Mystery Subgenre: the Gothics by Amy Reade

20131548           A friend asked me to write a post recently on the definition of “gothic” mysteries. When I tell people I write gothics, often their initial expectation is vampires and fangs. But that’s not what I write.

This subgenre of mystery has indeed encompassed monsters, vampires, ghouls, and crones in its storied history, but it has evolved to have a more nuanced meaning.

“Gothic” fiction began in the 1700s with Horace Walpole’s novel The Castle of Otranto. And in that title lies one of the most recognizable elements of the gothic novel: the castle, often crumbling and decrepit, always spooky, always evoking a feeling of terror. And the castle, or its modern counterpart, the decaying mansion, is often present in more contemporary gothic novels.


Today gothics tend to have several, or all, of the following elements:

  • Female protagonist (with mid-twentieth century gothics, you can almost always tell you’re looking at a gothic book by the wispy, gauzy-clad woman on the front cover, running in fear from the forbidding mansion behind her)
  • Hero (almost always a male)
  • Villain, either male or female
  • Aristocratic characters
  • Dark family secrets, often something that happened in the distant past that haunts the minds of the characters in the present
  • Remote and desolate landscapes
  • An overall sense of fear and foreboding, or even evil
  • A brooding setting as important as any character
  • Love, whether powerful, unrequited, forbidden, or broken

The gothic mysteries I like to read and write also have components in common with today’s cozy mysteries; notably, the absence of gore, the absence of foul language, and the absence of explicit sexual passages.

How is the gothic different from the traditional mystery, you might ask? It’s a hard question to answer, but I believe it’s generally true that a traditional mystery tends to move a little faster while a gothic tends to take its time building suspense and fear in the reader. A gothic might also tend to have subject matter that is a bit darker than a traditional mystery, though that isn’t always the case.

houseofthehangingjadecoverwithusatoday2          So if you’re interested in reading gothics, where do you begin? I have some suggestions, but I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe

            The Monk by Matthew Lewis

            Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Black Amber by Phyllis Whitneysecretsofhallsteadhouseebook

The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt

Stolen Memories by Mary Miley Theobald

My favorite thing about the gothics? So many of them allow me to travel to exotic and fascinating locales without leaving my home. I’ve learned about history, other cultures, and other faiths. And through all my armchair trips, these books keep me guessing until the last delightful, suspense-filled page.

Here’s the rub for authors who write gothics: it’s not a huge market when compared with romance or thrillers or fantasy, so sometimes it can be hard to find readers who don’t even realize they’d love gothic books.

So what’s an author to do? Here are a few ideas that have worked for me:

I follow bloggers who write about and review gothic books, and I leave comments on those blogs. This has the advantage of getting my name out there to people who are interested in gothic-style books and it keeps me engaged with communities of readers who have interests similar to mine.

I join social media groups devoted to reading the gothics.

I write posts like this, to introduce readers to a genre they might not have known about.

I cross-market my books in gothic, horror, and suspense categories.

I started my own Facebook group devoted to gothics. My plan is to transition my author page fans to the gothic page and that way the group members will see all my posts. This is still in the planning stages, but if you’re interested in being one of the inaugural members, please visit

When I’m at a book signing and meet readers who don’t know me, I discuss the gothics with them. Often they’re familiar with the more recent gothic theghostsofpeppernellmanor_ebookcovernovelists (Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt), but they don’t realize there are others out there right now (like me!) writing the type of books they love to read.

If you’re a readers, I hope you’ll give the gothics a look—and if you do, don’t forget to leave a review! If you’re a writer of gothic mystery, don’t give up! Try some of the tips above and let me know how they work for you. And if you have ideas of your own, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments.

Thanks for having me on Bookbrowsing. It’s been an honor and a privilege.


Author Bio:

Amy M. Reade, a recovering lawyer, lives in southern New Jersey. She is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade. She is currently working on Book Three of The Malice Novels, a series set in the United Kingdom. The first book in the series, The House on Candlewick Lane, will be released in February, 2017. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling.

