Monday, February 6, 2012

Blogaversary Concludes with....EJ COPPERMAN! (aka Jeff Cohen)

I welcome today mystery author E. J. Copperman! (aka – Jeff Cohen!)

Some of you might remember Jeff from our Q&A last year.  He’s a freelance writer and the author of three mystery series: The Aaron Tucker series from Bancroft Press (FOR WHOM THE MINIVAN ROLLS, A FAREWELL TO LEGS, AS DOG IS MY WITNESS), the Double Feature Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime (SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED, IT HAPPENED ONE KNIFE, A NIGHT AT THE OPERATION) and lately, under the name E.J. Copperman, the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED and  AN UNINVITED GHOST).  In honor of Jeff’s (or his nom de plume’s, EJ’s) new release tomorrow, OLD HAUNTS,  he’s posted a guest blog, and is hosting a giveaway on his own blog!

And now…Jeff (MEOW, sorry! I mean…and now, EJ!)

A Real Character
By E.J. Copperman

When I began the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, I was concerned, as any author would be, about readers taking to the characters in the book. After all, readers come back to each book for the characters, not for elaborate plot devices or simply for the whodunnit puzzle. Characters are the core, the real center of any book, and certainly of any book series. If they don't like your characters, you're dead.

There was quite a cast to choose from: Alison Kerby is a single divorced mom and the narrator of the story. She moved back to her home town and bought a tremendous Victorian to turn into a guesthouse on the Jersey Shore. This was before Snooki, believe it or not. Alison and her nine-year-old daughter Melissa, who sometimes seems like the real adult in this relationship, moved into the house and began renovations for the upcoming tourist season. Until one day when Melissa was at school and Alison was "accidentally" hit on the head with a bucket of wall compound, and started to see Paul Harrison and Maxie Malone, which was a problem.

They were dead.

Maxie, a 28-going-on-17 interior designer, and Paul, a young private investigator, had been murdered by someone and died in what had been Maxie's house and was now Alison's. And they--specifically Maxie--refused to let her finish her renovations until she agreed to find out who had killed them. So after a good deal of coercion and convincing (Alison wasn't interested in being a detective), she met Lt. Anita McElone (rhymes with "macaroni") for information, and with help from her mother Loretta and her best friend Jeannie, Alison solved the case (hope that's not a huge surprise for those who haven't read DEED yet).

So let's recap: Our cast of characters were Alison, the mom, Melissa, the daughter, Loretta, who is Alison's mom, Lt. McElone, Paul and Maxie the ghosts, Jeannie, Alison's best friend, and if we want to broaden it a bit, Tony, Jeannie's husband, and Phyllis Coates, who runs the local newspaper.

The only one I was sure would be a hit was Maxie. Sassy, almost childlike, but eventually helpful and kindhearted, she was going to wow 'em. She'd be the breakout character. The rest were a question mark.

Until the book came out. And readers started telling me how much they hated Maxie.

Because she spends much of DEED thwarting Alison's renovation plans and metaphorically stamping her feet in a huff (Maxie can't stamp her feet because they'd go right through the floor) every time she didn't get her way, some readers saw Maxie --whom I named after a character in a not-great Glenn Close movie, by the way--as an impediment, a spoiled brat, and a somewhat evil poltergeist. I thought she was fun. They thought she was annoying.

Say la vie, I always c'est.

All this is preamble: as the book went on (that is, as people read through to the end), Maxie redeemed herself. It wasn't in my original plan, but readers warmed up to her. 

Now, I'm running a contest on my blog, in conjunction with the release of the third book, OLD HAUNTS on February 7, and one requirement is that the entrant names his/her favorite character in the Haunted Guesthouse series. (If you haven't read any of the books, the instructions are to say your favorite character is THE HOUSE). 

And of course Maxie is outpacing the competition by a large margin as of this writing. The contest goes on until Leap Day. Take a look and chime in.

Some people just have to grow on you. – E.J. Copperman, the author also known as Jeff Cohen.

E.J. Copperman is the author of the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, which started with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED and AN UNINVITED GHOST and now continues with OLD HAUNTS on February 7. E.J. likes walks on the beach, long nights in front of the fire... wait, no. E.J. is a dedicated baseball fan and writes for a living. You can find out more at

Now folks, don’t forget – to try and win either an OLD HAUNTS travel mug or t-shirt, go to: and follow the directions!  Jeff will be announcing the lucky winners on his blog on Friday, I believe!

And now…the winner of Ashlyn Chase’s giveaway.  The lucky winner will have their choice of EITHER all three of Ashlyn’s books in her Strange Neighbors series, or a $25 B&N gift card! 
 And the lucky winner is:  HarlieReader!
Congratulations, and watch your email for one from Ashlyn about claiming your prize.

Kitties – that concludes our official BLOGAVERSARY celebration! I want to thank all the authors who participated, and all my followers for – well – following!

What we’ve got coming up in February:
Guest posts and Q&A’s with:  Caitlin Kittredge and Nancy Bilyeau!

And in March: Charlaine Harris in my hotseat! Coming Soon:  Victoria Laurie and Jeaniene Frost!

And I want to hear your opinion: would you like a CASTLE Q&A! Get Richard Castle in my hotseat!  I need to know!

Until next time, be good. And if you can’t be good…meow…be careful.



  1. I think you usually make ANYONE you get in the hot seat interesting, Rocco!
    EJ is fond of turning a phrase,literally.I think Night of the Living Deed is the most clever... I caught the "Maxie" connection right away, but now I am interested in seeing how I find her.
    [Scratchies under the chin,Rocco!]

  2. MEOW! Thank you, Tonette! I certainly try to make all my "hot seaters" feel right at home.

    and thanks for the scratchies :)

  3. Never felt more comfortable, Rocco. Thanks for the invite!

  4. MEOW! anytime, EJ (loved the little video on your site, BTW - tho I thought you did look a bit pale :)