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Character Interview: Sally Solari from Leslie Karst’s culinary mystery, A Measure of Murder

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Sally Solari from Leslie Karst’s new culinary mystery, A Measure or Murder.  Sally Solari is a 39-year-old restaurateur/ex-lawyer living in Santa Cruz, California.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sally.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Measure CoverI’m aware that years ago Leslie Karst waited tables for a couple of years and then worked at the student-run restaurant during her stint as a culinary arts student, but I have to say her portrayal of me as a restaurateur is not one hundred percent accurate. The real-life grind of running a restaurant is far less glamorous than she makes it out to be in the book. Yes, we do occasionally have fun testing out new recipes and yes, working the hot line can be an amazing rush when all the cooks are in sync and the kitchen is sending out perfectly plated entrées at a whirlwind rate. But the work I do at Solari’s (my dad’s restaurant, where I run the front of the house) and Gauguin (the restaurant I inherited from my aunt) is more often a drudgery than it is a thrill. 

In Leslie’s defense, however, an honest, true-to-life book about the inner workings of a restaurant would be pretty darn boring and tedious. After all, who wants to read about someone standing all night long over a hot stove flipping salmon fillets and stirring sauce pots? Or chopping up cases of onions and chicken parts? So I guess it’s for the best that she spiced up my life a tad and cherry-picked the more interesting events that have happened of late at Solari’s and Gauguin (and there have indeed been quite a few!).

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Part of me would like to pretend that I’m not nearly as sarcastic as portrayed in the book, but the realist in me is well aware of my affinity for snark.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Perseverance.

Worst trait?

Stubbornness (which is really just another way of saying perseverance).

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Funny you should ask this, because I had this exact conversation with my ex-boyfriend and current bestie, Eric, just the other day. I couldn’t come up with anyone, but he suggested Jennifer Garner. Who would be a terrific choice, by the way—she’s an awesome actress and gorgeous, to boot. But the fact that Eric has had an enormous time crush on Jennifer Garner ever since she starred in Alias makes me a tad worried that maybe this is his way of hinting that he still kind of carries the torch for me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Not unless you consider Eric’s possible desire to rekindle our past relationship to be a love interest (see answer to previous question). 

Oh, wait… Come to think of it, maybe there is an eensie-weensie attraction on my part that occurs in the book. But you’ll just have to read it to see what you think.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

That happened right away—on page three, during my audition for Eric’s damn chorus. I’m still mad at him for suckering me into that traumatic experience. And then later, after that tenor fell to his death on the church courtyard, I had a pretty strong hunch that the whole thing might have been a very bad idea.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Perhaps this is too obvious, but I would definitely not want to trade places with the tenor who falls to his death. Not only is he barely even in the book (since he’s dead by chapter two), but from what I’ve since learned, although the guy had the voice of an angel, he had the personality of an arrogant jerk. I may have my snarky moments, but I would never want to be that gal who, if murdered, everyone would say of them, “Oh, well there were so many people who would have had a reason to do her in.”

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away?

I’m elated to have finally sung the glorious Mozart Requiem, relieved that the Gauguin kitchen was not burnt to a crisp by a crazed murderer, and happy that the Gauguin bar stayed open late enough on that last night for us to celebrate both of these things.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Leslie’s been writing this series in the first person, even though we are, of course, completely different people. So it’s always a little strange for me to read the books, especially the parts where she purports to understand my innermost thoughts. But I have to admit she does tend to get me right. It’s almost as if she has some kind of secret key to my soul. Weird, that. 

So I guess my primary words of wisdom would be these: Keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t stress too much about what I may think of the book, trying to ensure that every tiny piece of the story is absolutely accurate. I get that you have to take a certain amount if artistic liberty in depicting me and my stories. As long as the essence rings true, that’s truly all that matters.