Amy can be found online here: (website) (blog)

And finally, here’s the publisher’s copy from her next release, The House on Candlewick Lane:housecandlewicklane_final1

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

What’s Good About A Bad Review?—by Nancy LiPetri

9851187It had to happen sooner or later. A real stinker of a review got posted for my novel. After all, I had made countless reminders to the online community, book clubs with whom I’d discussed the story, and anyone else I knew read it, about the value of reviews no matter how long, short or critical (honesty is the best feedback, right? And any boosts Amazon promo). So, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.


My first beneficial realization came, ironically, from the fact that the low number of stars hurt my feelings. Don’t readers study the Amazon key that tells what each rating means? Didn’t my reviewer think my novel was at least well written, regardless of content she didn’t appreciate? No and no. How self-absorbed I was to think the non-author reader cares enough about Amazon’s definition of each star’s significance. Considering how that person felt about my story, I was lucky to get any star at all. We authors, experts in empathy, understand that, don’t we? So after my emotional response cooled, I realized a low star rating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad book as much as it can mean it just wasn’t for that reader. I now keep that in mind when checking ratings to decide what I myself want to read.


The next good thing came from admitting to my author network that I had received the dreaded stinger. The outpouring of support was touching. I received congratulations for getting my number of reviews up to the point where statistically it had to happen. Was repeatedly reminded you just can’t please everyone. And my favorite congrats: for eliciting any strong reaction in a reader, for writing well enough to accomplish that.


What else was good about a bad review? It reminded me not to take myself too seriously, to keep perspective and remember why I got published in the first place. I didn’t seek a publisher for the purpose of getting rich or famous or collecting reviews. No. I was driven to submit my manuscript because I wanted to prove to myself that my fiction writing was worthy. And every review has simply been icing on the cake. I entered the book business wondering if anyone would even take time to read what I wrote, remembering the words of an old advertising copywriting mentor who said, “Nobody has to read a single word you write; it’s your job to pull them through every sentence.”  If someone leaves a review, at least I know I pulled them through.


Have I adjusted my content to avoid angering/offending another reader like that one? Beyond assuring my audience that I am someone who values my marriage (after 30 years, and yes, I was married at five😉, and who does not condone everything my characters say or do…the answer is nope, not a bit. In my writing, I embrace controversial ideas and enjoy the what-if’s in all sorts of relationships and other aspects of life that might lead us to struggle with being honest with others and with ourselves. As a reader, I enjoy discovering new perspectives and quirky characters (it’s no wonder one of my favorite writers is John Irving). The advice that you shouldn’t write to please other people holds true, in my opinion, even for those writing with sales in mind. Maybe try to please readers who like your genre. But if you’re not writing with a passion that drives yourself, where will the reader find the spark to keep engaged?


Another advantage of the bad review was that it showed me how different readers are from each other, not only due to tastes in genres but also due to their life experiences. As my friend Judith says, a book can mean something different at different stages of your life, different moods in which you read it. I have been absolutely thrilled to have reached readers who tell me they relate to my characters and were moved by the story especially because of what they have been through personally.


While I strive to share true-to-life dilemmas and feelings within a tale that entertains, that doesn’t mean I take my subjects of infidelity, death, family and friendship frustrations lightly. On the contrary, the significance of those topics is exactly what makes them worth writing about. I actually expected more than one complaint about edgy/provocative content, and now that I’ve weathered one, bring ‘em on, because good or stinker, they’re all good in one way or another.



About The Wooded Path512t2rluv6l


The disappearance of a woman on Lake Norman, NC, shakes her neighborhood, leading friends to reevaluate their own lives, bringing about dangerous temptations and surprising confessions. One woman finds herself risking her seemingly perfect life and marriage… and afraid of what really happened to their friend.



About Nancy LiPetri and the sequel


Nancy lives with her family on Lake Norman, North Carolina, the setting for her first novel, The Wooded Path, and the sequel in progress, working title Across the Lake in which the character you least expect to return is back, taking you to the other side of the lake, pushing boundaries to experience life a whole new way. Again readers will find facts about the area, its natural aspects and culture, woven into a tale of varied characters for entertaining, thought-provoking contemporary fiction.


Where can readers connect with you?




