Thursday, August 05, 2010

NURSING A GRUDGE - Chris Well - Free Book

NURSING A GRUDGE (Hometown Mysteries)
By Chris Well
Barbour Publishing
ISBN: 978-1602603448

About the book:


What's a grouchy old man to do when two women drag him from his assisted-living apartment to a clandestine chili party? He almost has fun -- until someone drops dead. But Earl Walker is the only one suspicious of the way the partygoer met his demise. Can he solve the puzzle -- and figure out his relationship with his new lady friend -- before the state shuts down the home and all the suspects move away?

About the author:

An award-winning magazine writer and editor, Chris is founding editor of FamilyFiction, a news source launching Fall 2010 with a bimonthly digital magazine, weekly email newsletter, and comprehensive website. He has also edited and/or contributed to the likes of Bill and Gloria Gaither’s Homecoming magazine, CCM magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and, yes, Christian Bride.

Welcome, Chris. How much of yourself do you write into your characters?

I think for me, to some extent, all fiction writing is simply a sophisticated variation of the kind of play-acting we do as kids. So I’m pretending to be other people, because I don’t know how else to figure out what they’d do in a given situation. Even so, some characters are more “me” than others ... in my earlier books, Det. Charlie Pasch was a kind of caricature of me. (But he’s in much better fighting shape.)

What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

It depends on what you mean by “quirky.” Probably the geekiest thing is that every month or so I have friends over to watch a movie with a giant monster in it. (Usually something Japanese.) I’m sure I’m guilty of geekier things, but that’s all that comes to mind right now.

When did you first discover you were a writer?

In the first grade, I wrote a Christmas story for class -- that’s the earliest I remember really connecting with storytelling as words on paper. (Of course, in the first grade I also thought that I could grow up to be Batman, like it was just another occupation like accountant or sales clerk.) In the third grade, I read one of my stories to the class and they liked it so much they applauded. That sealed the deal for me.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I read a lot of different kinds of things – apologetics, Bible references, science fiction -- but the past couple years most of my spare reading time has been devoted to studying the history of detective fiction. I’ve been devouring the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout and Hercule Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie, as well as Ellery Queen and Sherlock Holmes and the locked room mysteries of John Dickson Carr. I’m also an enormous fan of Gregory Macdonald’s Fletch novels, as well as Lee Goldberg’s original mysteries starring Adrian Monk and Donald Bain’s original mysteries starring Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote).

What other fiction have you written, whether published or not?

My wife, Erica, and I collaborate on the comic strip serial Best Mann for the Job. It stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who goes back home to Hope Falls to serve as the small town’s new sheriff. That updates weekly online at .

My second Earl Walker mystery, Burying the Hatchet, comes out January. The third one is scheduled to come out July 2011.

I also have three crime thrillers in the Kansas City Blues series -- Forgiving Solomon Long (2005), Deliver Us From Evelyn (2006), and Tribulation House (2007). They’re sort of comedy-mobster-police procedurals. And one is (sort of) an end-times thriller.

I’m currently working on a couple of different manuscripts right now, which occupy that space between my Kansas City shoot-em-ups and my new whodunit-driven series.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

My wife keeps me grounded, as does my church family. And I have always found a powerful shelter in stories – reading them, watching them, and writing them.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I wish I had a better system. Coming up with good names is hard. I usually make some kinds of list – people I know, names listed in credits of TV shows, names in the phonebook, sometimes names with certain meanings – and then change them into something different. (If only for legal reasons.) My process uses way more math than necessary.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

At the moment, being part of this big launch for FamilyFiction. It’s a news source for Christian fiction. As a magazine editor over the years, I’ve been part of a lot of good product launches – but this one has me more excited that just about any of them. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve done professionally ‘til now. Folks can sign up for our weekly email newsletter and bimonthly digital magazine at

If you were an animal, which would you be, and why?

Probably a bear. Because you get to eat and sleep and everyone is afraid to wake you up. That would come in handy at the office.

What’s your favorite food?

I love toasted ravioli. Back when I lived in the St. Louis area, you could find it pretty much anywhere. Until I moved away, I never realized now how much I took toasted ravioli for granted.

What problem with writing was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest problem has been and continues to be time management. I allow way too many things to take up my time. (And I have SO many stories in my head tying to get out.) Any time I am able to shut it all out and focus on one story at a time, it goes much better.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Do the work. Pay your dues. Stop looking for shortcuts. Finish every story. Remember that nobody owes you anything. Keep going until you get published. And then keep writing.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

It was a thrill to write my first real-deal mystery in the classic vein of Nero Wolfe and and Murder, She Wrote. It was also a lot of fun getting to know my protagonist, Earl Walker. Over the course of Nursing a Grudge and the next two books, his journey really gets him to a different place -- while he (eventually) ends up in a happy place, I drag him there in the most awkward, most humiliating way possible. It’s great to hear that so many readers enjoy getting to know Earl.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Chris, thanks for dropping by.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support the blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Deborah said...

