Marilyn Levinson aka Allison Brook writes mystery, romantic suspense and young adult novels. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I was in the second or third grade. I’d even picked out a pseudonym. It was Brenda Something. I tried writing a mystery but didn’t get very far.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
A few years. My first published book, a novel for kids, came out in 1985 or ’86. Today it would be labeled a young YA. And Don’t Bring Jeremy received wonderful accolades. It was a nominee for six state awards. I thought everything I wrote after that would be published. How wrong I was. J
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I suppose I’m all three. I’ve been published by big companies, smaller ones, and I published one mystery myself. I’ve also republished a few novels.
Where do you write?
I write at my desk in my home office on a large-screen computer.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I write in silence. No music.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My plots and characters are not drawn from real life, as far as I know, and certainly not from my own life. It’s difficult to say where my ideas come from—I suppose a compilation of life, news, TV shows, books and one’s vivid imagination.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I try out a few names in my head, continue to write and see how that name suits my character. I’ve often made changes. Also, I try not to have two very similar names in one book, and I do my best to avoid having too many characters with names that begin with the same letter.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I create the town or village where my book takes place. However, the surrounding towns, points of interests, and shopping centers, etc. are real. Many of my mysteries take place on Long Island, where I live. However, Death Overdue takes place in Connecticut.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
One of my favorite characters is Cameron Leeds in Giving Up the Ghost. Cam is a ghost and can only manifest in the den of the cottage where he used to live, which pleases Gabbie, who now lives in the cottage, no end.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I have trouble settling down to write until the late afternoon.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I suppose that would be the Harry Potter series, because Joanne Rowling has created such a wonderful school full of traditions for Harry and his fellow magical classmates.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I’d started writing fiction ten years earlier than I did.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Getting criticized in a review for something a reader misunderstood.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Food to prepare tasty meals, books to read, and pen and paper to write on.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Working in the back room of a bank.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I love A Suitable By by Vikram Seth. It has 1,349 pages, and I wish he’d write a sequel.
Ocean or mountains?
I like both, but I’d take the mountains—like Machu Picchu.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Love to visit the city. Prefer to live in suburbia.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Read and Gone, the second book in the Haunted Library mystery series, has already gone to production and will be out in September. I hope to write more books in the series, start a new series, and try to get back to some of my older series.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I’m finally starting a newsletter! Please go to my website or contact me via FB to let me know if you’d like to receive it.
Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.
The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.