Written by Guest Blogger Lois Winston
It’s my pleasure to introduce my Guest blogger today, award-winning romance and mystery author, Lois Winston.
If you’ve watched Jersey Shore or read about New Jersey in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you may think you know all about it.
But according to Lois:
I live in a state that everyone seems to have a negative opinion about, especially those who have never set foot here. Welcome to New Jersey. Even though our motto is The Garden State, we’re more often, referred to as The Armpit of the Nation.
That stereotype and others are often reinforced by movies and TV shows such as The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jerseylicous, not to mention a current loudmouth governor prone to bullying. Politics aside, I’m here to tell you that at least 95% of us are not like the people you see on your TV.
I think New Jersey is a pretty cool place to live. In less than an hour I can be in the mountains, down the shore, or in Manhattan, depending upon my mood. We have culture, sports, and cow pastures. Horse farms and high-rises. We’re home to the famous and the infamous.
We even legally own the Statue of Liberty, but try telling that to New York. However, since they usurped our national landmark, we took their beloved football teams. That’s right, folks, for those of you who live in other parts of the country, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets play in New Jersey.
Anyway, I like New Jersey so much that I set my latest series here. In a REAL New Jersey town. When I read a book, I love to connect with the locations. What I hate is when an author sets a book somewhere she’s never been and relies heavily on Google for her research. There are too many things about a place that Google won’t tell you because you didn’t know to ask. Like the fact that trucks aren’t allowed on most of the Garden State Parkway. Or that we go “down the shore” not “to the beach.” Nothing pulls a reader out of a story more than when an author doesn’t get her facts rights.
So for me, setting my stories in places I know is a no-brainer. Not only is it easier than making up a place or setting a book somewhere I’ve never been, it’s also a way of letting people know that there’s more to New Jersey than they’ve been led to believe.
Setting a book in New Jersey also gives me the opportunity to place my protagonist in diverse locations while still keeping her in or near her hometown. Many cozy mysteries take place in or around a small town in the Midwest, down South, or in New England. If the author wants to place her protagonist in a different environment, it involves the protagonist taking a trip. With a series set in New Jersey, I can have Anastasia shopping at Ikea in the morning, antiquing in Lambertville in the afternoon and at a casino in Atlantic City in the evening. At least, I could if she ever has two nickels to rub together again.
One caveat, though: As much as I love my state, I’ve been accused of having a biting sense of humor. So if you happen to read any of my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries (and I hope you will!), you’ll often find my tongue planted firmly in my cheek as I describe my state.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” The series also includes Death By Killer Mop Doll and Crewel Intentions, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is a January 2013 release.
Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the recently released Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at http://www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
Revenge of the Crafty Corpse:
Anastasia Pollack’s dead louse of a spouse has left her with more bills than you can shake a crochet hook at, and teaching craft classes at her mother-in-law’s assisted living center seems like a harmless way to supplement her meager income. But when Lyndella Wegner—a 98-year-old know-it-all with a penchant for ruffles and lace—turns up dead, Anastasia’s cantankerous mother-in-law becomes the prime suspect in her murder. Upon discovering that Lyndella’s scandalous craft projects—and her scandalous behavior—made her plenty of enemies, Anastasia sets out to find the real killer before her mother-in-law ends up behind bars.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0738725862/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0738725862&linkCode=as2&tag=loiswins-20