Critical praise for Christy!

For "Murder Hooks a Mermaid:"
"Author Christy Fifield creates the kind of characters that stay with you for a long time. Fifield’s new Haunted Souvenir Shop mystery, Murder Hooks a Mermaid has it all: a sunny, relaxed setting, captivating locals, delicious food, and—of course—murder! Delightful amateur sleuth Glory Martine is back with her wisecracking parrot and charming group of friends in this thoroughly entertaining adventure. Don’t miss it."—Julie Hyzy, National Bestselling author of the Manor House Mysteries and the White House Chef Mystery series
"A whodunit with a dose of the supernatural, "Murder Hooks a Mermaid" is a worthy successor to the series opener and showcases Fifield's talents for plotting, characterization and humor." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Quirky and unique, a heroine for whom you can't help but root. The story sucks you in." - The Maine Suspect
"With a lovable cast of characters, good conversations and a great setting, this well-written book is a terrific read." -- Dru's Book Musings

For "Murder Buys a T-Shirt:"
A refreshing new sleuth! - Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Scene Magazine
"A fun book that will make the dreariest of days a little brighter! Socrates' great Book Alert" - Socrates' Cozy Cafe
"An entertaining and clever Florida whodunit" - Harriet Klausner
"Hilarious! A great murder mystery with well-written characters" - Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews
For the Georgiana Neverall Series:
"Christy Evans will find legions of fans with this new series" - Sheldon McArthur, Lincoln City News Guard
"Funny and entertaining -- a solid mystery filled with likable characters." - RT Book Reviews"
Cute cozy mystery debute -- wry humor -- adorable dogs" -Publisher's Weekly
"Will have you giggling out loud! Four Stars." - Kathy Fisher, The Romance Readers Connection"The Book is good! Keep them coming, Ms. Evans!" - Mystery Scene
"Evans delivers a fast-paced mystery with admirable finesse!" - Sharon Galligar Chance,
"Christy Evans has a hit on her hands" - Harriet Klausner,
"Christy Evans is aces. I'll be very suprised if Sink Trap isn't an instant hit with cozy readers!" -

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Is a First Reader?

Finding a good first reader can be a real tightrope act. You want someone who is an avid reader, who reads the kind of books you write, who can be honest with you when something doesn't work, who doesn't try to rewrite the book their way, and who is willing to read in fits and starts when necessary. And those are just the general qualities!

Each writer has specific issues and idiosyncrasies that they bring to the mix. For me, I cannot listen to any comment or discussion while I am writing. So if I have already given part of the manuscript to the first reader they cannot speak of it (sort of like Fight Club) until I finish the manuscript. The obvious solution is to wait until I'm done and hand over a full manuscript, but when I have a tight deadline I need to allow my first reader the opportunity to get started while I finish up.

On several projects I worked without a first reader, or I acted as my own first reader, because there wasn't anyone to ask. My writer friends were busy with their own projects, or they were far away, or they didn't read the kind of work I was writing.

Many writing couples act as readers for each other, but Steve and I quickly found that was not a good idea for us. That whole rewriting-the-book-his-way problem? Yep! I love him to death, but he can't turn off the creative brain enough to be a good first reader for me.

Then, a few years back, Colleen started working as a contractor at the hotel where I work. She was clearly a voracious reader, always carrying a book at lunchtime, and we struck up several conversations about what we were reading. She found out I was a writer, and we talked some about the kind of things I wrote. We compared favorite authors, and genres we loved, finding similar tastes

One day I suggested she read one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Anne George. Her response was, "I love Anne George!" Sadly, Ms. George has passed away, but we both pull her books off the shelf and re-read them from time to time. (If you haven't read them, may I suggest you do so at once? Charming, laugh out loud funny, and characters you will fall in love with. I promise!)

So, when I got the offer to write the Georgie books, I excitedly shared the news with Colleen. When she confessed she had always wanted to "have my name in the front of a book," I decided to take a chance, and offered to let her read my manuscript.

We talked for a long time about how we would work, what I expected, what she felt qualified to do, and the mechanics of passing a manuscript back and forth. Then I gave her the manuscript for the first book and crossed my fingers.

The results were truly amazing! She completely understood what I needed, and gave me good feedback on the places where I slipped up - including one character who changed names partway through. But besides that, she had a good grasp of spelling and grammar, and was able to do a thorough copy-edit as well.

Over the course of three books, I have come to really appreciate her support. First readers don't get paid - except for the occasional lunch. They get an acknowledgement (sometimes) and they get to read the book months before it ever goes on sale. But that's about it. Mostly, it's a labor of love, and I'm very fortunate to have found a first reader who loves Georgie.

Thanks, Colleen!!

On Thursday, first reader Colleen Kuehne has a guest blog about her process and why she likes her volunteer job.

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