Marilyn Levinson's A Murderer Among Us

My guest today is Marilyn Levinson. Marilyn was a bookworm from the moment she learned how to read. She devoured Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Trixie Beldon books – sometimes two in one day. Is it any wonder she ended up writing mysteries? (I can SO relate because that’s how I got started, too!)

Anne - Welcome to my little corner of cyberspace, Marilyn. If you’ve cozy and comfy, let’s talk writing. Tell us about your book.

Marilyn - In A Murderer Among Us, Lydia Krause moves to Twin Lakes, an upscale retirement community on Long Island. where she uncovers a resident’s criminal past and sets off a series of homicides. In the course of unveiling the murderer, Lydia forges new friendships, heals her relationship with her older daughter, and starts a romance with the homicide detective in charge of the investigation.

Anne - Is it part of a series? If so, include other titles. What do you enjoy most about writing a series? What part do you loathe?

Marilyn - A Murderer Among Us is the first book in my Twin Lakes series. The next, Murder In the Air, is coming out in a few months. I love writing series because my characters are important to me. They have fully-developed personalities, with a range of attitudes, quirks, and histories. Writing a series gives my characters the chance to grow as they experience new adventures.
And I still have plenty of opportunity to add new characters and locales in each book.

Anne - Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Marilyn - I believe that distinction goes to Cameron Leeds, a character in my mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, which is coming out in April with Uncial Press. Actually, Cam is a ghost who can only manifest in the den of the cottage where he used to live. Alive, Cam was a sexy, charismatic wheeler dealer, who enjoyed living by his wits, skirting the law, and romancing the ladies. Now a ghost, he asks Gabbie Meyerson to find out who murdered him. Gabbie sees through his charm to the sensitive soul beneath. She is saddened that it's only after his death that Cam realizes he was deeply in love with the woman he'd been seeing.

Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?

Marilyn - Aside from being surprised by the twists and turns my novels take, I'm astonished where writing books has taken me--to speaking on the radio, seeing my book honored by Suspense Magazine, co-founding a chapter of Sisters in Crime, and hearing how much readers have enjoyed my work.        

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Marilyn - Take writing courses; join writing groups; critique with peers; accept rejections as a part of it all. Above all, write!

Anne – Would you share an excerpt from A Murderer Among Us with us? 

Marilyn – Here you go!
            Lydia Krause never made scenes, but tonight she longed to rip out the heart of the man approaching their table.
             Her neighbor, Peg DiMarco, smiled as she introduced her to the monster. “Lydia Krause, this is Marshall Weill; Marshall, Lydia just moved to Twin Lakes. I persuaded her to come down to Bingo Night to meet her fellow residents.”
            “It’s a pleasure,” he said, nodding with the self-assurance of a seventy-year-old male who had retained his trim physique and handsome demeanor. Everything about him was stylish and shouted “designer,” from his Italian loafers to the elegant suede jacket.
            Marshall Weill? Could she be wrong? More than six years had passed. He stepped closer. Years of running her own company had sharpened Lydia’s B.S. sense, and this man was sleaze with a capital S.
            She hesitated before shaking his extended hand then wished she hadn’t. His palm felt too smooth, almost as if it were slimed with sweat though her hand wasn’t damp. She jerked free of his grasp and lifted her hand to cover a false cough. At the same time, she questioned her visceral reaction. Was she suddenly psychic--able to detect sleaze with a handshake, or was her negative frame of mind getting the better of her?
            “Marshall’s our HOA’s financial advisor,” Peg offered with pride. “He’s also handling several residents’ portfolios.”
            Financial advisor? Portfolios? A frisson ran down Lydia’s spine. This couldn’t be a coincidence!
            The growing certainty that she faced an amoral, malevolent fiend vied with her mind’s insistence that he couldn’t possibly be the person she supposed him to be. To cover her dismay, she spoke disparagingly.
            “I didn’t realize the homeowners’ association has enough funds to warrant the services of a financial advisor.”
            Marshall Weill gazed down at her. “Regardless of the amount, you don’t want to let money lie fallow in a bank. Put it to work, I always say.”
            He smiled, revealing a gap between his front teeth. All doubt vanished. Lydia gasped.
            “You’re Warren Mannes.” Suddenly lightheaded, she gripped the edge of the table.
            The smile returned, but this time it was forced. “You’re mistaken.  My name is Marshall Weill.”
            The fear and anger Lydia read in his eyes empowered her. She’d recently moved to this Eden-like retirement community and felt obliged to protect her fellow residents from the serpent in its midst. She drew herself up and plunged ahead.
            “You’re Warren Mannes, and you’ve no business handling anyone’s money.”

Anne – That certainly hooked me. A Murderer Among Us is going on my TBR list! Where can readers find you online?

Marilyn – At my website, Facebook, and Twitter

Anne – Thank you for dropping by and chatting, Marilyn. It’s been such fun, and I wish you every success both on and off the page.

Readers, as always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Becoming a follower will ensure you never miss an interview, announcement or blog post. Plus, you’ll have my eternal gratitude. J

Happy reading!

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Palmaltas said...

I enjoyed A Murderer Among Us and am looking forward to Giving up the Ghost. Great interview!

Palmaltas said...

I enjoyed A Murderer Among Us and am looking forward to Giving up the Ghost. Great interview!

Kaye George said...

Cam sounds like such a good character. I can't wait until this book comes out! Thanks for the interview.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Terrific interview, Anne! I'm honored to be a member of Long Island SinC, and we are fortunate to have Marilyn as our president. We are so proud of her accomplishments and look forward to the release of GIVING UP THE GHOST.

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

Great interview. Giving Up the Ghost sounds like a really good read, definitely one for the TBR list.

I'm very happy for you Marilyn. You deserve all that is coming your way. You're a great writer.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Wow! I've been away--at aerobics and then making meat loaves--and come back to such wonderful comments. Thank you, Pat, Kaye, Kathy, and Donna! All wonderful friends and fellow writers. I can't wait for Cam to make his "appearance" on the "literary" scene.

Anne K. Albert said...

Thanks so much, Kaye and Kathleen for the compliment about the interview, but Marilyn makes it EASY! :)

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Anne. It's been my pleasure.

Marja said...

Wonderful interview, and now my TBR list is one book longer. Thanks for sharing.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thank you, Marja. Glad you came to visit us.

Unknown said...

Great, great interview, Marilyn. I read your book and LOVED it. Your setting is awesome and I hope the series just keeps on going. :)

Suzanne Hurley