Book Giveaway!! (and the Origin of “Bombs Away”)

Low Down Dirty Vote is out in the world and available to readers. My story, Bombs Away, is one of the eleven stories and is my first published work. www.lowdowndirtyvote.com

Readers may be wondering why I chose to step out of my white woman lane and write a black woman protagonist. I usually write white women narrators, fictional characters informed by my own experiences. I believe the world needs stories about people of color, and that those stories are best written by people of color.

So why did I make a different choice for this story?

Reason One: The theme of the anthology is fighting voter suppression. Historically and at present, black people are a major target of voter suppression efforts. Examples are here and here and the Google machine will give you many more. Writing a white character getting their vote suppressed in the modern-day felt disingenuous at best. At worst, it erases the current climate of hostility against black people and other people of color.

Reason Two: Most mysteries/crime stories I like to read and write have a satisfying ending. The bad guy is caught, secrets are revealed, and justice prevails. I wanted to write that kind of story. But…

I didn’t want to write a white savior story. You know the kind. White protagonist swoops in to save people of color from oppression/violence/problems caused by…other white people/white supremacy. This kind of story centers the white protagonist at the expense of the characters of color.

So I wrote a story about Olivia, a black woman who kicks butt and saves the day.

Bombs Away won first prize at the San Mateo County Literary Arts contest, Adult Mystery/Thriller category, and was chosen for inclusion in the Low Down Dirty Vote Anthology. I’m grateful and honored for the recognition, but it doesn’t change the fact that the world needs diverse books written by diverse authors.

Which brings me to the book giveaway. You’re probably thinking I’m going to give away a copy of Low Down Dirty Vote–and I am!—but not today.

Today, I’m offering you the chance to win Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett. This award-winning mystery features Dayna Anderson, who decides to solve a hit-and-run murder for the reward money despite having no investigative experience or skills. This book is hilarious and I know you’ll love it. And it features a black woman protagonist written by a black woman author.

51T10XRTSTL._SY346_

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. I’ll select from commenters on August 5, so check back and if you were selected, send me an email to mariah@mariahklein.com. And if you win, but have already read this book, I’ll get you the sequel, Hollywood Ending, set to publish next month!

Advertisements

It’s a Mad (dee James) World

Maddee James is the queen and empress of xuni.com, a website design company that creates and maintains author websites. I met Maddee at a workshop for writers and wondered if her career involved much writing. In my quest to be Jessica Fletcher, she who writes and does other things, I requested an interview with Maddee to find out exactly what she does and how she came to do it.

During our conversation, I discovered that like me, Maddee once had babies and needed something she could work on from home. Unlike me, she taught herself how to build websites.

As far as her process goes, Maddee reads her clients’ books and uses a questionnaire to get to know their preferences. Then she applies her own artistic eye to create a website that reflects the author and their work. Her job is much more visual and colorful than writing is, and more collaborative than most novel writing (if you don’t count conversations with the people in your head). Still, both jobs involve bringing ideas to life so that others can appreciate them.

That got me thinking about my own online presence, who I am as an author, and what readers can expect from my work. Like my blog voice, my book voice is female and humorous. My book has an academic setting and takes place in the fall. Unlike me, my protagonist has no children because if she did she would have no time to solve mysteries. The other reason there are no children in my book is that I write a lighter kind of mystery and putting kids in danger is too icky.

Maddee also shared that because she loves her work, she does it almost all the time. It’s hard to turn off or take a vacation. The work/life balance is something I think about because I have responsibilities other than writing, but when the story is flowing, it’s hard to stop. I can imagine a looming deadline would also make it hard to stop. The combination of a looming deadline plus children needing attention, dinner and clean diapers sounds really challenging.

So while I have no plans to teach myself how to design websites anytime soon, I left my conversation with Maddee feeling inspired by her journey and her achievements. And maybe, hopefully, one day I’ll be in need of her services myself.