Alice K. Arenz not only writes classic romantic suspense, she also writes cozy mysteries under A.K. Arenz. The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, was a finalist in ACFW’s 2009 Book of the Year contest. The second in The Bouncing Grandma Mystery Series, The Case of the Mystified M.D., was a 2010 ACFW Carol Award Winner!
Welcome to Novel Journey, how long did it take you to get published?
Thanks for having me. As to how long did it take for me to get published, I’d have to say the majority of my life. I’ve been writing since I was around twelve – I’m considerably older now. I began to work seriously toward publication in the mid-1970’s, had an agent with a big New York literary agency for five years during the 1990’s, quit writing for almost seven years, joined ACFW around 2003, and got my first book, The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, published in 2008.
Do you think an author is born or made?
I believe it’s a little of both. God hands out the gifts/talents, but it’s what we as individuals do that either enhances those gifts or not. We can’t just expect everything we need to be handed to us – at least I don’t think we do. I’ve had to learn a lot, and figure there’s even more left to learn.
What is the first book you remember reading?
I had some books that were accompanied with records where you would follow along in the book and when a “ping” sounded, it was time to turn the page. One of those that really stick out in my mind is CINDERELLA. I think I was about five years old, and remember listening to it while I was sitting at the kitchen table. Awesome memory!
What common qualities do you find in the personalities of published authors?
We’re always learning, always striving to improve our craft.
What is the theme of your latest book?
I’m not sure there is an actual theme. It’s a mystery/suspense written with the hope that it will entertain the reader, make them feel happy about the time and money invested in reading it.
At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?
In the mid 90s I took a class called Creative Writing in Fiction at a nearby university. One of the things I walked away with was that if you truly wanted to write, if it’s what you felt you were called to do, you had to trust your gut. Sometimes relying on critiques and such can stifle you—but that’s something each individual has to decide.
Are takeaway messages (in your book) important to you?
Like I said, my biggest hope is that the book entertains.
When do you know you’ve got the finished product and it’s your best effort?
When I read back through it and I get that “Ahhhhhh” feeling.
Any anecdotes about the research or writing of your books?
I honestly hate researching – though I’ve learned the necessity of doing it. Since I’m a seat-of the-pants-er, I love the thrill of discovery as I write.
How would you pitch this book to your intended audience?
By using the one-liner : Their faces were the same. Will their fates be as well?”
If you like mystery/suspense, romantic suspense, you’ll enjoy MIRRORED IMAGE.
Thanks for having me today. I’ve really enjoyed it.