The Composites – Literary Characters

Posted on Updated on

Have you seen Brian J. Davis’ Tumblr site, The Composites?  http://thecomposites.tumblr.com/

It’s fascinating. Davis makes police sketches of literary characters, based on the book description. In other words, we can see how the author portrayed the character.

Wait until you see Ian Fleming’s James Bond! Not quite how any of us might have pictured him. Recent sketches include John LeCarre’s George Smiley, Stephen King’s Carrie. Davis did a few sketches of George R.R. Martin characters.

It’s a fun site. You might want to check it out.

Kate Carlisle, In the Hot Seat

Posted on Updated on

Some readers may have met Kate Carlisle at The Poisoned Pen. The author of Books of a Feather, the latest Bibliophile mystery, will be joining Laura Bradford and Paige Shelton at the Pen on Saturday, June 11 at 2 PM. She was kind enough to sit in the hot seat and answer questions.

Kate, cozy mystery readers who come to The Poisoned Pen may know you, but not all blog readers do. Would you introduce yourself to our readers? Tell us about yourself.

Before I started writing, I worked just about everywhere you can imagine, from law offices to libraries to TV game shows to vineyards. In a way, all of that—every bit of it—was an apprenticeship for my work as a mystery writer. Every experience is fodder for my books, and the variety allows me to craft mysteries with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing.

My tagline is “Smart. Funny. Murder!” and that’s my promise to readers with every book. I want to make you laugh while I make you think. I love when readers tell me they didn’t solve the murder until the very end.


Would you introduce us to Brooklyn Wainwright, and tell us about Books of a Feather (without spoilers).

I’m best known for the Bibliophile Mysteries. I’ve been a book arts hobbyist since I was quite young. I’ve always been fascinated by the book as an object, as well as the tales told on the pages. This fascination led me to create world renowned bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, who restores rare books while solving a modern day mystery attached to each.

Books of a Feather

Readers tell me that one thing they love about the Bibliophile Mysteries is figuring out how I’ve echoed the themes of the rare book in the contemporary mystery. For example, in RIPPED FROM THE PAGES, which came out in paperback last month, Brooklyn restores a first edition of Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the murder victim is discovered deep inside a wine cave on her parents’ California commune.

In BOOKS OF A FEATHER, my brand new hardcover, Brooklyn is approached by the president of a national birding society. The man is in an absolute panic. He spilled wine on a lesser known book of Audubon bird illustrations, the pride of his society’s collection. Can she repair it? he asks. She’s invigorated by the challenge, but when the man is murdered, she and her beau, British security expert Derek Stone, must find the murderer before Brooklyn becomes the next victim.

Just for fun, I’ve created a sort of literary scavenger hunt of bird references woven into the story. (You’ll find the Birdwatching Scavenger Hunt in the Secret Room at KateCarlisle.com.)

You’re currently writing two mystery series. Tell us how you juggle them – time, characters, ideas.

Ripped from the Pages

Writing two ongoing mystery series is a dream come true! Juggling characters and ideas isn’t too much of a problem because the series are very specific, so when an idea comes, it’s already attached to either the Bibliophile Mysteries or the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Brooklyn Wainwright restores rare books; Shannon Hammer restores Victorian homes. Brooklyn lives in big city San Francisco; Shannon lives in small town Lighthouse Cove. Brooklyn’s parents followed the Grateful Dead on tour and settled in a wine country commune; Shannon’s dad ran the family construction company until Shannon took over, and now he lives in an RV in her driveway.

Juggling time, on the other hand, is a huge issue. How do I do it? Poorly. I’m always scrambling. I’ve discovered that panic is part of my process, and I’ve had to learn to live with the discomfort. I rely on deadlines to tell me when I absolutely must stop researching and revising and focus on telling the story.

(My time management has also been impacted the past year by taking care of my mother, selling our house, moving across the state, and—wait for it!—building a home. Because I needed one more thing on my to-do list.)

