Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Linda Reilly's Next Big Thing

My friend and former writing student, Linda Reilly, is guest-blogging with me today to post about her WIP for the Next Big Thing blog chain.

First, a big thank you to Kris Neri for “tagging” me for the Next Big Thing Blog!  Kris has graciously allowed me to post on her blog, since I don’t yet have one.

What is your working title of your book?

At the moment it’s Hot-Diggity Dead-Ziggity.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book is the second in the Apple Mariani mystery series, and I think of it as a natural progression from the ending of Some Enchanted Murder, which will be released early in 2013. My main character will be tackling some tough emotional dilemmas, and I’m enjoying writing those scenes. The mystery itself will explore old hatreds and long-held grudges, one of which will trigger the murder.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely a cozy mystery, with an amateur sleuth and a nutty aunt for a sidekick.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I usually don’t think in terms of a movie rendition, but I’ve always pictured my main character as somewhat of Drew Barrymore lookalike, perhaps with a bit less glamor. Apple has the depth of personality—the resourcefulness and kindness—that radiates from Drew Barrymore and from the characters she portrays, and I think that’s why I’ve always pictured Apple that way in my mind.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Apple Mariani’s elderly friend Lillian goes suddenly missing after an appraiser is murdered at an estate sale, Apple knows she has to track down Lillian before a desperate killer finds her first.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I sold my first book to Five Star Publishing (a part of Cengage Learning) without an agent, but was recently fortunate enough to sign up with Jessica Faust at BookEnds, LLC, and I’m absolutely thrilled. Jessica will represent me in all future submissions.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m actually still completing the first draft. Working on other projects in between has slowed me down, but I hope to complete it by the time the first installment in the “Apple" series is released.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s tough to compare, since my cozy doesn’t have the hook of a typical cozy mystery, such as crocheting, or knitting, or bread-baking. My main character is a paralegal/title examiner, and part of her daily grind is dealing with title searches and real estate closings. It’s her knowledge of her field that helps her uncover the final clue leading to the killer. Maybe the best way to describe it is simply as a New England cozy.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It was mostly the main character herself who inspired me, with her unresolved issues of the past. There is also a romantic development that I wanted to explore, and it’s turning out to be a lot of fun.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Since Hot-Diggity is a sequel, I think readers might enjoy Apple’s bumpy, emotional journey through a long overdue reunion—along with all of the surprises and angst that entails. There’s also a creepy old abandoned school that plays a role in the plot, and which I hope will appeal to mystery lovers.

And now, here are the authors I have tagged:

June Shaw is author of eight books, including a series of humorous mysteries and her most recent novel a suspense APPROACHING MENACE, which one reviewer compared to work by Mary Higgins Clark. She shares a blog with a number of mystery writers here:

Lesley A. Diehl is a retired psychologist who writes cozy mysteries featuring country gals with sass. Visit her website at and her blog