Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fallen Angels Book Club by Rae James/ a PICT VBTour Showcase with review, author interview and GiveAway

Good Morning Peeps!    This morning I have an interview with R Franklin James regarding her new book, The Fallen Angels Book Club.  Please welcome Rae to the blog this morning:

When did you know you were born to write?

I know people might be tired of hearing how authors starting writing in the attic when they were two years old.  Well, it’s true for me—except the age two part. I was eight. I didn’t know that I was born to write, I just knew that I loved words and storytelling, and that’s what writers did.  So, I wanted to be a writer.
Who influenced you in becoming the author you are today?
I was and am a rabid reader, so I from the start I was influenced by a plethora of authors from Nancy Drew, to 1001 Arabian Nights; from F.Scott Fitzgerald to Ayn Rand and P.D. James. I love to read and the power of words intrigues me to this day. I’m still being influenced.
What was your favorite book and author as a child?
I loved the Secret Garden and Grimms Fairy Tales.
Who do you read now?
Right now I’m reading Harlen Coben, Simon Wood, and Alice Loweecy. I just finished Chris Pavone’s debut novel, The Expats.
Do you read as much as you write?
Yes, except when I have a writing deadline when I don’t read as much as I would like. But all things equal—it’s 50/50.
If you could meet any author of past or present, who would it be?
I would love to be a member of an author’s salon. I would sit at the feet and listen to the words of PD James, Harlan Coben, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, and John Grisham,
What would you ask them?
What is the best way to capture subtleties of character in words and gestures? What is your source of metaphor?
What made you select your genre (which is?)
I write traditional mysteries with an amateur detective protagonist because it’s what I like to read. I’m a long time puzzle solver.
How did you conceive the idea for The Fallen Angels Book Club?
The idea for the Fallen Angels Book Club came from an online writing course I took. Participants were spread out all over the globe. Class was underway when somewhere around week three the response comments of one member started to become more and more disgruntled moving quickly to agitation and hostility.  Finally, he (or she) threatened violence on us all. 
Well, for a mystery writer this material was gold.  My imagination took off. Suppose our unhappy student was a sociopath? Suppose instead of a writer he was a reader and a member of a book club? I wanted to push it further suppose this wasn’t just an ordinary book club—it was a book club of society’s fringe element, ex-felons?
My heroine was a little trickier to develop.  I wanted her to be likable but clearly imperfect and she had to be an ex-felon with the determination to turn her life around. 

And Hollis Morgan was born.
What advice would you share with a would be writer?
Write because you love to write and you want others to hear your voice. Don’t write because you think it will bring you money, fame or, notice – write because you cannot imagine living life without writing.
Do you write with background noise or silence?
I usually write with background noise of some sort.  However, I also write in silence. Now that I think about it, I guess I’m not picky. I write whenever and wherever I can.
Describe your writing area, please.
I took a small spare bedroom and converted into my office. I have a desk with a stack of articles in one corner and my computer in the other. I sit with my back to a very large distracting window. Along one long wall is a floor to ceiling overflowing bookshelf.  There are short stacks of reference books surround my desk, so that I always have to step around them. Sitting on a chest on the other long wall is a television. It’s a bit of a mess, actually but I usually de-clutter before it gets out of hand. 
Who is the first person you share the written word with?
I’m the member of a critique group and I have friends and fellow writers who are my “first readers.”
Can you tell us a little about your current WIP?
I am working on Sticks & Stones, the second in the three book Hollis Morgan series which started with the Fallen Angels Book Club.  In it Hollis Morgan is waiting to get her California Bar scores when she is approached by her best friend a freelancer for a tabloid, to help her defend against a libel suit.  But Hollis soon finds herself pursuing a killer who had plenty of reason to make sure that the truth isn’t an option.
Happy endings, surprise endings, or cliffhangers?
Surprise Endings
What is your ultimate goal with your writing(s)?
To develop a strong following of readers who read my books because they love a good mystery as much as I do.
Thank you for being with us today, Rae and good fortune with your writings!
The Fallen Angels Book Club by R Franklin James on Tour June 1st - July 31st 2013

Book Details Genre: Mystery / Amateur Dective Published by: Camel Press Publication Date: May 1, 2013 Number of Pages: 264 ISBN: 1603819177 / 978-1603819176 Purchase Links: 
Synopsis:  The Fallen Angels Book Club has only two requirements: the members must love books and have a white-collar criminal record. Hollis Morgan fits the bill. Left holding the bag in an insurance fraud scheme concocted by her now ex-husband, she served her time and is trying to rebuild her life. All she wants is for the court to pardon her conviction so she can return to law school. After one of her fellow members is murdered in a scenario straight out of a club selection, Hollis is once again the subject of police scrutiny. Refusing to get stuck with another bad rap, she sets out to investigate her fellow club members. Is one of them really blackmailing the others? As a second member dies in yet another book-inspired murder, Hollis realizes that time is running out. Everything rides on her finding the killer--not just her career aspirations. She must identify the killer before she herself becomes the next victim. Everyone is convinced she knows more than she lets on. But what is it, exactly, that is she supposed to know?

