Some people believe that murder is too serious a subject to treat with humor in any way, shape, or form. What do you think?

**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


  1. fyi Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun is currently a free Kindle book. I don't know long this will last; I got it on Monday.

  2. Yes, Winnie, your right. Lois's publisher has made Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun free (Darn, I already have my copy). Welcome, Lois -- she's probably sound asleep -- working on book four . Hmmm, you ask a tough question about murder. In real life, murder is no laughing matter. What is great about fiction is that we suspense our belief. Generally, the victim is someone who has it coming (not that anyone deserves to be murdered, but it's that suspending belief thing again.) No matter how could a writer you are, if you murdered a sympathetic character, I don't think anyone would be laughing. I'll be curious to see what other folks think. Again welcome!

  3. Geeze, I can see it's late. Suspending believe and no matter how good a writer your are .... off to bed!

  4. It's only late on the East coast!


  5. Welcome back to GLIAS Lois!
    I got my copy of Deadly Glue Gun and can't wait to have a minute to read (if I can steal the eReader from my hubby).

    I have to agree with Donnell on this one. If you approached true-life murders with humor...well, that's just not right. But this is fiction. And honestly, cops have to approach murder differently than the normal every-day Joe. So do medical examiners. Different eyes...different worlds.

    Best of luck!

  6. Let's see if I can type a complete comment without any typos. Yes, Angi, on the medical examiners. I have a friend who's a coroner. She has an irreverent sense of humor and she calls it a defense mechanism for what she sees.

  7. Thanks for having me here today, Donnell and Angi. I'm still working on my first cup of coffee this morning, so I don't remember which mystery author it was, but a few years ago, someone killed off a much-loved secondary character in her series. Her readers definitely weren't happy.

    In cozy mysteries the victims are always really nasty people that readers will feel got what they deserved. But I don't make fun of the killing or their death. My humor comes into the book through the way my heroine approaches life. She's had a lot to deal with, and if she didn't find a way to laugh, she'd probably curl up in a ball under her quilts and never show her face again. Who wants to read about such a protagonist? Certainly not me!

    As for the free Kindle download of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, from what I've been told, the promo will run for the entire month.

  8. What an interesting question, Lois! For me, it kind of goes along the lines of why my husband doesn't mind me ogling other men for research. He knows it's fantasy (as opposed to reality - not unicorns and elves and stuff). And what's that other saying? If I didn't laugh, I would cry.

    Yeah, I'm on the side of humor is fine.

  9. Hi Lois,

    Murders are not funny, but solving them can be funny. I love humorous mysteries.

  10. Thanks, Abigail. "If I didn't laugh, I'd cry" could be Anastasia's motto.

    Tammy, since you love humorous mysteries, I hope you'll give my books a try and that I won't disappoint you..

  11. Exercise is definitely an important part of being a writer. We need to get out of our chairs or off our couches and move - at least a couple of times a day. I change it up by riding my bike once a day and get out and do errands and such. No one wants author's spread!

  12. Loved the interview! I can relate to having dysfunctional family members. Sure makes for great laughs when we get well...after they leave! ROFL!!! Loved the pic of your "real" rag doll. My daughter made one of those for me years ago and she still sits and stares at me...and stares...

  13. Great interview! I love all comedy books so will be looking for this one. Need a good laugh.

  14. I'm 5' 11".
    Does that mean I'm on your #$%& list?

  15. Patricia, the only author's spread I'd be happy about is a 2-pg. spread in the NY Times!

    Carol Ann, as they say, beware the mop doll! She's watching you!

    Thanks for stopping by Janie and Virginia.

    Jeff, you could never be on my #$%& list.

  16. Great questions & answers--fun in dysfunctional :)--and what a terrific photo.

  17. I love the interview. And, Lois, if I ever have a chance to meet you, I promise I'll slouch a bit! (I'm 5'10" ) Murder is never funny in and of itself, but it's natural for people to use humor to cope. A well-written cozy with a sense of humor is always a good thing!

  18. Thanks, Jenny and Jane! And Jane, no need to slouch. I'm used to craning my neck. :-)

  19. I'll just sit when I'm around you, Lois. Will that do? :) Looking forward to reading DEATH BY KILLER MOP DOLL.

  20. What a fun day with Lois at Get lost in a Story. Thanks to her answer on height, I see a lot of people walking on their knees when it comes time to meet her ;) Best wishes on a a wonderful sell through, Lois!

  21. Thanks, Donnell! And Anne, you know I look up to you! :-)