Monday, November 28, 2011

A Visit with Anne K. Albert

Greetings, friends. Today’s guest blogger on THE JOY OF STORY is Anne K. Albert. As you know if you’re following this blog these days, this blogsite and yours truly are participating in a 15-day whirlwind tour called MURDER WE WRITE. All of us here on the tour bus are grateful to Anne for organizing this tour and making it move along so smoothly. She’s a great tour guide!

Anne K. Albert’s award winning stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. A member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and married to her high school sweetheart for more than a quarter of a century, it's a given she'd write mystery and romantic suspense. When not writing she loves to travel, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her cherished and much beloved Kindle 3G!

By the way, some recent-breaking news: Anne’s novel, DEFENDING GLORY, was chosen by iBookBuzz to be Book of the Month of November 2011 in the Inspirational Category. Congratulations, Anne! And welcome to THE JOY OF STORY!

John: Anne, welcome aboard!

Anne: Thanks for featuring me today, John. It’s Day 4 of the second 2011 Mystery We Write Blog Tour and I’m thrilled to be here. I understand you’ve got a few questions and want to interrogate, um, I mean, interview me. Let’s do it!

John: What is the relationship between fiction and truth?

Anne: Fiction is often based on reality, but unlike the real world and its truths fiction has to make sense. Mystery readers, in particular, read to experience a story world where justice prevails and the villain gets his comeuppance. It’s a perfect world order!

John: We’re often advised to write about what we know about. How does this work for the mild-mannered mystery writer who never saw a corpse or has never been hassled by the cops?

Anne: Okay, who told you I squirm at the sight of blood?! Was it that nurse? The one who giggled when I looked away as she took a blood sample?
Seriously. She had no right to tell on me. So yes, that’s a true story, and I’m a wimp in real life. Still, I murder people, bury their bodies, all in the name of mystery.

One of my favorite quotes about this disconnect between the real person and the writer is attributed to W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe (on which the movie Field of Dreams was based). He basically said you don’t have to commit suicide to write about it.

Let me repeat that. You don’t have to commit suicide to write about it.

I agree!

That said, I also believe each writer chooses the genre that best fits their personality. I write cozy mysteries and sweet romantic suspense stories with a sprinkle of humor. Bottom line, I write the kinds of stories I enjoy reading. Because I don’t want explicit or graphic details in the books I read, I do not include them in my books. The intimate, graphic and horrific stuff that happens in the real world occurs behind closed doors in my stories. I have to stay true to myself.

John: Are you proud of your style? If so (and let’s hope so!), why? What’s special about the way you use language?

Anne: I wish I knew! Seriously. I just put words to paper, then revise and edit until my eyes bleed. (Slight exaggeration, but you get the picture.) Thank goodness my readers and reviewers like what I’ve done.

Here’s one reader’s comment: “Anne K. Albert's clean and precise style is a refreshing change from the clutter of other writers. Her wit shines through this lightly suspenseful novel and her characters ring sweet and true. Can't wait to read more about Muriel, Frank and the rest of the gang.”

Diana Coyle at Night Owl Reviews said, “This author knows how to entertain her readers and keeps them wanting to turn the page to see what happens next. If you’re looking for a story with a little bit of humor, a whole lot of suspense and plenty of insanity, then you’ve found the perfect story. I’m highly recommending this story to other readers and I’m definitely adding this book to my library. You won’t be disappointed buying this book or others penned by this author. Great job, Ms. Albert! Keep the stories coming!”

Frank, Incense and Muriel also received the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit. J

John: Wow. I am seriously impressed! You have earned credits and credibility. And while we’re riffing on the letter C, Can you name six essential ingredients of mystery plot that begin with C? (Extra credit for more C’s.)

Anne: What fun! Okay. Here goes. (1) Catalyst, (2) Character, (3) Conflict, (4) Challenge, (5) Change, (6) Consequences, (7) Clues, (8) Crisis. I’m sure there are more, but I’ll stop before I (8) Confuse everyone. ;-)

John: Which is more important to you as you write: memory, research, or imagination?

Anne: Imagination, hands down. I do my best to stay inside the character’s head. It’s important that I experience everything they see, hear, feel, taste and smell because like them I have no idea what will happen next. Yes, I am a pantser, and proud of it! Having said that, I’m certain the characters themselves don’t think of this as imaginary! It’s as real to them as it is to me. J

John: Tell us about Frank, Incense and Muriel. It sounds like a fine book to promote at this time of the year.

Anne: Frank, Incense and Muriel is the first book of my Muriel Reeves Mysteries. It’s the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with her sexy high school nemesis, now an even sexier private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse.

John: Good luck with the book, Anne, and with all you’re writing. Thanks for all you’ve shared with your friends and fans today, and thanks again for making Murder We Write such an enjoyable tour!

Anne: Thanks for featuring me today, John.  Readers can read a sample of Frank, Incense and Muriel here:

I’m also on Facebook and Twitter

I’d like to encourage readers to enter my comment-to-win contest.
CONTEST DETAILS: Three names will be selected at random from comments on all 14 of Anne’s Mystery We Write Blog Tour guest appearances. Winners will receive an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. Visit for her schedule and contest details. Good luck!