Thank you for this interview, Sally.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I happen to be privy to the fact that Leslie has now completed book three in her Sally Solari mystery series—based on events that occurred in my life only last year. It recounts how, inspired by the eye-popping canvases of Paul Gauguin, for whom my restaurant is named, I convince Eric to enroll in a plein air painting class. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered during one of our outings when my dog, Buster, sniffs out a body entangled in a pile of kelp on the beach. 

This next book focuses on the Italian fishing community in Santa Cruz, including the food and cooking favored by the “original sixty families” who emigrated there from Liguria in the late 1800s. It’s entitled Death al Fresco, and will be published in early 2018.

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The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned at a young age, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now now writes the Sally Solari Mysteries (Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder), a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California.

Originally from Southern California, Leslie moved north to attend UC Santa Cruz (home of the Fighting Banana Slugs) and after graduation, parlayed her degree in English literature into employment waiting tables and singing in a new wave rock and roll band. Exciting though this life was, she eventually decided she was ready for a “real” job, and ended up at Stanford Law School.

For the next twenty years Leslie worked as the research and appellate attorney for Santa Cruz’s largest civil law firm. During this time, she rediscovered a passion for food and cooking, and so once more returned to school to earn a degree in culinary arts.

Now retired from the law, she spends her time cooking, gardening, cycling, singing alto in her local community chorus, reading, and of course writing. Leslie and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Title: A Measure of Murder

Genre: Mystery

Author: Leslie Karst

Websitehttp://www.lesliekarstauthor.com/

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Find out more on Amazon

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Character Interview: Del Corwyn from John Herrick’s romantic comedy, Beautiful Mess

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Del Corwyn from John Herrick’s new romantic comedy, Beautiful Mess.  Del is a 78-year-old Academy Award-nominated actor living in Hollywood.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Del.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Beautiful-Mess-Low-Resolution-Color-Book-CoverOverall, I’d say the author did a fair job portraying me. That’s all I want: a fair shot. That said, he didn’t need to tell the whole world I sleep in the buff. TMI, as I think people still say these days. But to set the record straight, I’m not as shallow as I first come across. Yes, I’m a connoisseur of women. Yes, I prefer them half my age. But even a guy like me, who’s become so settled in his ways, can change where he least expects it.

And no matter what people might tell you, Marilyn Monroe and I were never intimately involved.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Colorize, my ass! I live in full color and I’m about to return to that beautiful, glowing spotlight! Destiny is yours to build. And if all goes as planned, that elusive Mr. Oscar might come trotting my way.

Don’t tell anyone, but as an actor, I haven’t been in demand since the 1970s, and I refuse to make that second-rate crap that would make the public label me a has-been. So I do wish the author would have put me on the set of a major film and given me the chance to prove I’ve still got it.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m young at heart. I believe you’re only as old as you allow yourself to behave. And I don’t give up. If the industry is gonna kill my career, I’m gonna go down fighting, maybe crack a few bigwigs in the balls along the way.

Worst trait?

I have a tough time being honest with myself. If reality doesn’t suit me, I’m content to build my own fictional world until reality has a chance to catch up. Some consider that a weakness, but you only live this life once. I refuse to spend it bird watching, sitting on a park bench with my mouth hanging open. Forget it.

And the ladies—well, that’s another weakness for me. So many possibilities, and I’m afraid to tie myself down. But Felicia, my latest love interest in the book, seems to have made some inroads.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

And give away my big comeback? Are you kidding? Forget the rules, I’d play the part myself. And Clint Eastwood could direct—badass! (Oops, that last remark won’t make sense unless you read the book.)

