BLOG TOUR – The Advice Column Murders
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The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series
by Leslie Nagel
About the Book
The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series
3rd in Series
Alibi (April 3, 2018)
Print Length: 250 pages
What’s the couple next door really hiding? Vintage fashionista and amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter finds out in this engrossing cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
In a small town like Oakwood, Ohio, everyone knows everyone else’s business—except for Charley Carpenter’s standoffish new neighbors, who tend to keep to themselves. But behind closed doors, Paxton Sharpe’s habit of screaming bloody murder at all hours of the day keeps Charley awake all night. Coupled with the stress of the increasingly delayed expansion of her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the insomnia is driving Charley crazy. Her only distraction? The local paper’s irreverent new advice column, “Ask Jackie.”
Jackie’s biting commentary usually leaves Charley and her employees rolling on the floor, but her latest column is no laughing matter. An oddly phrased query hinting at a child in peril immediately puts Charley on high alert. After arriving home to a bloodcurdling scream next door, she follows the noise into the basement and makes a grisly discovery: the body of Judith Sharpe’s adult daughter.
With Detective Marcus Trenault off in Chicago, Charley decides to take matters into her own hands. Convinced that the murder is connected to the desperate plea for help in “Ask Jackie,” she embarks on a twisted investigation that has her keeping up with the Sharpes—before a killer strikes again.
About the Author
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
Reading got me interested in writing. Books have been my favorite pastime since grade school. I always have two books going in my home or office, and a third on CD in my car. While full length novels are a new venture for me, I’ve been writing in some form my entire life. I wrote for the high school paper, I wrote ad copy and newsletters for one of my many careers, and now I teach writing at a local college.
What genres do you write in?
I am strictly a cozy mystery girl. The Oakwood Mystery Series is my first venture into fiction.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
I grew up reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, bringing them home by the bicycle basket-full. In high school I discovered Agatha Christie, and then moved on to contemporary greats like PD James and Louise Penny. I think it’s the symmetry of a well designed puzzle that I enjoy the most. I write the sorts of stories that I enjoy reading: a clever mystery with plenty of red herrings, a solution that the attentive reader could discover (but hopefully doesn’t), and a touch of romance.
How did you break into the field?
It took a lot of persuasion by friends who loved my first book to even attempt to submit it anywhere. Then it took dozens of queries to literary agencies before Curtis Russell of PS Literary and I found one another. He helped me polish THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS until it shone. Then he found it a home at Random House Alibi. I am well aware how very, very luck I am.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I hope my readers finish each one of my stories with a smile on their face and a feeling of anticipation for the next one. Charley and Marc’s love story is only one of the threads running through my series. My plots focus on family and community, two themes that I have found to resonate with readers of every age, gender and background.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
When I am working out a plot, I dwell in an internal world of conversations, conflicts, scenes, possibilities, and vintage clothing. Meanwhile, the real world continues to happen all around me. Far from being a distraction, the “daydream” stage of writing enriches my days with the feeling that anything is possible.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
I am a busy person. It can be difficult to find the time to write. I find I cannot sit down for fifteen or thirty minutes and bang out a couple of pages. I need big blocks of time to settle in and get my head in the game.
It drives me crazy when famous, successful writers look down from their shining towers and declare, “To be a success, you must write every day, at the same time and in the same place.” Take a look and you will discover that most of those people are men with administrative assistants. And WIVES. No laundry, shopping, cooking or car pooling duties to keep them away from their keyboards. Aspiring writers may check out my blog on this very topic at LeslieNagel.com. The struggle is real.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Be patient. With the boom in online publishing, the world is awash in titles. Publishers have to be picker than ever, but they are always looking for good writing. With that goes this caution: be prepared to REVISE. From the beginning, I assumed that anyone successful in publishing knew more about all of it than I did. So when my agent, then my editor, suggested changes, cuts or rearrangements to improve my story, I shut up and did it. It worked.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
While I still enjoy a good mystery, I also read thrillers, literary novels with an historical element, and Young Adult fiction that promotes diversity. I avoid novels containing excessive violence toward children and women.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
I have lived in Oakwood all my life. After a brief stint in Denver, my husband and I returned to Oakwood to raise our family. I love it. While my books poke sly fun at some of the personality types we all find in suburban America, there is no intention to lampoon or satirize this city or its citizenry. It’s an amazing, beautiful place to live. If I’d grown up somewhere else, I doubt I’d be writing. Come to think of it, I actually don’t know who or where I’d be. I met my husband in seventh grade at Oakwood Junior High!
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Interested readers may read my scintillating bio and/or subscribe to my newsletter at LeslieNagel.com. But the BEST way to know more about The Oakwood Mystery Series is to check out the “Crime Scene Safari” on my website. It’s filled with photos of the real Oakwood, each one accompanied by a snippet from the novel where it’s mentioned. Suburbia is murder, my friends.
About The Author
Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.
Website – http://www.leslienagel.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LeslieNagelAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/@leslie_nagel
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/leslie_nagel/
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