Hello, everyone. Today our guest at Five Scribes is Marilyn Levinson, author of A MURDERER AMONG US, which currently holds the #1 spot of Wings ePress books sold at Fictionwise.com for Nook readers. Please welcome Marilyn Levinson.
About A Murderer Among Us...
The envelope contained half a dozen photographs. Lydia stifled a gasp as she stared at more than she’d ever hoped to see of Viv Maguire. A shawl had been draped over one shoulder, discretely hiding her bulging middle and considerable thighs, while displaying one drooping breast. The smile, no doubt meant to be enticing, had a gruesome intensity that sent shivers down Lydia’s back.
Lydia shoved the photos back into the envelope and returned it to its hiding place amid the napery in the drawer. Whatever doubts she’d had about the extent of Marshall’s involvement with Viv had been laid to rest. The question was, had their affair begun before Claire was murdered or after? If is was before... Lydia shuddered, hating to speculate further. But the thought pushed itself forward for consideration. If they’d been lovers before Claire was murdered, it stood to reason that they might have conspired to kill her.
For love? Money?
~~~Fiction writing is a lonely profession. We writers come up with a plot, invent some characters, and set about creating a world that, if we’re lucky, will live on in the memories of our readers. To get through the process, we depend on the camaraderie of our fellow writers.
Many years ago, I took a writing course with Roberta Gellis. Roberta helped me through my first novel, a romantic suspense, which never saw the light of day. I went on to write novels for kids. Roberta and I spent a good deal of time together -- mostly doing ordinary activities like shopping and eating out. She continued to help me resolve plot problems, but eventually became more of my sounding board. I’d present the situation, she’d make a suggestion, and I’d come up with a completely different solution than the one she’d suggested. To this day, Roberta remains one of my dearest friends.
I sold my first children’s book, and joined a children’s writing group. The group’s meetings centered around the business-side of being a children’s book author. Roberta brought me along to the first meeting of the Long Island Romance Writers. I was awed by how organized romance writers seemed to be -- their conferences, their on-line courses on writing. Years later, while writing my second romantic suspense novel, I joined the group. Though I soon went on to write mysteries, I remained a member of LIRW because I continued to learn a good deal about writing and publishing through them and their speakers. I formed a critique group with fellow LIRWers and I continue to participate on their annual author-editor luncheon committee. At the luncheon this past June, I was touched by how many members came over to congratulate me on the sale of my first mystery.
I’ve no idea how many years ago I joined Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. Every new mystery writer should join the Guppies, The Great Unpubbed. A misnomer since many Guppies get published but rarely leave the group because of our great camaraderie. We buoy each other up through disappointments and rejections; we share information from such topics as agent hunting to forming critique groups. I’ve made wonderful Guppy friendships through the years.
Don’t ask me why, but I dreaded attending conferences. Finally, in 2010, the year my mystery, MURDER A LA CHRISTIE, was a finalist in the Malice Domestic contest, I ventured to go to Malice. What a smart decision that was! I got to meet so many of my fellow Sisters in Crime, and came away convinced it was time to start a Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. I asked my friend and fellow writer, Bernardine Fagan, to co-found the chapter. I’d never undertaken anything of the sort, but my participation in LIRW helped, along with assistance from Beth Wasson and Sandy Parshall, Teresa Inge and Meredith Cole. Hank Phillippi Ryan heard of our new chapter and offered to be our first speaker. Many LIRW members attended Hank’s talk.
When my first mystery novel debuted in June, I was struck by how much publishing had changed since my last children’s book came out. I was suddenly overwhelmed by all I had to do to get A MURDERER AMONG US into the hands of readers. I was responsible for PR and marketing, reviews and announcements, tweeting, guest blogging, and Facebook. The fate of A MURDERER AMONG US rested on my shoulders.
I asked for help on the listservs of the various writers’ group I belong to, and my mystery writer comrades responded. They ushered me along the path of post-publication every step of the way. Two fellow Wings ePress authors offered to review my book. They each read A MURDERER AMONG US in a day or two and wrote marvelous things about it. One writer friend told me about Murder Must Advertise and the importance of guest blogs. Another helped me design a bookmark. Still another sent me notices of conferences, where I’d be on panels and have the chance to sell copies of my books.
Writers are a wonderful group of people. We cheer each other up over rejections; we rejoice in each other’s successes. I continue to make new writer friends online. When we finally meet in person, we greet one another as if we’ve known each other forever.
I wrote that the fate of A Murderer Among Us rests upon my shoulders. Thanks to the people I've met both online and in person, the load doesn't seem as heavy.
Isn't it wonderful that writers don't have to hole up in their caves these days? What do you do when you start to feel all alone in the world? Social networking, in-person meetings? Which do you prefer?
Marilyn Levinson’s debut mystery, A MURDERER AMONG US, came out with Wings ePress in June of this year. Her ghost mystery, GIVING UP THE GHOST, will be out next spring with Uncial Press. Her novel, MURDER A LA CHRISTIE, was a 2010 Malice Domestic finalist. All of her mysteries take place on Long Island, where she’s lived since moving from Brooklyn at the age of fourteen and a half.
Marilyn is the author of several novels for children and young adults. Her first, AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, was a nominee for six state book awards. RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK was selected by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council for “Children’s Choices for 2002.”
After attending her first Malice in 2010, Marilyn decided it was time to start a Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. With Bernardine Fagan, she co-founded the chapter, which held its first meeting August of 2010. She is the chapter’s current president. She also belongs to the Authors Guild, MWA, RWA, and the Guppies. She was a Spanish teacher many years ago.
Marilyn's book can be found at the Wings ePress site: http://bit.ly/kOZgcz