As promised, Reba White Williams is here today for a quick chat.
If you'd like to know more about the JKSCommunications Restrike Blog Tour and the other stops in the tour, click on the link.
June 1, 2013
Money and murder go hand in glove in the rarified art world of Reba White Williams’ exciting first novel, Restrike.
Cousins Coleman and Dinah Greene moved from North Carolina to New York after college to make their mark on the art world: Coleman is the editor of an influential arts magazine and Dinah is the owner of a print gallery in Greenwich Village. But their challenges are mounting as one of Coleman's writers is discovered selling story ideas to a competitor and The Greene Gallery is in the red because sales are down.
When billionaire Heyward Bain arrives with a glamorous assistant, announcing plans to fund a fine print museum, Coleman is intrigued and plans to get to know Bain and publish an article about him. Dinah hopes to sell him enough prints to save her gallery. At the same time, swindlers, attracted by Bain’s lavish spending, invade the print world to grab some of his money.
When a print dealer dies in peculiar circumstances, Coleman is suspicious, but she can’t persuade the NYPD crime investigator of a connection between the dealer’s death and Bain’s buying spree. After one of Coleman’s editors is killed and Coleman is attacked, the police must acknowledge the connection, and Coleman becomes even more determined to discover the truth about Bain. In an unforgettable final scene, Coleman risks her life to expose the last deception threatening her, her friends, and the formerly tranquil print world.
Let's get to know Reba a little better.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today.
1. Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I was born in Mississippi, grew up in North Carolina, and came to New York as soon as I got out of Duke. I was lucky to get a job in the research department (I was an English major) of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., where I worked for nine years. McKinsey supported my going to Harvard Business School, and armed with an MBA I joined a securities firm on Wall Street as an analyst. I later wrote about the investment business for Institutional Investor magazine, and got very involved with my husband collecting fine art prints. This interest led me back to school for a Ph.D. in art history…and writing for art magazines and the exhibition catalogues that accompanied the exhibitions we created from our collection. We donated our collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington five years ago, and with that, I was free to turn all my writing to fiction, at last. But I’m not totally divorced from art. All of my books – two finished, two in process – are set in the New York (and London) art worlds.
2. Describe yourself in three words.
Curious, observant, considerate.
3. You have a love for art as well as books and writing, how do you find balance between the two?
I answered this in (1). I’m still involved in art, but it’s passive. I’m no longer doing art history research and collecting has nearly stopped, but my art-related knowledge and experiences are alive in my books.
4. Tell us more about The Print Research Foundation.
This was a stop-gap. We had to move our collection out of the offices where my husband and I worked when we retired, so we moved the collection, the archives (we had files on the more than 2,000 artists in the collection), and the library to a building in Stamford, CT – created the Print Research Foundation – and made it all available to scholars.
5. You’ve written articles for a number of publications, how does article writing differ from novel writing?
At last, with fiction I can use my imagination.
6. What do you do when you’re not writing?
Reading, most of all. I’m also a busy gardener and bird-watcher. My husband and I travel a lot, U.S. and abroad, and watch a lot of movies.
7. Who/What inspired you to start writing?
Again, my answer is reading. I’m from a family of storytellers, so it’s in my genes.
8. What has been the most rewarding experience on the road to being published?
Nothing is as much fun as writing.
9. What is the best advice you’ve been given as an author?
10. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
11. Who are your favorite authors to read?
I reread Jane Austen and Dorothy L. Sayers. I don’t miss anything by Jane Smiley and Elizabeth George. And nearly every new mystery that’s published.
12. Restrike is a fantastic mystery novel, what made you choose this particular genre to write in?
I’m a fan of cozy mysteries, à la Agatha Christie.
13. There are many interesting characters in Restrike, including Dolly, Coleman’s dog. Tell us more about the inspiration behind her character?
I’ve owned four Maltese terriers over nearly fifty years. Muffin is the newest, now a year old. I know the breed well, and they are great companions. Everybody needs one!
14. Are any of your characters based on people you know?
All the nice and noble people in my books are based on people I’ve known. The bad guys (and girls) are imaginary.
15. Who is your favorite character, and why?
I have to pick Coleman. I admire her drive, bravery and concern for others...and her sharp mind.
16. Are you working on any special projects at the moment?
The second in the series, Fatal Impressions, is finished and will be published in March, 2014. I’m hard at work on #3 and #4, and I’ve got the setting picked for #5.
Praise for Reba White Williams and Restrike
“There’s a major new presence on the crime scene...Reba White Williams. Restrike will strike a big hit with sophisticated readers who love culture, uncommon criminals and terrific writing. You won’t be able to put this book down!”
