I’m happy to introduce a guest blogger this week: LOIS WINSTON, author of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
When I was writing romance, one of the most frequently asked questions I got was, “How do you research your sex scenes?” This question was never asked by someone who had read my books, always asked by a male, and usually asked each year at my husband’s company Christmas party.
Now that I’m writing mysteries, everyone wants to know how much of Anastasia Pollack, the star of my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, is really Lois Winston. I like this question much better.
Anastasia and I have similar backgrounds. We’re both North Jersey girls. We both went to art school. She’s a crafts editor for a women’s magazine. I worked for many years as a crafts designer and editor for various kit manufacturers and publishers. I still design for several magazines. We both have two sons.
Lucille, Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law, is loosely based on my deceased mother-in-law. I guess that’s why most of my husband’s relatives no longer speak to me. But really, had you known her, you’d understand why I couldn’t resist developing a character based on her.
However, there are also many differences between Anastasia and me. My husband is very much alive (thank goodness!) and limits his gambling to the occasional Mega Millions or Powerball ticket when the jackpot climbs over 100 million. I don’t have a Shakespeare quoting parrot, and I haven’t found any dead bodies glued to my office chair — at least not yet.
Anastasia has also been compared to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. Booklist said, “Oddball characters, uproariously funny situations, and a heroine with a strong sense of irony will delight fans of Janet Evanovich…” (starred review), and Kirkus Reviews called Anastasia, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Being a huge Plum fan, I was thrilled by the comparisons. However, Anastasia is her own woman and decidedly different from Stephanie.
Anastasia is an amateur sleuth, and quite a reluctant one at that. Stephanie works in a field where she comes into contact with bad guys on a daily basis. And even though Anastasia and Stephanie are both born Jersey girls, Stephanie is the embodiment of blue-collar Central Jersey. Anastasia is more middle-class North Jersey. At least she was until her husband permanently cashed in his chips at a roulette table in Las Vegas and her life crapped out. Now she’s stuck with a mountain of debt, her communist mother-in-law, and her dead husband’s loan shark attempting to shake her down for fifty thousand dollars. And that’s before she discovers that dead body hot glued to her office chair!
Anastasia made her debut this past January in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series. Mop Doll Murders, available next January, will continue her adventures, and there will be more books to come. If you’d like to read more about Anastasia, stop by my website — http://www.loiswinston.com — where you’ll find an excerpt of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun. You can also find Anastasia blogging daily with her fellow magazine editors at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers — http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
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