Get Lost in a Story Readers, please welcome back Cozy Noir Author, Judy Alter as she introduces her newest novel The Perfect Coed! How's that for a compelling title?
ABOUT THE PERFECT COED:
Susan Hogan drove around Oak Grove, Texas, for two days before she realized there was a dead body in the trunk of her car. And it was another three days before she knew that someone was trying to kill her.”
Susan Hogan is smart, pretty—and prickly. There was no other word for it. She is prickly with Jake Phillips and her Aunt Jenny, the two people who love her most in the world. And she is prickly and impatient with some of her academic colleagues and the petty jealousies in the English department at Oak Grove University. When a coed’s body is found in her car and she is suspected of murder, Susan gets even more defensive.
But when someone begins to stalk and threaten her—trying to run her down, killing the plants on her deck, causing a moped wreck that breaks her ankle—prickly mixes with fear. Susan decides she has to find the killer to save her reputation—and her life. What she suspects she’s found on a quiet campus in Texas is so bizarre Jake doesn’t believe her. Until she’s almost killed.
The death of one coed unravels a tale of greed, lust, and obsession.
DONNELL: Once again, this sounds like my kind of read. Welcome back, Judy. Whatcha been up to?
JUDY: The summer seemed to melt away without much writing but a lot of marketing, both for Deception in Strange Places, which came out in July and preparing to launch The Perfect Coed, my first indie book. Also I did some babysitting and more visiting with family than I get in the winter, so it was a good summer, but I’m ready to get back in a routine.
DONNELL: The Perfect Coed. You mention that Susan Hogan your protagonist is prickly. Now, every protagonist needs room to grow. But is she prickly in a way that readers will want to root for her? What did you have in mind when you created this character?
JUDY: I certainly hope readers will want to root for her. I think I was trying to give her an edge, to move her out of the box of the typical cozy heroine. Though, like most protagonists in cozies, she shoots herself in the foot a lot. And once it almost costs her life.
DONNELL: I believe you’re from academia, right? TCU, my son’s alma mater. How much of your world did you incorporate into this story?
JUDY: I’ve spent my life on academic campuses, especially TCU, so I did incorporate some of what I know. But I deliberately created a fictional university. I have many good friends at TCU and they would not be happy if some of the things in this book occurred on their campus.
DONNELL: You mention Jake Phillips. Is he a potential love interest for Susan? Tell us about Jake.
JUDY: He’s more than potential. He’s definitely her love interest. He’s also chief of campus police and has only a two-year college degree in law enforcement. Susan’s snobbish department chair thinks she’s lowering herself by dating him. There’s a lot about academic snobbery and infighting in the story, so I hasten to say I didn’t see much of that at TCU. But I know it exists.
DONNELL: What was the most fun about writing this story? Then turn this, what was the most difficult?
JUDY: The most fun was rewriting. The story was pretty raw at first and I rewrote more times than I can say but each time I could see it taking a better shape. The hardest part was keeping Susan likeable in spite of some of the things she says and the harebrained risks she takes. I think the people who love her—Jake and her Aunt Jenny, principally—help to humanize her.
DONNELL: What comes next for Judy Alter?
JUDY: Several early readers of The Perfect Coed mentioned wanting to know what happens next to the characters SO I’ve begun work on a sequel, after procrastinating all summer. I tell myself I can’t go to bed until I’ve written my thousand words for the day.
DONNELL: Judy, now it’s your turn. Time to ask readers a question. And here you can tell if you’d like to do a book/digital give away.
JUDY'S QUESTION FOR READERS: Which Is more important to you as a reader—plot or character? And why? I’ll give away a digital book mobi or PDF, to the best answer.
Web page: http://www.judyalter.com
Blogs: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com; http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com
Thanks, Judy, for being our guest. Best wishes on The Perfect Coed!