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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.


What initially got you interested in writing?

As cliché as it sounds, it all started with a dream. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but not only did I remember this one, but the dream continued to evolve every night, unfolding like the chapters in a book. I became so obsessed with the characters visiting me every night that I decided to write down their story. Before I knew it, I had written a book. After ten years and countless revisions, that story became the second novel I sold.


What genres do you write in?

I started out writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I then moved on to humorous women’s fiction and eventually segued into writing humorous amateur sleuth mysteries. I’ve also written one children’s chapter book, a nonfiction book on writing, and edited two cookbooks.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I’m a very eclectic reader, so I can’t say that I started writing what I enjoyed reading. I guess it’s just that these stories and the characters in them spoke to me, and somewhere along the line I became very comfortable in those genres and found my voice was best suited for them.


How did you break into the field?

I sold my first book, Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous women’s fiction story about a mother and daughter, as a result of a publisher’s contest.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I hope they’ll finish each book satisfied that I’ve given them a good read and made them laugh along the way. I see my books as an escape from the daily grind and all the bad news we’re bombarded with every day.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I’ve always been a creative person. I went to art school and worked for many years as a designer. Writing for me is yet another way I can satisfy my need to create—and it doesn’t cost as much as tubes of Windsor Newton paint!


What do you find most challenging about writing?

Keeping my butt in the chair and forcing myself to write when my muse has flown off for parts unknown.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

Don’t start writing because you think you’re going to be the next James Patterson or Nora Roberts. Very few authors become superstars. The majority are not able to support themselves from their writing, let alone make huge sums of money. Write because you can’t not write.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

As I said above, I’m a very eclectic reader. When I’m not reading in the genres I write, I enjoy historical novels. Two of my favorite authors are Ariana Franklin, who wrote mysteries set during Medieval times and the American and French Revolutions, and Kristen Hannah, who has written some fabulous books that take place during and after World War II.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA wasn’t interested in vertically challenged candidates who suffered from motion sickness.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

Website: http://www.loiswinston.com

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers Blog: http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth.

Newsletter sign-up: https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513



The author’s first Anastasia Pollack novel can be found as part of the below set:

sleuthing women 3-D.2

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:


Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…


Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.


Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.


In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.


The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.


Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.


Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.


A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.


Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.


Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.


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13 thoughts on “AUTHOR INTERVIEW – Lois Winston

  1. Lois Winston

    Thanks so much for featuring me today, Shannon!

  2. Susan Santangelo

    What a fun post! I always enjoy Lois’s books, and look forward to many more. And I never knew that she wanted to be an astronaut. Hmm. Wonder if she could work that into one of her plots.

    1. Lois Winston

      Thanks, Susan! Life is plot, so you never know regarding an astronaut angle. As the great Nora Ephron would say, “Everything is copy.”

  3. Jonnie Jacobs

    Fun interview, Lois. I sure wish I could dream entire stories – or given some of my dreams, maybe not. Enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

    1. Lois Winston

      Thanks, Jonnie. That was one of the only dreams I’ve ever had that I remembered when I woke up.

  4. Maggie Toussaint

    What a great interview! I’m constantly pleasantly surprised by the many ways our lives and writing overlap, Lois. And I had the same issue with NASA.

    1. Lois Winston

      Maggie, I had no idea you, too, wanted to be an astronaut!

  5. Heather Haven

    What a great interview. I learned a lot more about you, Lois. And Shannon, thanks so much for featuring our mystery set on your blog. Much appreciated.

    1. Lois Winston

      Thanks, Heather!

  6. camille minichino

    Nice to visit you here, Lois. I know what you mean about the flightiness of muses sometimes. Maybe we could start a muse-rental business, like Uber.

    1. Lois Winston

      Camille, I love that idea!

  7. Vinnie

    One of my favorite parts of being in this collection is learning more about each of the other authors. Lois, how vertically challenged are you? I’m thinking about making my next protagonist on the short side.

    And, yes, thank you, Shannon!

    1. Lois Winston

      I’m only 5 feet tall, Vinnie. About the only person I know who’s shorter than I am is Camille. 😉

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