–Alexandra Penney, bestselling author of How to Make Love to a Man, former editor-in-chief of SELF magazine
“A captivating glimpse into the glitzy New York City art scene”
–Jane Cleland, author of Dolled Up for Murder, a Josie Prescott Antiques mystery
“Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Sue Grafton, and a few others, have a new sister in the celebrated sorority of women mystery writers. Her sophistication with art, fashion, food, and scent add extra pleasure to the heart-beating tension.”
–Susan Kinsolving, author of The White Eyelash, Dailies and Rushes
“For art lover and mystery fan alike, Restrike is a feast.”
–Susan Larkin, author of Top Cats: The Life and Times of the New York Public Library Lions, American Impressionism and other books
“I was up all night. WOW! A suspenseful, roller coaster ride through the sexy world of art. You get to learn the inner workings of a serpentine world and have fun at the same time.”
–Barbara Guggenheim, author of The Ultimate Organizer and upcoming Art World: The Second Oldest Profession
“An intelligent, fascinating thriller…Agatha Christie meets Muriel Spark”
–Bert Fields, author of Royal Blood: Richard III and other novels
“Reba Williams channels Agatha Christie in this smart and sassy whodunit that takes on the print world and hits a strike – and a restrike”
–Jonathan Santlofer, Nero Wolfe Award winner
“A first-rate thriller, which holds our rapt attention until the end.”
–John Julius Norwich, author of A History of England in 100 Places: Stonehenge to the Guerkin
“Restrike is a thrilling and compelling story of murder and treachery. Reba Williams kept me spellbound.”
–Francesca Zambello, Director of Glimmerglass, director of opera and musicals, including The Little Mermaid
“A novel that does what the best fiction should always do: it fully inhabits a fascinating subculture. The investigation at the heart of this novel is not just into murder, but into the nature of fraud, forgery, and the secret selves that often rise up unexpectedly to ambush us.”
–K. L. Cook, author of Love Songs for the Quarantined and The Girl from Charnelle
“A fascinating glimpse into the harrowing, high-stakes world of art fraud. Restrike is a smart, fast-paced mystery peopled with vivid characters both charming and dark.”
–Mindy Friddle, author of The Garden Angel and Secret Keepers
“Restrike is savvy, saucy, and scary – a worthy debut from a writer who bears watching.”
–Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and What We Saw at Night
“A fast-paced tale of nefarious dealings in New York’s art world.”
–Tom Cook, Edgar Award winning mystery writer
“Starts out with a bang and keeps you riveted! A first rate debut!"
–Steve Berry, New York Times bestelling author
· 2001 Gold Medal Award from The Spanish Institute (with Dave Williams), November 2001.
· Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship (with Dave Williams), October 2000.
· 2000 Woman of Distinction Award, for extraordinary professional accomplishments. New York State Senate, May 2000.
· 2000 Swan Award (with Dave Williams), lifetime achievement for furthering the arts both nationally and internationally, Cheekwood Museum, Nashville, Tennessee.
· Pratt Institute, Pratt Legend, 2000.
· 1999 New York City Council Woman of Achievement Pacesetter Award.
· Distinguished Cultural Leadership Award (with Dave Williams), for outstanding contributions to the arts and culture of the Empire State, February 10, 1999.
· Award from Primary School 164, Brooklyn, a culture and arts magnet school, for “Dedication and support of the arts in public school education,” June 11, 1998.
· The Augustus Graham Medal (with Dave Williams), presented on behalf of the Brooklyn Museum of Art Board of Trustees, for “Outstanding support of the arts,” April 30, 1998.
· The Polish Order of Merit, Cavalier of the Grand Cross of Poland, First Class, honoring contributions to the financial industry in Poland.
· Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities (with Dave Williams). Appreciation: “In helping to re-establish a very special environment, you have begun a renaissance which we hope continues until the school has regained its original beauty,” October 25, 1995.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reba White Williams has written articles for American Artist, Art and Auction, Print Quarterly and Journal of the Print World. She served on the Print Committees of The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum and The Whitney Museum. She was a member of the Editorial Board of Print Quarterly, and is an Honorary Keeper of American Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University.
Williams grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina. She graduated from Duke University and her ambition at 21 years old led her to New York, where she began writing about art, business and finance. Williams eventually earned her MBA from Harvard, MA in Art History from Hunter, PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and MA in Fiction Writing from Antioch University.
She worked as a library assistant, researcher at a management-consulting firm, a Wall Street securities analyst and writer for Institutional Investor magazine and other financial publications, and her expertise and passion for the arts led Williams to write a mystery novel series revolving around art fraud. The first book, Restrike, releases June 2013.
Williams has served as President of the New York City Art Commission and Vice Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts. In 2009, most of her and her husband’s collection—about 5,000 prints—was donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
She and her husband founded the annual Willie Morris Award for best Southern fiction, now in its sixth year. With her husband and their dog Muffin, who is fictionalized in her books, Williams divides her time between New York, Connecticut and Palm Springs.
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