Meet the Exquisite Quill Authors

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Author Interview: Lois Winston

EQ Welcomes Author Lois Winston

EQ: Welcome to EQ! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Lois: Hello, everyone! I’m Lois Winston. I’ve been traditionally published since 2006, first with Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous women’s fiction book about a mother, a daughter, and an acerbic imaginary friend. That was followed a year later with Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, a romantic suspense novel. I then segued into writing humorous amateur sleuth mysteries. I’m currently a hybrid author, having branched out into indie publishing under both my own name and my Emma Carlyle pen name.

In addition, I’m a craft and needlework designer, working for kit manufacturers, craft book publishers, and craft, needlework, and women’s magazines. If you’ve ever created a needlework project from a kit or one featured in a magazine, chances are you probably stitched one of my designs.

EQ: Tell us a little bit about your most recent release.

Lois: I actually have two most recent releases. After receiving the rights back to Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun and Death by Killer Mop Doll, the first two books in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, I’ve re-issued them as both print and ebooks.

Anastasia is the crafts editor at a women’s magazine. She’s living a typical middleclass life with a husband and two kids until the day her husband drops dead at a roulette table in Las Vegas. She thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA. That’s when she learns her perfect life has been built on a series of lies. She’s left with huge debt, her communist mother-in-law, and a loan shark demanding fifty thousand dollars. Returning to work after the funeral, she discovers the body of the magazine’s fashion editor glued to her desk chair. When evidence surfaces that Anastasia’s husband was having an affair with the editor, she becomes the prime suspect and must find the real killer to prove her innocence. Subsequent books in the series (Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Decoupage Can Be Deadly, and the mini-mysteries, Crewel Intentions and Mosaic Mayhem) follow Anastasia as she moonlights at various jobs to dig her way out of debt. Unfortunately, she keeps stumbling over dead bodies.

EQ: What was your defining moment as a writer?

Lois: Receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly for Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. About the only thing that could top that would be landing on the New York Times bestseller list. Or hitting the lottery. Maybe someday…

EQ: Which of your characters do you connect with the most and why?

Lois: I connect mostly with Anastasia. She and I have had similar careers. Although I never worked as a crafts editor for a women’s magazine, I have freelanced for women’s magazines, and I worked as a craft book editor for a few years. I also wound up living with my communist mother-in-law for six very stressful, unpleasant years. Lucille, Anastasia’s mother-in-law, is drawn almost entirely from my own mother-in-law. It’s probably why so few of my husband’s relatives speak to me. In my defense, though, my sister-in-law loves my books, so who cares about the rest of the relatives, right? They obviously have no sense of humor.

Luckily, my husband is still very much alive, and he’s not a closet gambler. Really! I also don’t own a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and don’t make a habit of tripping over dead bodies.

EQ: What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your writing?

Lois: By far, the biggest risk I’ve taken was walking away from traditional publishing by turning down two contracts a little over a year ago. I worked a long time to get published by a traditional publishing house. It took ten years from the day I first sat down at my computer until I received my first contract. Not all that long ago I had a very negative opinion of self-publishing, but both times and my attitudes have changed. Did I make the right decision? I hope so. Time will tell.

Find Lois Winston at these places:

Read these titles by Lois Winston:

Talk Gertie to Me
Elementary, My Dear Gertie (novella)
Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception
Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun
Death by Killer Mop Doll
Revenge of the Crafty Corpse
Decoupage Can be Deadly
Crewel Intentions (novelette)
Mosaic Mayhem (novelette)
Once Upon a Romance (short story anthology)
Four Uncles and a Wedding (writing as Emma Carlyle)
Finding Hope (writing as Emma Carlyle)
Hooking Mr. Right (writing as Emma Carlyle)
Finding Mr. Right (part of the Love, Valentine Style boxed set)
Lost in Manhattan (writing as Emma Carlyle)
Someone to Watch Over Me (writing as Emma Carlyle)


Vamp Writer said...

I believe you made the right decision by going Indie rather than staying "traditionally published." You have ultimate control over your stories this way and to me that is important! It is harder to get your books noticed, but now that you've weathered the storm of traditional publication it shouldn't be as daunting a challenge.

E. Ayers said...

Hi Lois! I love your cozy mysteries. I realized I'd read you before I knew you. :-)

I had no idea you were behind so many kits. I haven't worked from a kit in years. In fact, I've barely done anything very creative in years. But I miss it.

There's something wonderful about creating stuff. It just feels good! And there's so many wonderful things that people can learn to do. It's that extra special Christmas card, unique plant hanger, or pretty scarf that's been done with love. It's an art form we're losing. And today's kits actually make sense. Years ago, they expected you to know something about it. Everyone should try doing a few different things.

Angela Adams said...

Hi, Lois,
Your interview was the perfect compliment to my morning coffee! Have a great weekend!!

Lois Winston said...

Hi Vamp Writer! I think writers have always had challenges, whether trad or indie pubbed, unless you're one of the very few who have had amazing publisher support or grassroots groundswell from fans. However, now authors have more options than ever before, and that's what makes the challenges less daunting. It's nice to be more in control of our own writing destinies.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Great interview, Lois. I've had a few needlework kits over the years, so maybe one of yours. And I started one a few years ago and it's in the closet right now. I've been thinking of getting it out.

I admire your and other suspense/mystery writers to create a story in that genre. It's not an easy style.

Lois Winston said...

Hi E! I've been designing kits for {mumble, mumble} decades. Once upon a time the needlework industry was booming. Now most of the companies I once worked for have gone out of business. People don't have the time to spend weeks or sometimes months on needlework projects any more. Or if they have the time, they're spending it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. :-(

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Angela! Hope you have a great weekend, too! I'll be spending part of mine designing the cover for PATCHWORK PERIL, the next Anastasia Pollack Mini-Mystery.

Lois Winston said...

Jane, go pull that kit out of the closet! You know what they say: there's no time like the present.

I think every genre has it's difficulties, but some genres come easier for some authors and other genres for other authors. I know there are genres I'd never dream of tackling because I know I couldn't do them justice.