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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Press Release for My Book

            The purpose of a press release is to pique the news media’s interest in a story so they’ll cover it, and also to frame the story in a way that helps them ask questions and write about it accurately. Following is a press release for my second mystery novel, Wash Her Guilt Away.

            SANTA CRUZ, CA — Ever had one of those vacations where it rained every day, and then someone got murdered? That’s what happens to Quill Gordon, the gentleman detective who makes his second appearance in Wash Her Guilt Away, a new mystery novel by Michael Wallace, former editor of the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian.
            Taking its title from a well known poem by 18th Century Irish-English writer Oliver Goldsmith, Wash Her Guilt Away attempts to recreate the spirit of the English country-house mysteries of the 1920s and 30s in contemporary America. It also features a locked-room mystery, where the victim is found strangled in a cabin securely locked from the inside and surrounded by snow, with no footprints leading in or out.
            “Almost nobody does the English country house weekend in America today,” Wallace said, “so I had to come up with an equivalent. The guests are paying visitors at a remote lodge in Northern California, and because the weather is so horrible, they’re thrown together in a way that sexual tensions begin to simmer, eventually boiling over.
            “The brooding atmosphere and the presence of a coven of witches practicing in the area add to the surreal nature of the crime. But in the end, the book is really a meditation on love, infidelity, and the secrets people keep from each other.”
            The first Quill Gordon mystery, The McHenry Inheritance, was published in July 2012. It has been steadily downloaded as a Kindle e-book since publication, and has sold another few hundred copies in local bookstores and through Amazon’s print-on-demand service. It has been generally well received, earning an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars from readers on Amazon.
            “It would appear that the first book created a modest base of fans for the series, and early sales for Wash Her Guilt Away are considerably higher than those for The McHenry Inheritance during the comparable time period,” Wallace said. “It’s beginning to look as if Quill Gordon and his adventures have some growth potential — both in a literary and commercial sense.”
            Gordon, the protagonist in the series, is a former college basketball star and stockbroker who made a modest fortune in the market and was able to quit working in his thirties. He is a skilled fly fisherman, and frequently travels to the small mountain communities where the stories occur.
            “The stories are very much in the classical tradition of mysteries where the crime grows organically out of a situation and the characters of the people involved in it,” Wallace said. “Gordon is an outsider who becomes drawn into the community he’s visiting through the crime that has been committed, and his becoming more a part of that community is part of the story. And because he travels a lot, each book can be set in a new location, with all new characters and issues.”
            Wallace is currently working on a third Quill Gordon mystery, which he hopes to have completed and published in the second half of 2015.
            Both The McHenry Inheritance and Wash Her Guilt Away are available at Crossroads Books in Watsonville and Bookshop Santa Cruz, as well as on Amazon.


Quill Gordon mystery website:

Wash Her Guilt Away video:

Wash Her Guilt Away on Amazon:

The McHenry Inheritance on Amazon: