Friday, January 28, 2011

And my latest encounter with an (ex) nun- My interview with Alice Loweecey

** So this time I can't embarrass myself too much-- dear Alice knows exactly what flavor of spaz I am--

Welcome Alice! First off, introduce yourself-

I’m a former nun who went from the convent to playing prostitutes on stage to accepting my husband’s marriage proposal on the second date. All true! After all, I know where you end up when you tell lies. One of the perks of being “on the inside” for awhile.

So, I have to ask the question that everyone is dying to know. Do you play guitar and will you frolic through the hills singing Do-Re-Mi with me?

No, no, a thousand times, no! Well, yes to the first part—I do play guitar. It was almost an unwritten rule back in the days of Folk Masses. But any mention of The Sound of Music makes flames shoot out of my ears. Trust me when I say that the convent is nothing like that or Sister Act. For example: Think about living with 95 women who are all on the rag at the same time. Most men I know would run away screaming like little girls. There’s something to the phrase “only the strong survive.”

What brought you to writing?

I started writing by age 9. I had so many ideas for stories that I had to put them on paper. Fortunately for my career, the internet didn’t exist then, and all those youthful gems are lost for good. Now I know how to plot and edit, thank God.

It's kinda impossible to ignore the shared experience between you and your MC --In Force of Habit How much of Alice is there in Guilia?

Not much. I’m more self-confident than she is and have far fewer hang-ups. I also didn’t turn to Cosmo magazine for a crash course in male-female interaction when I jumped the wall. That’s probably a good thing for the real world. For Giulia’s world, I like her well-intentioned cluelessness in using it as a study guide. Of course, I had to re-learn how to dress and put on makeup and wear heels. My ankles hated me for a few weeks. I didn’t wear anything black for a few years—wearing it 24/7 got a little old.

What books inspire you?

HP Lovecraft was my first real inspiration. Even though he was a bigot and a snob, he created some of the creepiest fiction I’ve ever read. I love Patricia Wentworth’s books too. She wrote mystery with a little romance, and her books are always a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. When you combine such polar opposites, you get something weird… in other words, me.

Since you don't strike me as a gamer-girl, What kind of research did you do on MMPOG's?

I’ve never played an online game in my life—but I work with a hardcore gamer. I tapped his expertise and did a bunch of online research. Then I asked him to beta the chapter. Fortunately I learned quickly and he gave my gaming scenes his approval.

Anything you'd like to share?

Never give up! Never surrender!

Back in 2006, I had a finished novel that I thought was All That. A thorough critique by a published writer cured me of that. (She and I are friends to this day, despite the fact that she writes sweet Christian fiction and that particular novel was my religious horror, which one critiquer refused to read while alone in the house.)

In 2007, after 2 complete rewrites and invaluable help from the regulars on the Absolute Write Water Cooler, I began querying. I found a new agent who loved the book. A year later, that agent quit the business and I was back to square one. However, I had three complete novels by this time and several layers of rhino hide. I was ready to hit the query trail again.

That was in September of 2008. I researched every agency that represented one of the genres of my books (mystery, paranormal, and horror). I sent out queries in batches of six, ready to send a new query out for every rejection or non-response. I gave each query three months. If I heard nothing by that time, I assumed it was a pass and crossed them off my list. This turned into roller-coaster time. I got requests for partials and fulls. I also got form rejections on requested fulls (ouch!). I got two offers to revise and resubmit on two different books. I had one agent love my characters and another say they were bland. It truly is a subjective business.

Then in spring of 2009, I sent a "Why not?" query to Kent D. Wolf, an agent whose list of sales and genres he was seeking looked interesting. The next day, he called to request the full of the mystery. (Agents don't normally call for that. I was a bit startled.) Two days later, he called to discuss the book, the characters, the convent, and how I felt about revising. (Is the sky blue? Of course I was willing to revise!) Two days after that, he called to offer representation.

Six days. Okay, four years, 185 rejections, and six days.

The professional is an amateur that didn’t quit. AKA: me.

The MI Website has a sneak peek:

Force of Habit on Midnight Ink Books

Here’s her website

And her FB

And her Twitter


Other Lisa said...

I sense a B&N visit in my near future! I love reading mysteries and this sounds like a real winner. Thanks for the interview, Lela and Alice!

Tracey said...

Fabulous interview! Bought my copy today, and can't wait until it arrives.

Donna Cummings said...

I've been looking forward to this book for a long time -- can't wait to get my copy. Mmm. Maybe this Sunday. LOL

Congrats, Alice. You've been an inspiration to so many of us.

Alice Loweecey said...

Thanks, everyone! Lela, this was a fun interview. :)

Lela Gwenn said...

Can I just say that I LURV the idea of a "Call of Cthulu" reading nun??