Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What Would You Do with a Billion Dollars? by Kate Carlisle

JENN McKINLAY: I'm thrilled to have my bestie visiting today! And because she won't brag on herself, I will. Check this out: A trifecta of bestsellerness!!! Have you started the Fixer Upper mysteries yet? Don't miss out!


The latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH, came out on October 29, in paperback and ebook. Coming soon in audiobook. Read chapter 1 for free at www.KateCarlisle.com.

And now here's Kate to tell us more about her latest bestseller!



KATE CARLISLE: What would you do if you had a billion dollars? A billion. A thousand millions. Would you quit your job? Would you start a business? Would you move to a different town, a different part of the country, a different country altogether? Would you have more than one home? What would you do for your family and friends?

A billion is such a big number, it’s hard to wrap one’s brain around. Let’s say you did everything I listed above. Even if you were wildly extravagant, you’d probably still have, oh, nine hundred million dollars.


I think that once you got past the irresistible self-indulgences, you would realize that you have more money than you could possibly need in a lifetime. Then you might start thinking on a grander scale. After you’ve taken care of yourself, your family, your friends, and your community, eventually you might start to think about how you could effect real change in the world.

What would you do with a billion dollars once the newness of wealth wore off?

This was the question that inspired my latest mystery novel, Shot Through the Hearth. In it, contractor Shannon Hammer has been hired to renovate the Victorian farmhouse of and build a barn for a young retired tech billionaire, Raphael Nash.


The size of Rafe’s wallet is matched only by the size of his heart. After moving to Lighthouse Cove and falling in love with Shannon’s friend Marigold, Rafe starts the Marigold Foundation, with the lofty goal of eradicating poverty and saving the environment.

Rafe had the vision, the intelligence and the energy to bootstrap himself from humble beginnings to being one of the wealthiest men in the world. Now he intends to put all of his talents toward saving the planet for future generations. As the book starts, he tells Shannon that he’ll be hosting Future Global Survival Con in their quaint seaside town. Here’s a taste from chapter one:

“I’ve already booked a few dozen speakers,” Rafe said. “We’ll have demonstrations and lectures and workshops on all sorts of future-forward ideas from every area of business, education, arts and sciences, space, communication, food and farming.”

“You’ve already lined up all these people?”

“Yeah. Well, most of them are friends, so it wasn’t too hard to twist their arms.” He sat forward in his chair, getting into the subject. “We’ve got an eco-fisheries expert whose passion is tide pools. And another, my friend Julian Reedy, is a world-renowned plant expert who is determined to prove that plants can communicate with humans.” He grinned. “Oh, and wait ’til you see the Stephanie vine. She’s this huge, fast-growing plant that moves and grows in reaction to human pheromones. She’s extraordinary.”

“Stephanie is . . . a plant?”

“Yeah. You’ll see. It’s very cool. And another buddy, Arnold Larsson, is a pioneer in the field of smart mice studies.”

Mice?I shivered. One of my deepest, darkest secrets was that I was deathly afraid of mice. But I wasn’t about to mention it here and now.

“Everyone who comes to the conference will be invited to submit a grant proposal and give a short presentation on how they would change the world. I’ll be awarding a number of grants to help them finance their projects and ideas, put their words into action.”

But while Rafe’s goals are noble, with that much money up for grabs, not everyone’s motives will be altruistic. In fact, someone will die. . . 






ABOUT SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH
Contractor Shannon Hammer is measuring murder motives in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Wrench in the Works and Eaves of Destruction... 

Shannon's good friend and retired tech billionaire, Raphael Nash, is loving his new retired life but he can't stay unoccupied for too long. He's started the Marigold Foundation that helps fund small companies and individuals who do humanitarian work around the world. It's an exciting time in Lighthouse Cove as Raphael hosts the first ever global conference inviting big thinkers from every area of industry to give presentations on eco-living. 
Raphael's old business partner arrives in town with a grudge and a plan to steal him away from his important new passion project. Shannon knows her friend has no intention of giving up Marigold and is proud of Raphael for sticking to his guns. But when his former associate winds up dead, all signs point to Raphael. 
It's up to Shannon to hammer out the details of the murder before her friend gets pinned for the crime... 

Question of the Day: If you had a billion dollars, what would you do after you had taken care of yourself, your family and your friends?

