06 February 2016

*Author Interview* DESPERATE FOR DEATH by Judy Alter

The content of this promo post was provided by Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours.  If you're a Texas blogger interested in joining the ranks of Lone Star Book Blog Tours, contact Kristine Hall.

Desperate for Death
A Kelly O'Connell Mystery 

Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: January 9, 2016
# of pages: 228

Just when Kelly's life has calmed, she faces yet another of life's puzzles. Except the pieces in this one don't fit. First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizarre "accidents" occur to set her off-balance. Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle? At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can't make the pieces fit. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding. 


Where did your love of books and storytelling come from? 
My mother read to me probably even before I can remember. We read Peter Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, The Little Engine that Could, The Secret Garden. On my own I graduated to The Little Colonel Stories and on up to Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, etc. As a child I was an avid reader—I remember summers when I would ride my bike to the local public library, get a stack of books, and spend the day reading them. Next day I’d take them back and get a new stack. 

How long have I been writing? 
I wrote my first short stories at about the age of ten—Miss Shufflebaum and Taffy, a Victorian spinster lady and the blonde cocker spaniel who got her into trouble. (I always wanted a blonde cocker). In high school I submitted stories to Seventeen, with no luck of course. In college I wrote non-fiction for a medical magazine for laymen. As a candidate for a Ph.D. in English, I thought I could not write fiction because I was trained to support, defend, document, etc. After I received the degree, a friend gave me her mother’s memoir about growing up in East Texas in the early 20th Century, and I transformed it into a juvenile novel that was published by a New York house in 1978. I’ve been writing professionally ever since.  

How have day jobs contributed to my writing career? 
I first wrote pr and journalistic pieces for an osteopathic medical school. That job taught me a lot about writing, type and font size, layout, etc. A couple of years as a pathology secretary didn’t do much for my writing career, but I created the hospital’s employee magazine during that time. My major career job was as editor and then director for TCU Press, a small academic press. That went hand-in-glove with my writing, from people I met and opportunities that opened up to me to perfecting editorial skills, learning about production, etc. I like to say I’ve seen both sides of publishing. 

Are you a full or part-time writer? 
I’ve never been a full-time writer. For years I had to work to support four children as a single mother—I wrote early in the morning or late at night. When I retired, about four years ago, I wrote almost full time at first and produced two-to-three novels a year. But now I find life gets in the way—as I age, doctor appointments pile up (if there’s a specialist I’ve missed in the last few months, I don’t know about the specialty). I spend more time with family and friends, having finally figured out that retirement is a time to enjoy them. Still, I’m happy with a stay-at-home day with my computer and work. These days when people ask what I’m writing, I say I’m “managing my career”—marketing, reposting older books that came down from Amazon when my publisher went out of business, proofreading forthcoming books. There’s lots to do that’s not 1000 words a day. 

How has being a Texan influenced my writing? 
Let me count the ways. Seriously I am only a Texan by adoption, but in graduate school I developed a strong interest in the history and literature of the American West, and for years I wrote about the experiences of women in the 19th-Century West. I built my career and established myself as a western writer, active in the Western Writers of America. A decade or so ago, that market seemed to peter out, and I wrote nonfiction for companies that published for school libraries, about everything from passenger ships to vaccines and international women’s rights. Secretly, or not, I always wanted to write mysteries, and around 2010 I decided if others could do it, so could I. Today I have ten mysteries, all set in Texas, available—or about to be soon. 
I am, however, moving out of Texas with the April publication of The Gilded Cage, a historical novel set in the late-19th-Century Chicago. Then I’ll come back to Texas.

 Praise for Desperate for Death   

Once again, Kelly is thrust into action when her family and friends are targeted by a deranged convict and this time Kelly has more to protect. I enjoyed this fast-paced and well written drama that continues to get better and better with a strong and determined heroine and a secondary cast that plays a pivotal role in the telling of this tale. It was fun watching this mystery played out with all the key elements that lead to a fulfilling finale and I especially enjoyed Keisha presence in this book. This is by far the best book in this series and I hope there are more to come in this engaging series.—Dru Ann L Love

One satisfying aspect of Desperate for Death which sets it apart from other murder mysteries is its staccato action in which everything happens at once, little seems connected, and life becomes a series of challenges. Fast-paced action keeps readers involved in not only events, but Kelly's response to them, and in her efforts to keep her head above stormy waters.—Diane Donovan, Senior E-book Review Editor, Midwest Book Review

Judy Alter's books just keep getting better. Her characters have real growth and the plots get harder to figure out. This one is her best of this genre….David Hartley Burlingame

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

1/28    The Crazy Booksellers -- Promo

1/29    Because This is My Life Y'all -- Review

1/30    All for the Love of the Word -- Guest Post
1/31    My Book Fix Blog -- Review       
2/1      The Page Unbound -- Promo
2/2      Missus Gonzo -- Review
2/3      bookishjessp -- Guest Post
2/5      Texas Book-aholic -- Review
2/6      Books and Broomsticks -- Author Interview

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