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Archive for December, 2012

MAF members ended the year in style with a lively discussion on the author’s first mystery, Skating Around the Law, topped with a special visit by its author, Joelle Charbonneau! (Click on the picture to see a larger version of the MAF sign for Joelle.)

Members found the story to be a fun, upbeat mystery — perfect to read for the holidays. Several people commented on how well plotted it was, with several plausible threads to figuring out the murderer. In talking about Rebecca’s romantic feelings for Lionel, we discussed what separates a mystery with some romantic aspects, from a romance with mystery elements.  (Skating Around the Law definitely fell in the first category.) And speaking of love, the whole group concurred that we loved Elwood the ex-circus camel that lives in vet Lionel’s barn. People particularly liked his ability to wear an appropriate chapeau for all occasions!

We also commented on how believable and real the small-town setting was, especially in regards to the people who live in Indian Falls, and how the roller rink would be a critical part of their social activities.  They all have a vested interest in seeing if Rebecca will really sell it. We liked the way that even the briefest character appearances had direct bearing on the story and that each person had character definition. Readers get to know quite a bit about all the secondary characters as well as the main ones.

We had some differing opinions on Lionel withholding the name of the drug from Rebecca — did it add to the potential for Rebecca to suspect him? — did it turn readers away from human suspects because he might know the drug involved and he’s a vet? Cases were made for both possibilities.

At just about the point we were giving the book our thumbs up — who should appear, but Skating Around the Law‘s author — Joelle Charbonneau!

Charbonneau_TalkingtoMAF As you can see Joelle immediately became part of the group and started telling us the story of how this book, and series came to be. (While you may think there are only a couple of folks in this picture, our long-distance member Joan, is actually listening in on the phone!)

Joelle also updated us on the status of Rebecca’s quandary about selling the rink and let us know that all will be revealed in book 3. She’s currently got the fourth book in production and is working on the next — along with the third book in her second series which features the choral director of a high school show choir, struggling opera singer, Paige Marshall. The first in this series is called Murder for Choir — and as Joelle herself pointed out — we have it here at the Lisle Library as well! (Click here to go the library catalog to request this book.) And in her spare time, Joelle has started a third series, this one for young adults, featuring a dystopian-oriented story called The Testing which will be coming out in June 2013. She is working on a manuscript for that series as well. She is the mother of young children, a professional opera singer, and still does vocal coaching and occasional performances as well — in a word: one busy lady!

In talking about her journey to published author, Joelle emphasized the important of the butt-in-chair principle — that nothing will get you further than completing a full book manuscript. And while she also says that her first book “will never see the light of day”, it proved to her that she could indeed write a book.  She immediately began the next one, and through her friendship with (New York Times best-selling romance author) Susan Elizabeth Phillips, she joined the Romance Writers of America who provided her with ‘incredible feedback, professional workshops and contacts, as well as other writing friends.’ She also finds attending mystery conferences to be helpful and a great way to make contacts.

After answering other questions from attendees, we couldn’t let her get away without asking nicely if she would favor us with a song. The group was delighted to hear a beautiful piece of “O Holy Night” ,  to cap our discussion with Joelle.

Before joining Sue Peterson from Brain Snacks, to sign books that attendees purchased, we asked her to do the honors and “stake her cake”! Being the trouper Joelle is, she gleefully complied. Charbonneau_StakesCake

If you are interested in checking out Skating Around the Law for yourself — click here.

Is there something you’d like to add to this discussion, or a comment you’d like to make on Skating Around the Law? As always, more discussion is welcome — if you’ve read the book and would like to leave a comment, please do!
Charbonneau_CakeOrnamentWsnow

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Couldn’t resist this when I saw it on Joelle’s site, and thought you’d all get a kick out of this too: Skating Around The Law made WGN TV’s “Larry’s World” unusual book picks! Click the “TV” below to go to the video clip.  Want to learn more about our visiting author? Click here to go to her website!

Link to WGN on "Skating Around the Law"

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