There is a lot going on today! First, please visit FUOnlyKnew.com for a Ramblin’ review from Laura of TIARA TROUBLE–be sure to browse her blog because she’s got a litany of great books listed. An amazing review that made me fly around the living room (because this is the review I’ve been sweating!) is up on Chick Lit Plus. I was out of touch this weekend, helping my mom, so I wasn’t able to post about the 4-Star review and giveaway over on Books ‘n Kisses. Please visit them today, too, because the giveaway is still on!
I will also be visiting with Amy Beth Arkawy on her blogtalk radio show today at 12 EST. Amy Beth is a fellow Cozy Cat author, and we’ll be talking about cozy mysteries and whatever else sounds like good fun. And in that spirit, I’d like to introduce you to Amy Beth, author of Dead Silent.
About Dead Silent:
It’s summertime, and in Goodship, New York, the living is anything but easy. Controversial radio shock jock Paul Hackett is found strangled to death with his headphone cord around his neck in the studio of local radio station WSHP. There’s little evidence beyond the initials V.O.S. scrawled across the studio window in red lipstick and a list of suspects that could easily fill the Goodship phone book. And that’s not all. Eliza Gordon, former soap star turned local soup aficionado and amateur sleuth and her pal and unwitting snooping partner radio DJ Midge Sumner must contend with in Dead Silent, the second in author Amy Beth Arkawy’s Eliza Gordon Mystery series. The locals are also on edge thanks to the rumors rolling across The Goodship Grapevine, a new toxic gossip site, and bemused by flyers heeding folks to follow an enigmatic cult known as “The Quiet.” Eliza’s instincts have her searching for clues and connecting the mysteries together, but they also put a strain on her burgeoning romance with Tom Santini, Goodship’s dishy police chief (who also happens to be her late husband’s best friend). The sudden reappearance of her elusive playboy brother-in-law, Jonas Gordon, sparks unexpected feelings in Eliza and may hold the key to connecting the mysteries and solving Hackett’s murder. Join Eliza Gordon and sidekick Midge Sumner as they embark on this intriguing and dangerous sleuthing escapade. Will they solve the mystery or wind up Dead Silent?
Amy Beth Arkawy is the author of Killing Time: An Eliza Gordon Mystery (Hen House Press). Her story “Dangerous Appetites” is featured in the collection, Fiction Noir, also by Hen House Press. She is also the author of several plays including: Psychic Chicken Soup (McLaren Comedy Award nominee); Full Moon, Saturday Night; Listening to Insomnia: Rage Amongst Yourselves; Crazy Vivian Doesn’t Shop at Bloomie’s Anymore; The Lost Mertz and The Postman Always Writes Twice. Her work has been produced in New York City and across the country and featured in several anthologies.
Amy Beth is also a creativity coach/writing teacher, freelance journalist and radio talk show host. She is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the popular website News Junkie Post and writes the Radio Graffiti and Scribbler’s Folly blogs. Her film/TV reviews and political commentary are featured on PopNet and other outlets.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Amy Beth was awarded a Master of Fine Arts Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts and earned her M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University.
The Outside Lane: How did you get started writing?
Amy Beth Arkawy: I’ve always loved stories. As a little girl, my dad regaled me at bedtime with colorful tales from Winnie the Pooh to Amelia Bedilia and I made up little stories and skits to entertain my sisters and friends. I actually wrote my first two (VERY short) books from a kit my mom bestowed upon me at seven or eight. And when I got to high school an inspiring English teacher recognized my talent and encouraged me to nurture it. In college, at Sarah Lawrence I was privileged to study with such literary luminaries as Alan Gurganus and Russell Banks. In fact, the first story I ever sent out was a finalist in the Redbook Young Writer’s Contest. Pretty heady stuff for nineteen. Of course, I’ve amassed my share of rejections and taken a few detours, the most joyous being my misadventures in Marconi’s box. Radio, too, is a great place to tell stories. Along the way I have also been a freelance journalist, playwright and trained as a psychotherapist and now work as a creativity coach and writing teacher.
TOL: Where do your ideas come from?
ABA: It’s hard to say. Characters and stories are always rumbling around in my head. The one that screams the loudest, comes through the most clearly, is the next one that needs to be told. Before Eliza Gordon ever entered my psyche I was playing around with the idea of doing a mystery series. I had never really done one before, but certainly read a bunch and thought it would be a fun genre to try. At some point, Soup Opera, the little café that Eliza runs came into my head. And I guess it made sense that an ex-soap star would run such a place. Then Eliza emerged with her back story, which continues to unfold organically, along with her sidekick Midge Sumner and the rest of the Goodship crowd.
TOL: What was your greatest Learning Experience from your first release?
ABA: I guess I learned just how daunting marketing and promoting a book can be. And like many writers I prefer the actual writing. But I do want people to discover and read my books so the efforts are essential to success. Perseverance is key. And networking with other writers and readers through social media makes the journey less treacherous.
TOL: What’s coming up next for you?
A: Much to Eliza and Midge’s chagrin, I’ve just started working on a psychological thriller. But I’m sure they’ll get at least one more turn to solve a murder in the third Eliza Gordon mystery.
TOL: Do you have any advice for writers?
AA: the oldest advice is the best: if you want to be a writer you have to write. Every day. No excuses. And read everything you can that sparks your imagination. Experiment with different genres. If you‘re already out of school and feel isolated, join a writers’ workshop. It’s a great place to garner feedback and keep you accountable to a writing schedule. It’s amazing what you can actually produce with a deadline looming. But whatever you do: always cultivate your own voice and hone your own style.
TOL: How did you come to Cozy Cat Press?
ABA: I was searching for a new home after my original publisher, Hen House Press which released the first Eliza Gordon mystery, Killing Time back-burnered new releases-, when I came across an article about Patricia Rockwell and her burgeoning little company. I sent off my Dead Silent manuscript and she offered me a contract on my birthday! Talk about a great present—and a good omen.
TOL: That is a great omen. Amy Beth, thank you so much for being with us today!
For more information about Amy Beth, visit her website at www.amybetharkawy.com, and follow her on Twitter at @abwrites. Also, remember to tune in to her radio show every Monday. Always something interesting going on there!