Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Alison Golden - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Alison Golden. She writes Mystery, Psychology and Paleo Diet & Lifestyle books. Amy is defined as a Pet-Centric Author. Alison is the author of the Inspector David Graham Cozy Mystery series, Diana Hunter Mystery series and the Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mystery series.

Author Genre: Mystery, Psychology, Paleo Diet & Lifestyle

Website: Cozy Mysteries
Author's Blog: Alison Golden - the secret life of a warrior woman
Twitter: @alisonjgolden
E-Mail: alison@cozymysteries.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Alison Golden was born and raised in Bedfordshire, England. She writes cozy mysteries and suspense novels, along with the occasional witty blog post, all of which are designed to entertain, amuse, and calm. Her approach is to combine creative ideas with excellent writing and edit, edit, edit.

She is the creator of the Reverend Annabelle Dixon cozy mysteries, a charming, fun series featuring a female vicar ministering in the beautiful county of Cornwall, England. She also produces a Jersey-based detective series featuring Inspector David Graham and the Diana Hunter series, set in Vancouver.

Her books' themes range from the humorous and sweet to harder hitting suspense. They are recommended for readers who like to relax and unwind with their books, who enjoy getting to know the characters, and who prefer the tougher side of life implied.

She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twin sons. She splits her time traveling between London and San Francisco.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Grave in the Garage. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My next book is The Case of the Broken Doll, the latest in the Inspector David Graham mystery series. It will be out December 8th. It is the story of a schoolgirl who went missing ten years ago. As he explores the case, h is revelations will rock the town to its foundations, stirring memories long buried and forgotten.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

I belong to a cozy mysteries twitter team (hat tip to Dianne Harman for that) and that has helped build my following (my handle is @cozy_mysteries,) but Facebook is where I interact most. I ask questions of my readers, post the latest news, and hold contests there. I think the ability to interact with readers is tremendously important whether it is via social media or good, plain old email. I don't employ an assistant for email, I reply to everyone myself, and encourage readers to write to me with their thoughts.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

The place to contact me is either via my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/cozymysterybks) or email me at alison@cozymysteries.com. Readers can also sign up for my list and hear the latest news that way. They will also receive the first books in each of my three series as a thank you. My website address is http://cozymysteries.com.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

That's a good question. In the beginning, I developed a couple of concepts for each series and then asked my friends on Facebook which one they liked best! This was before I had any books published, no readers, etc. Once my Facebook friends told me their preferred concepts, I set to work with illustrators and cover designers. For example, for my Inspector Graham books, an artist in The Netherlands paints the scenes digitally. They always represent tea (a favorite of the Inspector,) a scene from Jersey where the books are set, and some details that relate to the story. Richard Eijkenbroek does great work. After that, I give his artwork to my cover designer. He crafts a cover based on a concept we agreed in the beginning that was based upon examples of other covers I had liked.

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

The first two books in each of my series are 25,000 words versus the 40,000 to 50,000 words of my longer works. These shorty's are meant as an introduction to my books. Another way I remove hurdles so that readers can try my books is to make these books no charge. The first books in each series are all free with a sign up to my mailing list, and the second books are free from Amazon. Readers who like them will then go on to buy further books in the series if I have done my job properly by writing engaging plots and characters.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do you sort of play it by ear?

I do book production in the morning (plotting, writing, editing) and marketing in the afternoon. I stop at 5 PM. I prepare dinner in the morning before I start work and aim to be at my desk at 8 AM after the school run. I do some work every day of the week, even if it's only half an hour, but I do take time off to go for lunch with friends or hang out with my kids and husband. I always take the holidays off. I love this life.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Giving away books for free is fantastic. It enables readers to try you out as an author and see if your books are for them. I can't say enough good things about it.

How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?

