Jim: Hi, Carol Costa, and welcome to the Champagne Books blog site and author interview forum. Tell us all about Carol Costa, author, playwright, literary agent, mother, grandmother, accountant and gambler in twenty-five words or less. Sorry . . . Times up!
Carol: I demand a continuance to make my case.
Jim: Okay, but is sounds like you may be planning to testify about cops and perps and characters that get between them. Did you ever write any crime mysteries? What are you doing for Champagne Books?
Carol: I’ve written in several different genres and have published both fiction and nonfiction, but my books with Champagne have allowed me to combine the two fiction elements that I am most interested in writing about: mystery and the paranormal.
My first published book with Champagne is Invisible Force featuring a ghost who comes back to the house where she was murdered to find her killer. Champagne also has accepted another novel, Ask Aunt Emma, for release in March 2010. The main character in that book is investigating a murder, aided by the spirit of her dead husband.
Jim: Both those sound like something we may all want to read. But give us some detail about some of your other published works.
Carol: Since I have a background in accounting and taxes, I have written four financial titles for Penguin USA. They are Teach Yourself Accounting in 24 Hours; Teach Yourself Bookkeeping in 24 Hours; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Bankruptcy; and the latest book due out in December, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a Thrift Store.
I also have the Dana Sloan mystery series and two romance novels published by Avalon Books as well as a romantic suspense novel. Last but not least is a great short story collection I did with Jim Woods, titled, Olla Podrida.
Jim: That’s a lifetime of writing. Do you find any time for reading? What sort of writing from someone else can pull you away from writing your own books?
Carol: I enjoy all kinds of books, but mainly read what I like to write, and that’s mysteries
Jim: There must be distractions, or I should say, equally important interests and activities that compete with your writing time. What takes up your time beyond writing and maybe reading? I suspect that like all the rest of us, family is foremost among those priorities.
Carol: I am the mother of four, the grandmother of six. My husband and I baby-sit for our two youngest grandchildren everyday and they are a joy. I’m also the treasurer of two nonprofit organizations: The Society of Southwestern Authors and the St. Vincent De Paul Conference at my church.
Jim: I know that you write and produce plays. What’s that all about?
Carol: I actually started my writing career as a playwright and a journalist. My plays have been produced in New York Off-Off Broadway and in a number of regional theaters. One of my plays, The Last Decent Crooks, has just been published. Live theater is my first love and I run a Readers Theater from time to time.
Jim: Have your works that were published originally as books or short stories gone the stage play route? Or perhaps the other way? Has a play gone later to print, or are the two disciplines mutually exclusive?
Carol: I have converted some of my one-act plays into short stories that have been published, and into audio scripts that have been produced, but I keep the full-length plays I have written as stage material only.
Jim: Okay, you’re the gambling guru according to the Video Poker title that’s displayed on your website next to your books on accounting and bookkeeping. How do you reconcile the disciplines of accounting and gambling in your collective works? Are you cooking the books?
Carol: Despite the fact that everyone knows I love to gamble, my nonprofit groups still trust me with their funds. My financial background causes me to analyze anything that has to do with money, so I’m a conservative player, always looking for ways to beat the odds. My years of research led to writing the book on gambling, Video Poker: Play Longer With Less Risk.
Jim: Other than the upcoming release from Champagne, Ask Aunt Emma, what do you have in work that we may read in the future?
Carol: My agent is marketing a historical novel based on the true story of the House of David, a religious colony in Benton Harbor, Michigan where my family owned a summer home. I’m also collaborating with an infamous New Orleans madam on a book called, From the Cat House to the Dog House. And of course I have other Dana Sloan mysteries in the works.
Jim: Where have you lived and where would you like to, and how do your travel experiences, places and people, impact your writing?
Carol: I was born and raised in Chicago. We moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 1973 because our oldest daughter had health problems that benefited from the dry climate. I have traveled all over Europe and my favorite places were London and Rome. I guess I still like big cities but am content to live in Tucson. It’s the people I met while traveling that have influenced my writing the most. I use a lot of my experiences with them in my books.
Jim: Case dismissed. Thank you Carol, for letting the Champagne authors and readers gain a glimpse into your busy life and career. If they wish to contact you personally, or professionally, how can they get in touch?
Carol: They can visit my website: www.carolcostaauthor.com and send me e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to hear from readers and answer any questions they might have about my books.
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Interview contributed by Jim Woods, author of Champagne Books Assassination Safari, Parting Shot and Gunshot Echoes.
Website: www.ultrasw.com/jwoods Email: email@example.com