Monday, March 19, 2012

Win AND SHE WAS by Alison Gaylin!

I am delighted that Alison Gaylin is including the BookBitchBlog on her blog tour. One lucky reader will win a copy of her new book! Keep reading for all the details on how to win.

AND SHE WAS is the first in a new series from Alison Gaylin which combines the psychological depth of Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series with the fast pacing and gripping tension of Harlan Coben’s suburban thrillers. Indeed, Lippman and Coben are huge fans of this young and upcoming talent in the mystery world.

About the book:
At the core of the series is a clever, striking, and literally unforgettable premise. Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector suffers from hyperthymestic syndrome, a rare neurological disorder which gives those who suffer from it perfect autobiographical memory. Triggered by the years-ago disappearance of her older sister, the disorder forces Brenna to remember every moment that’s happened since in precise, visceral detail: the good, the bad, the mundane, and the tragic. Yet the one event she wants desperately to remember—and solve—grows foggier and foggier in her mind.

Now the disappearance of a local woman named Carol Wentz has intersected with a missing child case that Brenna investigated eleven years ago, in which six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a Labor Day barbecue, never to be seen again. Brenna learns that Carol—like herself—had been secretly obsessed with tracking down Iris, and may indeed have found her. Reliving life—changing and deeply upsetting memories, Brenna discovers myriad ties between Carol, Iris, and other residents of the town where they live—and uncovers a shocking web of murder and deception that stretches back more than a decade.

From the author: Writing Isn’t Pretty

You know what I hate? Those scenes in movies, where a writer is sitting in front of the computer or typewriter and all of a sudden, he just “gets” it. You know the scenes I’m talking about: The big “eureka” grin appears on his face and there’s just no stopping him: The writer’s fingers are flying over the keys as if he’s a virtuoso, playing a symphony and he’s smiling at the page or screen as though he can’t believe the brilliance that’s flying out of him. And then, in the very next scene, he walks proudly up to his doubting editor or girlfriend or withholding mother or whomever, hands them a thick, completed, perfect manuscript, and says something oh-so-clever like, “Read it and weep.”

Scenes like that make me want to throw up. They’re why so many people think writing is “easy,” and “fun,” and something they could “do if they had just a little more time.”

Let me just say, right here and now, that I don’t find writing easy. I never have. For me, writing is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration, and if I sat in front of the computer only when I “got” it, I’d probably have written about one or two pages in the past 10 years.

The ugly truth is, I have never once written a first draft that I haven’t loathed. I write and rewrite and cut and rewrite some more. I kill darlings and tell scenes from different perspectives until I get them right and, since I write mysteries, I’ve been known to change the killer’s identity at the last possible minute – necessitating even more rewriting. It’s just the way I do it. It’s too much pressure to be perfect right out of the gate – I’d rather change and rework, so that it becomes good eventually.

Here’s an idea of how much I wind up changing: When I write a novel, I always keep a file of everything I cut. My cut file for my latest book, AND SHE WAS – I just checked it -- is 126 pages long. That’s about a third of the final draft – and it’s about normal for me. All of my writing is expendable including (and often especially) the passages I personally love most.

So I guess that’s why I hate those movie scenes. While I’d much rather look like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone while I’m writing than Jon Turturro in Barton Fink, it’s just not reality – for me, anyway. I will say though, that there’s no greater satisfaction that finally getting it right. And awful as the writing process sometimes makes me feel, it’s always pure heaven to have written. There are two words that will never make it into my cut file: “The End.”

About the author:

Alison Gaylin’s new book AND SHE WAS, the first in a new series featuring Brenna Spector, a missing persons investigator with perfect autobiographical memory, is out now from Harper, and recently debuted on the USA Today Bestseller List. She has written four other books, including the Edgar-nominated HIDE YOUR EYES.

To win a copy of AND SHE WAS by Alison Gaylin, send an email to, with "AND SHE WAS" as the subject. Make sure to include your name and mailing address in the US only. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age. One entry per email address, please. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone. All entries, including names, email addresses, and mailing addresses, will be purged after winner is notified.

This contest is only going to run until the end of the month, so your odds of winning are pretty good - if you enter by March 31, 2012! Good luck!

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