Where can readers find your books?, anywhere they can order with an ISBN number, and Amazon:

Using an Event to Trigger a Tale by Helen Dunn Frame

dsc09287What does a mother do when she outlives her son and her elderly Greek friend senses his widow may have a played a role in his death? Whether true or not if you are a writer, you write a novel. Using a tragedy to create a book is cathartic, helps one to deal with grief, and to come to terms with the loss.

My son died in 2000 after a “minor” operation during which he developed Swiss cheese-like gangrene in his stomach and infection in his entire body. Months later, work began on Wetumpka Widow with the same sleuths from Greek Ghosts because it would be the second book in the series. At the time, I was working two jobs, grieving, and dealing with other losses. For example, one friend ended our 10-year relationship because she was uncomfortable with my feelings that she failed to understand. When my son’s widow invited  another man into their house three months after my son’s death, and married him six months later, my Greek friend felt she had to know her third husband before becoming a widow. She had waited five years after her first husband was murdered to marry my son.

In 2005 I moved to Costa Rica on my own. After settling into my new adventure, writing books and articles and editing others’ creations became my modus operandi. As the complicated story evolved from several viewpoints it provided the added benefit of keeping my brain active to avoid dementia. The result was an epic story fired by greed, manipulation, murder, romance, and sex.

As part of my brand the titles of all the books in the series would be alliterative. During a visit to  Montgomery, my friends took me to Wetumpka, a nearby town discovered online. Seeing the rapids clinched my belief that it was the place to start the novel. Its title became Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth. As the cover is the first point of sale, the designer created a new cover for Greek Ghosts similar to that of Wetumpka Widow to link the books.

Events in all my books feel real because descriptions are based on actual locations. Over the years I have created many albums about trips and events with photos and saved menus from a variety of restaurants. Because I picture the places in my mind’s eye, scenes pop for the reader.

Beyond researching Wetumpka and incorporating perceived circumstances surrounding my son’s death I investigated the death of my daughter-in-law’s first husband. Information garnered from newspaper clippings became the basis for one of the other husbands in the book. The third husband comes from a family from Greece that opened a branch of its business in San Diego.

Readers called Greek Ghosts a page turner. How is it possible to compel people to keep reading? First hook them within the first chapter, or in a prologue even though some editors frown upon writing one. Keep the chapters short to enhance the feeling:  “I can read one more chapter before I turn out the light.” Without forecasting future events, end each chapter with a hint of a future situation. In Wetumpka Widow after a reader learns about one character, I switched to another’s viewpoint for a chapter or three before resuming the first’s story.

To prepare for the next book in the series leave a way to start the next story. In Greek Ghosts, a sleuth’s lover disappeared. He returns in Wetumpka Widow. Jennifer and Jason leave for London at the end of the novel which sets the scene for the next one in Great Britain. I lived in Gerrards Cross outside London for two years which will add reality in the third book in the series.

Was it Hemmingway that quipped, writing a book is five percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration? To that  add 100 percent marketing. So think of logical situations to include in a novel that fit seamlessly into the tale and provide possible pegs for promotion.

For example, in both books, Greek Orthodox weddings are celebrated. This justifies a book signing in June. In Wetumpka Widow, one minor character owns one of the first Mustangs. When an anniversary is touted, maybe Ford would be willing to tie an event to the book. If a restaurant still exists, perhaps the owner would sell copies. In other words, think out of the box for ways to promote your books.

Having read about my inspiration, what memorable event in your life inspired an idea for your book?


Books Written by Helen Dunn Frame:

Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition). (Look for the third edition in the next few months.)9407aa2c-2b83-46ed-a76e-ffc4f8d389b8-jpgentirewwcover

Greek Ghosts; Book One in the Series

Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth; Book Two in the Greek Ghosts Series

Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal.


Author’s Page:


Helen Dunn Frame, whom I had the benefit of having on my writing team at Inkwell Newswatch, and for whom I have consequently had the privilege of proofreading her work, is an enormously talented writer. She’s flexible, professional, and very thorough in every writing assignment; whether it was from other sources, her own books, or me. She’s definitely a top notch writer with the desire to perform beyond the call of a “normal” writer. Rowdy Rhodes


Me and others at Book BArn.This observation is strictly from my perspective—others may have had a totally different experience. Plus the fact that I’m getting older, has changed some of the things I do.

