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Friday, August 14, 2015
Fool Me Once: Guest Post by Steve Hockensmith + Giveaway
“Fake it till you make it” isn’t just decent life advice. If you’re a writer, it could be your job description.
Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of articles about things I previously didn’t understand or even know existed. That’s part of the fun (and terror) of being a journalist. An editor says “Flitabots are big right now. I want 1,000 words on them by Thursday.” And instead of saying “Hold on, hoss – I’ve never even heard of flita-whatsis!” you start Googling and emailing and learning. And by Thursday maybe you’re not an expert on flitabots, but you can write 1,000 words about them that would fool the real experts into thinking you know what the heck you’re talking about.
Then the editor says “Thanks. Jingalasps are big right now. I want 2,000 words on them by Tuesday.” And you forget everything you knew (or pretended to know) about flitabots and start Googling and emailing and learning all over again.
Of course, faking it till you make it through an article and faking it till you make it through an entire book are two very different things. But I like to think I’ve pulled the latter off, too. My Holmes on the Range mysteries required me to become a faux expert on cattle ranching, trail drives, train travel, tong wars, the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the early writings of Dr. John H. Watson. For the two Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novels I wrote, I had to bone up on Regency era England and Jane Austen. (Fortunately, the zombies didn’t require much research.) And I write a series of science-themed mysteries for kids – the Nick and Tesla books – even though I know about as much about science as your average Neanderthal. (Well, I know enough to know what a Neanderthal is. But please don’t ask me how a lightbulb works.)
Fortunately, I don’t do the Nick and Tesla series alone. I write them with educator/mad scientist “Science Bob” Pflugfelder. Obviously, he is an expert when it comes to science. I mean, come on – he’s got “Science” right there in his name!
Bob’s not the only expert I rely on these days. My latest novel, Fool Me Once, has the subtitle A Tarot Mystery, and guess what? I know as much about tarot as I do about flitabots and jingalasps. Fortunately, my old friend and collaborator Lisa Falco is a tarot wiz. She’s not credited as “Tarot Lisa” on Fool Me Once (and the first book in the Tarot Mystery series, last year’s The White Magic Five & Dime), but she might as well be.
The hero of the series is a reformed con woman who takes over her dead mother’s fortune-telling business and uses both her old flim-flam skills and her new (and growing) talent with tarot to solve mysteries. Tarot interpretations are woven throughout the books, and there are many scenes depicting detailed readings. So thank god for Tarot Lisa! I have guides like Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook within reach while I’m writing, but it’s Lisa I rely on to keep me from looking like a fool.
Speaking of fools, I have picked up enough tarot smarts to know that the Fool is my card. He’s the dude who sets off on a difficult journey with high hopes and not a lot of wisdom. But he might just get where he wants to go if he doesn’t get discouraged.
You know: If he fakes it till he makes it.
As part of the tour, there is a print copy of Fool Me Once up for grabs.
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About the Author
Steve Hockensmith is the author of 14 novels and dozens of short stories in a variety of genres. His novel Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the official prequel to the smash "mashup" Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was a New York Times bestseller. His other books include the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sequel Dreadfully Ever After, the Edgar Award-nominated mystery/Western hybrid Holmes on the Range and the science-based adventure for kids Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab (written with frequent Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest "Science Bob" Pflugfelder). He writes the Tarot Mystery series with the help of tarot expert Lisa Falco.
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This guest post is part of a blog tour for Fool Me Once. The tour is organised by Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Check out the rest of the tour stops here.