Dead in the Alley, the latest mystery by Sharon Michalove
Author Guest Post + Book & Author Info + Giveaway!
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Dead in the Alley
When Bay Bishop’s husband was murdered in the alley behind their northern Michigan restaurant, she thought she’d lost the love of her life.
Now she’s a suspect.
And her high-school boyfriend, who left her broken-hearted years ago, is one of the detectives on the case.
Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Indie Published
Publication Date: August 10, 2022
Number of Pages: 320
My Path to Writing a Mystery by Sharon Michalove
As an inveterate mystery reader from an early age, my dream was to be Agatha Christie, or Dorothy Sayers, or Ngaio Marsh. Their books were like M&Ms. Had to eat the whole bag. I would find an author I liked and take the whole series out of the library. I remember discovering Frances and Richard Lockridge. I was so enamored with Pam and Jerry North that even now I have a Chemex coffee pot.
But wanting to have written is not the same as writing. In 2018, I decided to take writing more seriously but I soon realized that I wasn’t going to be able to plot a mystery and that Rom-Com didn’t offer me enough scope. In the end I put mystery and romance together and wrote the first draft of At First Sight, a romantic suspense novel. Three and a half years, and many rewrites later, I published it to celebrate my seventieth birthday. I immediately started my second book, At the Crossroads, another romantic suspense.
And then, the unthinkable happened, I woke up one morning with not only the idea of a mystery, the whole plot, characters, and setting were all there. Until Dead in the Alley, I had never been able to put a mystery together. I spent some time planning and wrote the first draft in two months. After my early readers told me that the plot held together and they liked the characters, I threw myself into the revisions.
My writing journey has been long and twisted, but I credit my mother for my love of books and both my parents for the freedom to read whatever I wanted, no matter how inappropriate. (My dad and I both tried reading Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure—Fanny Hill—one year when a copy was left in our motel room instead of the usual bible. We both thought it was boring.)
When I was four, my mom stopped reading to me. Years later, I asked her why, assuming that she had been too busy with my new brother. Her answer surprised me. “You could read on your own,” she said. Before you gasp in astonishment in my precocity, reading was the one skill I mastered early. Math, on the other hand, is still a struggle—and I’m not talking about calculus or even algebra. I use a calculator for basic arithmetic. But back to reading…
An eclectic omnivore, I read classics, history, biography, mystery, fantasy, poetry. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to take out books from the adult part of the library. My parents were pretty lenient about what paperbacks I bought, even though I brought home things like The World of Suzie Wong and From Russia with Love when I was fourteen.
The first whiff of censorship was when my grandfather bought me No Time for Sergeants. When I stayed with them, he and I would walk down to the drugstore in the evening. He told me to pick out a book. My grandmother was shocked and declared that I had to return it the next day. But she didn’t confiscate it. So that night, I stayed up and read the whole thing. I’m sure much of it went over my head but I’m sure I enjoyed it as much because it was illicit as for the story.
The key to my reading was in that last word—story. I read to be entertained and to learn. From later rereading, I knew that much in my early reading went over my head. Didn’t matter. Story was the most important thing, although I learned to appreciate good characters too. My addiction to “Golden Age” mysteries, particularly British mysteries, cemented a belief that plot was the most important element. I consumed books in gulps and changed my major from English to History when I realized that I liked to read, not analyze what I read.
Turned out, analysis was the missing element in my reading if I wanted to be a writer. Not what my college professors asked me to do—explain the significance of “dust” in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, for example. The analysis I’m talking about is how writers create characters, make description come alive, elicit emotion. Why sentences work and why they don’t. Learning to appreciate the writing as well as the story. And figuring out the puzzles of putting a plot together—why some endings fall flat, and why some openings don’t provide enough of a hook to make the reader want to turn the page. I finally learned how to put a book together. There is no magic formula, but
Being a writer means that I read less. I still love reading but writing takes up more time than work ever did. When I do read, I notice places where I think something could be phrased better, how an author differentiates characters through dialogue (or doesn’t), when a scene could have been eliminated or fleshed out more. Flying through a story is a thing of the past. I wish I could say that I still read a book a day, but these days I’m lucky if I get through a couple of books a week.
The difference is that reading enriches my writing in a way that my earlier reading never did. Learning to read as a writer, makes me better at both.
Sharon Michalove — Author of Dead in the Alley
Sharon Michalove grew up in suburban Chicago. She received four degrees from the University of Illinois because she didn’t have the gumption to go anywhere else, and spent most of her career at the university, eventually earning a PhD, working in departmental administration, publishing and libraries. Her specialties are 15th-16th century European history, polar exploration, and food history. She may be one of the few people in America to never live outside her home state.
In graduate school, she met and married the love of her life. They shared a love of music, theater, travel and cats. He died in 2013.
Sharon also loves hockey, reading, cooking, writing, and various less elevated activities like eating cookies and sampling gins and single malts. After spending most of her life in a medium-sized university town she moved back to Chicago in 2017 so she could go to more Blackhawks games and spend quality time at Eataly. In 2021 she accomplished a lifetime goal by publishing her first novel. Unfortunately her other lifetime goal, to be English, is likely to remain unfulfilled.
To learn more about Sharon, click on any of the following links: www.SharonMichalove.com, Goodreads, BookBub – @sdmichalove, Instagram – @sdmichaloveauthor, Twitter – @sdmichalove & Facebook – @sharonmichalove
Visit all the Stops on the Dead in the Alley Tour!
07/18 Review @ Lynchburg Reads
07/18 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
07/19 Showcase @ BOOK REVIEWS by LINDA MOORE
07/20 Review @ From the TBR Pile
07/21 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
07/23 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
07/24 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
07/30 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
07/31 Showcase @ Nesies Place
08/02 Showcase @ I Read What You Write
08/08 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
08/08 Review @ Melissa As Blog
08/10 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
08/10 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
08/11 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
08/12 Review @ nanasbookreviews
08/12 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
09/29 Interview Podcast @ Blog Talk Radio
09/29 Review @ Just Reviews
Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020
The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook.