Guest Post by Lisa Alber During Her Launch Week + Signed Giveaway of KILMOON

kilmoon_72dpiWe love it when one of us transitions to published author and writes the guest post during launch week. What a thrill. Lisa’s novel is the second to fly free. Fly, KILMOON, fly!

Lisa’s debut novel is the first of the County Clare mystery series. For a description, you can check out her deb author page here. Here’s a sampling of the good reviews and blurbs she’s received:

“Brooding, gothic overtones haunt Lisa Alber’s polished, atmospheric debut. Romance, mysticism, and the verdant Irish countryside all contribute to making KILMOON a marvelous, suspenseful read.”

—Julia Spencer-Fleming,
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Through the Evil Days

celticknot“This first in Alber’s new County Clare Mystery series is utterly poetic … The author’s prose and lush descriptions of the Irish countryside nicely complement this dark, broody and very intricate mystery.”

—RT Book Reviews (four stars)

celticknot“In her moody debut, Alber skillfully uses many shades of gray to draw complex characters who discover how cruel love can be.”

—Kirkus Reviews


Since Lisa just wrote her regular Friday post yesterday, she elected to do an interview today. Each of the debs asked her a question. Welcome, Lisa!


LORI: Which part of publishing your first book is exactly how you pictured it would be? Which part has surprised you?

I had a feeling that asking for blurbs was going to be nerve-racking and indeed it was. The big, boring task of reading the final page proofs was just as boring as I’d imagined. (By then you’re thinking, Enough already! I can’t stand this book anymore!) Getting a good review was just as thrilling as I thought it would be too.

I was surprised by the editorial process in general—the changes that kept coming. And coming. Copyediting and proofreading were eye-openers. I think of myself as a pretty clean writer, but, eh-hem, I have issues with certain things like dashes. And then those dang page proofs. I thought for sure the proofs would be clean. No big deal. But I STILL found typos. Grrr.

NATALIA: How many books are planned in the County Clare Mystery series + what’s the most fun part about writing a series? What’s the most challenging?

I originally thought this might be a trilogy because there’s a natural end that could occur. In fact, I painted myself into a corner by the end of Kilmoon. A fact about one of my characters implies a natural end point to the series. However, I’ve been thinking hard, and I might have discovered a way to wiggle out of it.

I love knowing my series characters so well. They’re like family. Lisfenora village is a nice place to come back on the regular basis. There are multitudes of villagers I don’t know yet that could come into play in future books. I look forward to meeting them. On the other hand, knowing how much backstory from KILMOON to include in the second novel, my work-in-progress, is proving challenging.

SUSAN: What word of advice do you have for other authors about to launch their first book … Like me, next week??

Tag, you’re it next! OK, this is going to sound weird, but I recommend having a book on hand that you savor, a book that’s like going home every time you return to it. Launch week is one hell of a frazzly, wondrous, exhausting, joyous experience, so I say sink your head into a story to get away from it all for awhile. People have been telling me “to breath.” But I don’t find that helpful. Reading is the true restorative. (Can you guess what I’m reading? :-))

Oh, and don’t forget the Cheez-Its! (Readers, this is a debs insider joke. We’ve got a collective thing for them–another reason we get along so well!)

HEATHER: How has your life changed since you became a bonafide author?

Bwa-haa-hah-hah-hah-hah, oh my, <hiccup> … <snort> … I feel just as neurotic as usual, so I guess nothing much has changed. I still have all my usual doubts when it comes to the work-in-progress, for example.

But, let’s see. I can be serious even though I’m feeling punchy. I’m not a prideful person–my ego doesn’t roll that way–but I am honest-to-god proud of myself, and that’s a change at the soul level. Because I did it–I dared to go after a hugely difficult dream, to persevere, to make personal sacrifices for the sake of my writing goals, and to stretch my comfort zones in significant, sometimes terrifying, ways.

Do you, gentle readers, have any questions for me this week? Ask me anything!

GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post by noon EDT on Friday, March 28, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of KILMOON. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Author: Lisa Alber

Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY (March 2014). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber's Words at Play round out her distractions. Visit her at

25 Replies to “Guest Post by Lisa Alber During Her Launch Week + Signed Giveaway of KILMOON”

  1. I just want to say congrats to Lisa! I picked up this blog a couple months ago… and I’m enjoying the advice and insight into “the biz”… but I’ve been surprised by how I’ve become emotionally invested in you gals! I’m truly happy for Lisa and wish her –and all the other debs– the best! To go after your dream… well, that’s the dream, right? 🙂

    1. Hi Emily! Thanks for dropping in! I felt the same way when I first started reading The Ball back in 2011–emotionally invested. We love rooting for the good guys, don’t we? 🙂

  2. First of all, congratulations!

    My question is this: How much of your decision to write a series was an artistic choice, and how much of it, if any, was a commercial one? I have heard reports that publishers strongly urge mystery writers to write series (one writer I knew said that her publisher refused one book unless she promoted it as the beginning of a new series).

