Character Interview: Anastasia Pollack–Amateur sleuth who fights mob loan sharks and wishes she didn’t inherit that parrot

I had a terrific time interviewing Anastasia Pollack this week. She’s an amateur sleuth of author Lois Winston’s critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries (who’s been dubbed “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum” by Kirkus Reviews), and if you haven’t heard of her you’re missing out. She’s a survivor. She’s feisty. And she truly wishes she never inherited that parrot even though he makes her laugh because, you know, she’d much rather have had the Royal Doulton china.

Want to know more about Anastasia and her stories? Read on…


What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m Anastasia Pollack, the amateur sleuth of author Lois Winston’s critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. I never realized it until about a year ago, but I’m a survivor. And boy, have I ever had a lot to survive these last months, after my husband, Karl Marx Pollack, dropped dead at a roulette wheel in Las Vegas. I, the clueless wife, believed he was at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, PA.

As if that weren’t bad enough, I quickly discovered Karl had hidden a serious gambling addiction from me for years. Not only were we up the wazoo in debt, but his loan shark was demanding I pay off the fifty grand Karl owed him. Oh, and did I mention I’m now permanently stuck with my communist mother-in-law living under my roof? At least I currently still have a roof. Somehow I’ve managed to keep my family from having to take up residence in a cardboard box.

Finally, let’s not forget (as if I could!) the dead bodies popping up at regular intervals. Somehow I’ve survived it all—so far.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and why?
That’s easy. I’d like to be rich. Not necessarily bazillionaire rich but rich enough that I didn’t have that cardboard box looming on the horizon. People always say money can’t buy happiness, but they’re usually the ones who have no trouble paying their bills each month. And I guarantee they’ve never been threatened by a Mafia loan shark.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to do, or had happen to you?
Ever since Karl’s death, my life has been a series of strange things, but I suppose the strangest would have to be walking into my office to find the dead body of our fashion editor glued to my desk chair and keyboard. I doubt many people could top that!

What quality do you like most in a man/woman, and why?
Honesty. Why? Refer back to Question #1. If Karl had been honest about his gambling problem, I wouldn’t be in the pickle I’m in. Best case, I could have gotten him some help for his addiction. At worst, I would have been able to protect some of our assets. My dead louse of a spouse even gambled away our kids’ college funds!

What is your idea of a perfect day/night?
One where I don’t have to worry about bill collectors and mob loan sharks.

Do you argue with the author that writes you? If so, what do you argue about?
Duh! Who do you think got me into this mess? Do you know that Lois Winston used to write romance? Why couldn’t she have written me into one of those books? But, no, she not only screwed up my life, she keeps throwing dead bodies at my feet. What did I ever do to her?

What makes you angry?
My dead husband tops the list, but my mother-in-law comes in a close second. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with her ‘til death do us part. Most unfortunately, I fear she’s going to outlive us all.

What book are you reading?
Reading? Who has time to read? Have you not been listening to me? Between taking on all sorts of moonlighting jobs to pay off a multitude of maxed out credit cards, as well as umpteen loans and a second mortgage I knew nothing about, I haven’t read a book in nearly a year. The book I was reading when Karl died is still sitting on my nightstand.

What was your childhood like?
A heck of a lot better than my current adulthood.

What’s your job and why do you do it?
I’m the crafts editor at a women’s magazine. I love my job but hate the commute. I work for the same reason most people work: I need the money. I’m currently working on a way to craft a clone of myself so I can work 48 hours a day instead of just 24. (Sleep is so overrated!) I figure if I can accomplish that, I’ll be able to dig us out of debt in about ten years.

Of what are you most fearful?
That looming cardboard box. Hopefully, if it comes to that, I’ll be able to secure a spot above a subway grate for warmth.

What makes you laugh?
Ralph makes me laugh. He’s an African Grey parrot I inherited from Great-Aunt Penelope. At first I was a bit bummed. I would have preferred her collection of Royal Doulton china, but Mama got the dishes, and I got the parrot. Great-aunt Penelope was a Shakespearean scholar who brought Ralph to all her classroom lecture. African Greys are the smartest of their species, and as it turns out Ralph is a parrot genius. He has an uncanny knack for coming up with situation appropriate quotes from the Bard, no matter the circumstances. Ralph has helped me get through some of the worst experiences of my life by tickling my funny bone with a spot-on squawk.

If you could do something over again, what would it be and why?
I’d marry someone else. If you haven’t figured out why yet, you haven’t been paying attention.


USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Visit Lois/Emma at and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog,

Follow everyone on Pinterest at and on Twitter at

Sign up for Lois’s newsletter at


Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun

Death by Killer Mop Doll

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse 

Decoupage Can Be Deadly 

A Stitch to Die For 

Crafty Crimes (3 Anastasia Pollack Mini-Mysteries) 

Copyright © 2012-2017 · All Rights Reserved ·

About terriponce

I write about secrets, suspense, and soulmates.
This entry was posted in Stories Behind The Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Character Interview: Anastasia Pollack–Amateur sleuth who fights mob loan sharks and wishes she didn’t inherit that parrot

  1. ckcrigger says:

    Lovely blogpost. I needed a laugh this morning, from someone who has it worse than me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s always fun reading an interview about this author and/or her main character. Absolutely 5 star blog this morning. Thank you. Wishing all writers success in this amazing career.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maggietoussaint says:

    Let me know if Anastasia figures out the cloning deal. I could use a clone myself!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Vinnie says:

    If it’s any consolation Anastasia and Lois, my character thinks I’m a PITA, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Angela says:

    Anastasia, you need to tell Lois to be on the lookout for a good man for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anastasia, you and Lois are real Jersey girls!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hywela Lyn says:

    Hi Terri (and Anastasia.0 I love character interviews and this one was such fun – even if Anastasia does sound a bit miffed at the hand she’s been dealt! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • terriponce says:

      I can’t blame her for it, either! Seems she’s been through a lot. Though I definitely am going to read about Anastasia, I also want to find out about her parrot. 🙂


    • authorlois says:

      Hi Hywela Lyn! Thanks for stopping by. I’m not a total sadist when it comes to Anastasia. The first book introduces a character who will come to brighten her life in the series in many ways, although he may or may not be exactly who he says he is. (Sorry. Sometimes I just can’t help myself! 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  8. tugger1304 says:

    Anastasia, hate to hear about your troubles, but it’s a ill wind that blows NOBODY any good. Those of us reading your books are having a fine time. And you are one colorful lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. judyalter says:

    Really clever interview! Enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. authorlois says:

    Thanks for inviting your readers to meet Anastasia today, Terri!

    Liked by 1 person

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