Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Interview with Marilyn Levinson/Allison Brooks

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
Read and Gone  is the title of my book that's being released September 11. It's the second in the Haunted Library mystery series that I'm writing as Allison Brook. This is my eight published mystery. I've published 7 YAs/books for young readers.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
Carrie Singleton is my sleuth in the Haunted Library mystery series. I knew that Carrie was about to turn thirty, had grown up in a dysfunctional family, and was about to take an important position in the Clover Ridge Library in the town of her father's family. Carrie matures and changes through her work, her relationships, and her sleuthing. It's fun watching her develop into a responsible young woman.

Most of my mysteries take place on Long Island, where I live, but the Haunted Library series is set in Connecticut. That could be because my family had a summer home in CT, and I've a great fondness for the state. While Clover Ridge is a town I made up, I initially had a real town in mind. Of course now Clover Ridge is nothing like the "real" town.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening. 
People often think that a writer leads a very exciting life, but the truth is we spend a lot of time alone in a room writing our Work In Progress. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I go to aerobics, perhaps run an errand or two, and spend the rest of the day in front of my computer. That is not to say I'm working on my book all that time. First off, I check my email, which might require work such as agreeing to write a guest blog or agreeing to read a friend's new book in order to give her a blurb. I check my Facebook page and that of my agent and author friends. I might post something about a new review I've received or mention my up-and-coming Facebook party. I admit that I also do some "window shopping" or shall I say "monitor shopping" for clothes.

Then it's time to get to the book I'm writing. I do my best writing in the afternoon. I try to write between 2 and 4 pages a day, or more if a deadline is upon me. Often, I have to work on edits of a previously published book. Edits come when you least expect them and need to be returned within a very short period of time. I'm also in constant communication with people from my publishing house about various issues such as a book's cover. Reviews. And now I write a newsletter almost every month. Just setting that up takes time.

And did I mention the virtual blog tour I'll be on in September? That meant writing blogs and answering interview questions that various bloggers post. This is so more readers can become familiar with my work.  

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
I co-founded a local chapter of Sisters in Crime some years ago, but that did not survive. I still belong to Sisters in Crime, the Guppies, and to a small group of writers. We've been together over 16 years now, and while the purpose of forming this group was to help each other with plotting problems, we chat about every kind of problem you can imagine. Over the years we've supported each other through losses and illnesses and other calamities. I'm also in touch with many other writers. Some I've gotten to meet at the few conferences I attend. Others, I probably will never meet in person. All of these friendships are valuable. They help my writing in concrete ways like giving advice when needed, as well as offering care and support when they are needed.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
I don't consciously model my sleuth after myself or anyone I know. I've written mysteries with sleuths of all ages. Carrie isn't me. After college she moved from place to place and dressed very Goth—purple hair, long earrings, clunky boots. I never went through a faze like that when I was her age. But I'm sure that Carrie, like every one of my characters, has aspects of me in her personality.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
I'd like a young, spunky, pretty actress to play Carrie. Someone like Emma Stone.

Who is your favorite author?
Two of my favorite books are Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, and Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth—two very different books. I read so many mysteries, I find it difficult to say who is my favorite author. Recently, I read a mystery that I thought was outstanding called The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey. (Editor's note: An excellent book for a review click here.)

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
Because I've been writing my new series over a relatively short period of time, I can remember many details. When I'm not certain, I check out the previous book or manuscript. Believe it or not, remembering names can be a problem. My agent had me write a list of characters in my first book. I find myself often referring to that, especially where a character's age is concerned. Of course I add to this list with each new book that I write.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
If I were not an author, I'd be retired! My non-author friends don't work any longer.

For a review of Read and Gone, click here. 

1 comment:

Marilyn Levinson said...


Thank you for having me here today as your guest.