by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of Alice Loweecey’s new mystery Nun After the Other, and an interesting interview with Alice. There is also a link to purchase it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL
Nun After the Other: A Giulia Driscoll Mystery By Alice Loweecey
Review by Cynthia Chow
Giulia Driscoll may have long left behind her life as Sister Mary Regina Coelis, but the former nun seems unable to escape the Sisterhood. When she hears a cry for help, not even the second trimester of pregnancy can stop the professional private investigator from running towards danger. Fortunately, Giulia was with her Pennsylvania police detective husband at the time, although Frank Driscoll would probably have preferred that they not encounter yet another deceased nun. It would appear at first that Sister Mary Matilda Stapleton died of natural causes, but many of her Sisters at their convent suspect a far more criminal cause.
The CEO of Eagle Developers have been buying out all of the buildings in their neighborhood, and with the convent one of the last holdouts, the acts of vandalism, thefts, and harassment seem to be anything but coincidences. With the Superior General more than happy to sell out and absorb the profits, the residing Sisters insist on hiring Giulia to prove that Victor Eagle coordinated a planned attack to force them out. The next body that Giulia discovers is not the one anyone expected, though, placing her and Frank on two separate, but ultimately aligning, paths of investigation.
Convent politics never become so fascinating as they do in this always entertaining and compelling series. There is barely a shadow remaining of the naïve former nun first introduced eight novels ago as Giulia Falcone, although she still retains her love of movies, pop culture references, and of course, Monty Python. A new talent Giulia recently acquired plays out in the latter half of this novel, with a very stubborn Suffragette making her presence known and her demands unavoidable.
A cable-access gossip show once again intrudes on Giulia’s investigations, although this time it is the smarmy host’s cameraman who may prove instrumental to the case. The standout surprise for many may be the hospitalization of Giulia’s ultra-conservative brother, a detestable, judgmental lout whose children find themselves suddenly under the Driscoll family care. Caring for four tweens before giving birth to their first was not the introduction to childcare either Driscoll expected, but these overly-restricted children prove to be an unexpected, and more than welcome, delight. One of the more fascinating aspects of this series has been the topic of faith and religion, with the oppression Giulia faced in the convent complicating her genuine beliefs. This is a series that continues to evolve in unexpected ways, ensuring that new readers will be attracted to its humor, intriguing plots, and unique characters.
Interview with Alice Loweecy:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Alice: Since I was nine.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Can you tell us a little about it?
Alice: 2011. It was Force of Habit, the very first in my ongoing Giulia Driscoll series. Giulia’s fresh out of the convent and has no idea how to interact with people now that she’s not a nun. Her PI boss asks her to help with a Bible-spouting stalker case and I proceed to make her life utterly miserable. Muahahahaha.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries? If not what else have you written?
Alice: I started out writing horror, because I’ve been a horror fan all my life. I was first published in mystery, and then in horror four years later.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Please tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.
Alice: I live in New York State and I wanted something a little bit different, but with the same general climate. So I invented a suburb near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Giulia is always my main character in this series, and in Nun After The Other (April 17, 2018, Henery Press) she’s helping a convent full of infirm nuns fight an unscrupulous developer. Did I mention the convent is haunted by a chain-smoking ghost who doesn’t like nuns?
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Alice: I write to entertain! The world is such a scary place right now. We all need a little escape and a few laughs. That said, my series theme is Justice Prevails. Spoiler alert: The good guys win in my books.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Alice: I work full time, so I have to keep a schedule. Writing is a business the same as any other job. I write for several hours on the weekends and (almost) every evening. Deadlines are unforgiving.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Alice: Outlines rule! I pantsed my first novel, but knew I’d need a way to plant clues and remember them for a mystery. Especially because I can only write after work and not in large chunks, outlines keep me on track. This isn’t to say my outlines are static, because they constantly change when the characters take over the story.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Alice: Early afternoon through early evening.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Alice: Yes. It was a long haul with a total of 385 rejections. I didn’t quit, though. I’m a stubborn broad.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Alice: Oh, Lordy, yes. This is my favorite story.
Several years ago I entered an unpublished writers contest with the book that eventually became “The Redeemers” (August 2015, Dark Recesses Press). (I lost.) SPOILER ALERT: There’s a detailed, gory crucifixion in the first three chapters. I met one of the judges after the contest and when I told her who I was, she flinched. Then she explained why. She lived in a big, converted farmhouse and the night she read my chapters she was alone in the house. She finished the chapters, took them out to the attached garage and put them in her car trunk. She locked the car, then locked the connecting door to the house, turned on all the lights in the house, and left them on all night.
She looked genuinely confused when I thanked her.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Alice: To create a character as iconic as Dracula.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Alice: H.P. Lovecraft: He was a bigoted git, but he knew how to make the reader afraid to look over their shoulder. On the other side of the spectrum, Patricia Wentworth. She writes light mysteries with a touch of romance that are relaxing to read. When I started to write mysteries, she was my inspiration.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Alice: ALL THE RESEARCH! Researching is my personal TV Tropes. I’ll go down multiple rabbit holes and forget to come up for air. I’ve found ideas for so many new stories while researching a current story.
KRL: What do you read?
Alice: Horror, of course, and a lot of manga. I love the angst and scenery chewing. I also enjoy true historicals.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Alice: Supernatural! (Even though I still think it should have ended at season five.) I live-tweet each episode for The Horror Honeys. For movies, MST3K and RiffTrax. Bad horror and bad jokes FTW.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Alice: Never give up. Never surrender. (Thanks to Galaxy Quest.) Also: Writing is a business. Give it the same attention and dedication as your day job.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Alice: Is it too late to reveal I used to be a nun? Probably. How about: I can read and speak Middle English.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a copy of Nun After the Other, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “nun,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 19, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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