Is there any software? Please tell me if there is. I would love that! I keep it all in my head now but as the series develop it is becoming harder. One of my goals for next year is to write down specific details into a "bible." I check and recheck the details. With Inspector Graham, my co-writer and I plot out a chronology before writing starts to make sure it all hangs together.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

A reader list is the foundation of my business. I use free books, cross promotions with other authors, contests, and advertising on social media to attract attention. I give away a lot of stuff exclusively to my subscribers. In addition to books, I give them background info on each series, hold prize draws, and offer price promotions on my books. I am very respectful of their time and their opinions. In return, they are simply lovely and have made me a better writer and my business more successful.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I have a street team and a waiting list for my street team. They are super. They give me feedback on my writing, and help me fix my book blurbs (I detest writing them!) They check for typos and leave reviews. They are an awesome bunch of people.

Author's Book List
The Case of the Broken Doll - An Inspector David Graham Cozy Mystery Book 4
A missing girl. A broken doll. Dark, deviant secrets.

When 15-year-old Beth Ridley vanished on her way to school, it was a mystery that baffled and shocked the small community of Gorey, Jersey. A leg torn from a doll she was carrying was the solitary clue as to what happened that day.

Now, on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, Detective Inspector Graham is taking another look at the case. His Sherlockian tendencies are set alight.

What he finds will rock the town, stirring memories long buried and forgotten. There are painful truths to face.

And what of Beth? Can Graham uncover what happened? Could she still be alive?

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Grave in the Garage - A Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mystery Book 4
A body. A crumbling graveyard. A lively, bounding puppy.

When her beloved Mini Cooper breaks down, Reverend Annabelle Dixon stumbles upon a gruesome scene at the Mildred’s Garage… a lifeless hand peeking out from the pit beneath a parked car.

Across the road, Inspector Mike Nicholls is in Upton St. Mary on personal business, yet that business is soon overshadowed as the stalwart, logical detective finds himself embroiled in yet another mystery with the kindhearted, and tenacious, vicar.

Together, they discover who the hand in the pit belongs to, and with two missing mechanics, a money strapped town, some matchmaking, and rumors a-plenty rolling all around the English village of Upton St. Mary, the case threatens to overwhelm them. The hours and clues mount, as the duo sets off on an investigation that soon proves larger, more dangerous, and more mysterious, than either of them could ever have guessed. Thank goodness for the puppy.

Grave in the Garage is the fourth book in the Reverend Annabelle Dixon series, a set of heartwarming cozy mysteries about a country vicar that will make you laugh out loud. If you like small town mysteries full of fun and colorful characters, a strong, yet compassionate female lead, and a hint of romance, then you’ll love Alison Golden’s sweet, humorous storytelling. This book may even restore your faith in humanity.

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Barnes and Noble

Body in the Woods - A Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mystery Book 3
Buried bones. A boy. And tales of lost loves.

When a young boy is running home through the woods, he finds a bone: a forearm to be precise; a human forearm. This discovery sets in motion the reopening of a cold case that Reverend Annabelle Dixon, it seems, simply can’t leave alone.

In the quiet and relatively uneventful village of Upton St. Mary, gossip arises as word spreads that a body has been found in the woods. Once the investigation begins, the forensic team believes that it has been there for over a decade. But the question remains: who was buried there all those years ago?

In the sequel to Murder at the Mansion, Reverend Annabelle finds herself, once again, in amongst the thick of the investigation. With her knack for gaining people’s trust, winkling out their secrets, and piecing clues together, Annabelle is determined to solve the mystery.

In Body in the Woods, there are laugh out loud moments as Annabelle gets herself into plenty of scrapes. There is also a newcomer to the village with his heart set on love, antagonism with her crush, Inspector Nicholls, and Philippa, her church secretary, once more supplying Annabelle with gossip, cake, and her own little puzzle that gets Annabelle a-thinking.

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Barnes and Noble

Murder at the Mansion - A Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mystery Book 2
Murder. Mayhem. A madcap lady vicar.

Reverend Annabelle Dixon is the charming, slightly gauche, very tall, thirty-something vicar of St. Mary’s Church located in the picturesque village of Upton St. Mary in Cornwall, England.

Recently appointed to her rural church position, Annabelle is beloved by her parishioners for dispensing good advice and godly wisdom with humor and charm while zipping her Mini Cooper around the country lanes and attempting to build a relationship with her church cat, Biscuit, who, quite frankly, couldn’t care less.

