Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beverly Allen Interview and Giveaway

Author Beverly Allen was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions today. And Beverly is giving away a copy of her new book BLOOM AND DOOM scheduled for release on April 1 and available now for pre-order!

As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead. 

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…

For a chance to win a signed copy of BLOOM AND DOOM, enter by using Rafflecopter at the end of the interview.

You can find my review of BLOOM AND DOOM in a past blog posting. 

Note: One thing I didn't touch on with Beverly, (I was having a duh moment I believe) is something that fascinates me. In BLOOM AND DOOM she speaks of the language of flowers and gives the meaning of many. I've included a few examples throughout the interview and you'll find a link to Beverly's Pinterest where she has an extensive list. 

On to the interview and giveaway!

LKBR:  Who or what inspired you to become an author?

BA:  A lot of times you talk to writers, and they say things like, “I wrote my first book when I was three, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.” Well, that’s not me. I sneaked in the back door.

I have a rather convoluted career history. I graduated from engineering school with a diploma and a distaste for the job. The first things I wrote (except for research papers and some pretty riveting grocery lists) were puppet shows and Christmas programs when my husband was serving as the pastor of a small, country church. When he left that position, I discovered I really missed the writing.

For several months, I played around with fan fiction for Monk. (Remember the TV show Monk? I was nutty for it.)  I was pretty popular, too. I had fans numbering in the literal dozens. I was reading Lee Goldberg’s blog (he wrote the Monk tie-in novels at the time), and I saw this post ranting at fan fiction. The gist was, “If you think you’re so good, why not try something original?”

And it’s not that I thought I was that good. But the idea of trying something original both intrigued and terrified me. So I spent several years learning how to write.

The blue rose is the symbol of mystery

LKBR:  How did you come up with the idea for the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries?

BA:  Berkley has some great cozies. But one thing I didn’t know at the time was that not all of the ideas for their popular cozy series originate with the authors. Sometimes the clever people at Berkley come up with ideas for series they think their readers would like, and then look for the right writer.

I was thrilled when my agent said she’d thought I’d be a good match for this opportunity. And I was delighted when the folks at Berkley read my proposal and agreed.

Lesser Celandine - Joys to come

LKBR:  What appeals to you about writing Cozy mysteries?

BA:  I’m an avid cozy reader. I started with Nancy Drew, moved on to Agatha Christie, and then stopped for a long time. The modern cozy wasn’t really as popular way back then (early 80s)--or at least as easy for me to find. The mysteries I came across in bookstores and libraries were darker.

When I was a junior in high school, two of my classmates were murdered. And for the longest time, the last thing I wanted to read was a gritty, graphic murder mystery. They’re still not my cup of tea. So I read biographies and classics.

I came across more modern cozies years later. And they helped me through a difficult time, when my mother was ill and eventually died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.) They’re a great form of escape--leaving a world that’s often cruel and hard. There are quirky characters to meet, an often idyllic small town setting to romp around it, and a challenging puzzle to solve.

Of course, developing the mystery is a challenge I enjoy, but I guess you could say the thing that appeals to me is providing some relief to others who need the escape of a good read. It would please me greatly to know that my book helped someone else through a tough time.

Ginger Blossom - Strength

LKBR:  Who are some of your favorite authors?

BA:  I’m sure to leave some off. Oddly enough, I tend to read historicals and write contemporaries. I’m very fond of Rhys Bowen and Laurie King--in particular her Mary Russell series. And Victoria Thompson and Alan Bradley. In contemporaries, I think Laura Levine’s books are some of the funniest out there. And I’m quite fond of Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, Julie Hyzy, and Lilian Jackson Braun. Still love the Monk books, both Lee Goldberg’s and Hy Conrad’s. So many more. And even more in my TBR list.

Pheasant's Eye - Can't forget you, remembrance

LKBR:  Do you have any other series in the works?

BA:  Sort of. I have a series I’d started--in fact the one that drew the interest from my agent. It needs some work, so when I have a break from the Bridal Bouquet Shop books, I’d like to invest a little time on it. I won’t say too much about it, except that it’s sort of a culinary cozy.

Ranunculus - You are radiant with charms

LKBR:  What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?

BA:  1. I know there’s a lot of debate right now about what content and language is acceptable in a cozy. My personal feeling is that many readers are drawn to cozies as an escape from the rougher parts of life, so readers aren’t going to find strong language, grit, or darker elements in my books.

2. I’m pretty easy-going, but not generally an extrovert. I HATE mingling. If you see me at a party, rescue me and engage me in conversation. I enjoy talking with people. But at parties where people are standing around in groups, I have the hardest time introducing myself and talking. I feel like I’m butting in.

