Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Truffles Interviews: The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series Menagerie (w/Giveaway)

Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Today I'm interviewing the trio of pets who star in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting mystery series by Lois Winston: a Shakespeare-spouting parrot, a communist-owned French bulldog, and a haughty white Persian named Catherine the Great who is owned by a self-proclaimed descendant of Russian royalty. (They sure sound like a fun bunch, don't they???)

Truffles: Welcome, Catherine the Great, Manifesto, and Ralph! Thank you all so much for taking time to answer a few questions! Could you each tell us a little about yourselves and how you came to live with Anastasia?

Ralph: Thanks for inviting me, Truffles. As you can see, I’m an African Grey parrot, the most intelligent of the species. I’m also the only pet that truly belongs in the Pollack home. The other two are deadbeat interlopers. Anastasia’s Great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle, was my original owner. When she died two years ago, Anastasia inherited me.

Catherine the Great: I was here before you, Squawk Box. (turning to Truffles) Thank you for inviting me to spend some time with your readers today, Truffles. I’m a white Persian owned by Anastasia’s mother, Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe Tuttnauer. Flora descends from Russian nobility on her mother’s side and is a proud Daughter of the American Revolution.

Unfortunately, Flora has had some rather rotten luck when it comes to husbands. Her first husband, Anastasia’s father, drowned while scuba diving off the Yucatan on their twenty-fifth anniversary. Flora needs a man in her life, but her subsequent husbands have each met with untimely deaths shortly after the wedding. When Flora is between husbands, she and I settle in with Anastasia and her family. Life was a lot calmer, though, before Squawk Box and Mephisto the Devil Dog arrived.

Manifesto (growling): My name is Manifesto, not Mephisto! Why can’t any of you get that straight?

Ralph: Who names a French bulldog after a communist treatise?

Catherine the Great: Only a pinko Bolshevik.

Manifesto: It’s not like I had a choice of owners. I certainly don’t have any love for the crazy commie, but what choice do I have?

Catherine the Great: You could always bite her.

Manifesto: And risk getting put down for rabies?

Ralph: You have rabies!?!

Manifesto: Of course not! But I’d rather put up with Anastasia’s hellish mother-in-law than risk the alternatives. (turning to Truffles) Anyway, thank you for inviting me, Truffles.

My owner, Lucille Pollack, and I are stuck living with Anastasia because, quite frankly, Lucille is an idiot. Last year an SUV ran her down as she jaywalked across a busy intersection. While recovering in the hospital, her apartment building burnt to the ground. Since she doesn’t trust the government and by extension, the banking system, she kept her life savings in shoeboxes under her bed. After a stint in rehab, she moved in with Anastasia and her family to finish her recovery. Anastasia’s husband had promised to foot the bill for a new apartment for his mother, but then he dropped dead in Las Vegas when Anastasia thought he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA. And that wasn’t the worst of it. Seems Karl Marx Pollack had a hidden gambling problem that left Anastasia not only with debt equal to the GNP of Uzbekistan but also with Lucille and me. Trust me, I don’t want to be here any more than the rest of them want me here.

Truffles: What is a typical day like for each of you?

Ralph: Those two fight like cats and dogs. I usually sit atop the bookcase and offer play-by-play.

Truffles: Catherine the Great, why such a regal name?

Catherine the Great: What else would I be named, given my owner’s pedigree? I’m the namesake of the greatest empress the world has ever known. It’s most befitting. Flora couldn’t possibly have named me anything else.

Manifesto: How about Her Royal Hairball?

Truffles: Ralph, how did you learn Shakespeare?

Ralph: Anastasia’s great-aunt was a professor of Shakespearian literature, and I’d regularly accompany her to class. After decades of sitting in on her lectures, I became somewhat of a Bard scholar myself.

Catherine the Great: Big deal! If you were truly intelligent, you’d quote Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, not a sham playwright who may or may not even have existed. Besides, as Truffles knows, cats are far superior to birds.

Truffles: Manifesto, why are you called a devil dog?

Manifesto (sighing a huge doggie sigh): Everyone hates me. I’m really not such a bad sort of bulldog once you get to know me. My growl is far worse than my bite. It’s taken some time, but by the end of Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the third book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, Anastasia and I embark (no pun intended) on a détente of sorts. But I won’t say more because I don’t believe in spoilers.