Trouble arises when Annabelle faithfully welcomes a new resident to her quaint parish. Her visit to the latest newcomer, Sir John Cartwright, is two-fold: to greet him and to dispel rumors of shady doings at the manor. This time, however, instead of tea and cakes, Annabelle is served a heaping plate of murder and a fine helping of handsome Inspector Mike Nicholls!

Filled with laugh-out-loud moments and cake and pastry recipes, this humorous, cozy mystery is an excellent introduction to the Reverend Annabelle Dixon series.

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

Death at the Café - A Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mystery Book 1
A brand new female vicar. An accident-prone nun. Two friends. Two killings.

Annabelle and Mary are best friends. But when one gets framed for murder, can the other one save her?

Assigned to St. Clement's Church in an inner-city borough just outside Hackney in London, Reverend Annabelle Dixon brings an enthusiasm and drive to her clerical position that baffles her mentor, Father John, but which soon gains her fans and admiration. Annabelle is not your typical vicar, but her strengths prove to serve her, and those around her, very well.

When Annabelle plans to meet her longtime friend, Sister Mary, a Catholic nun visiting from West Africa, at a local café, little does she know that she will soon find herself embroiled in a mystery of deadly design. Their meeting place is awash with horror, with Sister Mary standing in the middle, shaking, her hand over her mouth and a dead woman at her feet.

Armed only with a note, a disappearing dart, vague hints, and a love of cake, this quick-thinking, quick-footed holy woman must gather the clues, pacify a detective, and find the real perpetrator before both she and her friend wind up in jail.

Part Sherlock, part Father Dowling, Annabelle is a new kind of detective – one who sees the truth in the most unlikely places. If you love solving puzzles, then this suspense-filled, endearing, cozy mystery is just for you. Enjoy following our amateur sleuth as she careers around London. It will have you guessing until the very end!

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Barnes and Noble

Stolen - A Diana Hunter Mystery Book 3
When Vancouver’s elite convenes in the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel to celebrate and fund the new British Columbia Children’s Hospital, it is a night of free flowing champagne, high class regalia and more flash than a museum could house – until suddenly everyone realizes all their precious jewels and baubles are gone.

In the space of one moment, the night turns from joy to confusion…. How did it happen? How were they all robbed, at once… without anyone seeing a thing?

Diana Hunter works for a news and crime magazine, yet her past experience and impressive, Sherlock Holmes-like skills mark her as an asset only the government could have trained.

Those skills are soon put to the test when the Superintendent of the Vancouver Police Department calls her in to work the case. Thrown together with a talented group, Diana must unravel the clues before the ghost like bandits strike again. With two successful heists behind them, Diana begins to fear the bigger picture and realizes that these ‘robberies’ may not just be robberies after all….

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Barnes and Noble

Snatched - A Diana Hunter Mystery Book 2
What would you do if you discovered a dead body? Would you investigate? Try to solve the case before the police arrive?

Would you prattle on about theories regarding the murder, realizing you know almost too much about it? Would you put the handsome detective off balance so that he then accuses you of being the murderer? All before 9AM? No… surely no one would do that?

Clearly, you haven’t met Diana Hunter.

When embarking on an early morning run, Diana notices a man sitting on the ground reading a book. When she returns, she finds he hasn’t moved a muscle since she left her house. She checks him over and discovers that he is stone cold. Once the emergency services arrive, all equipped with a very good-looking, but pompous detective, Peter Hopkinson, she has to continually prove to the detective why she is not the killer while trying to solve the murder herself.

Will Diana find the murderer before the detective does, or will they both discover that something a lot more sinister is going on at Royal Bay Beach?

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

Hunted - A Diana Hunter Mystery Book 1
Did Lydia commit suicide, and leave her husband and daughter by choice – or is something more sinister afoot?

Meet Lydia, John, and Diana Hunter. Lydia is a loving mother and wife, who wants nothing more than the best for her family. John is her husband. He is an over-protective homicide detective who loves his wife and teenage daughter with everything he has. Their daughter, Diana, is a genius, with an IQ level far higher than most. This is a family that adores one another. A family, however, that is torn apart by tragedy.

