I’m pleased to have Marilyn Levinson (aka Allison Brook), fellow Long Island and cozy mystery author from Holbrook, NY here to speak about her writing and new release, Read and Gone, that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.
Welcome, Marilyn. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.
My first published book was AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, a novel for kids, in 1985 (Holt) and was a nominee for 6 state awards. Other books for kids written around that time: NO BOYS ALLOWED, THE FOURTH-GRADE FOUR, A PLACE TO START and RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK.
About seven or eight years ago I started publishing mysteries and romantic suspense: A MURDERER AMONG US and MURDER IN THE AIR –my Twin Lakes mysteries; DANGEROUS RELATIONS, GIVING UP THE GHOST, MURDER A LA CHRISTIE and MURDER THE TEY WAY – my Golden Age of Mystery Book Club mysteries; DEATH OVERDUE and READ AND GONE – my Haunted Library mystery series written as Allison Brook
More novels for kids: GETTING BACK TO NORMAL and THE DEVIL’S PAWN
You are quite a prolific and versatile writer. I also like to write other genres in addition to my cozy mystery series.
Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
READ AND GONE, the second book in my Haunted Library series, is just out with Crooked Lane Books. My sleuth, Carrie Singleton, works in the Clover Ridge Library in Clover Ridge, CT as head of programs and events. She can see and communicate with the ghost of a former library assistant who sometimes helps her solve mysteries and lives with Smoky Joe, the library cat. I am currently writing the third book in the series.
I read your first and really enjoyed it. I hope to read the new one soon. As you know, as a librarian, I’m a bit partial to librarian sleuths and library cats, as I feature them in my books, too.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I plan to keep on writing mysteries. I’d like to write another series and to add a few books to the series I’ve already begun. I also want to write the third and final Rufus book in my Rufus trilogy for readers ten to twelve.
I’m publishing the fourth book in my series soon and have an unpublished first of a cozy series I’m currently querying to agents. I’d like to continue the Cobble Cove books and am already planning the 5th.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I’m hoping to attract readers that like mysteries, unraveling secrets, and reading about my characters’ relationships with one another. I think readers who like a library setting, novels that include animals, and paranormal elements in their mysteries would love reading my books.
I hope to attract the same readers as you. Besides the paranormal theme in your books, mine feature all the others that you do. I have a standalone paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, that just came out and is on blog tour with a giveaway right now.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Keep on writing; belong to a critique group to give and receive input from other writers; join writers’ organizations; attend a few conferences if you can; be active in social media but don’t let it overtake the time you should be writing.
Keeping social media time down is tough especially when one works full time. Critique groups can be helpful as well as writer organizations. I’ve attendedf a few conferences and hope to attend more, but many times they are given when I’m working.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I received many rejections.
I think all authors do, but they need not take them personally but use them as motivation to keep trying.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I belong to Sisters in Crime and the Guppies.
Me, too. They’re great.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I read, knit, do crossword puzzles and Sudoku. I enjoy traveling and dining out.
I used to crochet. I like logic puzzles but have never tried Sudoku. I also like to travel when I have the time and money, but I’m eating out less to keep to my diet.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I enjoy hearing from readers, especially when they tell me they’ve loved reading my books and look forward to the next in the series.
Least, I suppose, are the things I can’t control. Like the rare, unfair negative review.
My toughest challenge is finding the necessary time to write. I wish I wrote faster.
I agree that time is one of the biggest challenges for authors and the more you publish, the more time you need to promote your books. I also enjoy hearing from readers and fans of my series. It gives me a reason to keep writing.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
I love writing about characters that appear in a series—their lives in a small town, their concerns, and their relationships with one another. I enjoy the way my sleuths have to figure out clues and gather information to solve the mystery without the use of a forensic lab at their disposal.
Yes, characters are most important in mysteries especially cozies.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
To join Marilyn’s rafflecopter for her blog tour, follow the link here. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792759/?
Thank you so much for the interview, Marilyn, and continued success with your series, new release, and blog tour. I hope you drop by the library again, so we can chat or maybe do lunch. I may also see you at another LI event.