Thursday, January 11, 2007

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Melissa Senate

The proposal for the new books is now with my agent. That means that everything I've been working on is now in someone else's court. That also means that I've got a lot of stuff looming that could come back to my court at any moment -- my editor's revision notes on book four, my agent's suggestions on the proposal and some revision suggestions on my pop culture essays. The way things tend to go, I will get all of the above simultaneously.

In the meantime, this could be a good day for a trip to the bookstore because today's Girlfriends Cyber Circuit entry sounds like exactly what I need. It's the latest from Melissa Senate (probably the person I've known longest in the publishing world), a fun mystery called Love You to Death.

Abby Foote’s worst exes are on someone’s hit list. Who’s going around shooting men who broke Abby’s heart? And why?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way possible) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced. Then two other exes report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? A very hot detective from the Portland Police Department doesn’t think so. Neither do Abby’s friends, family, coworkers and former boyfriends dating back to kindergarten, who are all shaking in their shoes as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of, say, poisoning their Diet Cokes. Is someone trying to frame her? Do her some kind of warped favor? Abby, with that delicious detective on her trail, is about to find out.

Now, the interview about the book:

What inspired this book?
Wishful thinking? Just kidding! It's interesting to me that this is my first book that came to me in an idea from out of the blue; one day I just jotted down: "Ex-boyfriends on someone's hit list" in my Idea Book and it grabbed me instantly. Just seemed so much fun (in a black comedy way, of course!). LOVE YOU TO DEATH is fun and lighthearted, but the story ISN'T a black comedy at all; Abby, the main character, is quite affected by her breakups. She really seeks to understand WHY her relationships--in which she, at least, was so invested--didn't work out. And didn't work out in a big way: some of these guys were such jerks about the way they ended things. Someone in her life didn't like that at all. Everyone thinks that someone is Abby, which affects her in a whole other way. How well do you know the people in your life? Your own relatives? Your friends? Your coworkers. Who'd vouch for you without blinking an eye? Who'd give the police an earful about you? What started as a "cute" idea for me ended up taking me to some big questions. Love that about writing!

Most of your previous books were set in New York, and now this one's in Maine. How did the change of setting affect your writing, the tone of the book and your characters?
I loved setting this book in Maine. It's funny that 99% of the people I know and meet are transplants like I am, at least in my area of the state. And pretty much everyone I know and meet could very well have lived next door to me in the Manhattan skyscraper I moved from. So this book didn't feel very different to me than my others in terms of the characters and their outlooks, their language, how they dress. I don't even think I put anyone in a fleece pullover! I did have fun setting the first chapter in LL Bean's, which is located one town over from mine. A giant (like 20 feet tall) duck boot greets you at the front door.

Is there anything personal about the idea of killing off exes (and is your killer available for contract work?)? ;-)
LOL! The idea just seemed so...funny! I do have a few awful ex-boyfriends in my past. But I've never wished, say, that a television would fall out a window onto their heads or anything. Not really.

What was different for you between writing chick lit and writing mystery?
LOVE YOU TO DEATH is chick lit first and foremost with a lighthearted mystery as the plot. I loved planning the mystery, turning my heroine into an amateur sleuth. I'd love to do it again.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on my next novel, which will be published in the summer of 08. It's about twin sisters, an intervention (from a bleh engagement) and a long road trip. Right now we're making our way to the Grand Canyon on a donkey. Isn't traveling through your characters great?

For more info, check out Melissa's web site.

Now I'm off to the bank, Target and the bookstore. We're getting an arctic front this weekend (supposedly) and I think I ought to get some firewood in case the power goes out. And some hot cocoa mix. And something to read (in case the 200 or more books in the to-be-read pile aren't enough).

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