What’s that? You insist on picking another actor to play me? Well, then, I don’t know—Craig T. Nelson, does that work?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, but I didn’t see this one coming. And she’s only ten years younger than I am. Talk about a surprise. She’s also the unofficial psychologist I never asked for, but for some reason, she intrigues me and I think I’m in love. What she sees in me, I have no idea. But she understands me. We understand each other. And you know what? I don’t think she wants anything from me but love. But I push her buttons to just to make sure.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When I started to allow my conscience to guide me. That irritated me. You see, Marilyn Monroe was a close friend of mine. When the book opens, I’m on the verge of bankruptcy, waiting for my second shot at the spotlight. One night, sifting through some personal memorabilia, I found a screenplay Marilyn had put it my care—a screenplay she had written herself. She instructed me to use it as I saw fit if anything should happen to her. She passed away later that year. In the book, this script blew the minds of everyone in Hollywood who read it. It was the biggest entertainment news in a generation—and I was the kingmaker, a role I’d never played in my life. So there I was, Hollywood’s hot property once again, and my damn conscience shows up. I realized people didn’t want to bring Marilyn’s vision to pass; they just wanted a piece of her all over again. Suddenly, Hollywood’s hot property once again, and my damn conscience shows up. I realized people didn’t want to bring Marilyn’s creative vision to pass; they just wanted a piece of her all over again. Suddenly, I had a choice: Do I honor my friend’s memory or do I seize my return to fame? Or can I accomplish both? You’ll need to read Beautiful Mess to find out. And as you do, I’ll show you a side to Marilyn Monroe that you might not know existed.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to trade places with Marilyn Monroe. No, her spotlight never faded. And yes, she remains a legend. But she endured a lot of tragedy along the way. I watched her life unfold behind the scenes, and it wasn’t as glamorous as it looked.

So I’d trade places with Nora Jumelle. She’s a hot new actress. Her star has just begun to rise. People are breaking down her door to get a piece of her. She has the talent to do anything she want she wants and the vibrancy to match.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Let’s just say the ending stays with me every day of my life. It was a bit drastic, but the right decision—I don’t trust myself. But I don’t think you’ll see the ending coming. The other characters literally look directly at it and they don’t even see it. Ha! Some secrets you’ve gotta take to the grave.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Never count me out. And please, Herrick, don’t send me to my grave before I’m 105 years old. Seriously. I plan to outlive George Burns and rack up 30 million Twitter followers.

Oh, and this is just a personal favor: next time around, could you please show a few fans snapping pictures of my star on Hollywood Boulevard? I can use all the good publicity I can get. No more punks rolling all over my star like you did in this book, okay?

Thank you for this interview, Del.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I’d tell you “no” and claim that I’m retired, but you never know. I’ve still got one more film in me … one day.

In the meantime, you can find out more about me at www.johnherrick.net, Facebook, or @JohnHerrick on Twitter. I’m also at Goodreads.

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Character Interview: Detective Al Warner from George A Bernstein’s suspense/thriller ‘The Prom Dress Killer’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Detective Al Warner, from George A Bernstein’s new suspense/thriller, The Prom Dress Killer.  Al Warner is a forty-one-year-old police detective, living in Miami, Florida.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Detective Warner.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think Mr. Bernstein did an very good job of that, although I’m a little uncomfortable at people learning that someone like me, a tough guy with a lot of hard bark on him, can be a compassionate softy for those in need. I just seem to take very personally the trauma heaped on people by heartless killers – both the victims and their families.

ThePromDressKillerprintcover5.5x8.5_BW_30018mar2017.jpg

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Well, as I said, he exposed both my compassionate side, and also that I can be a romantic, very much in love. I’d prefer the public to think of me as a hard-nosed case-closer, with no empathy for villains. They already know, from past cases, that I’m ready and able to put monsters out of their misery – permanently. They don’t need to know that I’m a softy for an old lady neighbor, a rescued golden retriever, and that I’m trying to build strong role models for young gang-bangers to get them off the streets and into productive lives.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My gut. My ability to “smell” something is “off,” and my unrelenting drive to take killers off the streets.

Worse trait?