Deck the Hallways, the 4th in your Fixer-Upper series is due out in November. Tell us a little about that series.
I’ve always found Victorian homes to be deliciously evocative—especially when they’re in a spooky state of disrepair. My father was a general contractor so I grew up on construction sites. That, plus the fact that I tend to see murder around every corner made writing the Fixer-Upper Mysteries a natural fit. Protagonist Shannon Hammer took over Hammer Construction when her dad retired. She specializes in renovating Victorian homes in the northern California hamlet of Lighthouse Cove, a seemingly idyllic town haunted by dark secrets. Shannon gets help when needed from a group of close friends, the handsome local sheriff, and a sophisticated bestselling writer who set tongues wagging when he moved to town.

Deck the Hallways

Readers can get a complete bibliography of my books in order of publication here: http://katecarlisle.com/books.php

Kate, I know you’ve been to Arizona before. What’s your favorite place to go when you’re here?

Anywhere Jenn McKinlay is, of course! Jenn is my partner in crime. Whenever we’re together, my face hurts from laughing. And she often serves cupcakes, so…

If friends visit you, where do you take them?

Right now, the answer is that I take them to the construction site of our new home. It’s not much to look at now, but it’s fun to describe what’s coming. You know that dream we readers all have of a cozy reading room with built-in bookshelves? It’s happening! And when I look up from my book, I’ll have a beautiful view of the mountains. Right now, we have zero bedrooms and one bath. 😉

outdoor toilet

Let’s talk about your bucket list, real or just in your mind. What’s next on it? What do you hope to do soon?

I would love to travel to Italy and back to Scotland. I would love to set a mystery series in another country. I really want a puppy. But honestly? In many ways I’m living my bucket list:

  • Get published. Check!
  • Hit the New York Times bestsellers list. Check!
  • Write two ongoing mystery series. Check!
  • Build a house. Working on it!

I couldn’t be happier! Or luckier. Okay, yes, I’d love to have one of my books hit #1, but that’s so far beyond my control as to be more of a dream than a goal.

One thing I am looking forward to is the American Library Association conference in Orlando. Librarians are my people! When Jenn and I did a signing at the conference in San Francisco, I kid you not, there were librarians in line who were shrieking with excitement. It was the most fun ever.

Guilty pleasures. What are your favorite TV shows?

I’m not sure I’d describe my favorite TV shows as guilty pleasures. Life’s too short to feel guilty about something you enjoy! Let’s call them market research because I gravitate toward shows with mystery and humor, just like my books. Suits, NCIS Los Angeles, Castle, Bones. I love Elementary, too. I also enjoy more somber mysteries, such as Blue Bloods and Law & Order in all its iterations. And I’ll watch anything on Masterpiece Mystery, of course.

What five words or phrases would Brooklyn use to describe you?

Oh, that is such an interesting question! Brooklyn would describe me as absent-minded, quirky (or she might say goofy), kind, thoughtful, and obsessed with food.

What’s on your TBR (To Be Read) pile right now?

Oh, so many books! The top three are The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, Rockabye Bones by Carolyn Haines, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which somehow, I’ve never read. (Don’t judge me.) And I’ve got the newest Nora Roberts (Obsession) and Robert Crais (The Promise) set aside as a reward for when I finish this latest manuscript.

Thank you, Lesa and Poisoned Pen, for allowing me to spend this time with you! I appreciate everything you do to tell readers about my books.

Thank you, Kate! If you would like to order copies of Kate Carlisle’s books, and pre-order an autographed copy of Books of a Feather, check our web store. http://bit.ly/1TKuu5S

John Grisham, Papercuts

Posted on Updated on

Penguin Random House does a series of “Papercuts”, short interviews with their authors, and they make them available for use. John Grisham recently spoke about the authors that influenced him.

Did you know John Grisham writes the Theodore Bloom: Kid Lawyer series for middle-school readers? If you’re interested in buying them for a young reader in your life, they’re available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/1PALOdB

Laura Bradford, In the Hot Seat

Posted on Updated on

Today, I’d like to welcome Laura Bradford who is the author of several mystery series. On Saturday, June 11, Laura is joining the Coffee & Crime Book Club at 10:30 AM to discuss the most recent book in her Amish mystery series, Churn for the Worse. Laura has a busy day. At 2 PM, she will then join authors Kate Carlisle and Paige Shelton, where she will discuss the first book in her new series, Eclair and Present Danger. Thank you, Laura, for sitting In the Hot Seat.

Laura Bradford

Laura, I don’t know if you’ve been to The Poisoned Pen before or not. So, would you introduce yourself to our readers? Tell us about yourself.

