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Monday, September 22, 2008

Spotlight on Sara Mills and Miss Fortune

I will be returning home late tonight from the AMAZING ACFW conference in Minneapolis this year. As I posted last week, we had a massive book signing at the Mall of America featuring over 125 authors, panels, interviews, and a host of tables where shoppers and fiction loves stopped by to chat with us and get their books signed or pick up freebies and enter contests.

Today's spotlight author just happened to be my table least for the 30 minutes she actually stayed there. :) Her mother and another family member appeared and she went shopping. But, we had a lot of fun at the start of the signing. Sara's written a very unique debut story that I'm featuring today. If you're a fan of FILM NOIR, you'll love this!


SARA MILLS is a freelance writer, wife, mother of three, and motorcycle racing enthusiast who lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Alberta, Canada. She has two novels coming out with Moody Publishers in fall 2008 and spring 2009.

Sara collects swords, raises Golden Retrievers and has a house full of hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles and puppies. Sara loves swords, motorbikes, film noir, Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon.

by Sara Mills
Published by Moody Publishers


They call her the P.I. Princess

It's 1947 and Allie Fortune is the only female (and perhaps the best) private investigator in New York City. But she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own--her fiance disappeared in the war and Allie is haunted my by the unknown than by finding out the worst. Her work is a welcome distraction, and she's just been hired by a client who isn't telling the whole truth. Mary Gordon's claims of innocence don't fit with her ransacked apartment, being shot at, and the two Soviet agents hot on her trail.

Meanwhile the FBI is working the case because a legendary and mysterious treasure has gone missing...again. The only catch for Allis is her new 'partner' Jack, an attractive single agent who knows how to make her smile.

As Allie and Jack chase after the gold, they must contend with the Soviets who also want the priceless treasure back--after all, they stole it fair and square.

Buy Your Copy of Miss Fortune Today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I've loved Humphrey Bogart movies since I was a young teenager. My two favourites, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon are watched regularly at my house. My husband just sighs and walks away when he sees me reach for those cases, but there's something about movies from the era before special effects and Arnold Schwarzenegger that speak to me. Without relying on explosions or martial arts, movies had to be smart, the characters had to be sharp, dialogue witty, and most of all, the stories had to be stellar.

So one night I was watching The Maltese Falcon in the middle of the night (I occasionally suffer from insomnia) and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca. The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

That night Allie Fortune was born, and right from the first, she took on a life of her own.

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

Allie Fortune suffers from chronic insomnia and that's an issue I used to have, once going for a week on three hours of sleep. Like Allie I have a deep independent streak that can occasionally lean towards pig-headedness. On the other hand I am not generally an observant person and I could never pull off the little trick Allie plays on all of her blind dates. (You have to read the book if you want to understand that last bit, I can't give it away. Sorry.) Also, for the record, my mother is a lovely woman, nothing, nothing like Allie's mother.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Jack O'Connor would be York Peppermint Pattie. He's all rich and chocolatey with a cool minty center.

4. What themes exist in Miss Fortune that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I think the strongest theme is that God's love is not shown through the circumstances of life, but is shown in the gift of salvation at Calvary. Circumstances change, God's love never does.

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

I actually loved writing Miss Fortune all the way through. I think I had the hardest time with trying to suck the reader into New York in the 1940's. I spent a lot of time trying to get the details right so that reading Miss Fortune feels like watching a black and white movie.

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

Miss Match, Book 2 in the Allie Fortune mystery series is coming out in March of 2009.

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States. A child finds important documents that everyone in the city-- Soviets and Allies alike -- want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Miss Fortune.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

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Deborah said...

oh this looks good and i love new authors!

Lindsey said...

I would love to be entered for this giveaway! Thanks for the interview - I've always been fascinated with film noir and this sounds like a great book! Can't wait to read it!

ladyufshalott at

windycindy said...

I have to agree with the author and her love of Humphrey Bogart movies. My 90 year old dad and I were just talking about the actor not too long ago. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks, Cindi

Karin said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! Love old black and white movies~~~For me, a lot of movies these days just don't measure up to the films of yesteryear.

tetewa said...

Sounds like a great read and another new author for me!

Stormi said...

Sounds like a good book, would love to be entered in the drawing.

ladystorm282001 at yahoo dot com

Sara Mills said...

Thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad there are other old movie buffs out there like me.

Thanks Tiff for having me.

Janna said...

I got to meet Sara at ACFW too - she is so sweet! Please enter me in the contest though - her book kept selling out so I never got one!

ryanx6 @ msn dot com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I've sent you an email for your mailing information to Sara so she can send out your book.

Others, check out the interviews on Michelle Sutton and Cindy Woodsmall to see if you've won.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.