Welcome! Today I’m hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for A Vintage Death, the second in the Keepsake Cove Mystery series by Mary Ellen Hughes. Following my review of the book will be an interview with the author!
About the Book
A Vintage Death (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
As the new music box store owner and resident of Keepsake Cove, a quaint town full of collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Callie Reed is eager to get more involved in her community. She volunteers to plan the Fall street decorations and welcome a visiting author who’s come for a special book signing. But the celebratory mood is cut short when the local B&B owner is found dead, killed by a pair of vintage scissors.
Suspicion is cast on the victim’s estranged wife, Dorothy, who owns Keepsake Cove’s vintage sewing shop. Callie is sure Dorothy is innocent, and the visiting author agrees. Together, they begin their own investigation, only to discover that many people in Keepsake Cove have secrets. Secrets that are worth killing to keep quiet.
Review – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This was a great new installment to the series! I really enjoyed it. I enjoy the characters anyway and I was happy to meet this new character and friend, the author Lyssa. Although I will admit to wondering if she was the killer because she was so insistent on getting close to Callie and working with her on finding the killer.
This plot line was fun, though I didn’t like the deceased at all so I really wasn’t all that invested in seeing whomever killed him caught! I did not figure it out before it was revealed either and then I was genuinely surprised about it. I’m rarely surprised by who the villain is which is why I gave this 4.5 stars.
All in all, it’s a great book and I highly recommend it. You can read it on its own and not be too lost with the interpersonal relationships, but I recommend starting with the first book in the series, A Fatal Collection.
Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day? Do you enjoy your day job?
No current day job. I was a Medical Technologist before and after being a stay-at-home mom. I enjoyed both, but I’m glad to be able to focus on writing.
Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day, or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?
I like to keep to a routine, which is writing most mornings when my mind is freshest. I write slowly (compared to some writers) but steadily and am happy to just make progress – no set word count.
Music would be much too distracting for me. I don’t think of it as background but would listen to it. I prefer a nice, quiet place. Writing in a coffee shop would definitely not work for me.
Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?
Once in a while a new character tries to hijack things. The suspense author who I brought in for A Vintage Death has a strong personality, and I had to keep her from taking over from my main character, Callie Reed.
I’ll sketch out an outline but it’s not too detailed. I like to fill in more as the story progresses.
Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?
I broke in by having my first book published by a small publisher, who didn’t require submissions from an agent. (Getting an agent can sometimes be harder than getting a publisher.) After two books with this small pub, a good agent took me on. That led to a contract with a top publisher.
I lost count of all the rejections before that, but there were a lot. I never thought of quitting. I watched a couple of writer friends get published and that gave me hope.
Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?
I self-edit as I go along, which is part of the reason for that “slow writing” pace. I do get monthly feedback from my critique group, about three chapters at a time, which leads to more editing. After I send it to my editor, she’ll suggest further revisions, usually small changes, and catch typos and such.
Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
No real-life inspirations, thank goodness! Since I write cozy mysteries, my villains are generally normal-appearing people who’ve been hiding a dark side or who’ve been pushed over the edge by some perceived threat. That doesn’t seem so hard to imagine.
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
I’ve probably stolen traits from people I know, but I’ve mixed and matched to create someone totally new. I even avoid using names of people close to me, since I’d find that very hampering. I would keep picturing the real person, and he/she wouldn’t want to do all the things I’d want them to!
Q8: If you could write about anyone—fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical—who would you write about? Why?
I’d love to write about Miss Marple. I’ve read so many of those Agatha Christie novels that I feel I know the woman. But Agatha must have left out some parts of her life, which would be fun to come up with.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I enjoyed Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Wow, so many, but in so many different ways that I couldn’t begin to start naming them. I’ve been an avid reader since probably age six, so that’s a lot of books!
Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Since I’ve written a lot about my series protagonist, Callie, there’s probably few surprises in her left for me. So I’d choose the suspense author, Lyssa Hammond. She’s a little bit quirky but pretty smart, and since she’s a writer, we’d have a lot to talk about. I think it’d be a ball to spend a day with her in New York City, just wandering around, grabbing some food, and talk, talk, talking.
Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?
I do read my reviews, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to respond to them, good or bad other than occasionally sending thanks. I’ll definitely think about anything critical, but I can’t say they’ve caused me to make any big changes. Some things might have sunk into my subconscious, though, and triggered subtle shifts. Who knows?
Thanks for joining me today! I’m sorry my computer didn’t want to cooperate so this is so late in the day. If you wish to visit other spots on the tour, click on the banner below to be taken to the main tour page!