Sure! My name is Laura Bradford. My two biggest accomplishments in life are my daughters. After that, I can say I’m a writer (as you know) who also loves to read, bake, and travel (when funds allow). Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, I’m an advocate for those living with this disease.

I live in New York with my family.

Why did you become a writer?

I fell in love with writing when I was ten years old. I’d always been an avid reader, but the moment a childhood friend and I sat down to write our own books, I was hooked. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be (besides a mom).

Early on, I thought I wanted to write for children. But once I sat down to take my fiction writing dream seriously, I realized I wanted to try my hand at what I loved to read—mysteries.

When you’re at The Poisoned Pen, you’re meeting with the Coffee & Crime book discussion group to talk about A Churn for the Worse. Tell us about your Amish mysteries.

Churn for the Worse

I’ll start by referring you back to my childhood again. I was a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I loved everything about that time period and often wished I could be Laura.

So as niche market of Amish romances was really taking off, I looked around and thought, why not an Amish cozy?  And so I was off and running.

To write an almost 1800’s style lifestyle (in many ways) juxtaposed against the modern world really spoke to me. And before I knew it, I had Claire Weatherly (my English gift shop owner) and Detective Jakob Fisher (the local detective who was once Amish, himself).

The very nature of the Amish way of life, sadly, makes them prone to crime. They don’t pose for photographs, they keep large amounts of money in their homes, and they are wary of police. As a cozy mystery writer, I couldn’t ask for more.

I’ve enjoyed weaving a mystery that showcases the Amish. I do a lot of research for each book to make sure I’m portraying the Amish correctly. But my favorite part of the series has to be Detective Fisher. Writing a man with such layers has been a dream come true.

I often wish this series had been marketed better and thus reaching a larger audience. It’s a cozy, yes, but I think it has a wider appeal than that.

That same afternoon, you’re signing the first in a new series, Eclair and Present Danger. Would you introduce your amateur sleuth and tell us about this new series?

Eclair and Present Danger

The only thing Winnie Johnson has ever wanted to do is bake. It’s an interest that grabbed hold of her heart at a young age and charted her path from that day forward. Her bakery—Delectable Delights—is the culmination of that dream.

Until Nick Batkas, her landlord, decides downtown Silver Lake is the next “it” town and raises Winnie’s rent so high she can no longer stay in business.

Or can she?

Winnie is summoned to a local attorney’s office for the reading of Gertrude Redenbacher’s will. But instead of money she could have used to keep her bakery open, Winnie inherits her late friend’s cat (who hates Winnie) and an old vintage ambulance that Gertie’s late husband had been restoring prior to his death.

With all hope now gone, she closes her bakery for the last time.

Through a series of incidents (including finding her across-the-street neighbor’s body), Winnie comes up with a plan to keep her business running via Gertie’s ambulance.

And thus, the Emergency Dessert Squad is born.

I had great fun writing this book (and the two that will follow in March 2017 and January 2018). Perhaps more fun than I’ve ever had writing. The concept is strong, the characters fun. And I’m so excited to sign the debut book, Éclair and Present Danger, at The Poisoned Pen.

Can you gives us a hint about your next book to be released?

I’m going to have a busy 2017 with a sixth Amish Mystery (whether that’s with BPC or not), a 12th Southern Sewing Circle Mystery (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), the 2nd Emergency Dessert Squad—Silence of the Flans, and the first three books in my Tobi Tobias Mystery Series with Kensington’s E-line.  It is my hope that this E-series will help draw new readers to all of my work.

Enough about writing. I don’t know how much time you have in Arizona. What would you like to see while you’re here?

I’ll have just about 30 hours in Arizona before I head back home to New York. I want to immerse myself in as much of the local culture (read: food) as possible in that time frame.

If friends come to visit you, what’s your favorite place to take them? 

The Central Park Zoo. Specifically the sea lions. I’m kind of addicted (and I know them all by sight).

Everyone has a bucket list, whether it’s written or in our head. What’s next on your list? What do you hope to do soon?

To rent a cottage on the beach for a month. I picture myself writing with the ocean breeze drifting in around me…  

What were the last books you recommended?

Linda Castillo’s Amish Thrillers.  I think her writing and her character development is incredible.

