Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Killing Notion Blog Tour - Interview + Giveaway!!

Hello, everyone!!  Today I welcome Melissa Bourbon, author of the A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, to The Gal for an interview and giveaway on her A Killing Notion Blog Tour.  Make sure you continue to the bottom to enter the giveaway!!

But before we get started on the interview, let me tell you a little something about the book ...

Title: A Killing Notion
Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series
Author: Melissa Bourbon
Release date: TODAY!! 4.1.2014
Pages: 312
Amazon B&N Goodreads 

Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests.  If only she didn't have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress form...

Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows - without letting clients know about her secret charm.  When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls - including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow's heart - she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.

But when Gracie's date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won't be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player's name.  If Harlow can't patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.

Hi, Melissa.  Welcome to The Gal in the Blue Mask.  :)  I wish you luck on your blog tour.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 I'm an over-achiever!  Wife, mother, publicity director, and, of course, a writer.  I have five kids, two in college, the other three at home (5th grade, 8th grade, and 11th grade) and they keep me good and busy.  I work full-time, so writing only happens at night and on the weekends.  I am passionate about my book series, so my characters and the situations they're in are often what I think about as I fall asleep and they tend to be the first things I think about when I wake up.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Good question!  There are plenty of children's books that come to mind, and I read Agatha Christie all through high school, but they sort of all blend together.  There are three books that I remember but I don't know which came first: Eye of the Needle, Gone with the Wind, and Clan of the Cave Bear.  I read them all in high school, and loved them all enough that I still remember them now.

What kind of things do you do when you're not writing? 

Unfortunately I don’t have tons of time for hobbies. I wish I did! I enjoy sewing, although I can only do small projects now given my schedule. I like cooking (I wanted to be a chef when I was in high school). I’m trying hard to eat and cook healthy, and planning meals, both of which gives me more time with my kids who help me. I love home decorating, too, but mostly I just educate my taste since a lot of what I want to do it outside my budget.

Where is your favorite place to write? 
I have a little office upstairs in my house. It’s where I’m able to concentrate. I sometimes will work on the front porch or in the parlor (we have a 114 year old house, so the parlor is the right name for the room!), but the office is my main space. 

What made you decide to begin writing in the first place?
I was a middle and high school teacher and then I started having kids. When I was on maternity leave(s), I started writing to keep my brain active (I majored in English and taught English/Language Arts). From there, I was hooked! 

Which of your characters do you think is the most like you?
I definitely think both Lola and Harlow (Lola Cruz mysteries and A Magical Dressmaking mystery series) have elements of my personality, or at least represent elements I’d like to exhibit. I like to say that Lola is my alter-ego…if I were a smokin’ hot, super smart Latina private detective! Harlow is probably closer to who I really am. She’s grounded, down to earth, resourceful and just a go-getter… all things I am, too.

What book(s) have most influenced you?

I suppose I’d have to say Agatha Christie’s books influenced me the most over the years. They are what brought me into the world of mysteries which is still one of my favorite genres to read, as well as write. Cat Among the Pigeons is one of my favorites of hers.
What inspires you most?

Family, particularly mother-daughter relationships, female bonds within family, and friendship. These are always themes in my books and in the series I write.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I’m not a very linear person, so often the first draft of a story is a little too scattered and needs tightening and clarity with plot points. I think that is the most challenging part of the process for me. I plot loosely because so much comes organically as I write, but that also means I tend to have heavier revisions than some other more logical writer!
What do you think makes a good story?

Characters. If a reader doesn't respond to or like the characters, they won’t keep reading. Conflict is key, so crafting unique, interesting characters and then showing how they respond to the conflict you put in their path is at the core of every story.
What can we expect from you in the future?

Book 5, A Killing Notion, in A Magical Dressmaking mystery just came out. I’m working on revisions for book 6, A Seamless Murder, now. I have another Lola Cruz mystery to write, more mysteries by Harlow, and I’m planning a new series, as well as a women’s fiction novel. So lots in the pipeline!

Where can we find you?

Visit my website: melissabourbon.com
Twitter: @melissabourbon 

Wow!!  You are a busy one.  I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the books you have in the future.  Again, thank you very much for stopping by. :)

About Melissa:
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can't believe she's lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the Executive Publicity Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin's Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL.  She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing and publicity guide for authors.

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