Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour for Baby Girl Doe by Lawrence Kelter, presented by GoddessFish Promotions. Please leave a comment or question for Mr. Kelter to let him know you stopped by, he will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour and five (5) runners up will receive an autographed copy of his book (U.S. and Canada only). You can fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter his giveaway. You can follow the rest of the tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. My review is pending.
Keeping a Series Fresh by Lawrence Kelter
Keeping a series fresh as the characters age is no small task. You don’t want your protagonist to age so quickly that they become irrelevant before their time, and you don’t want them to age so slowly that the series story line seems static.
When you write a series you’re not just concentrating on a three or four hundred page plotline, but on the back-story as well, which might span as many as ten or twenty books—God willing.
I suppose that every author goes about doing this in his or her own way. In the case of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series, my protagonist evolves by way of milestones, and the life-changing events that transpire in each story.
There are currently five book available in the series: Don’t Close Your Eyes, Ransom Beach, The Brain Vault, Our Honored Dead, and most recently Baby Girl Doe. Before I continue to speak about keeping the series fresh I’d like to tell you a little about the protagonist and her cases to provide a frame of reference for those in your audience who are unfamiliar with the series.
Chalice is an NYPD homicide detective with a nose for crime and sixth-sense instincts. She’s a twenty-eight-year-old rookie detective in book one, Don’t Close Your Eyes—five books later she’s of course growing older, but … Her present age is never mentioned in subsequent books. In my mind she’s hovering somewhere around the big three-zero and may never grow any older. Only time will tell.
I’ve surrounded Chalice with an ensemble cast of quirky and endearing characters, who, much like Stephanie, carry around their own particular set of baggage.
First and foremost, there’s her mother who she fondly refers to as Ma, a feisty Italian broad whose as much fun as a barrel of monkeys. Their bond is titanium-strong, but their relationship is strictly fire and ice. My readers tell me that they really enjoy Stephanie’s relationship with Ma and search for the scenes they’re in together.
Chalice has a man, a six-foot-two in hunk of Greek granite named Gus Lido. Her eye candy fella is her partner at work as well as off. They first began dating in book one and we find out that they’re married on the last page of book four—good thing too because Stephanie is with child—Oh boy! They have a son in book five, so you see how her life has evolved. There and other major events which clearly delineate the passage of time without specifically mentioning dates: her father’s passing, falling for Gus, finding out about her true lineage, becoming pregnant, getting married, and the birth of her son Max to name just a few.
I hope I’ve given you a glimpse into my methodology. I’ve taken the liberty of listing some additionally asked questions and answers, which your audience might enjoy:
- Did you always know that you were going to be a writer? Definitely not. As a matter of fact I was voted The Individual Least Likely to Visit a Library while in high school. If you don’t believe it I’ll scan my high my yearbook and post it on Facebook for the entire world to see. Just a painful heads-up—my yearbook picture is absolutely dreadful.
- Did anyone help you along the way? Yes and yes. First and foremost I have to give mad props to Nelson DeMille, who actually picked up a pencil and edited portions of my first manuscript. Way before he said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum,” he said, “Kid your work needs editing, but that’s a hell of a lot better than not having writing talent. Keep it up.” I’ll always be indebted to that man. I was also part of a small writer’s workshop led by Ann Loring. Some of you may remember Ann for her role as Tammy Forrest in the soap opera Love of Life. Ann really helped me to develop my sense of drama. The knowledge she imparted to me was priceless.
- Why do you write? I have several answers to that question but the top two are: I enjoy it, and that in some odd way I feel as if I’m creating a legacy and memorializing myself with my books. I hope that my books will live on long after I’m gone.
- Why did you choose a woman to be your protagonist? Women are cooler than men—hands down. I’ve tried to come up with a unique male character several times but they always end up resembling a gross James Bond characterization. Stephanie Chalice is an interesting detective, she’s bright, a wee bit headstrong, and lots of fun. Above all else she has an intense moral code and is deeply compassionate.
- Do you feel that you’re qualified to write a female character? I hope so. I really try to do a good job. Some of my critics have said that Chalice is more of a male fantasy than a real woman, and others say that her characterization is dead on. I guess it’s up to my readers to decide. Many authors who write cross-gender try to hide their identity—they use their initials instead of their first name. I on the other hand … I just take it on the chin.
- Why have you made Chalice so funny? Because I’m funny. At least that’s what I’m told. Picture Larry David with better hair (well just with hair; and thank God a little better looking), and far less caustic. That’s me. I’ve always wanted to do standup comedy but I’m way too shy.
- Do you see Chalice as television or movie vehicle? Do I ever. Without exaggerating, fifty percent of my fans ask me why there hasn’t yet been a movie, and I explain that the decision makers in Hollywood are clearly idiots.
- Why do you think the series has been so successful? I’m not entirely sure. In the past two years several hundred thousand readers have welcomed Stephanie Chalice into their libraries. I’m not writing War and Peace, I’m writing thrillers so I try very hard to entertain the reader at all times, blending suspense, humor, and story-interest into each page.
