In mid-January I got the phone call I'd always dreamed of receiving. It was my agent delivering the THE BIG NEWS. I'd been keeping my fingers and toes crossed for THE BIG NEWS since Fran started pitching KILLER IMAGE in the fall. In fact, my digits had been in knots for longer than that because KILLER IMAGE was not my first book (but that's a blog for another day). Nevertheless, THE BIG NEWS came while I was on a plane en route from Houston to Philadelphia. The plane landed and, phone now turned back on, I noticed multiple missed calls from my wonderful agents and a few emails explaining what was happening. Bottom line: Henery Press wanted to acquire my book.
Since then, Allison Campbell and her crew have found a warm and inviting home with Henery - and I've met a boatload of talented authors. I couldn't be more grateful and excited. One of those HP authors, LynDee Walker, tagged me in The Next Big Thing blog game. LynDee has written a mystery titled FRONT PAGE FATALITY that debuted recently. You can read more about LynDee Walker and her Nichelle Clarke mystery series by clicking on her name and checking out her website.
The blog game is a great opportunity to explain a bit about Allison Campbell and KILLER IMAGE. No spoilers below!
WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK?
This book was originally called Underneath It All, but a very savvy industry professional suggested I find a more fitting (and exciting) name. I took her good advice and went back to the drawing board.
WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL UNDER?
WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN A MOVIE RENDITION?
Tough to answer! Allison's character is complex. Although she's an image consultant on the Philadelphia Main Line, she comes from a pretty poor family and has dealt with a fair amount of tragedy in her life. She's reinvented herself, but although the new Allison is confident and polished, the old Allison is still under there - which is what makes her so good at bringing out the best in other people. And she has a sense of humor - about situations and, most importantly, about herself.
I guess if I had to choose, I'd pick someone who can master a dramatic role but who can also play comedy, a Sandra Bullock or even Elizabeth Banks type of actress. Jason would be played by Bradley Cooper, and Vaughn, maybe Hill Harper or Morris Chestnut. Mia? Annette Bening.
PROVIDE A ONE-SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK
When the satanic murder of a controversial divorce attorney is pinned on her young client, Philadelphia image consultant Allison Campbell hits the pavement in her three-inch Manolos to unravel the mystery of who killed Arnie Feldman – and why.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT?
Hmmm - hard to say. Maybe six or seven months. I work full-time (and have three kids), so editing it took much longer than that. KILLER IMAGE went through ten (at least!) rounds of intensive revision.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE YOUR STORY TO WITHIN YOUR GENRE?
I love mysteries and thrillers. From Agatha Christie to Elizabeth George to Tess Gerrittsen to Jonathan Kellerman, I can't get enough. Readers have compared KILLER IMAGE to the works of Lisa Scottoline and Harlan Coben. I'll take that!
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
Long ago, during graduate school, I worked with at-risk teenagers, primarily girls, at a few treatment facilities. These kids came from rough backgrounds. Some had committed crimes, many had serious behavioral problems, a few were chronic runaways, but nearly all of them had suffered abuse at some point in their lives. Despite what those kids had been through, they still showed an incredible sense of humanity. They loved animals, babies, music, art. They cared about each other. KILLER IMAGE was inspired by what I learned working with those girls and by my belief that if given even half a chance (and a tiny little push), people can change.
WHAT ELSE ABOUT THIS BOOK MIGHT PIQUE A READER'S INTEREST?
Oh, wow, let's see . . . fashion, intrigue, a Boxer with a face only a mother could love, a few sexy men, women who kick butt . . . what more could you want? Oh, and it's going to be the first in a series. The next Allison Campbell book, MURDEROUS LOOKS, should be out in the spring of 2014.
WHEN AND HOW WILL IT BE PUBLISHED?
KILLER IMAGE will be available from Henery Press electronically and in print wherever you can buy books. Look for its release in October 2013!
Tag! Check out the website for fellow author Deborah Cloyed and her novel WHAT TEARS US APART!
As anyone who knows me will attest, I have a love-hate relationship (at best) with structure. Because of that, I won't promise specific blog entries on specific days. Instead, I'll try to share thoughts and ideas on some of my favorite topics (writing, parenting, food, organic gardening, inspirational stories and food (did I say that already? it bears repeating)) as the mood strikes. Catch me here three or four days a week, though. And I would love to hear from you!