I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, Anastasia Pollack, and her creator, Lois Winston. With the holidays coming, I can’t wait to read Lois’ 8th book starring Anastasia – Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide and I bet you’ll feel the same once you get to know her.
What is your full name?
What is your Profession?
I’m the crafts editor for American Woman, a monthly women’s magazine sold at supermarket checkout counters.
How did you come to wind up as the protagonist of a cozy mystery series?
I was a typical middle-class suburban working mom when author Lois Winston hijacked my life. Now I’m a penniless widow who’s constantly dealing with murder and mayhem. Why would she do that to me?
I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that, but how did she do it?
Lois had my husband permanently cash in his chips in Las Vegas. I thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA. Turns out that was the tip of Karl’s iceberg of lies. After his death, I learned of his well-hidden gambling addiction. He’d not only blown through our savings, he’d maxed out our credit cards, taken out a second mortgage on the house, borrowed against his life insurance, and entered into a one-sided relationship with a bookie.
But wait! There’s more.
Karl also stuck me with his curmudgeon of a mother, a diehard communist, as a permanent houseguest. Lucille now shares a bedroom with my self-proclaimed Russian princess mother whenever she’s between husbands. You can imagine the fireworks that occur from that! I also have my two teenage sons, Mama’s cat, Lucille’s dog, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot all crammed into my tiny suburban rancher.
But wait! There’s still more.
Lois decided there wasn’t enough conflict and stress in my life. So she started dropping dead bodies
at my feet.
Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
I don’t know, but I definitely lost the heroine lottery. Lois used to write romances. Why couldn’t she
have chosen me for a heroine in one of those novels? Eight books and three novellas into the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, and I’m still looking for my happily-ever-after.
Has she done anything nice for you?
Well, she did allow hunky photojournalist Zack Barnes to rent the apartment over my garage when
she could have rented to a couple of rowdy college kids. So I have to thank her for that since my relationship with Zack has progressed into much more than that of landlady and tenant. But being Lois, she couldn’t leave well enough alone. I seriously suspect the photography gig is cover for his real job—that of a government operative. He, of course, denies it, but how often do spies admit they’re spies?
Who should play you in the movie or TV show based on your books?
Tina Fey, hands down. In their starred review of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, Publishers Weekly said I was “as droll as Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon.” So I think it would be only fair for Tina to portray me. And I hope the movie would lead to a franchise or the TV show would go into syndication for years after a successful run. I could use the money to help dig myself out of the financial mess Lois created for me.
Is there any aspect of your author’s writing style you like?
I do like that she’s given me a sense of humor, which helps me survive everything she throws at me—at least so far. I suppose I should be thankful she didn’t decide to write a series of noir mysteries.
What makes you stand out from any other amateur sleuths in your genre?
For one thing, I’m a reluctant amateur sleuth. Most cozy mysteries feature busybody sleuths. Me? I hate that people are calling me Westfield’s very own Jessica Fletcher. I didn’t ask for any of this. Also, most cozies are set in small New England, Midwest, or Southern towns. I’m a Jersey girl who lives in a Manhattan commuter town.
Thanks for sitting down with us today, Anastasia.
Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 8
Two and a half weeks ago magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack arrived home to find Ira Pollack, her half-brother-in-law, had blinged out her home with enough Christmas lights to rival Rockefeller Center. Now he’s crammed her small yard with enormous cavorting inflatable characters. She and photojournalist boyfriend and possible spy Zack Barnes pack up the unwanted lawn decorations to return to Ira. They arrive to find his yard the scene of an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza. His neighbors are not happy with the animatronics, laser light show, and blaring music creating traffic jams on their normally quiet street. One of them expresses his displeasure with his fists before running off.
In the excitement, the deflated lawn ornaments are never returned to Ira. The next morning Anastasia once again heads to his house before work to drop them off. When she arrives, she discovers Ira’s attacker dead in Santa’s sleigh. Ira becomes the prime suspect in the man’s murder and begs Anastasia to help clear his name. But Anastasia has promised her sons she’ll keep her nose out of police business. What’s a reluctant amateur sleuth to do?
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/handmade-ho-ho-homicide-lois-winston/1132607263?ean=2940163093748
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes 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 a former literary agent and 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.
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Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com