Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I had stumbled upon the book 'The Quick and the Thread' (via Feeling Stitchy) an Embroidery Mystery written by Amanda Lee. Well... a couple of comments, tweets and mails later Amanda, whose real name is Gayle Trent, kindly agreed to do an interview on this blog & sent me a signed copy of her book to give away to one of you! Details later in this post. First lets get to know Gayle a bit better. So get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee) and read all about cozy murders and whether Gayle is able to answer Embroidery Geeky questions as well.;)
For the readers who don't know you, could you describe in a nutshell who you are and what you do?
My real name is Gayle Trent. I write cozy mysteries under that name and under the pen name Amanda Lee. The mystery series I write under the name Gayle Trent has a heroine who is a cake decorator, and the series I write as Amanda Lee features an embroidery shop owner.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest book 'The Quick and the Thread'?
Marcy has just opened up her shop on the Oregon Coast. Things are off to a great start, and her best friends- who own a coffee shop, cater a grand opening party for her. The next day, Marcy and her Irish wolfhound Angus find the shop's former tenant dead in her storeroom. Marcy has to figure out who killed the man to clear her name and to avoid becoming the next victim.
I was pretty amazed to find out there was a whole sub genre of 'crafty mysteries' out there like Knitting, Quilting and Beading mysteries. Why did you specifically choose embroidery for your cozy mysteries?
Actually, my agent asked if I'd be interested in penning an embroidery mystery, and I jumped at the chance to reacquaint myself with needlework. "Research" is the perfect excuse to while away the day doing embroidery!
You call yourself a 'cozy mystery writer', what exactly makes your mysteries cozy?
Cozy mysteries are kind of a gentler mystery. The murder happens "off screen" rather than the reader experiencing it in gory detail, and there isn't any graphic language, violence or sex in a cozy mystery.
Do you have any idea what kind of people read your Embroidery Mystery Books?
I think the people who read my books are kind of like me. They enjoy a good puzzle with their novel, and the like to learn something or get a bonus with the book. For example, readers of The Quick and the Thread can go to my website and get cross-stitch patterns that correlate to the book. In the book Marcy made a tote bag featuring the head of her dog. I had an artist render a sketch of Angus' head, and then I used a program to turn the drawing into a cross-stitch pattern. If you'd like to check out the patterns, you can find them here. To me the embroidery projects on the site seem to be a little hard, so I'm working on making them easier in the future. I've prepared a cross-stitch sampler similar to the one central to the plot in 'Stitch me Deadly' , and I'll be putting that on the site in late January or early February to coincide with the book's release.
Do you have a certain person or type of person in mind when you are writing?
I try to keep Marcy in mind. I sometimes veer away from her, and I have to remember who SHE is and what she would do in a certain situation. Sometimes it's hard to make things work out becaus I have to get the character from Point A to Point B in order to move the story along; but if doing so makes Marcy look like an idiot, I have to go back and rethink things. :)
Any type of embroidery that you particularly like doing?
I enjoy cross-stitch, but I've recently discovered red work, black work and ribbon embroidery. I also enjoy needlepoint and candlewicking.
What's in your hoop right now?
Right now, I'm trying to finish the companion to this pillowcase (see photo above). After I'm finished with that pillow case I want to make another set with your Princess and the Pea and Bear & Fish patterns. I'm hoping to get at least one of them done before Christmas so I can share a picture on my blog and give the readers a link to your site. Before you wrote to me, I didn't know about your site and your gorgeous patterns. You need more publicity! :) (*blushes* Thank you Gayle! -N.)
There's one other project I'd like to show. I'm really proud of it. I did this angel (see photo below) last year, and I was really pleased with how she turned out.
Just a fun question to test how much of an Embroidery Geek you really are! If I say 321, 310 and B 5200 would you know what I'm talking about?
I'd say they're floss colors, but I"m not sure. I'd think the 321 and 310 are DMC colors, but I'm not certain about the B 5200. Am I right? (Yep, absolutely right! These are the no's of resp. red, black and white floss-N.)
Would Marcy have Follow the White Bunny patterns in her shop?
Of course! In fact I want to feature Follow the White Bunny in an upcoming Sew Deadly newsletter.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I'd just like to thank you for letting me be a part of your blog. Oh, one other thing! I almost forgot- please check out my blog and see if you might like to enter the contest currently up at the site. (scroll down a bit to the November contest post). If you'd like to enter, please sign up for my newsletter adn then send an email to gayle[at]gayletrent.com once per day with 'November Contest' in the subject line to enter. The contest ends November 30. I'll have www.random.org 's number generator pick a number from the entries on December 1 and announce the winner in a newsletter e-mail. There's lots of good stuff in the prize pack; so if you enter, Good Luck!
And I hope that whatever holidays you celebrate-Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, New Year's Day- that you are blessed with love, health and happiness.
Wishing you happy holidays too Gayle and thank you for patiently answering all of my questions!
I hope this interview has got you in the mood for reading some cozy (and everyone likes cozy, right?) embroidery mysteries! If you'd like to win a signed copy of Gayle's (or rather Amanda Lee's) latest book 'the Quick and the Thread' leave a comment on this post before 12 PM Amsterdam time, Tuesday the 16th of November. In the last giveaway I had my AM's and PM"s mixed up but I really mean noon. I'm not going to pick a winner at midnight! Anyway....I will add a special 'Dutch Treat' to the prize so you can nibble on something while you are reading. Winner will be announced on the blog shortly after. Good luck everyone!