- What has been your biggest mistake? When I first began to write Chalice, the character in book #1, Don’t Close Your Eyes was a little too into herself. I’ve been criticized for that character flaw and in retrospect understand that the criticism was valid. The original book has recently been rewritten and I believe that the issue has been addressed. Unfortunately those early negative reviews will live on the Internet forever. Fortunately there are far more good ones than bad.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview. I hope it resonates with your audience, and encourage them to give the series a try.
Baby Girl Doe
By Lawrence Kelter
Stephanie Chalice Mysteries, Book 5
Publisher: F Street Books
Release Date: April 30, 2014
Length: 328 Pages
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N
Add to Goodreads
About the book:
Everyone deserves a well-earned vacation, don’t they? Guess again!
Plans have been made and the bags are packed but Detective Stephanie Chalice is having about as much fun as Michael Vick at an ASPCA fundraiser.
The new story finds Chalice and Lido on the East End of Long Island, vacationing with Max, their new arrival. Things go wrong from the very start. Their vacation rental burns to the ground, bodies pile up, and just to make things interesting Lido . . . Well, I’ll just leave it to you to find out.
Chalice may be out of her jurisdiction but she's never out of questions or determination and soon connects two unsolved homicides. As always, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and her initial findings plunge her deeper and deeper into the most extraordinary investigation of her career.
Excerpt“There’s nothing wrong with the Menuccis, but you know how Dina earns a living, don’t you?”“She works evenings selling restaurant supplies. Are you crazy or something?”“Ma, listen to yourself. Who sells restaurant supplies at night? She’s a call girl. My God, how gullible can a person be?”“Madonna mia, sweet little Dina? Are you sure? She said Vesuvius is her biggest customer.”“Vesuvius, the Italian restaurant on 49th Street?”Ma nodded.“Yeah, I’m sure there’s an eruption there every time she walks through the door.”“How can that be? You know Mickey V, the owner; he’s a family man.”“First of all he’s not Italian, even though he professes to be. He’s Greek. That’s why he never uses his full last name.”“For real?”“Yes for real. His last name is Vloganitis, or Vaginitis, or something you’d need antibiotics to clear up, and he’s the biggest sleazeball on two feet. Believe me when Dina visits him in the restaurant, his soufflé isn’t the only thing that rises.”“So Mickey is Greek?”I nodded with conviction. “Mickey is short for Mikolas. He got into a jam over unpaid traffic tickets several months back and asked me to help him out. That’s why I know his real name.”“Were you able to help him?”“I made a call over to my friend Tay at the DA’s office. She pulled some strings. They let him pay the fines, and he was able to avoid criminal charges.”“And he’s Greek.”“Like baklava, Mama.”“Oh my? Does that mean . . .”“That’s right, Ma, Dina’s probably multi-portal.”She cringed. “Stephanie, that’s disgusting.”“You brought it up. Do you prefer I use the term backdoor specialist?”“Madonna, too much information.” Ma pretended to retch.“Ma, you’re such a prude. You’ve never heard of ass play?”“What play?”“Ass play.”“Isn’t that the group that sings about clocks?”“Oh my God.” What am I going to do with this woman? “No, Ma, that’s Coldplay.”“Stephanie, I’m confused.”Evidently. “Ma, ass play . . . anal sex. Stop being such a Girl Scout.”She shrugged. “You mean like for a gay man.”“It’s not just for gay men, Ma. Straight couples do it too.”“But why?” Ma was completely out of her comfort zone. Fine droplets of sweat broke out across her lip.How can I put this delicately? “Sometimes a man prefers to squeeze his car into the garage instead of just leaving it to hang out in the nice wide driveway.”“You’re losing me. What does this have to do with cars?”Sometimes there’s just no beating around the bush. Yikes. I can’t believe I just said that. “Because, Ma, after a woman shoots two or three linebackers out of her vagina, it isn’t exactly a snug fit anymore.”Ma smiled with revelation. “Ah. So you’re talking about a man’s pleasure.”“Correct.”“What about the woman?”I flashed my palm like a stop sign. “I’m not going there, Ma.” I wasn’t saying I don’t go there, but I wasn’t going there with my mother.“I still don’t believe it. Dina told me flat out that she sells macaroni.”I giggled. “A hooker whose cover story is that she sells macaroni? Does that make her a pasta-tute?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A resident New Yorker, Kelter often uses Manhattan and Long Island as backdrops for his stories. He is the author of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series and other works of fiction.
Early in his writing career, he received support from best-selling novelist, Nelson DeMille, who reviewed his work and actually put pencil to paper to assist in the editing of the first novel. When completed, DeMille said, “Lawrence Kelter is an exciting new novelist, who reminds me of an early Robert Ludlum.”
His novels are quickly paced and feature a twist ending.