Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Arranger by L.J. Sellers – Blog Tour – Review & Interview – October 15, 2011

About the Book:

The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life.
The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the shooter lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious assailant and what is motivating him kill? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?

My Review:
The Three Reasons Review is a simple way to get your thoughts out there about a book. The reasons are as follows complete with fancy button:

1.) Reasons you chose this book
I liked the cover. It looked like a mysterious book which I love!
2.) Reasons you liked or disliked this book
  • I liked this book because it kind of reminded me of survivor and The Hunger Games (parts of the story). I don't really watch survivor that much, but I loved The Hunger Games.
  • I liked this book because it was interesting to see how Paul was going to do the tasks that he set out to do. He was in another aspect of the story (not the one above).
  • I liked how Paul was a memorable character. He did something that ended up going his way, but then he got a little greedy. I would have like to see a picture of the transformation that was described in this book.
  • Based on my last like, I would say that this book would be a great movie. For some reason, I would say that the parts would be played by Steve Carell. I don't know why, but he is who I pictured for Paul. Maybe its the fact that he is a "frumpy programmer". Also between his character on The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Office, I just had him sticking in my mind. Although Paul in this book is devious and I don't really see that in Steve Carell, but you never know! I guess the reason I see him is because Paul seems nerdy and like a lost puppy. I feel bad for Paul because he just wants to be accepted. I am not sure who would play Lara. I'm seeing a redhead, maybe. I am going to Google redheaded actresses and see what I see. I found her: Julianne Moore. She is the one.
  • Okay, this is supposed to be a book review, but now I am thinking movie. Obviously I liked the book enough think that people would pay to see this story on the big screen. There was enough action to it and I wanted to see if Lara would win the game and what was going to happen with Paul.
  • I liked this book because there were no errors in it.
  • I'm trying to think of why I disliked this book and I'm really not coming up with anything. It took me a while to read, but it's because of lack of time and not lack of interest in the book. Actually, I was supposed to post my review a few weeks ago and I missed it. I feel so bad, but I'm finally getting it up on here.
3.) Reasons you are recommending this book
  • I recommend this book because it has two different stories within one and they tie in at the end.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0983213852
  • Publisher: Spellbinder Press (August 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005H7Q0AA
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Source: L.J. Sellers (Thank you!!!!!)
L.J. Sellers

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, and Dying for Justice. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and Spinetingler magazines, and the series is on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has three standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief, The Suicide Effect, and The Arranger. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.

L.J. Sellers Interview

Cheryl: How did you come up with the title THE ARRANGER?

L.J.: One of the main characters, Paul Madsen, is given access to federal personnel information that he can’t resist exploiting. He uses the information to arrange for clients to land new, better jobs and for some employees to lose theirs. I started thinking of him as the arranger and the name stuck. My husband loved the title too and encouraged me to use it.

Cheryl: Is there a message in the book that you want readers to get?

L.J.: The broad idea is that the United States could end up in a dark and ugly place if social and economic issues continue the way they’re going. The other theme is that there are people in this world we look right past, because they’re shy or unattractive, but those people have feelings and value, and they want attention just like the rest of us.

Cheryl: Are any parts of THE ARRANGER realistic?

L.J.: The entire story is realistic. It’s the only kind of fiction I write. It has elements that are imaginative, such as medical inventions that aren’t on the horizon yet and a national competition with jobs as the grand prize. But all of those things could easily come true. The story isn’t paranormal, sci-fi, or fantasy. It’s a gritty, realistic look at the future.

Cheryl: Did you have a favorite character in THE ARRANGER, and why did you like that character?

L.J.: The story is told predominantly from two characters’ perspectives, Lara Evans and Paul Madsen. Lara is a homicide investigator/paramedic from my Detective Jackson series, and she had a major role in my last novel, Dying for Justice. I had so much fun writing from her perspective that I knew she needed her own story, in which she could be as physical as she wanted to be. She’s definitely my favorite character in The Arranger.

About Writing In General:

Cheryl: How do you begin writing a book? Do you start with an outline? Do you hand write anything or type it out?