From My Perspective:

I found The Fallen Angels Book Club a delightful read.   It certainly contained mystery, murder and mayhem and the only thing in common with the crimes was our heroine Hollis Morgan.   Hollis became a fairly strong character, frightened that she would be the one charged with the murders although she knew she hadn't committed them; but then a few years back, she went to jail in lieu of her ex husband Bill Linley.    She was an innocent, and he was excessively guilty and free.   I had not figured out who was behind the crimes; I like a book that keeps me guessing!

I found the characters believable and privately paranoid as any ex-felon tends to be.   Their lack of trust in one another was just what you might expect.   What I didn't expect was an ex-husband who kept showing up in Hollis's life, although she wanted nothing more to do with him; a family who had disowned her due to the guilty verdict and the fine folks that did believe in her and supported her in her efforts to obtain a pardon.

Like any good mystery, there was a mystery within a mystery and I found her exchanges with the older folks at the center refreshing and decidedly touching.   Fortunately, there wasn't a lot of gore in describing the murder victims and that was refreshing to my mind's eye.   However, the reader could feel Hollis's fear with each event and her determination to clear her name.    Very well written and very well thought out!   Well done Ms James, well done!

Read an excerpt:
Tonight it was my turn to come early and set up the space for our book club meeting. Our monthly gatherings were held in a small windowless conference room adjacent to the San Isidro Library’s main reading area. The Fallen Angels Book Club was an exclusive group, not only a love of books was required. You also had to be a white collar ex-felon. I rubbed my hands together and peeled off gloves. My fingers felt like icicles. Thank goodness someone remembered to turn on the heat. The door opened and a gush of wind blew a cluster of leaves into the room along with Gene Donovan who tossed his hoodie and a small brown leather “man purse” onto one of the folding chairs. “Hollis, let me help you with that.” His tousled blond hair was more askew than usual. Placing his book on the floor, he came over to where I struggled to roll out the meeting table. “Appreciate it.” I straightened my back and allowed him to carry the bulk of the table’s weight. Fortunately, when I was with Gene, we didn’t have to speak. I caught a glance at his manicured nails and tucked mine into my palms. I liked Gene. He wasn’t afraid to show his feminine side. We took special care not to drag the metal chair legs across the glowing veneer of the hardwood floor. Its beauty came from the handiwork of the night cleaning crew who waited for us to leave so they could begin their labor. We settled into our chairs when Rory Norris strode in, let the door slam and dumped his books on the table. His hazel eyes did a sweep across the room as if expecting an ambush. A few more pounds had crept onto his already thickening frame. Rory patted his black leather jacket as he laid it over the chair. “Hey, people, did you notice if they lock the gates to the parking lot? My Beemer just got detailed and I don’t want some neighborhood juvenile mistaking it for a marker board.” “Nice touch, Norris, letting us know you got a new BMW.” Richard Kleh came in pulled off his knitted skull cap, revealing an emerging bald crown. He nodded toward the door. “Go check for yourself. Hey, Hollis, did you finish the read?” “Of course. You’re the one who never finishes a book.” “Well, I finished this one. It had me going until the end. The characters were realistic and…and…” “Memorable?” I could tell from his frown he wasn't kidding.

Author Bio: 

R. Franklin James was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and completed the masters program in Public Policy at California State University East Bay. She has also received her paralegal certification. She and her husband live in northern California with their English Springer Spaniel, Bailey.

Catch Up With Ms. James:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a complimentary copy from the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.


CMash said...

Loved, loved this post! Great interview and superb review. Thank you for sharing with us.

R. Franklin James said...

As a debut author, thank you for the supportive and encouraging review. I enjoy reading your blog and as a reader and a writer I find it very informative.

R. Franklin James

Michele Drier said...

"Fallen Angels Book Club" sounds like a good read! I love strong women protagonists and mysteries with a lot of twists. Glad there will be more of Hollis.

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

My favourite book of all is Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. It tells an amazing story of the Great Leap Forward in China. It is an amazing story of life under Chair Mao.
Wow, a read you will not forget.