Blog Tour: Death on West End Road – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle - June 19-June 30, 2017 - banner includes the author's photo and the book cover

Today I’m happy to be bringing you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle. My post today consists of an interview with Ms. Doyle.  There will be the requisite links to purchase the book at the end of this post!

First of all, a massive “Thank you!” to Ms. Doyle for being willing to answer my questions. I tend to ask questions with multiple parts and she didn’t back away from any of it! Okay, on to our questions and answers.

Question #1:  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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I run a small press called Dunemere Books with my sister, author Liz Carey and a friend Tiffany Palmer. We publish destination fiction with a strong sense of place in the mystery, YA and middle grade categories. We focus primarily on series.


Question #2: 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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: When I am writing a book I try to write every weekday. I work at the New York Society Library in the quiet room. I usually write for three hours. But if I’m on a deadline I write at home. I can go into hyper-focus and ignore the noise around me quite well actually, as long as my sons and husband don’t bother me! It’s actually usually my dogs who tend to get in my way because they like to sit next to me and lick my fingers when I am typing.


Question #3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: There are some characters that just write themselves. I feel like my body and fingers are a conduit for Larry Lipper, who is a crime reporter in my books. He is very politically incorrect and a childish narcissist, and I like to think that I am not, so he truly speaks through me. I usually do a rough outline and then set off from there. It is always exciting when you are stumped by something and then reread your draft and realize you had subconsciously laid down clues to that question all along and the answer is so obvious.


Question #4: 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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I’ve been rejected hundreds of times. Literally. Not just for my books but for my screenplays and my film pitches. I started as a screenwriter with Jill Kargman (now the star of her own show called Odd Mom Out on Bravo) and we used to go and pitch all of the studios, all of the networks and all of the production companies all the time. We had to come up with original takes on movies or shows or create our own. We had people tell us it was the best pitch they ever heard and then never return our agent’s call. We had studio executives tell us they would love to work with us and they thought our pitch was the best but they would rather work with a male writing team because ‘they were so cute.’ Rejection really propels me, though, and perhaps I am a masochist. In the very beginning I was dissuaded but now it makes me take on the attitude, ‘I’ll show them.’ And things don’t have to be done in the traditional manner anymore. Despite the fact that my books were on seven bestseller lists and translated into 9 languages and I was on the “Today Show” and featured in dozens of magazines I had a difficult time finding a publisher for my mystery books. Rejections all around. So I just co-founded my own small press with two partners and raised money and hired editors, copy editors, designers and publicists who are on staff at the big publishing houses to freelance for us at Dunemere Books. I see it as taking control of not only my work, but the type of books I want to see published. I feel excited every time we commission another author’s book.


Question #5: 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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I probably go through three revisions. I have two editors that read everything I write then I have another editor and a copy editor. I do think it helps when you let a book percolate. It doesn’t always mean that I will put down a book for a while, although I usually do for a month, but sometimes when I get the idea for my next book I let it germinate in my mind for several months.

 


Question #6:  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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: In my latest book, DEATH ON WEST END ROAD, I actually feel like there are several villains. In this book my heroine Antonia Bingham investigates a cold case—the murder of sixteen-year-old Susie Whitaker who was bludgeoned to death with a tennis racket. Often in cold cases, there are people who know a lot more than they say and that can make them complicit, especially if they never stepped forward. Silence can make you guilty just as much as if you actually committed the murder.

I think the best villains are the most innocuous people. On ‘Law and Order” they always would interview the next-door neighbor who would describe the suspect as ‘a quiet, every day guy.’ It’s the ‘every day guys’ who are the most chilling.


Question #7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: Not really. When I wrote ‘gossip lit’ there were people who thought they were portrayed in my book and were offended, so I make sure not to write about anyone I know. It’s funny, though, someone recently said to me that they know who every one in my first two mystery books is based on and I thought, really? Because I don’t. Sometimes you take little bits from people’s backstories but it is always a compilation.


Question #8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I’m also a journalist so I like doing profiles of people. I would really like to write nonfiction and perhaps a biography on some major business people—like in the way Walter Isaacson wrote about Steve Jobs. But those books are so daunting because there is so much research and you have to be so careful. I just read Alec Baldwin’s new autobiography and I wished I had been his editor or ghost-writer. There were so many holes in the book and I was left with more questions than answers. When a biography or autobiography is done well it is so exciting. I really liked Mia Farrow’s What Falls Away and Andre Agassi’s Open. I’d love to co-author a book like that.


Question #9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I just read The Rosie Project and LOVED it! Loved. I laughed, I cried, I devoured it. I gave it to my husband and one of my son’s who also loved it. I highly recommend it. I recently read Alafair Burke’s The Ex, which was a fast exciting read.


Question #10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I think one of the most important things is timing when it comes to books. Sometimes you read books too early—like I wonder why my school had me reading Madame Bovary in ninth grade, what did I know about discontented housewives and adultery—and sometimes you read them at the very perfect time. I was a Russian Language and Literature Major at Barnard College and read a lot of the great Russian novels during that time. In the fall of my senior year my father died. A few weeks later my family went skiing in Vermont with my aunt and uncle. I would ski all day then come home and read War and Peace by Tolstoy. It was the perfect setting, the perfect time in my life and the perfect book to transport me away from everything. It is one of my favorite books to this day.