Kate Carlisle is the New York Timesbestselling author of two ongoing series: the Bibliophile Mysteries featuring San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright, whose rare book restoration skills uncover old secrets, treachery and murder; and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), featuring Shannon Hammer, a home contractor who discovers not only skeletons in her neighbors' closets, but murder victims, too.

53 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your newest book, Kate. I love the Fixer-Upper stories and I’m looking forward to reading Shannon’s newest adventure.

    A billion dollars is an awful lot of money to try to spend, even after taking care of family and friends. I like the idea of humanitarian work, especially focused on children, but I think I’d do it through an already-established non-profit organization rather than trying to do it on my own.
    [Of course, I could be truly stingy and use some of it to add a wing onto the house so that I could fill it with bookshelves to hold all my favorite books] :)    

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joan! I hope you'll love SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH.

      I often wonder why, when something tragic happens, the survivors start their own foundation instead of fund-raising for an existing nonprofit. I think I would, like you, prefer to fund the good works of others.

      Delete
  2. Travel. Travel is definitely on the top of my list right now. And then I'd sit down and read and read and read and pretend I could catch up on my TBR mountain range if I didn't have to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can I steal your answer, Mark? This sounds heavenly.

      Delete
    2. In a private jet? Because, hey, a BILLION dollars!

      Delete
  3. I think I'd sink a pile of cash into medical research to cure some of health issues taking away my friends and family. Oh, well, there goes that billion...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scientists everywhere are cheering your answer, Annette.

      Delete
  4. With a billion dollars, I'm sure I could do pretty much whatever I wanted. I don't know that we should automatically assume that I'd take care of family and friends. My immediate family yes, but friends? I don't feel the need to become everyone's bank just because I have money all of a sudden.

    As for charity, I have ideas for what places I would donate money to. However, again I'm not a bank. I'm not going to give to everyone who asks. Honestly, if you ask, I'm not going to give.

    I wouldn't have to work, so I could do all sorts of travel. My itinerary would revolve around doing something that I want to do. Ireland, Scotland and England would be the countries I want to visit. Hawaii is another destination. After that, any trips would be related to going to heavy metal festivals like Wacken Open Air, Download Festival, Keep It True Festival and Rock In Rio. I'd do the sports Halls of Fame that I want to visit and then there's the comic book and mystery book conventions.

    And I'd have the time to do all the reading I need to catch up on.

    I'm not a miser so I'd use my money to do things or help people do things but on my schedule, not theirs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like so much fun! I would definitely spend a lot of time in the UK. I'd probably buy a home in Edinburgh and spend at least part of the year there. It's my favorite city.

      Delete
  5. I always think I've started the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, then a new one comes along and I realize I'm way behind--time to move Shannon up the mountain of books TBR. If I had a billion dollars, I'd start local--I'd fund a new school campus, and then I'd buy the old school building in my hometown to create a school of music--for those kids who don't fit in the local schools because they aren't into sports and who want more from their music than marching at football games. It would operate on a different plan and schedule too, oh, I have tons of ideas on how to make it work--and the money would allow it grow and endure. I'd also fund a community rec center, so kids and families and seniors and singles would have a safe place to hang out, work out, and so forth. And after that, I have a number of worthy organizations who work nationally and world-wide that would see significant contributions to their programs. Easy to dream....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I replied to this once, but it's not showing up, so forgive me if this is a duplicate...

      I love the idea of starting a school and a community center in your town! How wonderful! What a great way to make a very tangible impact in your neighbors' lives--for generations.

      Delete
  6. Congratulations, Kate! So fabulous. And what a truly thought-provoking idea for a book… Brilliant.
    What would I do with $1 billion? That is such a great question. I just burst out laughing with the very thought!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL It is fun to dream! Honestly, I think a billion would overwhelm me, so I'd want to get that number down as quickly as possible by distributing it to worthy causes. I could handle a few million, though. ;)

      Delete
  7. Welcome Kate and congratulations on the new book.

    "If you had a billion dollars, what would you do after you had taken care of yourself, your family and your friends?"

    I'm with Jay on the friends bit. What I might do for them, instead of handing them cash, is make them low or no interest loans for needs I agree are important, such as health, education, housing, transportation, job training, sabbaticals. Prior to that, I suppose the best option would be to create a foundation for all the above.

    Now that I an my family have everything we need and most of what we want, I would endow something like the McDowell Colony or the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

    I know!