That sometimes I let my strong sense of principal dictate actions that are not in my best personal interest.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Matt Damon.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Doctor Eva Guttenberg. I still have trouble accepting that such a smart, gorgeous, and sophisticated woman might love me, a street-tough guy from a poor Illinois background.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Near the end, when I was faced with an impossible choice, while in pursuit of the killer.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

The killer, of course. He was a deluded psychopath, with no real empathy for all but his last victim. I did admire, however, his care and attention to detail, to avoid capture for so many years.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Conflicted. The crimes are solved, but I’m left with a difficult personal problem for which there is no easy solution. I should be used to that, however, as I’ve “been there before,” during previous cases and with different people.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Keep the cases tough and unique. I love a challenge, but in the end, I intend to get the guy, whoever he is. Any of my detectives can solve the run-of-the-mill drug or passion-related murders.

Thank you for this interview, Detective Warner.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yes. Mr. Bernstein is already well into my next case, and from what I’ve seen, it won’t be any easier than my first three with him.

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Title:  THE PROM DRESS KILLER
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Author: George A Bernstein
Publisher: GnD Publishing
Find out more on Amazon
Beneath the blazing sun and sizzling streets of Miami, a cold-blooded killer is at work.  His victims?  Young, auburn-haired women—four, so far—kidnapped and murdered.  These victims show no signs of trauma, but all bear the distinct hallmarks of a serial killer.  And this serial killer leaves behind a sickening calling card:  each victim is found clad in a prom dress.
Homicide detective Al Warner is on the case but this killer has left shockingly few clues, leaving Warner with more questions than answers.  Why were these girls taken…and then killed?  Is this psychopath intent on killing redheads, and why?  What, if anything, connects the victims?  Why were the bodies arranged in peaceful repose, wearing prom dresses?  How does that square with his leaving these carefully-arranged bodies in dark alleyways, discarding them as if they’re trash? And how long until this killer strikes again?
Sadly, one question is answered quickly when promising young attorney Elke Sorenstan captures the killer’s deadly attention and becomes the fifth victim. All signs say the killer is escalating—and that can mean only one thing:  the killer is bound to strike again, and soon.  With the stakes mounting and every tick of the clock marking that fine line between life and death, Al Warner doggedly pursues the ruthless killer before another victim falls prey. Warner’s worst fears are realized when newly-minted Realtor Shelly Weitz finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Al Warner will have to act fast: the clock is ticking in this deadly game…and Shelly Weitz is dangerously close to dancing with the devil himself—a dance that will surely be her last.  But as Detective Warner gets closer to stopping the madman behind these murders, he’ll risk losing everything—including his life.
A mesmerizing Miami mystery that ratchets up the suspense from page one, The Prom Dress Killer will leave readers breathless. Resplendent with pulse-pounding action, nail-biting suspense and unexpected twists, turns and surprises, The Prom Dress Killer is an outstanding new mystery that takes readers on a high-octane quest to catch a killer.  George A Bernstein has crafted an eerily real, masterfully- plotted mystery that delivers thrills and chills from beginning to end.
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About the Author: A native of Chicago, George A Bernstein is a retired president of a Chicago manufacturing company. After leaving Chicago for South Florida, George started a world-wide fishing and hunting tour service, Outdoor Safaris. He is a world class fly-fisherman who has held 13 IGFA World Records and authored the definitive book on fly-fishing for pike and musky, Toothy Critters Love Flies.  He and his wife of 57 years, Dolores, live in South Florida. George is also the author of two previous Detective Al Warner suspense novels, Death’s Angel and Born to Die. He is currently at work on the next Detective Al Warner novel, as yet unnamed.
 www.suspenseguy.com / http://facebook.com/georgeabernstein                                 https://plus.google.com/114243818981488647845/ /                             http://twitter.com/georgebernstein

The Inspiration behind ‘The Art of Making Good Decisions’ by Phil Kimble

I was watching my daughter struggle with a life decision about a college major, and I wondered why it was such a difficult challenge for her, why she couldn’t use decision models I have used in my professional career. On the other hand, I saw in my professional career many instances where the only thing that was considered was the metrics of the choices, and wondered why the people involved couldn’t be more intuitive. On both sides of the coin, it appeared that way too much time and emotion was invested in the struggle of a decision because of their narrow approaches. If there was a way both the subjective and the objective could be wrapped together in the decision process, such an approach would be beneficial to both the individual and the organization. The quantitative principles in the book are simplified and easy for the subjective person to apply, and the subjective principles are flags for even the most rigid organization. Hopefully both will benefit.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Feeling stumped, stymied, or stupefied by a big (or small) decision? A new book, The Art of Making Good Decisions takes the guesswork out of common decision-making quandaries and explains how to make good, solid, choices—easily, quickly, and consistently.