Truffles: Do any of you assist Anastasia in solving the mysteries that she finds herself mixed up in?

Manifesto: Like I said, I don’t believe in spoilers. However, I will say Anastasia definitely owes me—big time.

Truffles: What would you consider your craziest adventure and do you know what is coming up for you?

Catherine the Great: Well, there was that time the loan shark—

Manifesto: No spoilers!

Catherine the Great: But she asked!

Ralph: Tell her to read the books. Meanwhile, we never know what author Lois Winston will throw at us until she writes it. It’s not like she consults with us ahead of time. Of course, if she were smart, she would.


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 non-fiction 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.

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com
Twitter @anasleuth.

The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series overview: Anastasia Pollack’s comfortable middle-class life comes crashing down around her when her husband, Karl Marx Pollack, dies suddenly, and she discovers his well-hidden gambling addiction. Karl leaves her with two teenage sons, no savings, enormous debt, and Lucille, the communist mother-in-law from Hell. While attempting to dig her way out of debt, Anastasia keeps stumbling over dead bodies, forcing her to become a reluctant amateur sleuth. Each book also features craft projects that relate in some way to the plot. Titles to date include Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and Decoupage Can Be Deadly. In addition, there are three novelettes in the series—Crewel Intentions, Mosaic Mayhem, and Patchwork Peril—which are available individually or together in the Crafty Crimes anthology.

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun
Book 1 in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series

When Anastasia Pollack’s husband permanently cashes in his chips at a roulette table in Vegas, her comfortable middle-class life craps out. She’s left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, and her hateful, cane-wielding Communist mother-in-law. Not to mention stunned disbelief over her late husband’s secret gambling addiction, and the loan shark who’s demanding fifty thousand dollars.

Anastasia’s job as crafts editor at American Woman magazine proves no respite when she discovers a dead body glued to her desk chair. The victim, fashion editor Marlys Vandenburg, collected enemies and ex-lovers like Jimmy Choos on her ruthless climb to editor-in-chief. But when evidence surfaces of an illicit affair between Marlys and Anastasia’s husband, Anastasia becomes the prime suspect.

Buy Links
Google Play

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, April 27th for your chance to win an e-copy of any of the books in the series (with the exception of Revenge of the Crafty Corpse).


Karen B said...

This sounds like an hilariouis series that I've somehow missed. I think it's time to change that!


The Island Cats said...

The mom hasn't heard of this book series. She needs to check it out. Another fine interview, Truffles!

Harbinger said...

I've also seemed to have missed this one. Thanks for the heads up!

pilch92 said...

Great interview, as always :) Sounds like an interesting series.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Truffles (and Melissa)! Wow, what a menagerie! I hadn't heard of this author/series, either. Sounds like lots happening and never a dull moment! patucker54 (at aol dot com)

Debbie S said...

I had not heard of this series and it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the chance to win. I loved the interview.
momzillasteel at gmail dot com

Lois Winston said...

Thank you Karen, The Island Cats, Harbinger, pilch92, Patricia and Debbie, for stopping by. I hope you will give the series a try. If you do, I'd love to know what you think.

Unknown said...

Between the animals and their attitudes and a dead body glued to a chair (!), this sounds like a really good read!
libbydodd at comcast dot net

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Libby!

Robin said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun. The characters are quite a hoot! I bet the mystery part of it is a real nail biter. I'm not sure I can look at my glue gun the same way again. MOL
-Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

Lois Winston said...

Thanks for stopping by, Robin, and watch out for that glue gun! ;-)

Angela Adams said...

These pets are a riot. I had my chuckle for the day! Thanks!!

Lois Winston said...

Glad I could make you laugh, Angela!

bookwomen said...

These interviews always make me laugh. I wonder what my cats think of their names?

Thanks for the laugh
gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

Lois Winston said...

I love making people laugh, Bookwomen! Glad I could give you one.

Sue said...

I've got to get started on this series---these 3 diverse animals must make for some super reading! And the supporting characters sure seem to be quirky enough. Thanks for the contest.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Sue! I hope you enjoy the books. Let me know what you think once you start reading.

cyn209 said...

this series is one that's been on my WishList FOR.EVER.!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com