Monday, August 8, 2016

BOOK LAUNCH MONDAY: Double the Fun with Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey

Web mistress Lisa here. We have a fun guest post for you today! Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker are touring the blogosphere on their monster Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour. I'm so glad they joined us here on InkSpot. Check out the bottom of the post for their giveaways. Welcome, Shannon and Jess! ~Lisa

Shannon and Jess Talk Character Arcs


Shannon here. Thanks Inkspot, for giving us a place to stop on our month-long road trip. We concocted the Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour when we found out both of us (Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker had books releasing on September 6, Jess’s thriller with Midnight Ink, Salem’s Cipher, and my debut in a new series, Stripped Bare.

Today it’s my turn to pick the topic, and I want to chat about character arcs. Specifically, I want to talk about how, over the course of your writing life, your protagonists and antagonists have changed? That’s probably confusing, so I’ll go first.

While I never set out to write autobiographical characters, bits of my attitude or the tone of my life seems to soak into my books. I can almost chart my personal life from my main characters. Annie was the protagonist in my first published book. When I wrote that, I was trying to keep a million balls in the air with kids and jobs and dealing with a cheating husband in a town of 300 people. I got more than a few comments on how cold and bristly Annie was. I thought she was stoic and strong.

Jess: You’re really onto something here, Shannon. When I wrote May Day, the first in my Murder-by-Month mysteries, I was reeling from the unexpected death of my husband. It’s an uneven book, and my protagonist is all about trying to solve the unexpected death of her lover. There’s humor in it, but so much darkness in Mira, the main character, so much holding people at arm’s length for fear of getting hurt. That question, “how much of your main character is you?” is so complex, isn’t it? Shannon, did you find that true in your Nora Abbott books that you published with Midnight Ink?

Shannon: When I started the Nora Abbott books, I’d left my Sandhills home and struck out on my own. I was in a new and wonderful relationship, but was unemployed, in a new town, and full of angst. While, again, I thought Nora was capable and smart, I wanted to show that inside, she maybe wasn’t as put-together as everyone thought. At least one reviewer thought she was whiney. Whiney?  Really?

But over the course of that series, as Nora came into her own, she gathered confidence and fortitude, becoming more of the woman on the inside that she projected on the outside. Coincidentally, my life finally started to settle down and though I’m still a mess of insecurities on the inside (I’m a writer, after all) I wasn’t nearly as rattled about life when I wrote the last in the series, Tattered Legacy, as I was when I wrote the first, Tainted Mountain.

Another thread running through my characters is mother issues and cheating husbands. I can see myself working these things out in my books.

Jess: That is one of the many reasons we get along so well, Shannon. Both of us (through our characters) work out cheating issues, though my characters land firmly in the camp of father rather than mother issues. It’s interesting because I just finished my first nonfiction book, tentatively titled Better than Gin: Rewrite Your Life, and it’s about exactly this process of writers working issues through their characters, and how the process is not only healing but creates great fiction. I also sometimes wonder if we make friends when we write. Specifically, that we create characters that we’re either like to be or to be with. Do you find that?

Shannon: Kate Fox, the star of Stripped Bare, is someone I’d really like to hang out with. While she’s got some problems to deal with, a cheating husband for one (I don’t know where I get my ideas) she’s got a healthy sense of herself. She’s confident, even though she’s not sure about her future, and she’s not afraid to take action. She’s a combination of a team player—she’s in the middle of eight brothers and sisters—but craves her independence. And she’s got a sense of humor, which saves her.

It took me nearly a decade since I left the Nebraska Sandhills to be able to laugh about it all. If I’d written Kate any earlier, she’d be laced with bitterness. I’m not a big country music fan, but I always think about the Rascal Flatts song Bless the Broken Road. I thought it was a love song but now I think it’s a faith song. Anyway, I like the chorus and the idea that our experiences, good and bad, bring us to the people we are now. And when the time is ripe, bring us the characters that tell us their stories.

Jess: Beautifully said, Shannon Baker.

Giveaway: Jess and I are each giving away copies of our new books Salem’s Cipher and Stripped Bare. For a chance to win, leave a comment.

But wait, that's not all!

If you order Salem's Cipher before September 6, 2016, you are invited to forward your receipt to salemscipher@gmail.com to receive a short story and to be automatically entered in a drawing to win a 50-book gift basket mailed to the winner's home!

If you order Stripped Bare before September 6, 2016, you are invited to forward your receipt to katefoxstrippedbare@gmail.com to receive a Kate Fox short story and be entered for a book gift basket mailed to your home.

We’re picking up our bags and traveling on so please join us as the Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour heads to Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Livingroom on Wednesday.

