Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Roberta Isleib's Latest Mystery

On the GCC tour bus again, this time for an exciting new mystery! ASKING FOR MURDER by Dr. Roberta Isleib (Berkley Prime Crime, September 2008) is the 3rd book involving psychologist-advice columnist-sleuth Dr. Rebecca Butterman. A clinical psychologist herself, Roberta says the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy: Start with a problem, follow the threads looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture. Her advice column series debuted in 2007 with DEADLY ADVICE and PREACHING TO THE CORPSE.

Roberta is the president of National Sisters in Crime and the past president of the New England chapter. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.

Welcome to Brant Flakes, Roberta. It's great to have you here!! Thanks, Marilyn!

New readers want to know about your novel. Can you tell us the basic premise? ASKING FOR MURDER: When Dr. Rebecca Butterman's dear friend, a sandplay therapist, is found beaten and left for dead, Rebecca's determined to help search for answers. With a would-be killer on the loose, she can only hope the clues are buried within easy reach. How intriguing! I've never read a book involving a sandplay therapist. What a fascinating occupation...

What's one scene from this story you loved writing and why did it excite you? Dr. Butterman goes to see a sandplay expert, hoping to unearth the killer's identity in an arrangement she discovered at her friend's house. Instead, she learns a lot more about herself and her own sad past than she ever imagined. It gives me goose bumps to reread this scene!

Do you have a favorite food? I love to eat so this a hard one--I'd say anything with cheese in it. Maybe cheese puffs stuffed with hot pepper jelly? Lucky thing my protagonist is a very good cook. So she prepares wonderful recipes as she solves murders--gives me a chance to cook and eat for research purposes! Now, see, I'd love this, too :). Could I join you and Dr. Butterman for dinner sometime??

Who was the first person you told when you got The Call announcing you'd sold your first novel? Definitely my husband. He's been a super-supporter every step of the way. In the beginning, he read every word. And he's gone on countless research and book promotion trips. He's absolutely there through all the ups and downs.When my agent called to tell me she'd landed a 3-book deal, but it wouldn't include the one book I'd written, I was devastated. My husband reminded me that this was REALLY GOOD NEWS. I couldn't do it without him! He sounds like such a wonderful man :).

What's your Writer Fantasy (I love, love, love this question!!)--i.e., to see your book made into a feature film, to be on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 consecutive weeks, etc.? How about all of the above? As a psychologist, I know the importance of having "big goals" for my subconscious to aim at. So I keep a copy of the NYTimes bestseller list pasted up over my computer. Then I forget about it and work on the books word by word...

What's one piece of writing advice you've found valuable on your journey to publication? Don't rush off too soon to try to get your work published. This business is extremely competitive, so it's crucial to have your writing polished before sending it out. The internet makes querying too easy! I have lots of info on my website about agents and getting published and some of the scams writers fall for. Read it over. http://www.robertaisleib.com/

Do your neighbors or hometown acquaintances know you're a published author or did you just choose to tell those closest to you? Oh gosh, I look for opportunities everywhere. My family's trained to look for openings, too! How else are people going to know to look for it?

What's a personality trait you love about one of the characters in your novel? My protagonist is a loving and loyal friend. She has two really close girlfriends that make all the difference in her life.

Sounds like a fantastic book, Roberta! Thanks so much for visiting this week :).


Pamala Knight said...

As always, you ask all the pertinent and interesting questions that I would be too tongue-tied to remember, dear Marilyn. Thank you for another scintillating interview. Roberta's book sounds very interesting and I'll add it to my growing list of TBR.

You know, if this brilliant author thing doesn't work out for you, then I think that you look into an interviewing as a career. But that first thing is already in the bag, so just a fall back option I guess. *smooch*

Marilyn Brant said...

Aw, Pamala, what a sweetie you are! Thanks for reading Roberta's interview, for saying such lovely things about us both and, as always, for being a wonderful friend :). *hug*

Sandra Ferguson said...

I love the premise behind this book. Thanks, Roberta, for sharing your base plan to uncovering a mystery and writing the perfect book as well.

Thanks, Marilyn, for introducing me to this author. I can't wait to get my own copy.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Another great interview! I'm stunned, though. A three-book deal that *didn't* include the book under submission, but was a result of that particular book? That fascinates me.

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Sandra, for popping by for the interview :).

Caryn, you're right--that IS fascinating. If Roberta stops back in, maybe she can tell us what she did with that other manuscript. Perhaps it's one she'll release later?