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Interview with Carol Culver, author of Shop Til You Drop… Dead

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Tell us about Shop Til You Drop…Dead (San Francisco Shopping Murders)

It’s a mystery novel set in San Francisco (my one-time home-town). Shop Til You Drop…Dead was serialized this fall by Amazon along with eight other novels. It was an experiment and I hope it worked because I loved writing the story, although readers sometimes complained – “Choppy and lacks flow” or “Concept is not good, sit on it until the whole book is sent to you.” Well, now the whole book is available and you don’t have to wait 2 weeks for the next episode.  Fortunately some readers were more positive like the one who said, “Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book.” And, “Looking forward to the next book.” Feeling encouraged by the good sales figures, I’m using Shop Til You Drop…Dead to launch a series. I’m hard at work on Book 2 and I hope to continue until I’m just as rich and famous as the author of the Nancy Drew series or my idol Janet Evanovich.

Is this book by Carol Culver, Grace Carroll or Carol Grace? And who are all these people?
This book is by Carol Culver, my real name. When I started writing romances for Silhouette and Harlequin 20+ years ago authors had to have a pen name. I chose Carol Grace.  Grace Carroll was an alias that Berkley Prime Crime requested for a series I did for them (Shoe Done It, Died With a Bow and 24-Karat Killer).

What kind of readers will Shop Til You Drop… Dead appeal to?
This book is for women who love to read cozy mysteries (the kind where the murder takes place off stage, the victim often deserves to die because they’re not a nice person, the heroine is an amateur sleuth with another day job, the detective is sometimes a romantic interest, but the heroine always solves the crime with her smarts and her wits).

Complete this sentence for us: If you like______________, you’ll love Shop Til You Drop … Dead
Books by Janet Evanovich.

Shop Til You Drop… Dead was initially released as a series of ‘Kindle Singles’. Did that force an episodic feel on the book, and does the overall story suffer – or benefit – as a consequence?
I think it benefitted because I had to find a way to end each episode on a cliff hanger. Always a good plan to keep the reader turning the pages.

You are a fantastically prolific writer. How do you manage it? What’s your secret?
The surge in self-published books has given authors so much power to write and publish without waiting for a publisher to put all the pieces in place. I always wrote fast, but it was frustrating to turn in a book and then wait a year before seeing it in print. I love love love the e-publishing setup. Thank you to Amazon! They’ve been great to me. Also it helps to have a bunch of writer friends who are even more driven and faster writers than I am!

Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I’ve always loved working and living abroad starting with my junior year in college at the Sorbonne in Paris. After college I worked at KQED-TV in San Francisco where besides answering the phones, I did promotion spots in French for my idol, Julia Child.  As soon as I got a chance I was off again, this time to West Africa, Tunisia and Nicaragua where I worked as a translator for the Hospital Ship HOPE. With my husband and toddler daughter we went to Iran and then Algeria to teach English.  Finally back home in California I turned to writing fiction which is another way to make life exciting. Not that I’ve quit travelling. My husband and I just returned from sailing across the Pacific from Honolulu to Sydney giving classes on writing aboard a cruise ship.

Have you got a website where readers can keep up with your work? Do you use social media?
I have a Facebook page under Carol Culver as well as Carol Grace.

Where can we buy Shop Til You Drop … Dead?
It’s available on Amazon. ( US
UK
)

What’s next?
The next book in the SHOP series. I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I like writing it. The heroine is me (younger, prettier, smarter and gutsier, but still me).

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