Interview with Carrie Jo Howe, author of Island Life Sentence with Giveaway

Welcome to the book tour for Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe! Today she’s giving us more insight into her latest book, which is the first in a new trilogy. Plus you get to find out who her prom date was in high school! I know I was surprised by the answer! Then please enjoy an excerpt from the book. Be sure to follow the tour to leave her more questions and comments along the way and then enter the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

When my husband took a job transfer to Florida as a sales territory, we relocated to Key West.  After living in suburban Chicagoland for 20 years, it was a big culture shock. Key West is a 2X4 mile island, three and a half hours from mainland Florida and closer to Cuba than to a Target store. It’s a beautiful tropical island landscape,  but there’s some funky evolutionary stuff going on down here.  

What kind of research did you have to do for it?

Walking out my front door was all the research I had to do.  Every day I’d come home with a story. And of course reading the local newspaper was (is) extraordinarily entertaining.  I was unaccustomed to the wildlife (iguanas and poisonous frogs), the haints (ghosts), and six months of watching the weather off the coast of Africa for “storms”.  Our Florida “hurrication” to avoid the dreaded cone during Irma was a real eye opener.  I would prefer not to do that again.

Which character was your favorite to write?

Trudy is a kick ass, take no prisoners person. She’s so refreshing with her loyalty and lack of filters.  

To which character did you relate the most?

Peg is the protagonist who suffers and grows in the book.  She has a lot to learn and it’s not easy for her. Similarly to Peg, I do have a fear of driving on bridges that I’m trying to conquer. There are 42 of them to get to mainland Florida.  She and I have a ways to go.

What was one of your favorite scenes?

I love the Jimmy Buffett scene. He’s worshiped in Key West and I just don’t get it.  You can’t diss him down here or you’re considered a heretic. Trudy doesn’t care and goes on a anti-JB  rampage. She’s a beast.  

Will we see these characters again?

Yes. This book is the first of a trilogy.  The next book Peg and Trudy live together in Key West.  It’s a blast to have Trudy in Key West full time–she says what everyone else is thinking.

Why should we read your book?

It’s meant to be a fun, short beach read. It’s not War and Peace if that’s what you’re looking for.

What do you hope people will get out of your book?

I would hope a chuckle or two.

Tell us about your other published works.

I wrote another book called Motherhood is NOT for Babies. It’s a series of vignettes about marriage, raising 3 boys and a bad Vizsla.

When not writing, what can we find you doing?

I do a fair amount of traveling.  Since I have family in Chicago and California, I spend a lot of time triangulating the United States.  When I’m not flying around, I mentor a high school student for the Take Stock in Children program. It’s a wonderful organization that provides college tuition for low income, academically minded students.  Pilates is my new favorite exercise–it’s a great combination of strength training and stretching.

Let’s say I’m coming for a visit to your area. What are some must-see places?

Oh wow – there are so many amazing places to see in Key West! Just to name a few:

– Mallory Square for sunset and street performers

–  Duval Street for shopping and nightlife (including Sloppy Joes – Hemingway’s old haunt)

– Hemingway’s house

– Truman Little White House (excellent tour)

– Mel Fisher’s treasure museum

– Blue Heaven or Salute on the Beach for lunch or dinner

– Trolley tour to get a feel for the island

– Fort Zachary State Park – for snorkeling and beaching

Feel free to email me for more suggestions –

What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?

I went to my high school prom at Northern Highlands Regional High School with Jim (James) Comey (ex director of the FBI).  He’s 6’8 now but I was taller than him in high school.

Thank you so much!  

Peg Savage has contractually agreed to move to Key West, Florida. The smudged signatures on the damp cocktail napkin are irrefutable proof.

“An adventure…” her husband Clark says.

Peg can’t swim; she’s afraid of bridges (there are 42 of them); and she doesn’t want to leave her friends. However, after a bottle of Cabernet, a move from Chicago to the southernmost city in the United States seems like the best decision ever.

But now Clark has taken a long term job in Cuba and she’s on her own.

Neither her dog Nipper, nor the ghosts in the attic, offer up any good advice. But how hard can it be living in paradise?

Peg dives into island life but the more effort she makes, the wider her wake of catastrophes. She is tortured by a paddle board, a giant poisonous toad, the local Conservation group, and the patron saint of hurricanes. Not to mention the persistent sweat rash under her left breast.

A tropical depression descends on the island – one that can’t be cured with medication. Peg must gather her strength if she has any hope of surviving the storm.

Read an excerpt:

“Sunshine state… my soggy ass.”

It was dark. The power and the air conditioning had gone out hours ago. Peg hugged her dog under the makeshift bed-tent, clutching him to her sweaty pajama’d breasts. 

An engraved locket pinned to Nipper’s blue life vest dangled under his pirate dog collar. Hurricane rain pummeled the bedroom window – the violent wind shook the glass panes. Peg wondered about the moaning sound until she realized it was coming from her own throat.

She shrieked at the sudden crash on the metal roof. Several days of binge drinking without proper oral hygiene, or any hygiene for that matter, produced noxious vapors in the tent. Nipper’s nostrils flared as he took in the odors and licked her fluorescent orange, cheesy, tear-stained fingers.

Available on Amazon


After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her latest novel, Island Life Sentence, is a fictional account of an American Midwestern woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received a rave review (thanks Mom), and works wonderfully as a form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobsters get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on the sequels to Island Life Sentence.







Carrie Jo Howe will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 thoughts on “Interview with Carrie Jo Howe, author of Island Life Sentence with Giveaway”

  1. I appreciate you taking the time to give us a great book description and giveaway as well. Thank you so much!

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