Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Absolutely! My characters are usually a hodgepodge of different friends, acquaintances and family members. I exaggerate or change their qualities and quirks. Thus my characters become people with their own personalities. My heroine is an elementary school teacher, which was my role just before I retired. I based some of my plots on experiences I had in schools – again, exaggerated or twisted or transformed by my imagination.
How important do you think villains are in a story? Villains are extremely important. In my stories, they are the catalysts for all the action. I am fascinated with evil and how some people evolve into monsters. So my evildoers often take center stage.
What are your goals as a writer? I would love to acquire worldwide acclaim. Honestly. I’ll likely have to be satisfied with being known only in my little corner of the world, but I would truly bask in the glow of becoming a famous writer. Of having a book made into a movie. I have lofty goals that are mainly dreams, but you never know…
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I am fortunate to be able to travel and experience the flavor of a country or a city so I can include the sounds, smells and ambiance in my novels. Italy factors into my latest work in progress and Mexico appears in a planned book.
What books have most influenced your life? Two great writers—every single one of their novels—have had a huge impact on me: Margaret Laurence and John Steinbeck. I keep my eye on the quality of their writing as a model. Then I do my best. More recently, I have been influenced by Canadian Louise Penny, both personally and professionally.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? I have now written five books. Four are published and the fifth is with its first readers before it gets submitted. Number 6 is a dark comedy-mystery. I have two young adult books on the go and an inspirational non-fiction. After that, I have a generational book for which I have the outline and a couple of chapters only. So – yes – expect more books from me!
Do you have any advice for writers? Don’t stop! If you are truly wired for authorship, you need to finish. You can always go back and fix the mistakes later. That’s what the editing process does. Take the editor hat off and create first. Persevere through the boring/bad parts and get ‘er done! Then get others to critique, edit, proof and advise to make the novel even better. These days you don’t even have to wade through the difficult publisher maze. You can do it yourself, so there’s no fear of never having an end product after all your hard work.
If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?
Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline’s mysterious death than meets the eye?
Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?
“A deliciously vibrant portrait that realistically muddles good and evil.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Astolfo’s wonderful first sentence in Sweet Karoline explodes on the page and resonates right to the end of this twisting examination of dangerous minds. Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing.” —Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire On The Runway
“A deliciously twisted story about the perplexing power of adult female relationships. By turns scathingly funny and darkly insightful, Sweet Karoline is a hedonistic journey with all the right ingredients: lust, betrayal, true love and mystery. Grab a glass of wine and have the bottle handy. A compelling read from the start through to the surprising end.” —Robin Spano, author of Death’s Last Run
“In Catherine Astolfo’s chilling new novel Sweet Karoline, things aren’t always as they seem. Anne, the multifaceted anti-heroine in this noir tale takes a fateful journey into her forgotten past, uncovering the painful roots of her childhood. While furrowing for answers, a mystery unfolds, truths swirl to the surface, a heinous murder occurs. Who’s the killer? Caught in a tangled web of greed, lies and deceit Anne must come to terms with her past, present and future, and the bleak realization that those we hold close may be the last ones to trust. Compelling, visually descriptive, deftly delivered…Catherine Astolfo’s got the goods!” —Douglas Wickard, author of A Perfect Husband
“Sweet Karoline is a multi-layered mystery, where nothing is as it seems. The story grips you on page one and leads you through a maze of history, twisted relationships, and ultimately the darkness of the human mind.” —Liz Bugg, author of Oranges and Lemons
“In Sweet Karoline, Astolfo has created a daring hybrid mystery that combines elements of romance, history, and suspense in a carefully crafted story that keeps you guessing to the very end. Astolfo explores new boundaries as she extends her reach beyond the cozy mystery in this psychological exploration of the mind of a killer. A unique exploration of guilt and revenge.” —Michael J. McCann, author of The Fregoli Delusion
“The clever plot twists in Sweet Karoline will enrapture you from page one through the last paragraphs of this fast-paced modern mystery. Author Catherine Astolfo exhibits a strikingly perceptive gift for believable dialogue and rich character development. Her dry wit and colorful descriptions will have you howling in laughter at points, but in tears at others as she digs deep into the themes of guilt, race, and relationships. The powers of love and redemption are strong, but does the heart of an Ice Queen ever really melt? Enjoy the romp from Los Angeles, through Canada, to a priceless Italian rendezvous—all in the pages of Sweet Karoline, where long-buried secrets lie.” —Lisa Pell, award-winning author of Who’s Your Daddy, Baby?
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Genre – Psychological Suspense
Rating – 18+