Meanwhile here’s a buy link for Frank, Incense and Muriel:

A final note from John: During the Mystery We Write Blog Tour, I will be keeping track of the comments left for the guests on my blog. After the tour, I'll draw one name out of a hat, and that lucky person will be given a copy of my new book, Behind the Redwood Door, as well as a copy of my short story collection, Generous Helpings. But I'll need to contact the winner, so if you're interested, leave your email address at the end of your comment.


  1. Wonderful title - sounds like Frank, Incense and Muriel as a little bit of everything to offer the reader.

  2. Thanks so much for featuring me today, John. One of the benefits of organizing a tour like this is being able to hang out with authors I would not likely have met otherwise. It's a win/win situation in my eyes!

  3. Hi Pat,
    I've very proud of Frank, Incense and Muriel. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Glad you could be here, Anne. And thanks again for making this tour so much fun!

  5. Anne, your latest book sounds so clever. Please enter my name in your drawing so I have a chance to win a copy. Otherwise, I'll have to buy it, because now I HAVE to read it. I agree with your philosophy--I don't want a lot of gore on the book's pages.

  6. I loved this interview--the questions and your answers, Anne.

  7. Great interview, John! "Frank, Incense and Muriel" is going on my must read list.
    Anne made the point that fiction has to make sense, unlike the real world. That, in a mystery especially, it's a perfect world order.
    I think that's what has always drawn me to the mystery genre, in addition to the suspense, of course. I like my ducks in a row and, in a mystery, I know that all the loose ends will be tied up by the end of the book. Lovely!

  8. Congratulations, Anne, on your Book of the Month Award! Soon you'll have to put up a new self just for your awards. Serves you right for being so good.

  9. Ooops. Make that a new "shelf" instead of a new "self." Your current self is just fine as is, Anne.

  10. Thanks for dropping by, folks, and sharing my enthusiasm for Anne's writing. Earl, maybe it would be good to put up a new self to collect all the awards. Let the new self do the traveling and make the speeches.

  11. John, loved your questions and Anne's answers. I especially loved, " don't have to commit suicide to write about it..."

  12. Very good interview! I'm currently reading Anne's book and it certainly deserves the great reviews, awards and kudos that have come her way.

  13. Anne: I had a buying spree the other night and I think yours was one that has made it to my kindle but haven't had a spare moment to open it. If it wasn't in the spree, it will make the next one.
    Great interview to the both of you.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  14. Great interview and great book. I agree, Anne, there's too much drama in real life. I'd rather read a book that entertains me and presents a mystery without the over-the-top graphic stuff. :)

  15. Congrats on the iBookBuzz pick! Love your answer about fiction and truth.

  16. So great you pointed out, you don't have to commit suicide to write about it! Actually, for me, part of the fun is imagining what it's like to do things I'd never actually do...

    Thoughtful post, Anne, I enjoyed.


  17. Interesting post. What you know can sometimes be what you imagine.

    boots9k at wowway dot com

  18. Again, thanks for your comments, folks. It's a pleasure to host not only Anne, but all Anne's fans.

  19. Love your book's title, Anne. And it sounds like lots of fun. Must add it to my TBR alp!

  20. Hi Caroline, I like to write what I read, and I read to be entertained. I want light, funny, fast-paced, a dead body but no blood, a little get the picture!

    Btw, consider youself entered in the draw!

  21. Thank you, Marilyn. That means so much coming from you!

  22. Hi Patricia, that sense or order is why I write what I do...well, that and my NEED to have things in my life make sense. Obviously, that's difficult if not impossible to achieve, but when I write, well, hey, I'm in charge. I can make it happen, and I do!

    I hope you enjoy reading Frank, Incense and Muriel as much as I did writing it.

  23. Oh, Earl, you are so sweet. Writing two series is a lot more work that I ever imagined, and promoting the two is a real challenge. But, as for my current 'self'...I just wish I could writer faster, or have 48 hour days!

  24. That comment about suicide really resonated with me, Jackie, mainly because the usual suggestion of writing what you know never quite made sense to me!

  25. Thank you, Jean. Re the interview, I have to give John the credit for asking such terrific questions!

  26. It's always music to my ears, W.S., when I hear the words Kindle and my book in the same sentence! Thank you. :) Happy reading!

  27. Hi Marja, I've never understood why someone reads a book that depresses, terrifies or haunts them. I've also never understood HOW they can walk away when they reach the end and then forget it.

    I can't. Those feelings, images and passages are seared inside my head. Forever.

    Thank goodness I've learned to be selective. It's called self-preservation!

  28. Thank you, Jenny! So glad you dropped by today.

  29. That's exactly how I feel, Madeline. There's no way I could ever experience everything in one lifetime, but as a writer, well, hey, I can at least try!

  30. Imagination is everything, boots. I recently read a fascinating article about all of these scientists and inventors who saw things on Star Trek as a child and thought, hey, why not! If we imagine something, it can be very real.

  31. Thanks, Alice, and thank you, John, for featuring me today.

    Much appreciated, and as always, happy reading!

  32. Anne, thanks again for being here. And thanks to all your many, many friends and fans, who commented with such appreciation of your writing!