Please enter me! I miss Barbour's mysteries and have been looking forward to this new series from them!

Katrina said...

this makes me granny would love reading it!

ykatrina at hotmail dot com

Molly(Buukluvr81) said...

Please enter me! I love Barbour books!

Michelle said...

Great interview, please enter me.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

Librarian said...

Love a good mystery please enter me

Andrea said...

Sounds great - enter me please.

Michael said...

PLEASE enter me in the contest! I have not read anything by Chris Well but would love to. Thanks!!

kathy taylor said...

Nursing a Grudge is a great title, and the theme of your book sounds wonderfully unique. Thanks for the opportunity to download the first chapter. I can't wait to read it! As a former drama teacher I agree with your theory about fiction being a more sophisticated form of play-acting. I miss Monk and would love to read Nursing a Grudge, Chris!

grannyvon said...

I would love to win this book This will be a new author for me but I love mystery and supense books and I read a lot.

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

Nursing a Grudge sounds like a fun mystery with memorable characters. Please add me!

Charity said...

I would love to win this book:) Please enter me. Thanks!


Mozi Esme said...

Thanks for the intro - this sounds fascinating!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

fredamans said...

I think we've all held a grudge at some point in our lives, but to nurse one?! Great premise, count me in please!

Pam at Daysong Reflections said...

Please enter me. Love Barbour mysteries.

pam at daysong dot com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a terrific story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sandy Jay said...

Please enter me in the contest. Thanks for the opportunity.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

A J Hawke said...

So much information in this interview. I'll leave my comment and email, and then follow the links to

Can we hope for a new TV series featuring Mr. Walker?

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

Chris Well said...

A television series! I would love that, too, AJ. Earl is certainly curmudgeonly enough.

Cindy W. said...

I always love reading a good mystery. Please enter me into your giveaway.

Cindy W.


Anonymous said...

My daughter works in an assisted living facility. It will be interesting to see what you do with this. beekeeper5[at]bellsouth[dot]net

Anonymous said...

Enter me! I love mysteries

holdenj said...

This looks like a great mystery. Thanks for the info and chance to win!

Bakersdozen said...

This books sounds like fun. I would share it with my mom and her friends. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Looks good. Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a great read.

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

apple blossom said...

Please enter me. thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Desiree said...

Love me a mystery!

hippmom said...

You've got my interest - would love to read.

angelahipp (at) charter (dot) net

Robyn said...

OHhhh---looks like one I can't miss.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Patsy said...

Glad you're a part of FamilyFiction. We need good Christian writers. The book sounds great. Thanks for giving away a copy.

Diane said...

I'm hooked. Love the mystery and unique setting. :O)

misskallie2000 said...

I love humor in my books and
Nursing A Grudge sounds like a great book with mystery and humor.
I love Agatha Christy and Murder She Wrote. I watch reruns of Murder she Wrote. Great show. I had not heard of you before this interview Chris but will be adding you to my new author list.

Thanks for this opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Jan Marie said...

I love the sounds of this book and I can tell that this writer employs a lot of humor in his writing ... would love to be the lucky winner!


~Ley said...

I love all of Chris Well's books. Please sign me up! Thanks.

Maureen said...

I love the Premise of this book...using seasoned citizens!
Thank you!!

rubynreba said...

I'd love to be entered to win this book.

lotus82 said...

Looks like a great book! Please enter me.


Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


barbjan10 said...

Am in the mood for a good mystery, haven't read one in a while. Please add my name to the giveaway and thank you for the opportunity.

Grace & Joy in Christ,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot comoutvwd

Megan said...

Wow, there was so much I didn't know! I am finally in a church where I have learned the meaning of the phrase "church family." Wow, what a gift!!

Carol M said...

Please enter me! This sounds good!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

barbjan10 said...

Taking another chance at entering my name in this giveaway. Chris Well's book sounds quite intriguing and I'd like to read how this all plays out. I've not read his writings before and I'm looking forward to learning more about him. Thank you.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Carole said...

I'm thrilled that this mystery line is in the Christian market, as I have loved cozy and traditional mysteries for over 45 years - and have read most of the authors Chris mentioned. Thank you for the chance to win Nursing a Grudge.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

raspberrygirl said...

I would like to be entered. Thanks!

Lourdes said...

Would love to win this book. Thank you, please enter me.


Brenda said...

Please enter me! I would love to read it!

dancealert at aol dot com

Beth said...

This sounds like a fun mystery. I'd love to win.

barbjan10 said...

There is something about the title of this book that keeps me guessing exactly what "nursing a grudge" actually means. I'm very interested in reading Chris Well's writing, as I've not read him before. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know him.

Sharing God's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com