Please join me in welcoming award-winning author (and crafter!) Lois Winston to Magical Musings today! Let’s find out what Lois and her crafty sleuth, Anatasia, are up to these days…
I’m winding down a month-long blog tour to promote the release of Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the third book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. You’d think blog tours would be easy compared to the old-fashion type of book tours authors used to take. After all, I don’t have to leave the comfort of my office. I don’t have to worry about traffic and winter weather, trying to get to a bookstore or library on time. And I certainly don’t have to worry about what to wear.
However, if I were doing a series of talks at bookstores and libraries, I could prepare one talk and recycle it throughout the tour. After all, how many readers go to more than one stop on an author’s live tour? No one would ever know that the talk I gave to a library in Union County, NJ was the same one I gave to the mystery readers book club at a Barnes & Noble in Middlesex County, NJ.
A virtual tour has many cross-over readers, though. People who frequent Magical Musings may very likely also frequent some of the other blogs where I’ve done guest posts. For that reason it’s crucial that I write something different for each stop on my blog tour.
So in thinking about what to write, I realized I hadn’t yet written a blog on research. That led me to remember something I learned while touring the Edison Museum in Menlo Park, NJ.
You may be wondering what Thomas Edison has to do writing contemporary amateur sleuth mysteries. It’s all about the research. In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, I spent a good deal of time interviewing both a funeral home director and a county police officer to make certain I had my facts correct. However, that’s nothing compared to the amount of research that goes into writing an historically accurate novel. And that brings me to my tale about Thomas Edison.
Several years ago I read a mainstream quasi-romance with a subplot concerning Nikola Tesla. I have always been fascinated by books that incorporate historical figures and events into fiction. Sometimes the author takes tremendous liberties; other times he or she has unearthed little-known facts and woven an intriguing plot around them. Knowing that Tesla and Edison shared a history, I asked the curator to corroborate some of the information in the book.
One thing led to another until at one point he asked, “Did you know that Thomas Edison invented the word “hello”?
It turns out that around 1877, Edison was working with Alexander Graham Bell to perfect the telephone. When the phone rang, Bell would answer by saying, “Hoi, hoi!” For some reason this bugged the heck out of Thomas Alva, who had the reputation of being a foul-mouthed prankster. So Edison began answering the phone with hell-o, a made-up word that he knew would shock sensibilities of the very devout Bell. Amazingly, the word caught on even though some dictionaries during the early years of its use defined it as a vulgar greeting.
I was so fascinated by this story, that I did a bit of research when I returned home. Shakespeare used aloo in King Lear and hollo in Titus Andronicus. Halloo, dating back to about 1700, was a cry used to urge on hunting dogs and is likely the basis of hallo, a cry of surprise dating to 1840. However the first recorded use of hello was in 1883.
Since Edison takes credit for much he didn’t actually invent (he merely perfected the light bulb and bought motion picture technology), it’s not surprising, given his personality, that he would take something Old World, “Edisonfy” it, and have himself a good laugh over its acceptance by the general populace.
How many people would know this? How often have you read a book or seen a movie that takes place prior to the late 1800’s and found the characters saying hello rather than good day or some other greeting? If you’re like me, you’ll become hyper aware of this from now on and spot every instance of misuse. It makes me wonder how many other modern words are sprinkled erroneously into period books and movies. And that makes me very happy I don’t have to worry about these things as I write my contemporary novels.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” The series also includes Death By Killer Mop Doll and Crewel Intentions, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mystery. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is a January 2013 release.
Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the recently released Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at http://www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
Anastasia Pollack’s dead louse of a spouse has left her with more bills than you can shake a crochet hook at, and teaching craft classes at her mother-in-law’s assisted living center seems like a harmless way to supplement her meager income. But when Lyndella Wegner—a 98-year-old know-it-all with a penchant for ruffles and lace—turns up dead, Anastasia’s cantankerous mother-in-law becomes the prime suspect in her murder. Upon discovering that Lyndella’s scandalous craft projects—and her scandalous behavior—made her plenty of enemies, Anastasia sets out to find the real killer before her mother-in-law ends up behind bars.