Monday, January 26, 2015

Spotlight/Book Giveaway/Interview: Played by the Book by Lucy Arlington

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #4 in A Novel Idea Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: February 2015

Synopsis from the author's website...

The national bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries make their return with Lila Wilkins, literary agent and “murder magnet” planning a book signing garden party. But things aren’t coming up roses when she ends up trying to weed out a dangerous killer…

The owner of A Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees the mounting to-do list on her desk. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

​As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered with a garden spade. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…

Author Interview

Socrates’ Book Review Blog would like to welcome author Lucy Arlington to our little corner of the world. Lucy is the author of A Novel Idea Mystery Series. Book #4 of the series, Played by the Book, will be released on Tuesday, February 3rd.

Let the questions begin…

1. Where did the idea for “A Novel Idea Mystery Series” come from?

The Novel Idea Mysteries and the pen name Lucy Arlington were originally conceived by two authors, Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. They created the fictional town of Inspiration Valley, set in the picturesque hills of North Carolina, and home to Lila Wilkins, a literary agent at Novel Idea Literary Agency. The quaint hamlet is portrayed as the ideal location for book lovers. The businesses have book-themed names such as the Sixpence Bakery, Sherlock Holmes Reality, The Secret Garden nursery, and the James Joyce Pub. The main character, Lila Wilkins, spends her days working as a literary agent, reading queries and manuscripts from promising mystery authors. She’s joined by a cast of enchanting co-workers who scheme brilliant ways to promote the agency’s authors: book festivals, a celebrity chef cook-off for a competitive group of cookbook authors, and in the latest installment, Played by the Book, an outdoor candle-lit gala to launch a series of popular garden design books. Of course, as readers soon find out, no event is ever complete without a little mayhem. And while Lila would prefer sticking to fictional mysteries, she often finds herself caught up in solving real whodunits.

2. Will there be more books in the series after book four?

Since the origination of the series, Ellery and Sylvia became inundated with new projects and were unable to write more than the first three books: Buried in a Book, Every Trick in a Book, and Books, Cooks, and Crooks. However, thanks to Lucy’s loyal readers, the publisher decided to continue the series. I feel privileged to have written the fourth installment, Played by the Book, and I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series. I hope there will be many more adventures for Lila and the gang!

3. Who is the greatest influence in your writing career?

I’d have to say my mother has been my greatest writing influence. She’s a marvelous storyteller and has this knack for taking any event and turning it into an interesting story. She can even make an ordinary trip to the grocery store sound enthralling! She’s also a big mystery reader. When I was a teenager, she introduced me to Rex Stout. Together, we read all the Nero Wolfe mysteries and I became hooked. I’ve been reading mysteries ever since.

4. As a child, did you read mysteries?

Yes! Starting with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a young child, Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, Nero Wolfe and many, many more.

5. Do you have any favorite authors or books to recommend?

I have so many favorite authors! Currently, I’m zipping through Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache Mysteries and I’m completely captivated.

6. Do you outline a book before you begin? In other words, do you know who did it from the beginning or are you as surprised as the readers are?

I used to write without an outline. I’d start with a general idea and let the characters lead me through the plot. When I contracted with my current publisher and found out the editor required an outline, I cringed. An outline? I can’t write that way! But I soon found how much more efficient it is to outline first. Even though I often stray, having a guideline eliminates plot errors, keeps me on track, and saves so much rewriting. Now I can’t imagine writing without an outline.

7. How long does it take you to write a book?

I’m currently contracted for three books a year. So, four months per book. Sometimes it’s a struggle and I find myself really pushing to make the deadline. Other times, the book just flows and I finish with time to spare.

8. How did you feel when your first book was published?

Extremely fortunate.

My first published work was an article in Country Magazine about raising chickens. My first fiction acceptance came from Untreed Reads publishing, a short story titled Christmas in Killarney. The victim’s name is Arney. Kill Arney … get it?

9. Have you done book signings? What kind of experience have you had with fans?

I get nervous before signings, but I’m always happy once I’m there. I’ve found that readers are the nicest people—especially cozy mystery readers. It gives me a lot of happiness to think I’ve written something they will enjoy.

10. Can you give us a sneak peek into your future releases?

The fourth Novel Idea Mystery, Played by the Book, is available for preorder now and will hit bookshelves on February 3rd, 2015. I also have a new series, The Georgia Peach Mysteries. The first book in that series, Peaches and Scream, will come out in July of 2015.

