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The Never-ending Mystery
By Lois Winston
When I first began writing novels, I never thought about writing a series. I wrote stand-alone books. Once I typed “The End,” that was it for those characters. But then I jumped genres, moving from the world of romance to the world of cozy murder and mayhem.
In a mystery, readers expect to learn whodunit by the end of the book. However, in an ongoing series, there needs to be an overall story arc encompassing the entire series. All personal issues can’t be resolved within the confines of one book. With each book the characters in the world I’ve created continue their journeys, pursuing their goals and dealing with the conflicts that get in the way of achieving those goals.
In my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, the first book, Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, opens with Anastasia learning her recently deceased husband has left her with a staggering amount of debt. Throughout the series, one of her goals is to whittle down that debt.
Goals, motivation, and conflict are the backbone of any good novel, no matter the genre. What do the characters want? Why do they want what they want? What’s keeping them from getting what they want? Every major character in a book needs both internal and external goals, motivations, and conflict. In a stand-alone book, these questions are answered by the end of the book. In an ongoing series, they continue from book to book to book. Give the characters everything they want, and the series ends.
Although there are murders to solve in each of the books in my series, there are also personal mysteries. One of Anastasia’s first cost-cutting moves was to rent out the apartment over her garage, which she had previously used as her home studio. Her tenant is photojournalist Zachary Barnes. Zack decided to move from his Manhattan high-rise to the suburbs after his nosey neighbors repeatedly called the cops on him, claiming he was cooking meth, not developing film, in his photo lab.
Little did Zack realize he was trading one drama for another with his move to the suburbs. Eventually, he and Anastasia develop a relationship that goes beyond landlord/tenant, but there is mystery surrounding Zack. Anastasia begins to suspect his photojournalism is cover for a more covert gig with one of the government alphabet agencies. Of course, he denies he’s a spy, but isn’t that what all spies would do when asked?
A Sew Deadly Cruise is the ninth full-length book in the series. (There are also three novellas.) Up to now, neither my readers nor Anastasia have learned much about Zack’s background. That all changes with this book.
Not everything about Zack’s past is revealed, though, much to Anastasia’s frustration. I’ll continue to throw obstacles in her way and keep readers guessing for as long as they want to follow her journey. She’ll continue to solve at least one murder by the end of every book, but the financial problems that set the series in motion will continue to dog her. As for her relationship with Zack and various members of her family, all I’ll say is, to be continued…
About The Book
Life is looking up for Anastasia Pollack. Newly engaged, she and her fiancé Zack Barnes are on a Christmas cruise with her family… In Lois Winston’s A Sew Deadly CruiseTweet
Life is looking up for magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack. Newly engaged, she and photojournalist fiancé Zack Barnes are on a winter cruise with her family, compliments of a Christmas gift from her half-brother-in-law. Son Alex’s girlfriend and her father have also joined them. Shortly after boarding the ship, Anastasia is approached by a man with an unusual interest in her engagement ring. When she tells Zack of her encounter, he suggests the man might be a jewel thief scouting for his next mark. But before Anastasia can point the man out to Zack, the would-be thief approaches him, revealing his true motivation. Long-buried secrets now threaten the well-being of everyone Anastasia holds dear. And that’s before the first dead body turns up.
Craft projects included.
About The Author
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.
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