What’s on your TBR (To Be Read) pile right now?

I’ve been making my way through the Myron Bolitar books by Harlan Coben.  I’m finishing up FADE AWAY right now.  

Thank you, Laura, for sitting In the Hot Seat.

As I mentioned earlier, Laura will be appearing at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday, June 11 at 10:30 AM to discuss A Churn for the Worse. She’ll be back at 2:00 PM that same day to discuss and sign Eclair and Present Danger. I hope you have time to meet her at one of these programs. If you can’t make it, Laura’s books can be ordered here. http://bit.ly/24XXT09

Laura Lippman, Wilde Lake & Grave Disruptions

Posted on Updated on

Wilde Lake

In “Grave Disruptions” in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Elizabeth Little recently interviewed Laura Lippman about Wilde Lake, her latest book. We thought we’d share the link to that article. https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/grave-disruptions/

We can get Wilde Lake for you, if you’d like. Just check the Web Store. http://bit.ly/1WAdwcJ


A Science Fiction Extravaganza – Elevengeddon

Posted on Updated on

Earlier this week, Kevin Hearne hosted a Scifi Extravaganza at The Poisoned Pen. What makes it so special? Well, if you’re a science fiction or fantasy fan, how about these names? Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Pierce Brown, Beth Cato, Adam Christopher, Ryan Dalton, Leanna Renee Hieber, Jason Hough, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tom Leveen, Michael Martinez, Brian McClellan, Joseph Nassise, Sarah Remy, VE Schwab, Scott Sigler, Michael J. Sullivan, Sam Sykes, Dan Wells, Django Wexler. People lined up early to get wristbands, meet the authors, and get books signed.

Most of the pictures aren’t labeled. After all, it was a party of sorts – balloons and everything. But, if you’re a fan, you’ll want to watch for your favorite authors.

Eleven 3

Eleven 4

Eleven 5
Sam Sykes and VE Schwab

Eleven 6

Eleven 7
Leanna Renee Hieber and Kevin Hearne

eleven 8

Eleven 9
Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss

Eleven 10

Eleven 11

Eleven 12
Sarah Remy

Eleven 13

Eleven 14

Eleven 15

Eleven 16

Eleven 18
Pierce Brown

And, most of you didn’t think of The Poisoned Pen for science fiction and fantasy, did you?  Don’t forget to check the Web Store when looking for books. http://store.poisonedpen.com

Mystery Book Chat

Posted on Updated on

This month’s book chat features June cozy mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian. The Poisoned Pen Bookstore will host two of these featured authors, Laura Bradford and Kate Carlisle, along with Paige Shelton, Saturday, June 11 at 2 PM. And, Laura and Kate will both be “In the Hot Seat” next week. Watch for those interviews.

Readers who follow my personal blog have seen my cat, Jinx, often enough in the book chats to recognize him. For those of you who have never seen one, meet Jinx.

And, here’s the list of the mysteries featured in the book chat, June 7th releases.

Murder, Handcrafted – Isabella Alan – 5th Amish Quilt Shop Mystery
Title Wave – Lorna Barrett – 10th Booktown Mystery
Eclair and Present Danger – Lorna Barrett – 1st Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
Books of a Feather – Kate Carlisle – 10th Bibliophile Mystery
Murder at Fontainebleau – Amanda Carmack – 5th Elizabethan Mystery
Dead End Street – Sheila Connolly – 7th Museum Mystery
The Diva Serves High Tea – Krista Davis – 10th Domestic Diva Mystery
The Black Cat Knocks on Wood – Kay Finch – 2nd Bad Luck Cat Mystery
A Golden Cage – Shelley Freydont – 2nd Newport Gilded Age Mystery
A Premonition of Murder – Mary Kennedy – 3rd Dream Club Mystery
Sense of Deception – Victoria Laurie – 13th Psychic Eye Mystery (1st time in paperback)
The Calamity Cafe – Gayle Leeson – 1st Down South Cafe Mystery
A Shattering Crime – Jennifer McAndrews – 3rd Stained-Glass Mystery
Purl Up and Die – Maggie Sefton – 13th Knitting Mystery (1st time in paperback)
Knit to Be Tied – Maggie Sefton – 14th Knitting Mystery (hardcover)