Today we sit down for a chat with cozy mystery and kid lit author Marilyn Levinson aka Allison Brook. Learn more about her and her books at her website and at the Writers Who Kill blog on the third Thursday of every month.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
When I was in elementary school.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
A few years.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Where do you write?
In my office.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Silence is golden.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
None of my plots and characters are drawn from real life, though my settings are often based on real places.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I run a few names through my mind when I introduce a character. If none suit, I look up names in a book of names and try those out. Of course, I try not to have too many starting with the same letter.
Real settings or fictional towns?
My main setting is a fictional town, though I place it among real towns.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
I don't know if communicating with a ghost is considered quirky, but Carrie Singleton, my sleuth in my Haunted Library series, can see and talk to the ghost of Evelyn Havers when no one else but her little cousin can.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I pile too much onto my "to do" list and end up writing late in the afternoon.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
No book comes to mind.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish my writing career would have taken off earlier in my life, though I'm not sure what I would have done differently to have made that happen.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Receiving several requests for money every day from charities because charities I gave to sold my name to other charities. All those trees cut down. All that garbage.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Books to read, something to write on, a few outfits to change into.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Working in the back section of a bank.
Who’s your all-time favorite literary character (any genre)? Why?
Robin Hood. He's a romantic figure who leads a group of men, has Maid Marion as his love interest, and can't be caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Ocean or mountains?
I like both—at a distance.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I'm a suburban girl.
What’s on the horizon for you?
A new series after my next Haunted Library mystery comes out next fall.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I'm still writing children's books, too. The second in my Rufus series and my YA horror, The Devil’s Pawn, will be out in 2024. I'll soon be starting a new cozy mystery series, too.
Overdue or Die
A Haunted Library Mystery, Book 7
Carrie Singleton has more than her fair share on her plate: her job at the Clover Ridge Library, preparing for her wedding to Dylan Avery, and hoping that the local art gallery doesn’t steal away one of her part-time employees. Her fiancé Dylan accompanies her to the beautiful home of Victor Zalinka—art collector and successful businessman—to select paintings for an art show at the library. While Carrie muses that Victor's home would be the perfect wedding venue, Dylan spots a forgery among the paintings in Victor's collection.
Then Martha Mallory is found murdered in her art gallery. With the assistance of Evelyn, the library ghost; the resident cat, Smoky Joe; and the office manager of Dylan’s private investigation company, Carrie comes up with a suspect list long enough to rival the size of an encyclopedia. During her investigation, Carrie stumbles across a terrible truth: Martha’s murder was part of something far bigger and more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. And it all leads back to the art gallery.