MEET THE AUTHOR: The Novel Idea Mysteries is a New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, including Buried in a Book, Every Trick in the Book, and Books, Cooks, and Crooks and, now, Played by the Book all written under the pseudonym of Lucy Arlington. The writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, two friends who collaborated on the series, first conceived of Lucy Arlington and her literary agent sleuth. Together, the duo penned the first three books in the series. As time passed and their personal writing workload grew, the two passed the series to another author: Susan Furlong. In addition to now writing as Lucy Arlington, Susan Furlong is the author of another upcoming cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, The Georgia Peach Mysteries. To learn more about Susan, visit her website at

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!! (Worldwide!)

Thanks to the generosity of the author, I have one paperback copy of Played by the Book by Lucy Arlington to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) Anyone can enter...this is a worldwide giveaway!

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry:  Follow this blog...old followers, too!  Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on January 26th (midnight est) and ends on February 2nd (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. thank you for the chance to win, it looks great.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! Sounds like a great book!

  3. Thanx for the chance. Sounds intrigiung

  4. I would love to read this book—thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  5. Hi Lucy,
    I'm sitting here waiting for the blizzard of 2015 to hit my part of Brooklyn NY. Getting the request to stop by and check out your new book is definitely a great way not to think about the approaching storm. I love the series and own one of the titles (sorry but I read the others from my local library). I'd love to be the lucky winner.

    NoraAdrienne(at)gmail(dot) com

    1. Nora Adrienne,

      I've found most of my favorite authors in libraries! Glad you stopped by to comment. Thank you.

  6. Great sounding books.

  7. I love this series and so glad it is continuing. Hope it continues for a long time. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. Thanks for a chance to win. Sounds like a good read.
    Carol Smith. penelope223(at)yahoo(dot)com

  9. Stopping to smell the roses must not have been a good idea after all. Eager to read the book.

  10. This is another of my favorite series.... afarage(at)

  11. Another series I like to start reading

  12. I have the first in the series and am looking forward to reading it. This sounds like a great read!

  13. This sounds intriguing and special. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. I haven't had achance to try this series yet.

  15. Congrats on the book. How you find time to do three books a year is amazing. Finding a skull while gardening, well, that sure can be a little scary, thinking of what else is to come. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

  16. Love your books. I am reading in Phoenix with NO pending snow storm!!!!!!!!

  17. I love the cover and the interview. I always wondered if authors if it was planned out who did it or if it hits whenever. Now I know all authors are different, lol. Thanks for the chance to win.

  18. I enjoyed the interview and learning more about you.


  19. Loved reading the interview. This series sounds great.

  20. Congratulations, Lucy/Susan! I'm reading nothing but good things about "Played by the Book"! patucker54 at aol dot com

  21. Sweet interview and always I love Lucy Arlington's mysteries.

  22. A series that is on my wishlist!

  23. I'd love to start reading this series! Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  24. Great interview. Another cozy series for me to explore. Would love to read them. Thanks for the giveaway.

  25. I want to read this book that has a character who is a "murder magnet"---what fun!!

  26. Yvonne,

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway; I will add it to my list!

  27. I love Lucy Arlington's books and would love to win this one.

  28. Excellent and well written review. I love this series and look forward to reading the new book!

  29. Excited to have met Lucy as Susan! Congrats on the new Novel Idea novel and the new series too. I love the Louise Penny books and recommend them to everyone I can! Thanks!

  30. This is a fun series and I look forward to the new books when they come out

  31. I like this series. Looking forward to reading this one.

  32. This is Storm Chase. Contact me through Goodreads if you need me?

  33. A fabulous interview thank you. Looking forward to a great read.

  34. I liked the interview and I thank you for the chance to win a great read

  35. A Novel Idea Mystery Series is a new book series for me. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway. myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

  36. Murder and gardening, it sounds like a fantastic book. I would love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  37. The book sounds really interesting. I love the cover.

  38. just finished the 2nd book of the series!!!
    can't wait to continue this series.......
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  39. Haven't read any in this series, but I notice that the first 3 were written by a duo, and now you're writing. How easy was/is it to pick up after someone else? Or are the books so different in tone and such that it's not even a concern?

    1. Donna, It certainly isn't easy to continue someone else's series, but it helped that I loved the characters, setting and premise of the books. It made it easier to step right in and continue the storyline. I'm sure astute readers will notice style nuances and variances, but in the big picture, I think it's wonderful that the series will be continued. Great question. Thanks.

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  42. This book sounds good. I hope to read it soon.

  43. I'd like to start reading this series.


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