Thursday, March 30, 2006


Continuing our conversation with novelist Tasha Alexander, author of the historical mystery And Only to Deceive (William Morrow), named by Poisoned Pen Bookstore as one of the Top 20 First Mysteries of 2005. Tasha Alexander is the daughter of two philosophy professors and grew up in South Bend, Indiana, completely surrounded by books. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Medieval Studies.

Following stints running a temporary employment office in Laramie, Wyoming and working as a pharmaceutical sales rep in Vermont, she had a baby and retired from corporate life. The family moved to New Haven, Connecticut when her husband started a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale. The week before her 3-and-a-half-year-old son happened to stop napping, she started work on And Only to Deceive. Two months later, the manuscript was finished. She currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee, where she is working on her next novel.

She is also a member of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Sisters in Crime.

(Author photos by Wolf Hoffman.)

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Are you an “outline” writer or a “make it up as you go” writer?
Definitely “make it up as you go!” Outlines slay me. I have a fairly intuitive sense of pace as I’m telling a story, but if I’m writing an outline, it’s like I’m taking stabs in the dark. Stabs that never hit anything.

Are you a full-time novelist?
Yes. I’m not good at anything else.

How were you able to go full-time?
I was staying home with my son when I started to write, and continued to do that after my first book sold. It’s definitely helpful to have a gainfully employed spouse if you want to be a full-time writer ...

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read! There’s nothing that will improve your own writing more than reading good books. They’ll teach you what works, what doesn’t, what you like, and are the best place to discover new words.

What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers understood?
I’ve found that non-writers are generally tolerant of the neuroses of writers, although it is sometimes hard to convince them that when we’re staring out the window we really, really are working—thinking counts!

What one thing about writing do you wish other writers understood?
We’ve got to remember that we all have different experiences once we’re published. What works for one of us, particularly in terms of marketing and self-promotion, is not necessarily going to work for others.

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Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our Q&A. And Only to Deceive is available at Amazon and other fine booksellers. Read the first chapter online. Find Tasha online at

Related links:

More Novelist Q&As:
LONNIE CRUSE (Murder In Metropolis)
ANNE RICE (Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt)

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