Jessica (Jess) Lourey is best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing "a splendid mix of humor and suspense." She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's 2014 Excellence in Teaching fellowship, and leads interactive writing workshops all over the world. Salem's Cipher, the first in her thrilling Witch Hunt Series, hits stores September 2016. You can find out more at www.jessicalourey.com, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Shannon Baker writes the Kate Fox mystery series (September 2016 from Tor/Forge). Stripped Bare, the first in the series, features a sheriff in rural Nebraska and has been called Longmire meets The Good Wife. Baker also writes the Nora Abbott Mystery Series, a fast-paced mix of murder, environmental issues and Hopi Indians published by Midnight Ink. Baker was voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2104 Writer of the Year. She writes from the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson. www.shannon-baker.com

27 comments:

Aimee Hix said...

Having read May Day 4-5th out of the books in your series , Jess, and after about a year of knowing you it was very easy for me to see the similarities between you and Mira in May Day. I definitely think the best pieces of her are made from you.

Having only just met Shannon before I read Tainted Mountain I didn't see as much of you in her as I can now. And I didn't find her whiney but she was most decidedly flapped while I find you mostly unflappable. It's one of my favorite things about you because I know when we need an adultier adult, you're there. ;)

Shannon Baker said...

Haa, Aimee! No one ever calls me the adult!

I want to make a BIG SHOUT OUT to Lisa Alber and Maegan Beaumont on their release day of their Midnight Ink books, WHISPERS IN THE MIST and BLOOD OF SAINTS. Congratulations!

Ann in Rochester said...

Jess, Mira is you, as least from what I see. And you are amazing. Shannon, I'm off to have a look at your books on Amazon. Husband cheating in a town of 300 people? Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the local diner!

Shannon Baker said...

Ann -- sadly, the fly on the wall knew a lot more than I did about the whole thing!

Jessica Lourey said...

Shannon is amazing! Her ex is an ass. Aimee, Shannon is soooo not an adulty-adult.

Jenni Cornell said...

Love Murder by the Month books! Have to check out Shannon's books now, too! I thought at first you two were writing together. Jess, hope this new series doesn't mean the end of Murder by the Month series! It is my favorite!

Jessica Lourey said...

Thanks, Jenni! I'm finishing up the March book this week, so I can promise at least one more in the series. :)

Lisa Alber said...

Welcome, Jess and Shannon! Hope you're having fun on your blog tour. Thanks for the shout out, Shannon!

Shannon Baker said...

Hi Jenni,
Writing a book with Jess would be a blast but I couldn't keep up with her. She says she's finishing the March book this week. I think she started writing it last weekend.

Laura Kamala said...

Yay for cheating ex-husbands who provide reams of great material! Mine was a fake guru/ healer/ teacher too, a bizarre character one could hardly invent. Can't wait for this new read, Shannon. And Jess, your new book looks fabulous too. Congrats, wonderful women.

Connie Lee said...

I would love a chance to win, please enter me in your giveaway, thank you!

Connie Lee said...

I forgot to leave an email lclee59(at)centurylink(dot)net

Shannon Baker said...

Laura -- I can't wait to write about your ex! What a story!

Linda Herold said...

Thanks for offering this giveaway! I would love to win!!

Dru said...

Jess, there is definitely some bits of you in Mira and from the first book to the last book I've read, she has become a stronger person capable of a lot of things which mirrors you.

Shannon, whiney, definitely not you.

Jessica Lourey said...

Haha! Thanks, Dru Ann. :) Linda and Connie Lee, thanks for entering! Laura, I'm with Shannon--would love to hear more about this ex...

Shannon Baker said...

We ought to have an "Ex" party! Wine and chocolate.

Doward Wilson said...

Enjoyed your post & learning about your books. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

Jan said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I've added your books to my wishlist :)

Shannon Baker said...

Thanks Doward and Jan for stopping by. You're entered to win our books.

Grace Koshida said...

Nice to see Jess and Shannon on this stop of their double blog tour.
Enjoy reading both your books, and looking forward to reading these new series.

Laura Kamala said...

Hahahaha Shannon, you are too funny! Yes, let's have an EX party. I'm due for a visit to Tucson.

Jessica Lourey said...

Thank you, Grace!

Jessica Lourey said...

Linda Herold, you are the winner of an early copy of Salem's Cipher! Woot! Please send me your mailing address via my website, www.jessicalourey.com, and I'll get that in the mail the minute my author copies arrive.

Linda Herold said...

Thanks so much!!!

Shannon Baker said...

Connie Lee is the winner of a Stripped Bare advance readers copy! Congratulations! You can contact me at www.shannon-baker.com with your address. Thanks everyone!

Jessica Lourey said...

Oooh, Salem's Cipher is a Goodreads giveaway for the next 13 days (a very witchy number, yes?). If you have the two minutes to enter, follow this link and scroll down. Hope your Saturday is wonderful!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28700200-salem-s-cipher