Leslie Karst here, welcoming the talented, witty, and prolific author, Gabby Allan, aka Misty Simon. Gabby’s got a new book out, Much Ado About Nauticaling, the first in the Whit and Whiskers mystery series, set on Catalina Island in Southern California. And she’s generously giving away a copy of the new book to THREE lucky readers who comment below! Take it away, Gabby:
Hello there, and how are you? Gabby Allan here (though you might also know me as Misty Simon)! As always, I am super pleased to be a guest on this fabulous blog. The Chicks are the best! No wonder you wandered over this way.
So, I have a pen name now, and let me tell you it has been quite the adventure trying to keep everything in order. But I’m doing it, sometimes with some issues, but I’m still doing it.
Today, I’d like to hang with you and talk about how much I love research. When I was in high school that was akin to saying a swear word, but funny enough, when you get to do cool things and call it research? Well, that’s a whole other ball of cotton candy.
I’ve been around for a while…I don’t necessarily want to date myself but I pegged my jeans and wore stirrup pants, so let’s just leave that there. I’ve been writing for about twenty years and have loved almost every moment of it. I started when I realized I was watching way too much Lifetime TV and made myself go to the bookstore and start reading again. And I fell in love. Again. I don’t think I ever truly fell out of love, I think I just forgot how wonderful it is to be caught up in someone else’s world. To experience things I was never going to actually do (at least I hope I never have to contemplate jumping off a cliff to escape a killer, or hope my little sword can ward off a dragon). Once I sank back into the imaginations of others, the words they wrote seemed to fade away as I let their story take over and I forgot to shut off the spaghetti before it boiled over a few times. I was hooked. And while I was hooked, I started thinking of my own stories, the tales I could tell, the worlds I could create.
Then I did. And it was horrible at the beginning. I either had a ton of terrible first chapters and no follow-through, or I had follow-through but it was drivel, and that’s being nice. I kept going, though. I took classes, I attended conferences, I continued to read. And I got better. I don’t know that you ever truly are perfect while being a storyteller, but I’ll never stop trying.
In trying, though, sometimes you diverge a little from your original path. And you still tell the other stories you love, but you want to make sure the readers know this is you, just a little different. That’s where the pen name comes in. They’re still my stories and it’s still my voice, but they have a slightly different bent toward more of a Rom Com and a Cozy sitting on a beach somewhere having a Mai-Tai. Let’s call them Rom Cozies because Kensington came up with that.
And I love them. They’re fun, funny, and have a little side of romance that doesn’t always work out right away. I had a blast pitting my girl, Whitney Dagner, not only against a killer that must be stopped by our intrepid amateur sleuth, but also an ex-boyfriend she thought she’d left behind.
In writing them, I got to do research, like the super awesome kind where I took a boat to the island, asked way too many questions of the poor guy who rented me a golf cart, and peppered the owner of the glass-bottom boat tour company until he wished he hadn’t answered my first question, much less my fortieth.
I’ve researched a lot of things for the fifty-plus books I’ve written in my career—from funeral homes, to hearses, to shop-keeping, cake-making, dress-making, tax evasion, private eyes, running a newspaper, ballet dancing, how long can you last with a feather boa choking you, and is it actually possible to drown in syrup. But this series required me sacrificing myself (lol) by sweating and walking in the island breeze.
I *cough* humbly did it for the reader—both you and the reader in me who wants to get lost in a place I’ll probably never live, doing things I’m pretty sure I’d run from in real life. But the imagination is a beautiful thing, and so I write, and I read to live vicariously and fully through the pages of books that take me away, not unlike that awesome bubble bath commercial from the late-eighties. I seriously cannot wait to go back for researching book two and three. Hopefully I’ll be able to take the golf cart guy off-guard so he can’t jump in a cart and speed away at fifteen miles an hour when he sees me…
I’m all about GIVEAWAYS, so get ready to be entered in for a chance to win Much Ado About Nauticaling and some swag! I’ll pick three winners! Comment below (make sure to include your email address) and tell me what locales you’ve loved through books! What books made you feel like you’re right in the middle of somewhere you’ve never been before? Did you ever wish you could turn the corner one day and see your favorite sleuth coming down the street so you could invite her out for a coffee? I prefer tea, but I always thought we could probably compromise.
About Gabby/Misty: After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, Gabby Allan finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel. Visit Gabby at www.gabbyallan.com and https://www.facebook.com/GabbyAllanAuthor
About Much Ado About Nauticaling: Whitney Dagner is your tour guide to a Pacific paradise that’s to die for—only to find it’s a place people are also willing to kill for—in Gabby Allan’s Much Ado About Nauticaling, first in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery series. After far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life—and a murder victim? The self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members—with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.