Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ Clare O'Donohue

When I was writing The Lover’s Knot, my first book, I wondered what it would be like to walk into a bookstore and see it on a shelf, among all the other “real” books. I imagined it would be pretty cool, which as it turned out, it was. I also fantasized about cashing some big advance check (still fantasizing about that actually) and signing copies of my books for friends and fans. What I never really thought about, strange as this may seem, was that people would read what I wrote. I know that sounds odd, but writing novels is such a solitary affair. When I write, the only audience I really think about is myself. I want to laugh, and cry, and get mad, and follow the clues, and feel really satisfied when I get to the last page. I forget that when people buy my book, they’re looking for the same things. I forget that people will buy my book.

And then I’ll get an email, or a posting on Facebook, and suddenly it’s real to me that my characters aren’t just mine anymore. People are reading them, and liking them, or even occasionally not liking them. And telling me all about it. While I’m certainly not overwhelmed with emails, I do get surprised every day when I check and sure enough, someone has written me. It’s so exciting. More exciting than seeing a book on a shelf, and (I’m just guessing here) more exciting than cashing a big advance check. 

There was a day when I had no motivation to write, and a woman in Nebraska told me how she read one of my books while waiting for news on a biopsy and got so engrossed in the story that she forgot to worry. (Everything turned out fine.) Another day I felt lonely and disconnected from actual people, having spent so much time with my fictional friends, and I got the funniest email from a woman in Georgia who had actually read passages from The Lover’s Knot to her boyfriend to explain why she was breaking up with him.
I still laugh when I think about the woman I met at a book signing in Houston who didn’t like the fact that Nell, my main character, broke into someone’s house in my second novel, A Drunkard’s Path. She told me that, “Nell would never do something like that.” I tried to explain that I might know Nell better than anyone, but she didn’t agree! She wanted my assurance that Nell would never break into a house again, which I gave her. So far I’ve kept that promise, but as I tried to explain to that woman, I really can’t control what Nell does or doesn’t do. 

Of all the things I’m grateful for about being a novelist – chief among them the fact that I don’t have to use an alarm clock anymore – my favorite thing turned out to be something I never even thought about when I was writing my first book. It’s been getting to know so many really nice people who reach out to say hello and share a moment of their day with me. It’s made me aware of how important even small connections are, that a compliment is never wasted, and that creating fictional friends can lead to making real ones. And it’s shown me that I don’t know Nell anywhere near as well as a woman in Houston.

About the author ~

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of four children. My parents, John and Sabina O’Donohue, were both born in Ireland (Mom in County Mayo and Dad in County Clare – hence my name). They met in London, moved to the US, and settled on Chicago’s South Side, where I was raised. 

I always knew I wanted to be a writer and in fact wrote my first novel (okay, it was 60 pages) when I was 15. It was a mystery.  After college I worked as a newspaper reporter and writing teacher before moving to LA and getting my first job in television. That was on the HGTV show, Simply Quilts. I had already been quilting for about five years, which was why the producer hired me, but I really got an education in quilting from that show. Not only is host Alex Anderson an amazing quilter but every day of taping we had several of the most talented quilters offering their ideas and advice.

I worked on the show for four seasons, eventually becoming the Supervising Producer but I’ve written and produced for a lot of other shows as well.  In the last ten years, I’ve worked on shows for The History Channel, truTV, Food Network and others. My work has taken me all across the US and abroad and I’ve met a diverse group of people – from CEO’s to prison inmates, Malaysian orphans to famous athletes. 

But all along I thought about writing a novel. I still loved mysteries and I combined that with quilting and came up with The Lover’s Knot, the first in the Someday Quilts series. Now I’ve added A Drunkard’s Path and soon The Double Cross. I have ideas for many more mysteries so hopefully I’ll stay busy, and you’ll keep reading, for years to come. 

I hope you enjoy them.

Her latest book ~ 

The Double Cross: A Someday Quilts Mystery 

A knotty new Nell Fitzgerald mystery in the series that's beguiling cozy fans and quilters alike.

Nell Fitzgerald and the Someday Quilts ladies are asked to lead a quilting workshop at a new bed and breakfast in upstate New York. However, the retreat quickly takes an unexpected dark turn. When a body is found in the woods, and one of their own is the chief suspect, the ladies must rely on their craftiest thinking as they embark on their most personal case yet.

With smart, sassy Nell leading the charge to clear her friend's name and find the real murderer, The Double Cross is sure to confirm Clare O'Donohue as a master of the mystery genre.

Available TODAY!

Other books by Clare ~ 
A Drunkard's Path: A Someday Quilts Mystery (Someday Quilts Mysteries (Plume Paperback))The Lover's Knot: A Someday Quilts Mystery

Find Clare on FACEBOOK
Visit her WEBSITE
Find her on GoodReads

Upcoming Tour Stops ~

Wednesday, Sept. 29th 7:00pm
Mystery One Bookstore
Milwaukee, WI

Tuesday, Oct 12st 7:00pm
Ankeny Quilt Guild
Ankeny, IA

Thursday, Oct 14-Saturday Oct 16
Friday, Oct. 15th, 11:30am - Panel Discussion: Deadly Silence, No Such Thing as Writer's Block
Boucheron Mystery Convention
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, Oct 21st 1:00pm
Mysteries to Die For
Thousand Oaks, CA

Thursday, Oct 21st 7:00pm
Mystery Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, Nov 3-Thursday, Nov 4
Quilt Festival - Houston
Houston, TX
The Craftsman's Touch Booth (Booth #1210/1212 - 1311/1313)
Tuesday, Nov 9th 4:30pm
City Quilter
New York, NY

Thursday, Nov 11th 7:00pm
Colgate Bookstore
Hamilton, NY

Thanks to Penguin,  I will be giving away three (3) copies of this book!
GIVEAWAY  Rules for entering:

  • This contest is open to residents of USA residents only!
  • Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
  • The contest will end on October 12, 2010 at 11:59PM EST; 3 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
  • Once the winner is contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
  • Book will be shipped directly from Penguin.