Guest Post: Lois Winston

I’m delighted to welcome Lois Winston to our blog today. Lois is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of 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.                                       ***On the Hunt for Plots and Characters I started out my writing career penning romances. On more than one occasion some Neanderthal at a party would ask how I researched my sex scenes. Interestingly enough, now that I write murder mysteries, no one has ever asked me if I’ve killed anyone. I wonder why that is… So where do I get the ideas for the plots and characters in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries? I don’t have to look any further than the nightly news or my daily newspaper. In Scrapbook of Murder, the sixth book in the series, I was influenced by a sex scandal that had occurred at a pricey boarding school in New Hampshire and an ongoing, truly bizarre mystery in my own town that has made international headlines. All of the plots for my books, including my early romances, have been sparked by actual news stories. I even keep a notebook of interesting articles. Reading through the clippings invariably gives me the idea for a plot or character for my next book. News stories are great for generating plots, and human-interest stories are often great fodder for developing characters. However, the character most readers love to hate in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries is Lucille, Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law. I didn’t have to look any further than my own communist mother-in-law when I created her. It’s a good thing she’s no longer alive, because she’d probably kill me! (In my defense, though, both my husband and his sister think Lucille is a hoot-and-a-half!)   Scrapbook of MurderAn Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 6 Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth. When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths. Buy Links:Kindle  Website: www.loiswinston.comKiller Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.comPinterest: at sign-up: 

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