3. I have extremely poor facial recognition skills and name recall. Please don’t be hurt if I can’t come up with your name. It’s a family trait, and it’s only getting worse with age. I have to keep a list of my book characters, or I forget them, too. But don’t worry. It’s not senility. Grandma is still going strong at 90. She has a mind like a steel trap. She just rattles off five or six names before she settles on the right one. And she’s been doing that for as long as I can remember.

Balloon Flower - Unchanging love, honesty, and obedience.

LKBR:  Is there anything else you'd like to share?

BA:  No, I think you’ve plumbed the depths of my soul. ;)

Pansy (heartsease) - Thoughts, think of me; you occupy my thoughts

Thank you, Beverly for letting me "plumb". 

Want to learn ever more about Beverly? You can find her....

For more on The language of flowers...
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the great interview, Lisa. I can see people are going right to Raffle Copter! But I will check by later in case anyone had a comment or question. Thanks again!

  2. This was a great interview Lisa, and Beverly, I can't wait for this book! Going to be a perfect read for Spring.

    1. Hi, Dawn--thanks so much. It's snowing where I am, but they're predicting warmth just in time for the April 1st release day. I hope you love the book!

  3. I think flowers are often the most beautiful part of any wedding. Love flower meanings. Ronnalord (at) msn ( dot) com

    1. Flowers are pretty. It's really hard to go wrong--although some designers really try! Referencing the meanings just adds a whole new dimension.

  4. I enjoy flowers they are very relaxing to look at.

  5. I really enjoyed the interview and I loved the comment about your grandmother rattling off 6 names. My mother was and is the same way for the longest time I thought my name was Pat, Greg, George, Jean, Joan, Deb. LOL

    1. LOL My Daddy would do that. We even got called by the dogs' names!

    2. Enjoyed the interview and the flower pictures!!
      Carol Smith penelope223(at)yahoo(dot)com

    3. Debbie--I'm Pat, Linda, Lisa, Barb. (So writing under a pseudonym is nothing new!)

  6. We've joked in my family for years that I'm MikeMark and my brother is MarkMike. Then my mom starting through her brother's name into the mix, too....

  7. I sometimes grope for the name or the word, too. There's a name for it: anomic aphasia. Even the "tricks" that people recommend don't seem to work for me with names.

  8. I'm glad I'm not alone in the name department! It's gotten so bad I tend not to address people by name because I'm worried I'll mess it up.

  9. I love the name discussion.... reminds me of my family!
    Looking forward to reading this one!

  10. LOL It's seems we all have been or know of someone who is touched with this problem. My Daddy use to come up with so crazy stuff. He always called my little sister Tammie Lynn even though her middle name is Renea. And does anyone remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar coins? He was forever calling them Mary Anthony.

    Beverly, you should have a character in one of your upcoming books that does that. :-)

    1. Lisa, I think I put that in one of my unpublish...ahem...yet-to-be published manuscripts. Nice to have family to draw from. (Sometimes the family doesn't agree!)

  11. congrats to Beverly!!
    I cannot wait to read your book!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  12. Sounds like a great book, it'll definitely be going onto my list. Adore the photo of the blue rose, they're one of my all time favourites.

    1. Hi, Jo. Yes, I'm rather partial to blue flowers, too. There might just be a blue rose in Bloom and Doom. Hope you enjoy!

  13. A delightful post and a great giveaway. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. Wonderful interview!! I love flowers and have always wanted to learn to be a florist. The book sounds great. Thank you for the opportunity of the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

    1. Hi, Barbara! I took some floral design courses through a local florist. Perhaps a florist in your area offers a similar course? Thanks for entering!

  15. What an enjoyable interview! I also am no good at remembering names and hate mingling. And I'm another author who didn't have an inkling I'd be a writer until I was about 30. BLOOM AND DOOM sounds like a fun book with a great premise. Beautiful book cover, too. I loved the colorful flower photos interspersed in the interview. Good job, Lisa! Congrats on the launch of your new book, Beverly!

    1. Thank you, Lori! Beverly has a ton of flower photos with their meanings on her Pinterest page. The link is at the end of the interview or you can just click on the blue rose at the top of the page to the right.

  16. I loved the interview, definitely going to read the book.

  17. I LOVE cozies so I'm very excited about this giveaway—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  18. Thanks for a great giveaway! Can't wait to read this!

  19. Thanks for the interview, and posting those beautiful pictures. They're so nice to see on this dreary day!.

    cozyupwithkathy at gmail dot com

  20. Thanks so much, for all those who entered! I've enjoyed reading your comments. And thanks to our lovely host, Lisa!

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