An American Gothic
She came to Foxxemoor to write a mystery, not to become part of one. Devastated by the death of a child in her care, Lyssie's heart strings are tugged when she finds another child in danger. Amid past secrets, lies, and betrayals of an old college friend's family, she must choose a twin brother to trust. If she makes the wrong decision, she could not only lose her life, but also the life of the child she's come to love.
Rebekah: What's your favorite thing about classic romantic suspense?
Alice: As a seat-of-the-pants type writer--and the fact that I write chronologically--I love the constant surprises that I didn't see coming. When I have to go back and read what I've just written to actually KNOW what I've written, then I know I'm on the right track.
Rebekah: Describe An American Gothic in three words.
Alice: Suspense with a twist--sorry that's four, but it fits.
Rebekah: How long did it take you to write this book from first draft to final edit? How do you balance writing with other responsibilities (job, family, etc.)?
Alice: I first wrote this book in the early 90s. After a stint with an agent for five years, I broke that contract and took it back. Around 2003 or 2004 I joined ACFW after "discovering" Christian fiction, dug the manuscript out, re-wrote it to bring it more up-to-date, then started searching for a publisher. It was originally supposed to be published in 2011 by the publisher who'd done my first three books, but circumstances intervened, my health declined, and just when I thought I was out the game...I'm back. So...in some ways, Gothic was 20 years in the making--or thereabouts ;)
Rebekah: When did you realize you first wanted to be a writer?
Alice: I've always had a very active imagination, but didn't really start writing things down until I was around twelve or so. My first "book" The Adventures of Christopher and Christina was a big hit in my junior high/high school where it got passed around during study hall. I believe that cinched it for me.
Rebekah: Do you stick to your TBR pile or are you an impulsive book buyer? What are you currently reading?
Alice: Unfortunately, due to some health issues, I haven't been able to concentrate on reading a book now for some time--and because of hypersensitivity to sound, it also rules out audio books. When I began this recent foray back into writing, I didn't know if I'd be able to do it. I can't spend very long working, amazed if it goes beyond a half hour or so. But I'm trusting in God to see me through. If this is where He wants me, then I know He will give me the ability and strength to see it through.
Rebekah: At some point an author has to torture their characters. Tell us the truth. Do you enjoy or hate it?
Alice: Um...I don't know if I actually torture them. I mean, trial and tribulations, and pain are all a part of living, right? It's just the way it is, no love or hate involved. Except for one character, and it wasn't torture, but just deserts. His ending was...rewarding.
Rebekah: Who's your number one fictional character crush or favorite fictional couple?
Alice: Um...I love Jamie and Claire in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.
Rebekah: What's one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
Alice: This is a hard one...Perhaps it would be that I'm terrified they won't enjoy my books, that I've failed to entertain them. I'm sure every author feels that way, it sometimes overwhelms me to the point it takes considerable effort and a lot of prayer to get me to calm down enough and just "let go and let God" take control and calm the fear.
Rebekah: What are you working on now?
Alice: With the help of my brilliant, computer-savvy son-in-law Greg, my novel, Portrait of Jenny has been taken out of an old DOS word processing program and put in to Word--intact! Right now I'm in the middle of the first run-through to make sure all the formatting is correct and then I'll begin the task of editing. While I always say it's "bringing it up-to-date" that's kind of a misnomer because I'll keep the year intact--the middle 90s--but will, hopefully, update the language style to something a little less formal, I guess would be the correct terminology. Though Jenny has Christian overtones, it will be on Winged Publications more secular side. It is a mystery/suspense written from the male POV.
Alice K. Arenz
An American Gothic, published August 2015, is the newest book of 2010 ACFW Carol Award
winning author, Alice K. Arenz. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW's Carol Award: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist)--All re-released by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications.
Connect with Alice on her website at www.akawriter.com