Thursday, 14 July 2011

Author Update: Denise Grover Swank

In May of last year, I interviewed up-and-coming author Denise Grover Swank. Well, time has flown by, and now Denise is successfully launching her novel TWENTY-EIGHT AND A HALF WISHES. I watched the book trailer, and now I really want to get my hands on this book. Let's take the opportunity to catch up with her.

Welcome back, Denise! Congratulations on your launch. Tell us about your new book.

Thanks for having me back, Dorothy! Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is the first book of the Rose Gardner Mysteries. It's part mystery, part romance, part chick-lit, and part humor that all combines to make a fun read. The synopsis is below:

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

Sounds amazing! How did the idea for the book come to you?

I took my son to the DMV to get license plates for his car. It was a hot, humid June day and the room was stuffy and full of cranky customers. I told him "It would be awesome to have a character work at the DMV. You could get some interesting stories." He just rolled his eyes and gave me his "whatever Mom, you're acting weird again" look. But the wheels were spinning. I started the book four days later.

Muses work in mysterious ways. What was the easiest part about writing this book, and what was the hardest?

The easiest part about about writing this book was that the story literally fell out of my fingers. Rose started talking and didn't stop until the story was done. She's such a fun character that it was a thrilling, magical ride. I wrote the first draft in 30 days.

The hardest part was cutting it down. When I finished, the first draft the manuscript was 102,000 words. It took MANY passes during edits to get it down to it's current 93,000 words. And that wasn't even revising. The story is pretty much as a I wrote it with only very minor revisions. It was cutting down the side thoughts Rose tended to throw in. While many were entertaining, they sometimes slowed down the story. It took me awhile to clean some out. (Kill your darlings. LOL)

Sounds like Rose had a lot to say. Quick Writing Test! Use these words in a sentence: power drill, equilibrium, and symphony.

Awesome word choices! One of my characters, Joe, actually uses a drill in Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes to fix Rose's busted door. I'll write the sentence from Rose's POV. I've set it up with a few other sentences. I also cheated. To make it all make sense, I used a semi-colon. *hangs head in shame*

A mechanical whine drifted from the kitchen, irritating my already aching head. But when I turned the corner to investigate, I froze. Joe hunched in my doorway, working on the doorjamb. The blood rushed from my head, upsetting my equilibrium; the noise of the power drill in his hand had become a symphony.

That was brilliant! So well done that I forgive your cheating. ;) So now that your book is out, are there any shout outs you'd like to throw out there?

This book wouldn't be possible without the help of my critique partners, Trisha Leigh, Eisley Jacobs and Kathy Collins. They believed in this story as much as I did and encouraged me every step of the way. I love you guys!

And finally, let our readers know where they can find your book.

You can find Twenty-Eight and a Half WIshes as a ebook and paperback at, ebook at Barnes & Noble and paperback my Createspace store page:

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is also listed on Goodreads and has a book trailer:

Thanks so much, Denise. I wish you continued success with your book. And be sure to let us know when your next book comes out!

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