    I'll call it the Jungle Red Residency for Starving Authors!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations on the new book, Kate - though the mere thought of 'fixing up' a house makes me want to take a nap. Bibliophiles, on the other hand... What would I do with a hot billion? Give most of it away. I think it would change my relationship to everyone in my life, and possibly not in a good way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be my biggest worry, as well. You might get the sense that everyone wants something from you, even if it's not true. And your friends might worry about speaking freely around you, because if they mention anything they need, they might think that YOU'LL think they're asking you to buy the item in question. You would have to put effort toward cultivating genuine friendships. I mean, you always do, but more so in this case, I suspect.

      Delete
    2. Exactly - makes for an excellent story 😉

      Delete
  9. As it turns out I have been thinking about this for a week or so ever since I received an email telling me I was the beneficiary of 20.5 million dollars! Not quite a billion, I know, but when you are talking numbers that large it's all pretty much the same to me.
    What I would like to do is give it to the school that 17 years ago decided to do away with my position as sole reading teacher K-12. I would give it with no strings, just to see the looks on certain board members' faces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, congratulations, Judi? And I suppose they said all you have to do to claim your millions is to send them all of your bank account information? ;) (It's hard to believe that people still fall for those scams, but I suppose they must work, or the scammers wouldn't keep sending those emails.)

      Your plans for the money are verrrrrry intriguing. I sense a story there.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Kate. Yes, it was pretty funny to find out the money was coming from the US Treasury, some sort of scam victim relief kind of thing. Interesting where all of our tax dollars go. Looking forward to reading your book.

      Delete
    3. LOL!!! So... they're taking advantage of people who were scammed previously, in hopes that they will fall for it again? Sigh!

      I hope you'll love SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH. :)

      Delete
    4. From the sounds of it, Kate, I will love it indeed!

      Delete
  10. Kate! Congratulations on the book, which I loved. My excess millions would go to trying to save endangered species and their habitats, I reckon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendall! I'm so glad you loved SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH. :) I love your plans for your excess millions.

      Delete
  11. Foundations to educate and bankroll girls and women in Third World countries. Studies have shown investing in women is one of the fastest, most efficient ways to lift the living standard of an entire community.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the yeses to this!!! Love it! Thanks for your comment, Julia.

      Delete
  12. Congrats, Kate! Some of my favorite charities would suddenly get big, anonymous donations.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What would I do? First I’d make sure this new found wealth stayed a secret and I remained anonymous. I would travel to my heart’s content. Rather than dole it out myself I’d probably fund a foundation to gift worthy causes and people. People could apply and the foundation could also award on merit without applications. I’m not sure how you choose the people who make the decisions or how to safeguard the purpose of the foundation. But it would be interesting to find out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think staying under the radar as much as you can is a very good idea! It would save you so many headaches!

      Delete
  14. Such a fun question!

    I'd put up Little Free Libraries everywhere, and stock them with lots of great books. And I'd make sure as many children as possible got the kind of instruction that HeadStart used to provide. It makes such a difference, and the last three Republican administrations have eroded the program to the point that it barely exists any more, just when we need it the most.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that sounds like an excellent way to give back, Karen. Early childhood education is vital.

      Delete
  15. I'm with Wendall. After I have Shannon Hammer build me the coolest personal library (think revolving bookcases and secret passages) then all of the excess would go to saving wildlife and the planet. Thanks so much for visiting us today. Congrats on SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH! I loved it!!! You're the bomb, my dear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!!! My head is still spinning with the first week's sales news. (What else is new? asked she of the perpetual spin.)

      Yes to loads of bookshelves and to secret passages!

      Delete
  16. Congrats, Kate! Such wonderful news, and SUCH a good book. Hmm, a billion dollars? I couldn't resist some travel and good works with veterans, children, and the environment. Maybe some buried treasures here and there, secret Santa stuff too. The more I think about it, the more fun it sounds. Bring it on! XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  17. Buried treasures? Do you mean that you would bury a treasure and then start treasure hunters looking for it? Because that would be TOO much fun, and is something I hadn't considered. If I'm ever a billionaire, I'll hire you as a consultant. ;)

    Thank you for your sweet words about SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH. <3

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations, Kate and welcome to Jungle Reds! I love your Bibliophile series, especially since that awful Mikka left!

    What would I do with a billion dollars? I would invest in green energy, start my own business and hire people in the USA so people have jobs. I would make sure that my employees have Equal pay for equal work, full health benefits, paid family leave, paid child care and all of the good stuff. I would pay more taxes so that the schools, police/fire/ emergency services and other public services benefit. I think that's fair.