When my first book came out there was no Internet to help with promotion. The only promotion I had a clue about (and not a very big one at that) was that I should have a book signing. I planned one at the only bookstore anywhere near. The bookstore owner advertised in the newspaper and we had a great turnout. And yes, that’s all I did.

Since that time I’ve had many bookstore signings in many different places—some turned out great with lots of people attending, and others not so much. I learned that the signings were better attended if I gave a talk of some sort.

Though many still do lots of bookstore signings, I seldom do any. There are other things that seem to work better for me.

I love appearing at libraries, because I’m fond of libraries. If it’s just me, I like to make a presentation of some sort. Sometimes book sales are great, and sometimes not.

Though you never know how they’ll turn out, I like to do book launches in all different places. I’ve had them in art galleries, a local inn, recreation spots, used book stores, and gift shops.

Book fairs are fun and I enjoy doing them because the people who attend are usually book lovers. I’ve done many over the years. I used to do craft fairs where you set up your own table and tent and I’ve done well at them, but nowadays I only do fairs of any kind where the set-up is done for you.

I’ve attended and been a participant at many writing conferences and mystery conventions and loved every minute of them. Sometimes they’re like going to a friends’ reunion and they are great places to meet readers. I’m no longer traveling around the country as I used to, now only going places that are driveable.

Years ago I sent out postcards with information about my latest book. Now I have an email newsletter that goes out once a month to let everyone know what I’m doing and about any new book that I might have. Let me know if you’d like to be on my newsletter mailing list.

I’ve been doing blog book tours like the one I’m on now for a long, long time—and I still love doing them. And yes, I do think they sell books.

And of course this brings the subject of promotion around to the Internet—one of the greatest boons to promotion. I have my own blog where I promote other authors and once in a while write something on my own—especially when I have a new book out. I love Facebook, to me it’s like chatting with friends. I use Twitter minimally, usually to promote a new blog or book.

Nothing stays the same, so I expect much will change over the next few years.

If you’re an author, let me know what works best for you—one of the older methods, or something more modern.

If you’re a reader, let me know what kind of promotion attracts you the most (or the other way around.)



Seldom Traveled Blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Seldom Traveled Front CoverTempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Marilyn Meredith’s Bio:

Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member of Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.


New Contest:

Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Tomorrow I’m headed to M. M. Gornell’s blog

Buy links:


OLD DOG, NEW WORLD by Penny Richards

meme004     In 2012, after being away from writing contemporary romances for about eight years, I sold to a former editor, and began to write for Harlequin Love Inspired Historical.

I soon found out that everything had changed. Art Fact sheets were done online. Line and copy editing were done using Track Changes. Yikes! What’s that? Actually, I love it now, probably because when I’m running late I don’t have to send the corrected manuscript back via overnight mail. Hit a button and ZAP! off into the ether and the editor’s computer!

Another thing that has changed drastically is promotion. When I sold my first book in 1983, there was a publisher on every corner looking for romances. You wrote the book and they pretty much sold. There wasn’t a lot of self promotion. In 2012 I had an email account and a Facebook page, but since I was dragged kicking and screaming into this century, I wasn’t up on blogging, twitter, LinkedIn, goodreads, MailChimp or anything else having to do with promotion by social media.

Over the past four years, I’ve developed at least an uncomfortable working relationship with most of the current ways of finding new readers, but I still like the old ways. Before I dropped out of the writing world (and since I came back) I had some bad experiences with bookstores, but I love meeting new readers and reconnecting with old, and I still wanted to do signings. Now I do them in unusual places, and I’ve picked up some other new methods as well.

* Library signings: These have been good for me. My librarian friend, Ginny Evans, does up our library in the “theme” of the book (wedding, anuntimelyfrostmercantile, etc.) and encourages everyone to dress in costume. For WOLF CREEK FATHER (the schoolmarm and the sheriff) we had a school teacher, a sheriff and a jail door. For a dollar donation to the library, you could have your picture made in “jail.” Refreshments are foods found in the books. Not always your standard cookies and punch, but interesting.

* Trade Days/Festivals: I’ve had mixed results. I’ve done well and I haven’t. I have picked up many email addresses of readers interested in hearing what’s coming up.

* Antique stores, old-time five and dime: These seemed like a natural for a historical book, but again, I’ve done excellent at an antique store, and not so great at the same place on another book. Go figure.

     * Book tour on the cheap: I’ll be doing a mini book tour in Illinois where I grew up and my new mystery book takes place. I’ll be staying with relatives. I have signings scheduled at the library I frequented as a child, a florist/wine shop in the town my heroine is sent and another at a restaurant.

*Conferences/Literary Panels/Speaking engagements: I take all the speaking gigs I can get, and instead of waiting for them to ask me, I put on my big-girl panties and ask if they need speakers. No guts; no glory. If I can’t attend, I’ll donate books or baskets with books and other items that connect to the book to be raffled off. Some of the things I’ve used for my historical baskets are pretty vintage tea cups with tea/coffee/cocoa, vintage aprons and handkerchiefs, real flour sack dish towels, cameo necklaces, miniature picture frames, pretty metal bookmarks, note pads, sewing kits, good chocolate candy, etc.

In AN UNTIMELY FROST, the first book of my new Lilly Long Mystery series, my heroine is a Shakespearean actress who becomes a Pinkerton agent, so I have notepads, tee-shirts and other related Shakespeare items for my baskets. The hero is Irish, so I have some Irish items. At a recent festival I ran across a scrumptious masculine scent called “Mystery Man.” How perfect is that? The lady who sells the brand and I are now doing cross-promotion for each other.

*Guerilla Marketing: I confess to stealing this from another author. You know all those insurance/credit card junk mail thingys you get every day? Well, put in a few bookmarks or other info about you in it and use their “no postage needed” envelope. Dontcha love it?

*Mini Billboard: Probably the most innovative and cost effective thing I’ve done to promote the new series is to have a mini-billboard (4’X8′)made 20151113_085856_resizedwith my name and the series on it. Since I live on a highway that leads to a town where about 300,000 tourists go every year, I think it’s a great idea and, unlike a magazine ad, it will last for years. I’ll just change the banner with each new book that comes out.

So, I’m trying to get back in the game, and this old dog has learned a few new tricks and put a twist on the old ones! Happy writing, y’all!

That was then, this is now by Tom Coffey

thomascoffeyMy first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, a murder mystery and thriller, was published in 1999. It all seemed so simple then. You got an agent, and the agent negotiated a contract, and the book came out in hardcover, and then in paperback, and you did some promotion and hoped the mainstream media would review the book. Looking back on those days is like remembering the time when you had three working channels on your television set. Maybe you feel nostalgic, but do you really want to go back?


Writers have long been frustrated by the seemingly impenetrable barriers imposed by agents and traditional publishing houses. If you couldn’t get any of them interested in your work, you were out of luck, even if you had an interesting, unique and compelling story to tell. (Especially if you had an interesting, unique and compelling story. The powers that were always preferred more of the same to originality.)


It’s still that way in the Land of Traditional Publishing, but writers’ options have expanded in ways that resemble the hundreds-of-channels options you get when you turn on your TV. Independent publishers have flourished (although they vary widely in quality), the much-dreaded and -derided Amazon provides a venue for writers who can’t get published elsewhere, and ebooks mean that you’re never out of print. (Personally, I love this.)


Still, there are advantages to the old-fashioned. The most obvious one is money. My first two books — THE SERPENT CLUB and MIAMI TWILIGHT — were published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster that no longer exists. (To my knowledge, my books played no role in this CF1-BrightMorningStardevelopment.) I received decent advances for both of them and, despite taxes and the inevitable out-of-pocket expenses, came out nicely ahead financially. My latest book, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, a historical novel set in early 20th century America, was published by the indie house Oak Tree Press last year. The people at Oak Tree were terrific, and I’m grateful they published it, but when all is said and done I might, just might, wind up breaking even on the book.


(When my third novel, BLOOD ALLEY, a noirish mystery set in the 1940s, was published as an ebook and paperback by Amazon, I got a decently sized royalty check that went a long way toward paying for a desperately needed paint job in our apartment. I never imagined this was what the writing life would be like. But I digress.)