    (If if needs to be said, there’s no “gotcha” here. I think writers should make smart commercial choices, and I like mystery series a lot — and I’ve been writing about the same detective myself for decades 🙂 )

    1. Hi Anthony! Good question. Funny, it was an accidently commercially (yikes, to adverbs — oh well!) sound decision. 🙂 I made the decision at an emotional level. I’d written KILMOON as a standalone — no thoughts of a series at all — but then afterwards I realized that I loved my characters, and best yet, I’d left them in transitional places in their lives (even though everything resolves). I wanted to see what would happen next for them.

      Decades! You must really know your characters backwards and forwards. You’re the one to give lessons in how to write a series!

      1. Well, like you, I didn’t set out to write a series of anything; it just developed that way. And it’s not a series like Sherlock Holmes or something. Only some of them are mysteries — but the detective is in everything I write, mystery or no.

  3. I’ve been following the blog for about 8 months now and it’s been a thrill to watch you go through the process. I particularly liked your post about the different versions of the cover. It was fascinating. Just this week I got asked for my full manuscript from an agent so I am hopeful (and terrified) I’ll be on your path soon. Enjoy the moment! And congratulations.

    1. Congratulations, Debbie! Crossing my fingers! Whatever happens, just know that it’s a huge thing to get asked for the whole manuscript. Really, it is.

      It is kind of terrifying, but so worth it!

  4. Lisa, it’s so cool that the book you were just in the early stages of researching/imagining 10 years ago when we talked about it has been published, and that you’re already well into the 2nd book. I’m just so happy for you, and your blog posts are always so interesting and fun. It’s such an insight into the whole process. In addition to your personal blog, I’ve been reading the The Debutante Ball for a while, although I just started officially “following”.

    Questions? Hmmm. Who do you want to play your characters in the movies that will undoubtedly follow in the near future? And how will you adjust to a life of fame and fortune? 😉

    1. Andy! You’re so sweet. (Can’t wait to see you soon!) Hmm … Who should play Merrit? I keep picturing the actress from Firefly/Serenity — forgot her name. However, she doesn’t look particularly Irish, does she?

      I’ll have to get back to you about the second question, I could sink into those fantasies for quite awhile! I’ll tell you this much, I’m not likely to change much whatever happens because I’m such a geek at heart. 🙂

      1. “Who should play Merrit? I keep picturing the actress from Firefly/Serenity — forgot her name.”

        That would be four very different looks for her, I must say, depending on which one you mean. You might have to be a bit more specific. 🙂

  5. Hello, Congratulations on your book. I first met you at the party with Erin. All of you were fantastic and very knowledgeable about all things Irish. I wish luck and joy on this journey. I am looking forward to reading your book. I really enjoyed talking about the matchmaker. Thank you, Melody

    1. Yay, Melody, thanks for popping over here! I loved gabbing and meeting Ireland lovers last weekend. I hope I saw and answered your questions adequately — what a whirlwind! 🙂

    1. Thanks! I think I have found a way to wiggle my way out of my story corner. I didn’t realize I was writing a series when I wrote KILMOON. I’d originally thought KILMOON. I’ve got the second book in draft now. It’s the third book I’ll have to wiggle with. 🙂

  6. Lisa, did you go to Ireland to do research. I’m just wondering how that works when you have a full-time job…
    It’s also nice to hear Kilmoon is going to be a series, I love following characters from one book to the next – really prefer that to stand-alones. With all the business of launching Kilmoon I can’t believe you have the draft ready for the 2nd book – how do you do that? I’d go mad with so many balls in the air – I’m serious, I would go nuts! Writers must really love to create stories, luckily for us who read. It’ll be a treat to follow you on your journey – I’ve certainly enjoyed it vicariously so far.

    1. Hi Hannelore! Ah, my life was simpler when I wrote KILMOON and the first draft of the second novel–I was a contractor who worked from home and made my own schedule. I’m still getting used to juggling day job and fiction writing. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I’m going to juggle it. Thankfully, the self-promo-y stuff for KILMOON is going to die down. I can’t wait to get back into a regular writing routine!

  7. Congrats, Lisa. I’ve followed your journey here, on Twitter, and FB. I have several friends launching books this year and I find all the work both inspiring and intimidating. Good luck with the second book.

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