An Interview with Denise Grover Swank

Photo: Cathryn Farley Photography

Photo: Cathryn Farley Photography

I am honored to have New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author, Denise Grover Swank, with us today on her tour for her latest Rose Gardner Mystery release, Thirty and a Half Excuses. Denise is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $50 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice), so hop on over and check it out after you read what she had to tell us about travel, writing, and of course, Rose Gardner, the heroine of the series. Now, let’s get to know Denise a little bit better.

LKG-G: You traveled to some great locations this summer. What was your favorite destination and why?

DGS: It’s been a busy summer for me! I’ve traveled for both work and fun to New York City: Paris; London; the Outer Banks, North Carolina; and Seattle, Washington. I love all of those places (except for London, surprisingly) but my favorite was Paris. I’d always heard how rude the Parisians were, but I can honestly say we never encountered anyone who was rude to us. (Although we did encounter a pick-pocket, which by definition would be rude.) The architecture is gorgeous. The weather in June was wonderful. I fell in love with Paris and can’t wait to go back.

LKG-G: Writers find inspiration for their work everywhere. Did anything in your travels catch you by surprise and spark new ideas? Can you share?

DGS: My trip to the Outer Banks was for research for my soon to be release urban fantasy series, The Curse Keepers. It’s set on Roanoke Island. Manteo is a small town so I wanted to go back and get the local flavor for the town. I LOVE the Outer Banks and came up with so many ideas for the series.

But I also came up with a YA contemporary romance idea from my trip to Paris. Maybe I should go back for more research. 😉

900x1400_thirtyexcusesLKG-G: Do you see your main character, Rose, traveling beyond the confines of Henryetta any time in the future?

DGS: Rose has always wanted to go to Italy. I’d really like for her to go there. But first, I think she needs to learn to venture off somewhere closer. I’ve talked end game with this series with my critique partner. Trisha sees Rose moving away from Henryetta. We’ll see. I’ll let Rose tell me what she wants to do when the time comes.

LKG-G: What has been your most defining moment as an author?

DGS: When I hit the New York Times bestseller list. I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until I made it.

LKG-G: For some authors, music is a very important part of the writing process. What are the MUST haves on your Rose Gardner Mystery series playlist and why?

DGS: I listen to a LOT of Paramore when I write Rose. And also Coldplay, but mostly Paramore. Their song Never Let This Go really fits Thirty and a Half Excuses.

LKG-G: During the first book in the Rose Gardner Mystery series, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes¸Rose has an epiphany and decides she is done being afraid of what people will say, and vows to not let fear hold her back any longer — she will do what she wants to do. How are you like Rose in this regard? Can you define a moment when you came to the same type of determination?

DGS: Wow. Good question. When my husband died seven years ago, I realized I’d spent a good part of my life letting fear hold me back from trying new things. I decided I didn’t want to have regrets when I left this world. So now I look at an opportunity or a decision and ask which choice will present the greatest regret? Scary things are good for us. They help us grow. So if I’m presented with a challenge, and it’s fear that holds me back, I push myself to do it anyway.

LKG-G: Congratulations on your recent Amazon success with Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons. On Twitter you announced you were so glad it was Rose. Tell us about the soft spot you have for Rose Gardner.

DGS: Thank you! First, I think there’s a lot of me in Rose. I think she’s the most relatable character I write and I would love to be friends with someone like her. (Wait. If there’s a lot of me in her, and I want to be her friend, does that make me a narcissist? LOL)

But second, Rose—Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes—is the first book I self-published. I took a huge risk with her because a lot of people still frowned on self-publishing.

And third, I think there’s an audience out there that hasn’t met her yet.

LKG-G: The publishing industry is changing swiftly from what it once was. Doors have opened for authors that even five years ago would have been tightly shut. You are an iconic example of the new breed of author. Tell us a little bit about the new publishing environment and your views on the future.

DGS: I think more and more authors will ditch traditional publishing for self-publishing. Any author who is relatively successful will only consider a traditional deal to get in print. But print’s not what it used to be. Barnes & Noble and is stocking fewer books, if it even survives another few years. Which means a print deal will stop being the pot at the end of the rainbow.

LKG-G: Writers no longer have the luxury of simply writing their novel and sending it off for someone else to do the rest. You are a prolific author, who works in a wide variety of genres. What is a typical day like for Denise Grover Swank?

DGS: I get up and take my kids to school. Then I come home and work on the business part—emails, etc. After lunch at my desk, I try to write or edit, depending on what part of the process I’m at in the manuscript. I pick my kids up from school and we hang out until after dinner. Then when they go to bed, I write or edit for several hours.

LKG-G: What projects are in the works now that you can share?

BlogTour ButtonDGS: I’ve turned in the first draft of the second Curse Keeper and I’m waiting to for my notes to start revision/edit. While I wait, I’ve started writing the third book in the Off the Subject series.

About Thirty and a Half Excuses:

Life in Henryetta, Arkansas is turned upside down with the arrival of a televangelist, but it’s the death of a little old lady on Rose’s street that catches her attention. The Henryetta police deem her death natural causes, but Rose suspects foul play and so does an unlikely supporter–-the president of the Busy Body Club, her eighty-two year old neighbor Mildred.

But Rose is in the middle of opening her nursery with her sister Violet, who’s separated from her husband Mike, as well as stalling her boyfriend Joe’s family, rich socialites who are determined to meet her. Along with her multiple encounters with Fenton County’s new assistant DA, Mason Deveraux III, it’s just another day in the life of Rose Gardner–-chaos.

About Denise Grover Swank:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

Thanks for stopping by Denise. And if anyone would like to catch up with Denise and keep track of all that she has going on, please check out the below:

Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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