AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Hallie Ephron, part two

“Unputdownable.”

“Reading this book was a treat, and I didnt want to put it down until I found out what happened and how the story ended.”

No doubt about it, novelist Hallie Ephron knows how to write page-turning mysteries.  A member of an illustrious writing family, Ephron came to writing fiction later in life.  But when she did, the results were amazing. (Missed part one of our interview with Hallie?  Click HERE).  Ephron’s knack is to take an ordinary occurance in middle-class suburbia — a garage sale — and turn it into a scenario that leaves readers gulping page after page to the resolution. 

She’s a master of her craft, having written five novels under the pen name G. H. Ephron, and the highly-regarded WRITING AND SELLING YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL: HOW TO KNOCK ‘EM DEAD WITH STYLE.  She also offers workshops for aspiring mystery novelists.

We’re so pleased to present part two of our interview with Hallie Ephron.

Q: NEVER TELL A LIE is a deliciously eerie book about how a pregnant wife’s life turns upside down overnight – a soccer mom’s nightmare. What gave you the idea for this book?

Hallie Ephron: Thank you! The idea came to me at a yard sale—where else? I’m addicted to them. This one was around the corner from me at a house that had been recently renovated. I was talking with the woman throwing the yard sale, peppering her with questions about the renovations, when she invited me to have a look around inside. I let myself in. Being a mystery writer, as I’m wandering around this knock-down-dead gorgeous interior, I’m thinking: What if a woman goes to a yard sale. Somehow she manages to talk her way into the house. She goes inside. And she never comes out.

Q: The destructive power of secrets is a major theme in your novel. Do you determine your themes from the outset, or let them unfold organically?

[Read more…]

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Kath here.  Today’s post is the first from WU’s newest contributor, Rosina Lippi.  Enjoy!

For the historical novelist – for anyone interested in history – the internet has brought about a revolution. We are floating in a sea of information that deepens and spreads minute by minute. It’s incredibly empowering, but it also has its dangers.

If you came of age before the internet, you will remember how things were. An argument over supper about any given war could not be resolved by opening a laptop. If it was a Saturday night, you were most probably clueless until Monday, when you could call a reference librarian or go there yourself. A million questions, small and large, simply remained unanswered, and we lived with that. The capital of Peru, the author of Antigone, where Napoleon was held captive, when women got the vote – if you didn’t have access to a good encyclopedia, you wondered or started calling friends in the vain hope that one of them would know when Wrigley Field was built.

Since that time, we have gone from one extreme to the other. At two in the morning I can crawl through newspaper archives to find out the rent on a typical three bedroom apartment in Manhattan in the year 1900. I can look at museum exhibits on Edwardian dress or Bronze Age artifacts, or read an article on bovine diseases. As more and more becomes available on-line, things only get better. Or worse, depending on your perspective. My husband, the Mathematician, has developed a particular expression he puts on whenever I start a sentence did you know: Just interested enough to prove that he is listening; just distant enough to discourage me from telling him exactly how pencils were manufactured in 1800. If I’m particularly animated about something I’ve found, he will raise an eyebrow a half inch or so to acknowledge my discovery.

And that’s fair enough. I don’t understand anything about his work, either.

[Read more…]

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Reclaiming the joy of writing

PhotobucketWe begin writing with a burning, a need to say something, to tell a story or explore an idea.  We begin in delirious happiness, skulking away to scribble in private, stealing moments to capture a paragraph, a character, an essay.  We slip into a study or a coffee shop with laptop or Clairefontaines and fountain pens to write in full-throated explosion, with passion, surety, even grace and some success.  It is often difficult, challenging, frustrating, but always exhilarating.

But there is another side to writing.  You might know this one, too:  The house is empty. The weather is exactly right beyond the windows, and you know what you need to do, but nothing is there.  It isn’t that you’re blocked, exactly.  It’s that there is no joie de vivre in any of it.  Each word has to be scrounged from the bottom of a deep barrel, and every metaphor feels like it’s been tossed out of the day-old store into the free bin.  Writing feels like going to the dentist.  

When that happens, how do you get your joy back? [Read more…]

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RIP, John Updike

From CNN:

Best-selling author John Updike has died at age 75 after battling lung cancer, his publicist said.

From Wikipedia:

John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. Updike’s most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest received the Pulitzer Prize. Describing his subject as “the American small town, Protestant middle class,” Updike was widely recognized for his careful craftsmanship, his highly stylistic writing, and his prolific output, having published more than twenty-five novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children’s books. Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems appeared in The New Yorker since 1954. He also wrote regularly for The New York Review of Books. His work attracted a significant amount of critical attention and he was considered one of the most prominent contemporary American novelists.

RIP, John.

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Blibbles, blabbles and a rant

PhotobucketFirst, my happy news: The Last Will of Moira Leahy was involved in a four-way book auction in Germany, and sold to the highest bidder! Foreign sales can be important because the advance that foreign publishers pay to your US publisher goes against your US advance (unless you retained foreign rights, which we didn’t). Put another way, it’s that much less you have to sell here in the US to “earn out” your advance. And in any case, cool.

I’m still researching website designers, and I found this NYT’s article on websites and book trailers to be very interesting. What do you think? Does a well-made website or well-produced book trailer influence you into buying a book (or at least intrigue you into learning more)?

I’m also still enjoying Facebook and recently leaped into the Twitter pond. If you Tweet, too, you can find me HERE. Not sure if I’ll stick with it, though.

Other interesting blabbles around the web and blogosphere:

* Allison Winn Scotch blogs about how to use book reviews as critique in your next works.

* Writer’s Digest’s annual writing competition is underway. Details HERE.

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JA Konrath offers one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever read: [Read more…]

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