When Lydia is found dead at her workplace, John loses the love of his life. His heart breaks for himself and his little girl as Diana spirals out of control. The authorities rule the death a suicide, but when events don’t start to add up, the family that is left behind begins to suspect something isn’t right.

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Barnes and Noble

The Case of the Fallen Hero - An Inspector David Graham Cozy Mystery Book 3
An historic castle. A beautiful wedding. A dead groom.

Former big city cop, Inspector David Graham, is now leading a small group of officers in the tiny coastal village of Gorey. One Sunday morning, as he walks around the imposing Orgueil castle, Graham’s peaceful life comes to a shuddering halt when he finds a woman kneeling beside the body of a stricken man. As the woman’s screams ring out, Graham is there to assist – and to start gathering clues. Was it suicide? An accident? Or something far more nefarious?

Questions lead to trails that send the team digging through the history of not only the affected families, but the castle itself where a quartet of talented musicians have seemingly vanished. Monolithic in size and secrets, Orgueil Castle may reveal answers in the strangest…. and deepest ways possible.

With one dead, four missing, and many long-buried family secrets, Inspector David Graham wonders if there is enough tea to see him through it all.

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Barnes and Noble

The Case of the Hidden Flame - An Inspector David Graham Cozy Mystery Book 2
A new cop. A murdered lover. An eccentric community.

Detective Inspector David Graham has just arrived on the island of Jersey, taking over a rag tag team of questionable commitment and skill at the Gorey Constabulary, a team that he is supposed to lead and develop into a cohesive investigative unit.

Within minutes, his first challenge presents itself when ex-soldier, Colonel Graves, finds a dead body on the beach. As the military man kneels down, he discovers it is his soon-to-be fiancé half buried in the sand…

In a small resort like Gorey, this event is monumental, and almost unheard of. The rumors swirl yet it is the new Detective Inspector’s job, with a bag still packed and travel dust on his shoes, to ferret out the clues and solve the case…while bringing his team along to assist.

With a Sherlock soul, The Case of the Hidden Flame packs humor and intrigue onto a small island of eccentric characters, roiling sea undercurrents, and deceptive coincidences – all accompanied by a fine cup of tea.

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Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

The Case of the Screaming Beauty - An Inspector David Graham Cozy Mystery Book 1
The prestigious Lavender Bed and Breakfast in Chiddlinghurst, England has a rich, Tudor atmosphere, an enviously manicured lawn… And a deadly problem.

A young, beautiful woman, Norah Travis, has been found murdered in one of the rooms with no witnesses and seemingly no motive. Detective Inspector Graham, a man with a singular drive, a penchant for tea, and silent demons of his own, has been brought in to ferret out the perpetrator. Joining Sergeant Harris at the sprawling estate, the duo set their caps to solving a mystery that leaves them frustrated.

It’s a “whodunit” of crafty design with suspects on all sides and nothing clear cut. The proprietors, Amelia and Cliff, have jokes to share and almost nothing to hide, while their long time guest, Tim, seems shiftier. There is an ex-husband, a housekeeper, an old man, and questions galore. But who could it be? It’s a conundrum.

The Case of the Screaming Beauty is a modern murder mystery with an old fashioned feel; a story for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and CSI. Enjoy!

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Barnes and Noble

The Modern No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo - Develop Your Skills to Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Take Back Your Health
Are you prone to emotional eating or overeating, even food addiction?

Do you start diets, determined to lose weight for the last time, only to give up, over and over and over again?

Many people get derailed as they attempt to incorporate paleo or other diet principles into their everyday life. They so want to make an enduring success of managing their eating but they don't know how to change or how to make it last.

It is a myth that changing our diets and losing weight are about learning what and how much to eat. If that were true, most of us would be slim.

In The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo: Develop Your Skills to Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Take Back Your Health you will read the words of paleo and diet success that are rarely spoken about.

They are almost secrets. Except they are quite simple concepts once you know what they are.

Just think of all those times you failed because you didn't know what is laid out in this book.

The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo: Develop Your Skills to Lose Weight, Gain Energy and Take Back Your Health provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change and success for good.

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Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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