L.J.: I write exclusively on my computer, and I usually start each story with some broad ideas. I eventually develop and write out what I call the story logic—all the character motivations, connections, and events. (Lara responds to an emergency call, witnesses a crime, and meets the commissioner. She keeps his secret because he controls the Gauntlet, a contest she is scheduled to compete in.) I include incidents in the backstory and even the events that don’t happen on the page where the reader can see them. This process ensures my plot doesn’t have any gaping holes that make readers think: WTF? Next, I start outlining, usually by day of the week, because my stories all take place in a short period of time. About halfway through the outline, I start writing the first chapter because I’m eager to get started or because I come up with a good opening. I keep outlining the second half as I write .

Cheryl: Do you have a certain writing style?

L.J.: Because my background is in journalism, I tend to write lean and my prose is straightforward. I focus on clarity and immediacy rather than on creating lush or lyrical prose. Many readers have commented that my storytelling style is unique and compelling, but they haven’t really articulated what the style is.

Cheryl: Are any of your books based on things that you have experienced in your life or the life of someone you know?

L.J.: I draw from my life and my family members lives all the time. For example, Wade Jackson, from my detective series, has a trike-building hobby like my husband, and he also has a rare health issue like my husband. Both of those elements are unusual and make Jackson an interesting character. In Passions of the Dead, I wrote about unemployment and economic issues, and I drew from experiences that my extended family members were going through. So far, I haven’t written stories that focus on the most painful phases in my personal life because it would be too stressful. (Some day, when I’m old and medicated, I’ll probably write a memoir and tell everything.) Still, all of my female characters have elements of my personality and they share my life experiences, such as grief, addiction, food/weight issues, layoffs, etc.

Cheryl: Do you have any rituals that you use when you are writing or a certain place you go to get inspired?

L.J. I’m not a ritualistic person but I do exercise faithfully every day. During my workout sessions, I often brainstorm plots and usually get my best ideas while I’m in cardio mode. I’ve never really experienced writers block. I think it’s my journalism background that has trained me to get words on the page, no matter what. For me, writing is craft and my occupation. I don’t wait to be inspired. I work my brain until I have the right collection of ideas, then I sit down and do it.

Cheryl: How many books have you written?

L.J.: I’ve written ten and a half novels, with eight of them now on the market. My first two were practice novels, both about serial killers, and neither will ever be published. I also abandoned one novel halfway through when my agent said he didn’t like it. I may eventually dig it out and finish it. That agent didn’t like The Sex Club either, and it became a bestseller on Kindle. I also just released a nonfiction book that’s a collection of blogs, articles, and writing advice—called Write First, Clean Later, my personal motto. In addition, I’ve written five screenplays, three of which are comedies.

Cheryl: Did you have to do much research when writing your books? If so, do you tend to write first or research first?

L.J.: Before this one, my last five books were police procedurals, and over the years I’ve interviewed several homicide detectives, a crime scene technician, a medical examiner, and a SWAT sergeant. For the first two Jackson stories, I conducted the interviews before I started writing because I felt like I had to. For the last two in the series, I started writing and waited until I knew specifically what I needed to ask to make certain scenes authentic. For The Baby Thief, a standalone thriller, I did extensive research into fertility science throughout the writing of the story. My current release, The Arranger, is set in the future, so there wasn’t much I could research, except self-defense techniques.

Cheryl: What advice would you give to those aspiring writers out there?

L.J.: For writers just getting started, I advise them to study the craft. Read Writers Digest and take writing workshops. For writers who’ve been at it a while and know they have a professional product, I would advise them to take charge of their publishing career and get their work out there independently. For writers who have already published and are struggling to build a readership, be tenacious and patient. It will happen.

About Your Reading:

Cheryl: Are you reading anything right now?

L.J.: I’m reading a collection of short stories called Shaken. It’s written by a terrific group of authors, and the proceeds go to help the tsunami victims in Japan.

Cheryl: What are some of your favorite books and authors?

L.J.: Two of my all-time favorite books are futuristic thrillers: The Tomorrow File by Lawrence Sanders and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. My current favorite authors are Michael Connelly, John Sandford, and Harlen Coben. Two of the best crime fiction books I’ve read recently are Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (about a hit man who becomes a doctor!) and The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (about a psychologically mute safecracker). Both were very compelling.

Cheryl: Has writing your own book changed the way that you read?