Putting out a book with an independent house means there’s no ambiguity about marketing: You have to do almost all of it. Which in a way is great, because there isn’t a writer in the world who believes that his/her books are being marketed properly by the publisher. We all know the platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, and on and on. You use social media, and you build a website (or get somebody to build it for you) and you try to get clicks and likes, and you hope to drive traffic to your site and maybe, just maybe, go viral. You also write clever things about yourself when Amazon puts your book up for sale. You set up readings and other events at bookstores and other places that will have you.


It all takes time. Lots of time. The time you spend marketing yourself is time you’re not spending writing your next book — and, let’s face it, if you wanted to go into marketing you wouldn’t have become a writer in the first place. (Although it is nice to meet people who are interested in reading and selling your work.)


It can all be incredibly frustrating, but for writers, frustration is just part of the territory. Besides being artists, we’re now entrepreneurs — two lifestyles that are both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. The days of the three-martini lunch with Maxwell Perkins are long gone. Instead, you’re spending serious face time with Marc Zuckerberg. It’s not as personally satisfying, but in the end he’s giving you platforms Matthew Perkins never could.



TOM COFFEY BIO: I graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and attended film school at the University of Southern California. In my career, I’ve worked as a reporter and editor for some of the leading newspapers in the country, including The Miami Herald and Newsday. Since 1997, I’ve been a staff editor at The New York Times. I live in Lower Manhattan with my wife, Jill, and our daughter, Skyler.


I’m also a member of Mystery Writers of America. My first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, was published in 1999 by Pocket Books and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Pocket Books published my second novel, MIAMI TWILIGHT, two years later. In 2008 Toby Press printed BLOOD ALLEY, which also earned a starred review from PW. Last year my latest novel, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, was published by Oak Tree Press.




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What scares me about book promotion? by Cheryl Hollon

_DSC4581-EditIn the frenzied days prior to publication of my first book, Pane and Suffering, my publicist arranged author interviews on live radio programs. I was thrilled. I was excited. I was terrified.


In person, at a signing, on a panel, or at a conference among strangers, I’m a fairly confident speaker. But when I can’t see the interviewer and have no idea what questions will be thrown, I’m a nervous wreck. I can tell because my voice gets dry, scratchy and pitches shrill. To my ears, I sound, well – terrified.


The best interviewers take a minute to chat before going on air to make you comfortable. I love that because it Pane&SufferingCoverusually works for me. Just a few sentences spoken in a friendly manner, off mike, is enough for my normal voice to emerge. It also gives my brain a better chance to formulate sensible answers.


My initial approach was to agonize incessantly for days before the interview. I worked myself up into a near panic hours before the event. I was dreading them like spiders – lots of spiders.


I had two courses of action. 1) Call my publicist and cancel all radio interviews or 2) figure out how to enjoy it. As much as I would have liked to take option one, causing my introvert side to yell “yippee.”. I knew I needed this skill as part of my author toolkit.


So I worked on it.


Doug WilsonFirst, I researched the radio station and tried to get an image of the host. When I found one, I printed it out and taped it up on the wall across from my desk at the same height as if we were holding a meeting. Then, I made a list of questions that I might be asked and wrote them on an index card in bold black magic marker. In red, I wrote out an answer. Then, I placed them face up on the surface of my desk.


That worked! I aced the very next interview. Knowing that the probability was high that I would be asked one of those common questions early in the interview and that I had an answer ready was calming. I relaxed and that showed clearly in my voice.


I wasn’t’ exactly enjoying them now, but I wasn’t in a panic, either. I even laughed once – on air!


That was the real lesson. The best radio interviews are a give and take conversation. If you’re stiff, it will sound forced and awkward. If you’re relaxed, everyone will have fun.


Now that I’ve done more than a dozen, I no longer need the index cards, but I spread them out on my desk anyway. Hey! You can’t really have too much support and routine is the enemy of panic. Even now, I can’t say that live radio spots are my favorite type of promotion, but I’m glad they’re a large part of my author toolkit.


Shards of Murder cover


About Shards of Murder:


When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…


As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.


But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far. . .



Meet the author:


Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.



You can visit Cheryl and her books at