Thursday, December 15, 2016

Please Welcome Mystery Author and Playwright Joanne Sydney Lessner

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Joanne Sydney Lessner

We are delighted to welcome author Joanne Sydney Lessner to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

Joanne's fourth mystery in her Isobel Spice series is Offed Stage Left (Dulcet Press; October 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats) and today she tells us about the life of a writer.

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Joanne Sydney Lessner
Photo provided courtesy of
Joanne Sydney Lessner

Offed Stage Left is the fourth book in my Isobel Spice mystery series, and my fifth published novel since my first came out in 2010. That was a banner year for me — my forty-fifth, in case you’re curious. My play Critical Mass premiered Off Broadway, and Garbo and Me, a musical I wrote with my husband and collaborator Joshua Rosenblum, received a workshop at the Paramount Theater in Vermont. But writing is a career full of “hurry up and wait,” and having multiple projects come to fruition at the same time is far less common that having to keep pots bubbling away on all burners simultaneously. That’s what being a writer looks like for me most of the time. It certainly describes what’s going on as I write this! Leaving aside the fifth Isobel Spice novel, of which I have written exactly one page, my next big project is a musical adaptation of the classic play Stage Door by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, which we’re preparing for a production next spring at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I’m also facing down a pile of recordings to review for Opera News, and I’ve got three live performances to cover this week as well.

    I’m sure this all sounds very glamorous, but the truth is writing (or wording as I like to call it) can be pretty mentally draining, and after a while, you run out of adjectives. Then there’s the fact that I also have a day job in financial public relations, plus I promote my and my husband’s events, including his upcoming Watergate musical Mark Felt, Superstar, which is playing at the York Theatre Company in January. I’m also auditioning for performing jobs, and, oh, did I mention I have two kids?

    But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I chose this multifaceted artistic life many years ago and have zero regrets. If I didn’t have all those other time pressures, I’d probably never get any writing done at all. Did you ever notice that work expands to fill the time allotted? There’s something about having deadlines — even if they’re unrelated to your main project — that keeps you moving forward. I generally try to dispatch the smaller, finite tasks first, so I can have a chunk of time for the longer items that require more concentration and could conceivably spin out for eternity, but that isn’t always possible. I’ve learned to grab my writing time when I can. It’s amazing how many words you can bang out while the pasta water boils. The other thing I’ve come to realize is that I will never be happy doing just one thing. I’ve always nursed multiple creative ambitions, and even though it has meant not shooting to the top of the ranks in any one of them, it’s worth it to me to be able to keep pursuing all of them.

    So how did I do today running down my checklist? I got this blog post written, plus one CD review, and now I’m going to draft some lyrics for a song in Act One. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a significant amount of verbiage. Fortunately for me, like my heroine Isobel, I’m rarely at a loss for words.

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Joanne Sydney Lessner Book Tour

Writer, singer, and actor Joanne Sydney Lessner draws on her own experiences pursuing a performing career in New York City for her Isobel Spice Mysteries. With humor and a bit of romance, Isobel juggles auditions and temp jobs, solving murders along the way, while Joanne's inside knowledge provides a window into the realities of breaking into show business (as well as a forum to share every humiliating audition experience she and her friends ever had.)

Joanne is also a regular contributor to Opera News and a graduate of Yale University.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Offed Stage Left by Joanne Sydney Lessner

Offed Stage Left by Joanne Sydney Lessner

An Isobel Spice Mystery

Publisher: Dulcet Press Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

There's one role you don't want a callback for: Prime Suspect …

Aspiring actress Isobel Spice lands her first regional theater job, playing a supporting role and understudying the lead in "Sousacal: The Life and Times of John Philip Sousa." A series of minor backstage accidents culminates in the suspicious death of the leading lady on opening night.

When Isobel takes over the role, her mastery of the material makes her more suspect than savior, and she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the identity of the murderer — before he or she strikes again.

Offed Stage Left by Joanne Sydney Lessner

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