IR– What inspired the idea for your book?
A character appeared to me, completely unbidden. That’s never happened before. I’ve created loads of characters in all my books, but Frankie Chang, whose problems are at the heart of this story, just appeared before me. I knew he was eleven years old and quite a character for a little kid. He becomes a client of my astrologer protagonist, Julia Bonatti, because he’s desperate and doesn’t know who he can turn to for help.
IR– How do you define success as an author?
The most important thing to me is knowing I’ve written the very best book I’m capable of at that point in time, knowing I’ve written a book that I will still feel proud of in years to come. Of course, it’s wonderful to receive a huge advance, tons of sales and lots of awards, but without that confidence in your work, all the rest of the rewards won’t feel satisfying.
IR– Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I like to play three games of FreeCell before I knuckle down and start writing. At least I try to limit myself to three games. There’s something about that game that allows me to get out of gear and think in a non-linear fashion. It’s hard to explain, but it helps to jog the creative process.
IR– What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?
Always the plot. It’s the structure of the story and unless that’s fully worked out, the momentum of the story can fail. The kernel of an idea for a story can come from anywhere. But from that, the plot must be built.
IR– As an author what do you think makes a good story?
Any story that I can sink into completely, a story in which the author creates a living, breathing world that can feel as real as real life.
IR– What has been your favorite reader feedback?
Any time a reader tells me they stayed up reading into the wee hours. That’s music to my ears. I know then that I’ve written a book that will keep people turning pages.
IR– How do you interact with your readers?
Often through Facebook messages, sometimes Twitter and emails. The happiest way for me is to chat with some directly, at a library panel, or a bookstore appearance or a conference. That’s always the most rewarding.
IR– How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
I haven’t really suffered from writer’s block. Perhaps it’s because the first books I published were in another series (the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries, written as Connie Archer). I had eight months to complete each manuscript and turn it in. I knew I had to finish each book (approximately 85,000 words) in six months so I’d have time to send it to beta readers and still have time to clean it up and revise. After that schedule, I really learned there’s no choice but to just write. Even if it’s terrible, you can always change it.
IR– What is an underrated series that you think everyone should read at least once?
I happen to love Nicholas Freeling’s Inspector Van der Valk mysteries. I’ve managed to collect them all because I’m afraid they might go out of print. But it’s a series I discovered ages ago and have really enjoyed. I’ve been surprised when other authors aren’t aware of Freeling’s work.
IR– What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Believe in yourself and don’t give up until the book is finished. It’s very easy to procrastinate but then don’t. I once read an interview in which the author said her inspiration is A-B-C-D – Apply Butt to Chair Daily. It’s great advice. Writing is hard work and you have to keep chipping away at your opus. And always read the writers you admire, and read them again. It’s the best method of educating yourself.
IR– What are you working on in the near future?
I’m editing and revising Book 5 in the Zodiac Mysteries, tentatively entitled The Light Beside the Sea. This will be the book where Julia discovers her fiancé was killed and his death was not an accident. I figured it was time to put that mystery to bed.
Once that’s done, I’ll start on Zodiac #6, no title as yet.
by Connie di Marco
May 23 – June 17, 2022
Virtual Book Tour
As San Francisco’s Chinatown prepares for the Lunar New Year festivities in the fogbound month of February, astrologer Julia Bonatti finds herself with three new clients, all in desperate straits who don’t seem to heed her advice. Tracy is the victim of a brutal husband with nowhere to run and Jeanette is worried sick about her son, whom she suspects has fallen in with a bad lot.
But most frightening of all to Julia is Frankie Chang’s dilemma. Frankie’s only eleven years old and he’s terrified. His mother is missing and no one will help him. Julia’s heart goes out to him but her hands are tied. Frankie won’t let her talk to the police and neither will his family.
Julia eventually discovers that the three worlds of her clients intertwine. Those lives inevitably collide exposing a dangerous smuggling cabal. Julia knows too much and becomes a victim of both a ruthless environmental group and criminals who will stop at nothing, including murder.
Kudos for Serpent’s Doom
“Connie di Marco’s twin loves of Astrology and the detective fiction genre are on full display in her latest installment of the Zodiac Mysteries: Serpent’s Doom. It makes perfect sense to fuse these two disciplines in which intelligence, intuition, and interpretation play such a key role. It’s also a delight to see Astrology driving the plot forward rather than employed as a mere gimmick. This adds dimension and suspense to how the mystery plays out and di Marco’s wonderfully cinematic prose keeps you turning the pages in increasing anticipation.”
-Christopher Renstrom, astrologer for the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate and Astrology Hub, author of The Cosmic Calendar and creator of rulingplanets.com
“Intriguing and riveting, Connie di Marco’s latest Zodiac Mystery, Serpent’s Doom, is a new year’s firecracker of an adventure. Told with heart and conscience, Serpent’s Doom features a superb cast and setting, with a plot right out of the headlines. The best yet in this highly original series.”
-James W. Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone Mysteries
“Connie di Marco’s Zodiac Mysteries have it all: vibrant characters, sharp and suspenseful plots and comedic interludes. I love the added bonus of astrology and metaphysics and eagerly await the next installment.”
-Karen Christino, astrologer and author of Foreseeing the Future
“San Francisco Astrologer Julia Bonatti will need more than the stars when she tries to help a boy find his missing mother. di Marco takes us on a thrill ride from Chinatown to famed Bay City locales. An enticing mystery with compelling characters who pull you in. ‘Dear Zodia, is it in the stars that Connie di Marco will write more Zodiac Mysteries?’ I certainly hope so, because I’m hooked!”
-Laurie Stevens, author of the award-winning Gabriel McKay suspense novels
“Another page-turner with San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. I alternately wanted to shake her and cheer her on as she reluctantly becomes entangled with a boy who needs her help. A fascinating look into a different culture, where involving the police is a bad idea, prompting Julia to take matters into her own hands.”
-Sheila Lowe, best-selling author of the Forensic Handwriting Mysteries and the Beyond the Veil Mysteries suspense novels
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 0578326566 (ISBN13: 9780578326566)
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, 4th (Each is a Stand-Alone Work)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring Julia Bonatti, a San Francisco astrologer who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries from Berkeley Prime Crime. Her recipes and excerpts can be found in The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook and The Cozy Cookbook. Connie is a member of the Crime Writers Association (UK), Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.
Catch Up With Connie di Marco:
BookBub – @Connie_di_Marco
Instagram – @Connie_di_Marco
Twitter – @askzodia
Facebook – @zodiacmysteries
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
05/23 Review @ It’s All About the Book
05/24 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/25 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/26 Review @ tea. and. titles
05/28 Showcase @ Nesies Place
05/30 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
05/31 Interview @ I Read What You Write
06/02 Interview podcast @ Blog Talk Radio
06/02 Review @ Just Reviews
06/06 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
06/07 Review @ The Page Ladies
06/10 Review @ Scrapping&Playing
06/13 Guest post @ Novels Alive
06/15 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
06/15 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
06/15 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
06/16 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
06/16 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
06/17 Review @ Sapphyrias Books
06/17 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm