Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview and Two Book Giveaway with Alice Arenz

Congratulations to Ginger winner of "The Case of the Mystified M. D."
Nancee winner of "Mirrored Image"
a young woman is shown looking at her reflection. mascara is running down her face
Eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase and by-the-book Detective Jeff McMichaels clash over the murder investigation of Lynette Sandler -- a woman who looks eerily like the popular columnist. The uncanny similarities of the two women's lives and a rash of attacks on Cassie, lead her to the conclusion
that she, not Lynette Sandler, was the murderer's original mark. For McMichaels, the Sandler case becomes more than just a test of his mental acumen. Despite departmental regulations and his own common sense, he finds himself drawn to a woman he was determined to dislike.
a dog is shown on the cover amidst the backdrop of rolling hills
First a foot, now a hand. What body part is next? When her puppy finds a severed hand on a walking trail, Glory Harper is positive the signet ring belongs to a missing college professor who caused a lot of trouble around town before he disappeared. With her sister, Jane, overwhelmed by trouble with her fiance and an arson fire in her home, Glory determines to uncover the identity of the murderer in spite of objections from Detective Rick Spencer. She soon latches onto an unlikely partner, and in short order the feisty grandma is
awash in secrets, blackmail, and arson. She feels as though she's stepped into the Twilight Zone--where nothing is as it appears and danger lurks around every corner . . . including from Spencer himself. Will Glory--and her relationship with Spencer--survive another murder case?
author Alice Arenz

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
First I’d like to say hi to all those who read this blog. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. Thanks, Debbie.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid—always wanted to have the opportunity to have my work
published. It took a lot of twists and turns, along with a lot of learning and relearning, AND unlearning bad habits, before my dream came to fruition with the publication of my first book in 2008,
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma. It was followed in 2009 with the second in
the Bouncing Grandma Mysteries, The Case of the Mystified M.D., and in 2010 of a more serious mystery/suspense, Mirrored Image. Each of the books were ACFW Carol Award
finalists with The Case of the Mystified M.D. winning the award in 2010.

I’m a wife, the mother of two beautiful grown daughters, and grandmother to four totally
awesome kidlets ranging from 3-14.

Have you always enjoyed reading and writing?
Yes, I have. I was a voracious reader when I was a kid—and am sometimes that way now.
Reading set my imagination flying. It made me want to create stories that would fascinate me—and especially others. And when I discovered Christian fiction, that building a story around my faith, without being preachy, knew it was exactly what God wanted from me.

What was your journey to publication like?
Starting in the early 70s, I spent a lot of time studying Writer’s Digest and Writer’s
, searching for publishers and agents who might be open to receiving
unsolicited material. At first, all I ever got was a standard rejection letter. But as I learned more and worked
harder, I started to get little handwritten notes at the bottoms of the rejections offering suggestions and encouragement.

I signed with a New York literary agency in the mid 90s, and was with the agent for five years before
deciding it wasn’t working. I spent the next several years believing I’d never write again. Then I read a Brandilyn Collins suspense and ultimately got involved with ACFW. I met the future owner of Sheaf House shortly after joining ACFW. Several years later when she formed Sheaf House, she actually asked me to submit my manuscripts—which were the three ultimately published by Sheaf House.

Though my first three books were sold without one, what I really need now is an agent. I’d love to find someone who would look at my background (not sales, since publishing with a small press don’t produce much of those). With three Carol finalists and one Carol win, it’s my hope and prayer that someone will think I’m worth taking on as a client.

Your first books were cozy mysteries and your last one, Mirrored Image, was a romantic suspense. How different were they to write?
Actually, they weren’t all that much different. Mirrored Image is more a
mystery/suspense or even a “classic romantic suspense”—as in more like the old
form of the genre in the days of Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, and such. The basis of the cozy is still the
mystery. It just has a bit more humor and is, well, cozy.

When my more serious mystery/suspense manuscripts weren’t going anywhere, I tried my
hand at a cozy—which is how The Case of the Bouncing Grandma came into being.
It was fun and appealed to folks at the time. I’ve been told that cozies aren’t selling
now, though.

Why did you choose to write mysteries?
I have always enjoyed a good mystery and suspense. It’s what I like to read as well as the genre that I prefer for movies and TV. I love to laugh, and when you join the comedy with the puzzle of a mystery, that’s the best—like the TV program Psych.

Alice, I know you've had some illnesses in your family and have put your writing on hold for now, but do you have any ideas for books in the future?
Things are hard for people all over the country. And like so many others, my husband was
laid off fourteen months ago. Between that and my own chronic illnesses and some recent developments in the health of my daughters, worry has never been far from our door. We recently lost our twelve year old
Himalayan cat to a fast-growing cancer, which added to the stress.

