by Cristelle Comby
Cristelle will be awarding a signed paperback of Ruby Heart plus a signed copy of book 1, Russian Dolls, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US ONLY)
When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. The ruby heart is a family
heirloom and the only thing that connects an ailing Mrs Hargrave to her parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.
To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for. Meanwhile, Egan is under immense pressure from the university to quit his private investigating business, and Alexandra is afraid that a man she trusts will leave her. Again.
When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Working, mostly. I also watch a lot of TV, series generally.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I tried to get my book published the traditional way, because I didn’t know any better. I spent months querying agents, and getting the standard ‘sorry it’s good, but it’s not for us’ replies.
One day, a friend told me about self-publishing and I decided to go that way. Sure it doesn’t pay much, but I was never in it for the money. My books are out there, people like them… everyone’s happy.
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
The 1992 version of ‘Of Mice and Men’ only because the book (a novella) is so very short, and the film lasts 110 minutes. Director Gary Sinise did a wonderful job with Steinbeck’s story; the movie remains true and pure.
I like it when directors take source material and add to it. Some other good examples are Brokeback Mountain and Total Recall. I like it a lot less when Hollywood executives take 500 pages long books and chop it down to hour-long movie plots.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
No, almost never. I look at reviews, listen to advices from friends.
Do you have a book trailer?
What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I never saw the point of those. A good summary and an extract get the job done.
Do you write under a pen name?
No. It’s my real name.
What day were you born?
On the second of May. I think it was a Friday.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Sometimes. To stay away from distraction I often write in my bed.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Future, definitely. First trip would be a week from today, to get the lottery numbers, and then I would like to go much much farther away… to when they have flying cars and robots that look like humans 😉
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
I wouldn’t mind the first half of People Magazines Top 10 Sexiest Men Alive ???
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Swiss Army knife, computer with solar powered batteries, satellite internet access.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Night owl, or early bird?
One food you would never eat?
Brussels sprouts. Tried once, swore to never try again!
Skittles or M&Ms?
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
One of your favorite quotes –
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Taken from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?
What is your favorite gadget?
What is your favorite place to travel?
London. I love that city; it’s a mix of old and new, and very lively.
Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
Prints. I’m also very fond of audiobooks.
What is your favorite color?
Have you ever went to work and realized a piece of clothing was missing?
Luckily that’s never happened. But I often forget my wristwatch, and sometimes my keys.
Do you prefer snow or rain?
Rain… it’s less cold.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides?
Do you have a green thumb for plants?
Absolutely not, but my plastic plants always look great
Do you like feather pillow or foam?
Coke or Pepsi?
Do you drive a manual or automatic vehicle?
I can drive both, but all of my cars were manuals. I’ll get an automatic when I turn fifty or something…
Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country?
A medium-sized city. You have access to all the shops and amenities, without the crazy madness of big cities.
Besides writing what other artistic talents, do you have?
I’m a good portraitist.
What types of books do you write?
Who’s your main audience?
It’s marketed as New Adults, but would work equally well for full-grown adults and young-adults, I suppose.
What do you think of this term- Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?
No a fan; I try to avoid it, as much as I can. I take great care in planning my stories and prepare detailed outlines.
How many books have you written?
How many are published?
Are you self published or traditionally published?
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Who’s your favorite Author?
Jim Butcher, author of the ‘Dresden Files series’.
What’s your all time favorite book?
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Half as long as it take me to edit it afterwards.
What does your family think of your writing?
They support me as best as they can, and wish I would start writing in French so they could read it too.
Do you manage to write every day?
Wish I could, but on weekdays I leave home at 5:45 and come back between 18:00 and 19:00 so I’m quite beat, when I get back.
I tend to write on weekends and holidays.
What is your favorite part of a book?
What is the best thing about being an author?
When you hear someone liked your story. It makes all the aches worth it.
What are you working on now?
The next book in the series.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author?
If I could have made different choices, I would gladly have become an English teacher in a French speaking country or a French teacher in an English speaking country.
When writing do you prefer typing or long hand with pen and paper?
Typing any day! It’s so much easier to edit, delete, copy/paste with a computer.
Where can readers find you?
Twitter (@Cristelle) or my website www.cristelle-comby.com where I publish news, and also articles on writing, and other random things.
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today Cristelle. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
I’ll concede that entering the local hangout of a street gang on your own, when you’re a twenty-four year old girl armed with a bottle of pepper-spray and a lot of good will may not be the most intelligent plan ever. True.
I could have taken Egan with me; probably should have taken Stenson with me and at some point today I’ll most likely regret not having just stayed at home in bed. Nevertheless, I walk in, with my head held high, and my black Converse trainers stomping on the concrete floor in my best attempt at steady and decided steps. My hair is tied in the usual way, and the plait bounces over a red leather jacket that is too hot for the season but that I believe gives my look a cool edge. I also decided to forgo blue jeans and chose to wear black denim trousers instead for this mission.
I walk to the bar of the little joint — Eddy’s counter, the neon sign outside used to spell, but someone smashed the ‘o’ and the last two letters a few years back — and sit on a stool.
‘What can I get ya?’ the barman — a middle-aged, lean and balding, Texas-born guy — asks, with his back to me.
‘G&T if you would be so kind, Eddy,’ I order, steadily.
The man turns around rapidly. He eyes me, up-and-down, for a full minute, before offering me a bright smile. ‘Alexandra Neve, I never thought I’d see you round here again.’
I smile back, my jaw relaxing fractionally.
‘How long’s it been?’ he wonders, in his southern States drawl.
‘About four years,’ I reply, my smile faltering at the thoughts the words stir up.
Eddy’s smile stays strong. ‘One Gin and Tonic comin’ right up, kiddo.’ He moves to the left and prepares my drink.
‘So how you been?’ He asks, dropping ice cubes in my glass, and holding it out to me.
I take a long gulp before answering. ‘Good.’
‘Walking the narrow path, eh?’ he asks, with a wink.
I nod. ‘You know me.’ I give the place a good, long look. ‘Can’t say the same about you.’
There are two groups of men seated in the room. One group of four, two tables from the entrance door. One group of three, seated on the opposite side of the bar, by the window. All the patrons are men and they’re all dressed in dark colours. There’s a generally heavy and menacing vibe to the whole place…
Eddy shrugs. ‘You know how it is. Business is business. They pay, I serve.’
I give him a wry smile. ‘Do you still have the same clientele?’
‘Mostly.’ His expression grows serious again. ‘What’cha doin’ here, Alexandra?’
‘I’m looking for someone.’ I take one of my business cards and hand it out to Eddy.
‘Private investigator,’ he whistles. ‘Didn’t see that one comin’. Weren’t ya gonna go to university or somethin’?’
I shrug. ‘Didn’t turn out as I’d planned.’
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
Ruby Heart is her second new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.