Sources estimate that an individual makes more than 30,000 conscious decisions each day.  While most decisions are relatively minor—researchers at Cornell University suggest that persons typically make over 200 decisions a day on food alone—decisions, even the small ones, matter.  Consequently, being able to make consistently good, solid decisions is vitally important to our well-being, our livelihood, and our happiness.

Written by Atlanta area resident Philip Kimble, The Art of Making Good Decisions, explains how—and why—to make good decisions.  A groundbreaking book filled with fascinating insights, tips, tricks and techniques, The Art of Making Good Decisions sheds light on such topics as:  the three driving elements to any decision; elements of the decision model sequence; the key component behind bad decisions; how to recognize a good decision; what happens when decisions need to be tweaked—aka zigging and zagging;  becoming a more confident decision maker; and other important topics. Moreover, The Art of Making Good Decisions is filled with step-by-step examples, sage advice, and anecdotes.

So the next time you find yourself frustrated, flummoxed, or frazzled when facing a decision, take heart:  by applying the principles outlined in The Art of Making Good Decisions, you can begin your transition from inaction to decisiveness and bring sense and clarity to choices. Now that’s a good decision.

Find out more on Amazon

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Philip Kimble lives in the Atlanta area with his wife Julie.

Character Interview: Phoebe from Darden North’s new thriller, ‘The Five Manners of Death’

The5MannersOfDeath_coverfinalWe’re thrilled to have here today Phoebe from Darden North’s new thriller, “The Five Manners of Death.”  Phoebe declines to give her age but admits to graduating from college in the 1960s. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, after moving there from Dallas a few years ago. It is a pleasure to have Phoebe with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Phoebe.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

“Darden North describes my look to a T—beautiful, nearly flawless skin and long, thick, naturally red hair—even if I am over 50—and that’s as far as I’ll go with the age crap. My, my. I haven’t used that word crap since I was in college at Ole Miss in the 1960s and discovered society. Umm, the 1960s … that’s when all this “five manners of death” crap started.  By the way, there’s one thing I do want to get straight with your readers—that note listing the five manners of death that my nosey neighbor Carvel Eaves found in the street trash near my house? I admit the list is in my handwriting—accident, suicide, natural causes, undetermined, and homicide—but I had nothing to do with Carvel’s death. And another thing … I played a lot of cards with that fool Carvel, and he’s never played with a full deck.”

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

“I think I should have been portrayed as a truly kind soul, rather than as a conniving liar suspected of killing several men. I truly love my niece, Diana—although she’s always been so quick to point out that she’s my niece only through marriage. After all, when her parents were killed in a car accident, I was just about all little Diana had left. And look how well I did. She grew up to be this important, busy surgeon.”

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

“I can hide the truth.”

Worst trait?

“Sometimes I’m not very good at hiding the truth.”

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

“You probably already know the answer. Hell, I will absolutely demand that Julia Roberts play me. She already has the hair, and Hollywood makeup magic can transform her to the ages I portray in the book (around nineteen or twenty in the retro scenes in Oxford, Mississippi, and—OK, I’ll admit it—mid to late sixties, present day in Jackson). In some of Julia’s previous movies I’ve heard her nail a Southern accent, one that can take command when necessary.”

Do you have a love interest in the book?

“What a silly question—no, that’s a really stupid question. Someone tall and beautiful always has a love interest. The problem? Winston Ivy is just another of my secrets.”

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

“The plot springs from the first few pages when that sissy bulldozer driver up at Ole Miss digs up the skeleton during a construction project. Unfortunately, the police date the skull and bones to the 1960s and smart Diana later spots me in yearbook pictures with the deceased, Rusty Reynolds.”

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

“Who would ever want to trade places with Rusty’s sister, Sylvia DeLoach? For one thing, she’s too short, and her cheap blonde mane is all the worse on top of that wretched, wrinkled skin from all the time in those tacky tanning beds. When I first met her when she was in town asking too many questions about Rusty’s death, I wanted to crush her—and I know I could have.”

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

“I hated to see my niece Diana cry. I wanted to jump from the police car and hug her, but I knew she would push me away.”

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

“I can’t answer that question without giving too much away. But I’m not worried. Darden North is a clever enough writer to bring me back no matter what he did with me in the end of “The Five Manners of Death.”

Thank you for this interview, Phoebe.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

“Oh, you’ll definitely want to see me again. So you best read “The Five Manners” and find out if you’ll be lucky enough!”

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Few authors write murder mysteries and thrillers and also deliver babies. A native of the Mississippi Delta and a board-certified physician in obstetrics and gynecology, Darden North is the nationally awarded author of five novels in the mystery/thriller genre, including Points of Origin, which was awarded an IPPY. He practices medicine at Jackson Healthcare for Women in Flowood, Mississippi, where he is a certified daVinci robotic surgeon. North also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi, he begin his writing and publishing career as Editor-in-Chief of the 1978 Ole Miss yearbook and continued for the 1982 Medic while in medical school. Darden North’s fifth novel is The Five Manners of Death/WordCrafts Press/June 2017. He has presented at the Southern Expressions Conference on the construction of mysteries and thrillers and participated as an author panelist at “Murder in the Magic City,” “Killer Nashville,” “Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word,” “Murder on the Menu,” and “SIBA Thriller Author Panel.”  Darden North lives with his wife Sally in Jackson, Mississippi. In his spare time, he gardens, enjoys family, walks for exercise, and travels. Sally and Darden have two young adult children who work in the medical field. Visit Darden North the author at www.dardennorth.com.

Find out more about The Five Manners of Death on Amazon

Character Interview: Elvis the Dragon from Anne K. Edwards Children’s Book, Dominick and the Dragon

 

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Elvis the Dragon from Anne K. Edwards’ new childrens’ book, Dominick and the Dragon.  Elvis is an ageless dragon, living in The Dark Forest.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Elvis. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

No, I’m not fairly portrayed in the book. That Anne K. Edwards makes me sound like a bully. Well, I’m not. Never was.  I’m just hungry all the time. I live in a place called The Dark Forest and there really isn’t much to eat besides trees and bushes.  Have you ever eaten a tree? Some of them like the pine tree taste awful and their needles get stuck in my fangs. Did you ever try to dig a pine needle out of your fangs with a claw? There are prickly bushes that scratch me, too. Some have really good black berries on them, but others just get little white flowers on them and have long sharp things on their stems. Sometimes those pointed things get under my scales and they itch. Is it any wonder that I leave The Dark Forest sometimes to find something good to eat?  But I promise, I wouldn’t really ever eat a little boy. I just like to tease them. I’m really quite a nice fellow, better when I have food. Do you know any place I can find something tasty?

DominickCoverForKDPDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

No, no, no. The author made me look silly and mean. When you read about me, don’t believe everything she says.  When I met that little boy, Dominick, and told him how big and strong my wings are and how high I can fly, she made people think I was bragging.  I wasn’t, I just try to impress people I want to like me so I tell them about myself. I was only showing Dominick what I can do. Don’t you tell people what you can do? I’d really like the author to apologize to me and make me sound like the good fellow I am. We dragons have been given a bad reputation because of some guy called St. George who went around attacking us. The writers like this Anne K. Edwards also write stories and tell everybody that we’re the villains. Well, so what if we lose our temper sometimes. How would you like it if some guy in an iron suit started chasing you with a sharp stick? People like him drive us out of our homes and then get mad when we try to get it back. Wouldn’t you have a bad temper if you were chased all the time? That makes me soooo mad. This writer told the story as if I was a bad dragon for inviting Dominick to see my cave and meet my wife. Wouldn’t you want her to tell the truth about you if she made you sound bad?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I like to show people how we dragons can fly and blow fire out of our nose. That’s why we have to be careful what we eat. That’s why we eat so much woody fiber. My strongest trait is how good a neighbor I am. I don’t eat folks’ gardens no matter how hungry I get. I don’t scare their dogs in the middle of the night and make them bark. I don’t mess up their yards either like those messy kids do. Why, do you know those boys make so much noise I can’t hear my wife call me? Yet, I don’t complain. And when they tell those stories about me, I hold my temper and am very patient. I wish they would be better neighbors too and keep their boys out of The Dark Forest. They’re messy there too.

Worse trait?

I don’t have any worse trait. We dragons hardly ever do a bad thing, but we get the blame anyhow when thing happen. I suppose they’ll soon find a way to blame us for Hansel and Gretel eating the witch’s house and pushing her in that oven.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Hollywood doesn’t offer us dragons many parts in movies, but if they did want to make a movie of my book, I’d like that crazy guy that’s always eating Tokyo. He’s awesome. Do you think they could give me a passport to go to Japan? Or would they let me fly in one of their airplanes? Maybe they could bring him to California and let him eat part of Los Angeles. Since he likes the water, maybe he could swim across the Pacific Ocean. Do you think he would want to play me? He’s really fierce looking and has a great growl.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Right from the beginning. When I met the kid who was living the story with me, I knew right away the people would sympathize with him when he met me. That made me the guy who’d get hissed like in the movies. I was glad when the kid left The Dark Forest. I think he pretended most of the time to be scared to get all the attention. I don’t ever want to be in another story with him.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t want to be Dominick. He’s not very big and he can’t do anything. I mean he can’t make fire, He doesn’t have any wings. He can’t fly and see the world from high up. He lives in a house that is too small. He has to do what his parents tell him. He has two noisy brothers and they are messy. I couldn’t live with people. Really, I feel kind of sorry for Dominick.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I was disappointed in the ending, but mostly because I didn’t get to be the hero. You know what I mean—when all the loose ends are tied up and people are patting each other on the back.  Nobody patted me on the back.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Write me as the main character. Let me do fun things. Let people like me a lot. It would be a much better book. Dragons are a lot more interesting that a little boy, don’t you think?

Thank you for this interview, (name of character). Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yes. I just saw the plot and I still have to share the attention with that little boy. You’d think that a writer could write a story about a dragon having adventures instead of a little boy. I’m older. I’ve been out in the world more. I know lots of things he’ll never know, but I didn’t know about Christmas. What is it for?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne K. Edwards resides on a farm with her husband and a bunch of cats who rule the roost.  When she’s not arguing with them about using the computer, she is dancing attendance on their demands. Anne enjoys reading, meeting new people,

http://www.AnneKEdwards.com

About your book with purchase link:

https://www.amazon.com/Dominick-Dragon-Book-ebook/dp/B01N9F3RFS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497205815&sr=1-1&keywords=Dominick+and+the+Dragon+by+Anne+K.+Edwards

Character Interview: Claire Conover from Margaret Fenton’s amateur sleuth mystery ‘Little Girl Gone’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Claire Conover from Margaret Fenton’s new mystery, Little Girl Gone.  Claire is a 30 year old social worker living in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Claire.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think I’m always pretty fairly portrayed by Margaret.  She used to work with child welfare social workers as the mental health consultant for the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources, so she knows about social workers and what they do every day.  She knows how difficult and draining this job can be, even if mine is at the slightly fictionalized Department of Human Services.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Once again, I think she nailed it.  She’s painted me as a very hard worker who’s very dedicated to her job and the kids she serves.  I don’t have much of a life outside work, a social life that is, and I wish that would change.  I could use some more friends.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m a workaholic.