    Though I cannot imagine having a billion dollars. I still cannot believe anyone can have a billion dollars!

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is an impossible number to grasp. I want people to be rewarded for their hard work, but I'm not sure any individual needs that much money.

      Delete
    2. When I hear about billionaires, I wonder if One person really has all that money or if that person has many employees? You never know.

      In Berkeley, California, there are a few businesses where all of the employees are also part owner and when I asked my business law professor about that concept, they said it was Not possible. And I still see these businesses around like the Cheeseboard cooperative and Zachary's Chicago Pizza.

      Delete
    3. Oh, I'm sure they have lots of employees, but there's still one person with final decision-making power over the money.

      Delete
  19. Congratulations, Kate, on your new book. You are on my list of authors to catch up with. I have a couple of your Bibliophile books waiting on my Kindle and a Fixer-Upper in paperback. I have to tell you how much I love your clever titles for both series. They are just delightful. And, of course, the covers are all amazing, too.

    What would I do with a billion dollars after family and friends were taken care of? Well, there's the random cash gifts I'd give to those who I've come across doing hard jobs that don't pay much and doing them with a smile. Of course, that would have to be done discreetly so that there weren't people with false sob stories showing up at my door. I'd like to do something for the homeless, especially homeless veterans. I've seen the tiny homes that have been built for them in various places, and using a good chunk of money to do that would be wonderful. Giving money for cancer research, probably targeting some specific underfunded areas would be on my list. And, doing something for children, to improve their daily lives, like supporting food programs that ensure children at school have enough to eat both at school and at home. Then, I'm sure I'd do something with books and reading, helping children own books that can't afford them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathy. I truly believe that the title SHOT THROUGH THE HEARTH played a role in the book's success. It's just a fun hook. The next Bibliophile Mystery has a great title, too--THE GRIM READER. Gives me shivers of delight!

      The homeless communities for veterans are SO inspiring! I've been reading those stories lately, too. You just might see them pop up in one of my future books.

      I'd love to help bring books to children, too. The program Dolly Parton started in Tennessee is one of the best ideas I've heard of. A great way to help inspire a lifelong love of reading.

      Delete
    2. That would be great to see the homeless communities get some press in one of your books. And, I so agree about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is fantastic. When I worked with fourth graders on their writing portfolios, I had one student, a girl, who was writing a personal narrative about her father reading a plague that hung on the wall to her for a bedtime story. They couldn't afford books at the time, and it was so important to them both that there was a story to be read before going to sleep. The fact that I was able to buy my children books, and did, anytime they wanted them or I wanted books for them, compared to this child who at one time didn't have books in her home, well, it made quite the mark on me. I did give away books to kids during the time I worked in the elementary schools, but the program that Dolly Parton started addresses the heart of my desire for kids on a wide-scale basis, that kids have books to call their own.

      Delete
    3. Oh wow, what a powerful story! Thank you for sharing, Kathy.

      Delete
  20. Medical research would be first and having books available to children. Grants for college we need people with education and I can't forget help for animals dogs cats 🐎 horses too these are my first ideas I thought of. What a wonderful question

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Donamae. I would want to help animals, too.

      Delete
    2. That sounds like a beautiful idea, Donamae. You clearly have a generous heart.

      Delete
  21. Yes, I would give to my regular charities: church, wildlife, libraries, WITF. I wonder if I gave a lot to our school system if they would abolish the property taxes, which would help home owners, especially senior citizens. Probably they would just take the money and keep the taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably! But the kids would certainly benefit from all that extra money.

      Delete
  22. My good deeds would primarily be focused on helping critters (shelters), kids in foster care, and single moms trying to go to school/training to better themselves and therefore their children's lives. I know first-hand how difficult it was to work full-time, go to school part-time (and maintain a 3.75 GPA), and take care of my young son. Feels like I'll be paying student loans until I'm about 85. Ugh. I never regret investing in myself, but it would have been amazing (and maybe have alleviated some serious stress) if I had even the tiniest bit of help.

    For myself and my husband, we would buy as much land as possible, maybe in multiple locations so we could get away from the oppressive Texas heat and humidity in the summer, and live right smack in the middle of it to our hermit-heart delight! We have plenty of hobbies to keep us busy. Creative hermits - that's us! lol

    ReplyDelete