As for more books . . . my book An American Gothic was originally scheduled to be released October 2011, but the publisher changed their mind and it’s not even on the back burner. I would love to find a home
for it as well as another couple books involving the characters in Mirrored Image. I’ve also got a Women’s Fiction novel about spousal abuse nearly finished. But, as I said, first I need to procure an agent. ;)

What advice would you give writers who are on their own journey to publication?
Make certain this is really the road you want to go down. If you think writing your manuscript is
difficult, you’d better rethink the process. But if you feel God is leading you to this destination, then remember to keep studying and keep praying.

Alice, thank you so much for visiting with us. You are special to me, and I love your books. I can't wait for the next one. Since I have Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness, I understand how it affects our writing. It might take you a little longer, but it will be worth the wait.  :)

1. Become a follower or sign up as a follower.
2. Sign up to follow Sleuths and Suspects by email.
3. Tell us your favorite genre of mystery.
4. Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.
The contest will be open until April 20th. Thank you for stopping by. We love our followers!


  1. Prayer for your family, Alice.

    I love romantic suspense. Danger, impossible circumstances, and love, what could be better?


  2. Mysteries are my favorite genre, especially the legal mysteries as I have a paralegal degree. But I love the romance mysteries as the romantic tension is just as important, to me, as the mystery itself.

    I am a follower by GFC.

    I subscribe by email.

    I can only congratulate Alice for her tenacity in writing and finding an agent and publisher. I'm not a writer, but I know doing all the above are difficult. You have to want to write and publish to keep following through. Glad you persued your dreams. Will be praying for you and your family. I, too, suffer from fibromyalgia and finances are tight because because so many computer jobs are overseas.

  3. Hi Ginger. Thank you for stopping by. Romantic Suspense is my second favorite to Cozies. I think after I finish my cozy series, I'm going to try my hand at a romantic suspense.

    Linda thank you so much for your kind words. I know Alice appreciate thems. Since you have fibromyalgia I know you can relate to chronic illness. Thank you for stopping by!

    Debbie Malone

  4. Alice,
    So glad you stopped by and shared with us today.

    It's great to get to know you better. What a great cover to Mirrored Image, and your story sounds great. I hope you have much success with this story.


  5. I enjoy Romantic Suspense. I am a follower of Sleuths and Suspects, and receive the newsletter. Thank you for offering these special books!

  6. Alice,

    Thanks for stopping by.


  7. I love Alice Arenz! She has become my online BFF. :) And her books are awesome. I also love romantic suspense because, not coincidentally, that's what I write, too.

    Don't enter me in the contest as I already have her books.

    Love you, AK!

  8. Debbie here - Alice emailed me and said she had tried to leave a comment, but couldn't make it work. She wanted me to tell all of you how much she appreciates your support!

  9. I love romantic suspense and cozies.

    I signed up as a follower

    I signed up to follow Sleuths and Suspense as well


  10. I follow via GFC and email subscriber
    I love romantic suspense and cozies but also love mystery and some thrillers (not gross books). Can't wait to read Alice's books. She is new author for me.

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  11. I love mysteries...although not too much blood and guts!! Romantic mystery is first with me and second would be cozy. Thanks for the contest.

  12. I love the historical mysteries followed by classic mysteries. This book sounds like a great read.

    authorboyles at

  13. Comment by author Alice K. Arenz

    THANK YOU, ALL of you for your comments and especially your prayers. BTW, I don't do gory--mostly it is left to your imagination.
    God Bless & Happy Easter!

  14. I am a big fan of romantic suspense, but love all mysteries and suspense books. tishacleveland at bellsouth dot net

  15. As a voracious reader, too; a mystery lover; and a real-life newspaper columnist, "Mirrored Image" really piques my interest. It's always fun to hear of another writer's path to publication. Thank you for sharing your story!

  16. Thank you to everyone for stopping by. Looks like we're off to a good start. I've read Alice's books and you won't be disappointed with her work!
    Debbie Malone

  17. Thanks for introducing me to Alice. Both books sound very intriguing. pat at ptbradley dot com

  18. My favorite suspense novels are the Thriller ones. They are the ones I stay up late at night reading to see what is going to happen next.
    JFWisherd (at) aol(dot)com

  19. Love mystery, suspense then mix in romance and I am in heaven. I also like suspense & thrillers.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  20. Follow via GFC

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  21. Email subscriber

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Author Alice K. (A.K.) Arenz here!

    Thank you---all of you---for stopping by to read my interview. And THANK YOU, Debbie, for all the nice things you've said, and Sleuths & Suspects for hosting me!