Worst trait?

I’m a workaholic.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

What’s her name, from “When Harry met Sally”.  Hang on.  Margaret has to go look this up for me. Meg Ryan.  That’s her.  She’s a bit older than me, though.  Margaret really isn’t much a movie fan and really doesn’t know many actors and actresses.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh Lord, that’s a loaded question.  I have a boyfriend and he’s really wonderful.  His name is Grant Summerville and he’s tall and handsome and owns his own business.  Really love him, but there’s this reporter named Kirk Mahoney who is always flirting with me.  And he is hot.  I know I should walk away and leave him alone but I don’t know if that’s possible.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Whenever I hear gunshots I get a bit nervous.  I mean I’ve had one close shave in Little Lamb Lost, and another in this book so I wonder how long my luck can hold.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I have a friend that I meet in Little Girl Gone, and her name is LaReesa Jones.  She’s 13 and her mother—well, let’s just say there is a lot to be desired there.  She lives with her grandmother and she’s pure hell.  But Reese has a lot of spirit and intelligence.  I wouldn’t want to be her, but I really like her!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Another close shave and a hell of a cliffhanger.  I’m really worried.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

She’s working on it now.  My third book will be called Little White Lies.  There’s a bombing in Birmingham, and the victim has a baby.  Stay tuned!

Thank you for this interview, Claire.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Hopefully by Christmas.  We’ll see.  She needs to get writing!

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LGGcoverTitle: Little Girl Gone

Genre: Mystery

Author: Margaret Fenton

Websitewww.margaretfenton.com

Find out more on Amazon

About the Book:

When Little Girl Gone opens, it’s September in Birmingham, Alabama, and Claire Conover is steeling herself. September—with its oppressive, unwelcome heat, back-to-school newness worn off, and skyrocketing reports of abuse and neglect—is a time of year Claire has come to dread.  As the crime rate increases, so increases the work load for Claire and the Jefferson County Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division. Seems this year is no exception.

When she takes into custody a 13-year-old girl found sleeping behind a grocery store, Claire is swept up in a case that turns out to be far more complicated, and far more dangerous, than initially meets the eye. Struggling to piece together the young girl’s identity, Claire finds herself with few answers and no shortage of questions.  Is the young girl a runaway?  An abuse victim?  Or something else?   But things go from bad to worse when the young girl’s mother is found murdered—and then the girl disappears.  Claire soon discovers that the mother was involved in an illegal gambling industry in Birmingham.  But even with this clue, the case becomes more complicated.  Could the young girl have pulled the trigger?  Is that even possible?  And where could she have run?  Did she run at all? In the midst of all the questions, only one thing is certain: Claire has to find the answers, and the girl, fast.

A swiftly paced, suspenseful, and shocking story, Little Girl Gone earns Margaret Fenton a solid spot among today’s best mystery writers.  Masterful plotting, extraordinary character development, and a pulse racer of a plot combine to create an extraordinary mystery resplendent with twists, turns, and surprises.  An unforgettable story informed by Fenton’s near decade of experience as a social worker, Little Girl Gone also shines a light on the plight of at risk children and the dedication of those tireless and compassionate workers who serve them.  A stellar entry into what Booklisthailed “a promising new series,” Little Girl Gone is mesmerizing.

About the Author:

margaretfentonbirmingham

Margaret Fenton grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and moved to Birmingham in 1996. She received her B.A. in English from the Newcomb College of Tulane University, and her Master of Social Work from Tulane. Fenton spent nearly ten years as a child and family therapist before taking a break to focus on her writing. Her work tends to reflect her interest in social causes and mental health, especially where kids are concerned. She serves as planning coordinator of Murder in the Magic City, a one-day, one-track annual mystery fan conference in Homewood, Alabama. She is President of the Birmingham Chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Margaret lives in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover with her husband, a software developer.

Connect with the author on the web:

https://www.margaretfenton.com/

https://www.facebook.com/margaret.fenton

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