L.J.: Unfortunately, yes. The more I write the less I read. It’s the worst thing about being a novelist. I also worked as an editor for decades, and I trained my brain to read slowly and carefully, looking for errors. I have trouble turning that off, and it tends to ruin a lot of stories for me.

Cheryl: Are you able to read when you’re writing and if so what books inspire you when you’re working on a novel?

L.J.: When I’m writing a first draft, I tend to read short stories. Not only do I love the genre, they also work well with my limited attention span for reading. Because I write crime stories, I’m often inspired by what I see in the news. I’m a news junkie, and real crime is a great source of fodder for my work.

Cheryl: Are there other books you love or writers you admire that are from your local area?

L.J.: Locally, I’m friends with Carola Dunn, who writes the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries. She writes historical fiction, which I don’t read, but I admire her productivity and skill, and I know she has fans around the world. I’m also friends with Marva Dasef, a terrific Eugene writer, who I have read and enjoyed.

Personal Information:

Cheryl: If you have to describe yourself with one word, what would it be?

L.J.: Energetic.

Cheryl: I see that you were born in California, also lived in Phoenix, but spent most of your life in Oregon. What is it like there? Is that your favorite place to live?

L.J.: I love Eugene, Oregon. It’s beautiful (green), and is both intellectually stimulating and laid back at the same time. I wish it were warmer, but you can’t have everything. Phoenix, on the other hand, was quite warm, but it’s an ugly city that extends for 70 miles in the desert. After living most of my life in Oregon, Phoenix never felt like home. I hope to someday have a winter home in Maui. J

Cheryl: What is a typical day in your life like?

L.J.: Busy! I get up around six, read some news online, do a little promotion, then do an hour workout. After that, I may do more promotion (blogs, emails, press releases), or if I’m working on a first draft, I’ll start writing around ten. I usually write until five, with a break for lunch and maybe an afternoon bike ride or walk. After dinner I go back to work and do whatever is most pressing on my to-do list. It could be answering emails, working on my webs: ite, writing a guest blog, or a zillion other things. I’m usually at my computer until nine-thirty or ten. Then I read or watch TV for an hour or so. Many days are interrupted by “rescue calls” from my extended family, and I always make time for them.

Cheryl: What three artists would I find in your Ipod or CD player?

L.J.: I like just about any music that makes me want to dance. But my favorites are an eclectic mix: Queen, Steve Winwood, Nickelback, KC and the Sunshine Band, James Brown, and Kid Rock, to name a few.

Cheryl: If I came to your home and looked in your refrigerator what would I find?

L.J.: Lots of fruits and vegetables, with lean protein in the freezer. I eat very little processed food, almost no wheat, and very little dairy. My two weaknesses are peppermint patties and popcorn, but I try to limit sugar too.

Cheryl: What is one food item that you can’t live without?

L.J.: Beef. I’m a protein burner and I feel best when I eat red meat, so I listen to my body. But my weight and my cholesterol counts are very healthy.

Cheryl: What is your favorite color?

L.J.: Purple!

Cheryl: What do you like to do when you are not writing (hobbies, etc.)?

L.J.: I love to ride my bike, and I also go bowling with my brothers quite often. I love comedy too, so we watch standup whenever we can. I’ve also performed standup comedy several times, and it’s great fun.

Cheryl: What is the one thing about yourself that others would be shocked to know?

L.J.: I’m very open, and readers can learn almost anything about me on my website. Sometimes people who have known me for a while are surprised to discover I have several small tattoos near my ankles. Some people might be surprised to learn that my first husband tried to kill me, and his dog saved my life. And others would be surprised to know that public speaking terrifies me. This surprises me as well, because I’m an extrovert.

Cheryl: What is next for you in 2011?

L.J.: I’m working on the sixth book in my Detective Jackson series, and it may be released as early as December.

Contact Information:

How can your readers contact you?

Cheryl: Is there anything you would like to add?

L.J.: Thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my interview questions!

Cheryl: Thank you very much for the interview!

Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy from the author (THANK YOU!) I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MYexperience while reading this novel.
© 2011, Cheryl of Black Diamond’s Book Reviews. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than Black Diamond's Book Reviews, Urban Image Magazine, or Cheryl’s feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

1 comment:

  1. Aren't those two in a movie together.? I like how sometimes you can totally envision a book as a movie while you're reading it.