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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Spotlight on Alice K. Arenz and Mirrored Image

Don't forget the rules of the spotlights here. Answer the random question associated with this spotlight in the comments in order to be entered in the drawing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


ALICE K. ARENZ is the winner of the 2010 ACFW Carol Award for Mystery, and she has been writing since she was a child. Her earliest publication was in the small, family-owned newspaper where her articles, essays, and poems were frequently included. In the mid-nineties, her writing earned her a stint with a well-known New York literary agency, and although it failed to produced the hoped for results, her determination to become published eventually led her to Sheaf House.

Arenz also writes cozy mysteries under A.K. Arenz. The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, 2008, was a finalist in the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest. The second in the Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series, The Case of the Mystified M.D., was the winner of the 2010 ACFW Carol Award for mystery and was the February 2010 ACFW Book Club choice.

She lives in Missouri with her husband and two Himalayan cats.

Mirrored Image
by Alice K. Arenz
Published by Sheaf House

ABOUT THE BOOK

Their faces were the same. Will their fate be as well? Eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase's uncanny resemblance to a murder victim gives Detective Jeff McMichaels the haunting suspicion that there is a link between the two women--a link that may only exist in the murderer's mind.

Readers, buy your copy of Mirrored Image today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I can’t really answer that other than by saying that in one way or another, God gives me the inspiration for everything I write. I know that sounds trite and simplistic, but it’s how I feel – how it’s always been for me.

On Friday, Oct. 1, the company my husband works for gave me a “launch” signing, as they have for each of my books. It was all pretty awesome, especially when the CEO’s wife and mother came in and bought several books and took photos. As incredibly wonderful as that was, I’d have to say that even more incredible was the chance to speak to a “seeker” about my writing process.

It was obvious he wasn’t sure about the “God thing,” but I didn’t let it phase me. I told him about when I wanted to write a cozy like I’d seen a fellow ACFW member write. I’d sat down in front of my computer and started praying. By the time I’d said amen, I found I’d written the first three chapters of The Case of the Bouncing Grandma. I told the gentleman that Chris (hubby) could attest to this fact – to which the man quickly turned to Chris for confirmation. By the time he left that room, I knew I’d made a positive impact on him. At least, I’d like to think I had.

Now, I can’t tell you what exactly led me to write Mirrored Image – I wrote the first incarnation of that story in 1986 – the year the story is set in. But, every year since then, I’ve felt God lead me back to that manuscript, to bring it out of storage and re-write it yet again. My daughter Kelly has been its first editor since she turned 15 – and that’s been twenty years. So Mirrored Image is as much hers as it is mine.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Very little, when you come right down to it. I observe, read, watch TV news magazines, and then let whatever might form, form. As for traits, other than Cassandra’s love of The Monkees, the rest of their traits are all their own.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

I’m not really into ice cream – I know, I know, shameful, huh?

4. Are there any themes in Mirrored Image that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I’d have to say it all revolves around secrets, truth, and forgiveness. I’d say those are pretty much standard. I don’t want to say more to spoil things.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The most difficult thing about writing Mirrored Image has been all the re-writing over the years – but that also turned out to be the best of the best. I’ve watched this manuscript go from an almost accepted 400 pg. manuscript in 1986 to what it is today, and it was worth every minute I’ve put into it over the years.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book is called An American Gothic, the tag line is – She came to Foxxemoor to write a mystery, not become part of one. Lyssie Daniels is an aspiring novelist – it’s her “gothic” that begins each chapter, mirroring the action that’s to come. Right now, the book is scheduled to release in Oct. 2011. The prologue is in the back of Mirrored Image.

* * * * *

Thank you, Alice, for being in the spotlight with us.

ENTRY RULES Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Mirrored Image. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Question: Readers, what do you feel is one of the most important thing an author can do to capture your interest?

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

10 comments:

Carole said...

My response to the question is simply to tell a good story. Sometimes I'm drawn to a particular setting or time period, but good, character-driven storytelling wins every time. It can even be slow moving rather than action packed, as I prefer depth.

I love a good mystery and Alice is well deserving of awards. I am eager to read Mirrored Image and appreciate the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

karenk said...

i, too, believe in a good story...thanks for the opportunity to read this one ;)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jess said...

What an inspiration you are, Alice. I look forward to reading Mirror Image. It's on its way from Amazon.

As for the question, a book has got to yank me into the story right away and then hang on it me.

Merry said...

I think a story must capture my imagination by challenge, entertaining or uplifting me along the way. I'd love to win Mirrored Image, thanks for a chance.
worthy2bpraised[at]gmail[dot]com

akarenz said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments - Jess, I'm anxious to know what you think of MI!

God Bless you all & Good luck on the drawing!

Alice K. Arenz

barbjan10 said...

You give a great interview Alice. I enjoyed it. I've been wanting to read "Mirrored Image" from the first time I saw it reviewed.

The first chapter is important for me to not want to put the book down. It doesn't have to be a lot of explanation of what is happening, but a mini-cliffhanger leaves me wanting to go on. If I'm full of questions about the characters or the setup, then I know it will be a great book all the way through.

Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win this interesting book. The cover suggests to me to pick the book up and start reading in the store. I hope I win this book.

Sharing Christ's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

akarenz said...

I want to thank all of you for participating and for the thoughtful answers to the question.

God Bless,
Alice K. Arenz

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:

JESS!

Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so Alice can send out your book.

Thanks to everyone for your support and comments. As an author myself, I love your answers. We've got some great stuff here!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a NEW winner from this spotlight, and that is:

barbjan10 - Barb Shelton

Jess already has a copy, so she generously offered to have her win go to someone else.

Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so Alice can send out your book.

The Fishermens Line said...

When looking for an excellent book to purchase, I read ALL the reviews, the prologue, if I have time, and I am usually captured by one that I can really get so involved that my imagination is carried away by detail. I love a good mystery romance, intrigue and travel. Reading is such a wonderful way of utilizing the imagination and an author's description of characters, locations, and personalities are what keep me interested. Thank you for the chance to win!
fishermensline@pobox.com
OR lsw@pobox.com