Sunday, September 16, 2007

Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn

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Sharon DunnSharon Dunn didn’t have to do much research for her new mystery series. Dunn is a dedicated coupon clipper and haunter of clearance racks. Her heart beats a little faster when her punch card for the local burrito place fills up.

In addition to her new Bargain Hunters mysteries, Sharon is the author of the Ruby Taylor mysteries. Book Two in the series, Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante won the Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction writers. Her books which have been called humorous whodunits have received praise for their honest portrayal of the Christian journey. Sharon lives with 3 kids, 3 cats, her hubby of 20 years and lots of dust bunnies.

Visit her website at:


Why did you become a writer?
It worked with having a family and allowed me to express my creativity. When I started, I never thought I would write a book. I just did shorter things, articles and skits. With my first book Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves, I just sort of picked away at it over a period of three or four years.

Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Writing was the revision of a dream. I’ve always gravitated toward creative work. I majored in film production in college and did a lot of theater. After my kids were born, it just didn’t work to pursue theater. I had to do something with my creative energy, so I started writing.

What do you love about being an author?
That I can go to work in my pajamas. Plus all my co-workers are imaginary and since I am a mystery writer, if I don’t like a co-worker, I can just bump them off.

Is there anything you dislike?
Sometimes it’s hard to be alone for such long periods of time. I have to give myself permission to take an afternoon off once in a while to have coffee with a friend.

How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I do what has to get done around the house and just accept that if I want to write, the house will not be perfect. I always make time for any school thing that my kids have going on and the evenings are for my hubby. In other words, something has to give and it’s not going to be my husband or kids, so it has to be my standards about the house. Also, I used to have hobbies. I used to sew. I haven’t cut out a pattern for years.

How do you write?
I work part time at a college, so I come home in the afternoon, have a quick lunch and then write until the kids get home from school. I write two or three hours on Saturday. Sunday is more flexible. If nothing in pressing, I take Sunday off or do administrative writing stuff.

Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
It works different every time. What I have found is that if I can find the first line and get the first scene right, then the rest of the book is easier to make fall into place. I will revise and rework the first 30 or so pages of a book until I know it starts in the most attention grabbing place. After that, I just plow through not making changes until the book is done and I go back and revise.

What genre(s) do you write?
I write amateur detective mysteries. My books have been described as humorous whodunits. My first series The Ruby Taylor mysteries were also called chick lit mysteries. I don’t do anything super gory with explicit. My books focus on solving the riddle of whodunit and on the relationships between my characters.

Why do you write the stories that you write?
I love mysteries, so naturally that was the genre I chose to write in. It really is true that you can’t write what you don’t respect or love to read…not for me anyway.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
I’ve published four books and I still mop my own floors and clean my own toilet. We won’t be putting in the pool any time soon. People think that if you’ve published a book, you must be rich. The truth is I am a working writer, I will build my audience and career book by book.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Characters are always a little bit of both and they are shaped by the needs of the story. I’ve had family and friends say that they thought they saw someone we know in my book but usually a character is drawn from many sources.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
That’s a hard question to answer. You have a place in your heart for all of them. I think what I like most is the relationship that gets built up in the books. In my first Bargain Hunters mysteries, Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, I love the relationship between the main character Ginger and her husband Earl because they are empty nesters who fall in love again. I also love the character of Arleta, she is a spunky 75 year old who has lost the love of her life her husband, but she takes shooting lessons and keeps on fighting and living despite her loneliness.

I my first series, The Ruby Taylor mysteries, I love the relationship Ruby has with her mother. I thought that relationship was going to be minor and the romance between Ruby and her love interest Wesley would be center stage, but the mother daughter relationship just took over. The healing that Ruby and her mom find after they have hurt each other so deeply is one of the things that is precious about that series.

If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
What a fun question. For the Ruby Taylor series I think I would have someone like Renee Zellweger play Ruby. She would capture the sarcastic wit that Ruby has. She’d have to dye her hair red. For the romantic lead of Wesley, I think you would need someone brainy but brooding Christian Bale or Edward Norton.

For the part of Ginger in Bargain Hunters, someone funny like Carol Burnett would be great.

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I want them to laugh and to get caught up in the mystery. I love it when readers send me letters saying that they liked that my character were real Christians they could relate to, not perfect, but real.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
The best advice I ever got was to write a page a day and by the end of the year you would have a 365 page book. Writing a book can seem overwhelming, but anyone could average a page a day.

Who are your favorite authors?
I love Brandilyn Collins, Linda Hall, Lisa Samson and Sue Grafton.
For nonfiction I loved Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God and I have just rediscovered C.S Lewis.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished Linda Hall’s Sadie’s Song. I have like half a dozen books going at once. I am reading Lisa Samson’s Quaker Summer, William Styron’s Darkness Visible and I just ordered a copy of C.S. Lewis book about the Psalms.



Death of a Garage Sale Newbie is the first book in the Bargain Hunter mystery series. Garage Sale Newbie features four women who are bonded together by the need to clip coupons and be first in line at doorbuster sales. When one of the bargain hunters goes missing, it is up to the other three to figure out what happened to her and why. Ginger, a recent empty nester and bargain hunting expert leads Suzanne, mother of three with one on the way, and Kindra, a college student with a taste for designer clothes without the budget, to hunt down clues instead of good deals in the fictional town of Three Horse, Montana. Book Two in the Bargain Hunters mysteries, Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear will be released January 2008.


The phone rang again. On the first ring, the cat stood up and arched her back, Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunnspreading her toes to get the sleepiness out of them. On the second, she posed at the edge of the counter, and on the third ring, she leapt to the floor and stood at the door expecting someone to open it. The phone rang a fourth time, and Ginger spoke her message again.

The cat tilted her head in the direction of the speaker as the machine beeped and the same rippling voice—more frantic this time.

Ginger, Ginger are you there?” Heavy sigh. “You’re probably still out garage saling. I think I’ve discovered something, something terribly bad, illegal, from the past. I don’t know what to do. I can’t think straight; I’m afraid. Please, if you do stop by your place after you’re done garage saling—well I—I’m so shook up, I can’t remember your cell number. I’ve gone and erased what I had programmed in.” She lowered her voice. “I’m really afraid.”

The answering machine clicked off with a vibrating buzz.


“How much trouble can four garage-saling, bargain hunting friends get into? Plenty! Murder, danger and excitement…but also some unexpected revelations about the power of love, friendship and faith.”
-- Lorena McCourtney, author of the Ivy Malone Mysteries.

“Fun and perceptive, intriguing and entertaining—Death of a Garage Sale Newbie is a mystery that demanded my attention from page one. Interesting characters with a passion for the “good deal” won my heart and I loved tagging along on the hunt for the next great find and the next clue. Sharon Dunn is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I wasn’t disappointed.”
-- Tricia Goyer award winning author of Generation NeXt Parenting and Night Song

Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn
ISBN: 1590526899
Publisher: Multnomah
Release Date: March 20, 2007
$10.39 from

Purchase Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn HERE!!!

posted by Rachelle
at 3:00 PM