Other favorite books are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; The Secret History by Donna Tartt; The Alienist by Caleb Carr; Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow; Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty; Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin and The Black Echo by Michael Connelly


Question #11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I would spend the day with Marty, who is the chef who runs the kitchen under Antonia at her The Windmill Inn. A kitchen veteran, a military veteran, and a no-nonsense guy who possesses a lot of culinary skills, Marty is someone who you could learn a lot from. I am a big fan of cooking—Top Chef is my favorite TV show—and I fancy myself a wannabe chef. I worked at The Barefoot Contessa—Ina Garten’s gourmet food store—in college but I never worked in a restaurant. I would love to learn how to execute the line, and learn proper knife skills. I think Marty could teach me all that. Although, he would be tough so I would really have to be on my toes!


Question #12: 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?

Ms. Doyle’s Answer: I read most of my reviews, yes. When the book is new for sure I read all. Sometimes I go back and look at what people are saying about my older books on Goodreads and on Amazon. My early books were very polarizing: people either loved them or hated them. And that’s fine; they are not everyone’s cup of tea. It didn’t hurt my feelings if I received one star for those because that just meant the reader completely doesn’t respond to me. The more interesting reviews are the three star out of five reviews, and you can really learn from those. I took a lot of the constructive criticism from my first two Hamptons Murder Mystery books, and incorporated those notes into my latest books. Now there will be—and actually already are—some people who loved the first two books and wished I hadn’t made changes but I had to experiment. Some people thought the first two books were too long and had too much description so I streamlined this book and made it more procedural. I’m interested to hear what people think. I can always go back to longer and more descriptive books for the next one!

 

Author’s Links

Book Cover: Death on West End Road - a Hamptons Murder Mystery by Carrie Doyle. Background is beige with little white dots, there's hydrangea flowers, a tea pot and a glass of liquid with lemon slices

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Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

 

Thank you for joining me today for an interview with Carrie Doyle! And thank you to Ms. Doyle for being willing to answer my questions! If you wish to visit any of the other stops on the tour, click on the banner below and it will take you to the main tour page which lists all stops!

Medium Banner - Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Death on West End Road by Carrie Doyle - June 19-June 30, 2017 - banner includes a picture of the cover of the book.

Blog Tour – Cat Got Your Cash – REVIEW

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase - April 11-April 24, 2017 - Contains a picture of the author and the book cover as well

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m excited to be the latest stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase. This post contains a review of the book and an interview with the author, Julie Chase, at the end!

Book Cover: Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase - Shop decorated for fall in background - counter with money, scissors, cash register and 2 siamese kittens sitting on it in foreground

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Brief Synopsis

Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats–and one very dead Annie.

Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie’s family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie’s fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie–if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.

Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before it’s too late! (Source: Goodreads)

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Review

Cat Got Your Cash is the 2nd book in the Kitty Couture mystery series by Julie Chase and it was great! While it didn’t have that extra pizzazz or emotional hook in it to push it up to a 5-star rating, it was still a delightful read!

In this book, we get to know Lacy a little bit more and also our two heroes – Chase, the handsome lawyer and Lacy’s schoolgirl crush and Jack, our dashing detective, who may just have the hots for Lacy. All of these characters are fun and exciting and well-developed. I’ll be honest and admit I’m rooting for Jack, but should Lacy choose Chase, I wouldn’t be overly disappointed. I just like Jack better! Lacy can be a little head strong and sometimes does things that makes me cringe (note to Lacy: When the hot detective tells you to stay put somewhere – STAY PUT!), but I still enjoy reading her stories.

The setting finds us in New Orleans and while the descriptions of the settings aren’t overly flowery, they are described well enough that I’m able to imagine most of the places in the book. I think Lacy’s shop sounds charming and while I don’t have any pets to dress up or pamper, I can easily imagine it being a place that would fit right in down in New Orleans, or even up here in Ann Arbor, near where I live! I know many pet owners who would love to shop somewhere that made organic treats for their pets!

The plot line in this book moved along at a pretty good pace. There was a small section in the middle where I felt it dragged a bit, but it quickly picked back up and was steady throughout the rest of the book. I had no idea who the villain was before Lacy figured it out so that was fun! I just couldn’t figure out who would want the victim dead. While it turned out that she wasn’t the great person that Lacy always idolized, it still was hard to imagine someone killing her. Once the villain was revealed and it was explained, it was easy to see. I love when mysteries surprise me with the villain, so that was a plus in my eyes!

All in all it was a delightful read. While the story can definitely stand on its own, this is a series and you’ll understand the personal relationships and interactions better if you read the first book, Cat Got Your Diamonds, before you read this one! Get out there and buy both books or borrow them from your local library today!

[I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own.]

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Interview With Julie Chase, author of ‘Cat Got Your Cash’

Before I get started sharing the questions and answers that I asked and Ms. Chase answered, I just wanted to say a big “Thank you!” to Ms. Chase for being willing to answer my questions for today’s post!

Author photo: Fall wooded background, young white woman with oval-shaped face, shoulder-length brown hair, no glasses, wearing a white top with a brown/tan cardigan and a gold necklace

Question #1: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: Writing is my day job. My night job. The reason I rarely sleep….


Question #2: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: I write everyday while my children are at school, often after they go to bed at night as well and nearly every morning beginning at 5, before the family begins to stir. I write in complete silence because it’s loud enough in my head already. And I write 1 chapter a day, roughly 2500 – 3300 words.

For the most part, it’s a well-oiled machine over here. Granted, it can be a bizarre, Dr. Seuss looking thing, but it works.


Question #3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

J.C.’s Answer: I’m a dedicated outliner. It helps me stay on schedule and easily predict when each project will end, when I can begin a new one and how soon that will also be finished. That said, my characters can make any changes they want, so long as they stay within the confines of the genre. I’m all for creative freedom, until my cozy heroine wants to time travel or have a wild night out, then I have to rein it in because readers don’t want those things in a cozy, and I don’t want to upset my readers.


Question #4: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: I don’t feel as if I’ve broken in. I’ve been at it a while, but I’m still looking for readers and trying to make a place for myself in this industry. Not an easy task. Today’s authors are among the very best in history, I think.  Still, it’s my dream to make it in this business, so I’m trying every day.

I’ve received countless rejections. Hundreds. And believe me, it’s depressing. I’ve quit writing FOREVER at least once a year since I started. The problem was that even when I wasn’t writing for publication, I was still writing. Fan fiction. Personal journals. Writing. Writing. Writing. Finally, I realized I’m a writer. I can’t turn it off, and I can’t walk away so stopped quitting and started revising my plan.


Question #5: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: I spend about 2 weeks writing a full synopsis and detailed outline for my novels. Then, I begin writing. I write one chapter a day. Reread it for clean up, then, send it on to two published authors who read for me. They provide feedback, I clean it up some more and move on to the next chapter. Using this process, I can write a novel in 6-8 weeks. When it’s finished, I reread from start to finish looking for places to improve, then it goes to my agent. She’ll give it a read and let me know if she sees any issues. I make her suggested changes in about a day, then off it goes to the publisher where it will be given an editorial letter for overall revisions, then several rounds of general and copy edits before being queued for production.


Question #6: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: This villain in Cat Got Your Cash was really fun to write. He’s a little different than some of my others because he isn’t bad-bad as much as just not really “good.” He’s made a series of terrible and selfish choices, which has led him to desperation while trying to cover his tracks. My villain in this story is as new to villainy as my heroine is to sleuthing and together I think it’s hilarious.  A nice reprieve, in my opinion, from the innately evil bad guys we see all too often in the real world.


Question #7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

J.C.’s Answer: My characters are all fictional. I mostly steal names and attributes from the people I know and put them together in interesting new ways on the page.


Question #8: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

J.C.’s Answer: I’ve been reading lots of Harlequin Intrigue novels lately. Those are romantic suspense. Very very good. I recently read The Girl on the Train and The Woman in Cabin 10, psychological thrillers, for my book club. Wow. My head is still rattling from those. Next up on my TBR pile is Marla Cooper’s Terror in Taffeta. She’s a lovely cozy author and I can’t wait to dig in.


Question #9: What books have influenced your life the most?

J.C.’s Answer: Every book I’ve ever read has influenced my life. I fell in love with the colorful imagination of Dr. Seuss as a young reader, then the marvelous adventures of Anne of Green Gables as a tween. The sleuthing prowess of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew taught me to think outside the box and try to beat them to solving the crime. In college, I fell in love with the melodious prose of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. More recently, I found my zest for humor in Janet Evanovich. Books have molded and shaped me, my personality and my life from the very start.


Question #10: If you could spend one day with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

J.C.’s Answer: I would love to spend a day in the Garden District, working with Lacy at Furry Godmother. I’d meet her friends, share her lunch and just hang out to see what we could get into. Her life is great, even when it’s a literal hot mess.


Question #11: 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?

J.C.’s Answer: I ALWAYS read my reviews. Everyone says not to, but if the reader took the time to read my book and even more time to say something about it, I feel like I should take the time to hear them. On the other hand, I never want a reader to feel like I’m spying or invading their space, so I don’t respond no matter how kind or malicious the review may be. I mean, no one asked me what I thought of their opinion. Right? So, I will keep it to myself. Besides, reviews aren’t meant for me anyway. They’re for other readers and the reviewer.

That said, I take every review to heart. If there’s a way I can do better the next time, I want to know. And if I’m doing something right, I want to keep it up. More reasons reviews are so important.  So, please keep them coming.

Line of kittens - black, calico, Siamese, grey, orange, black & white, and white
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Thank you again to Julie Chase for being willing to answer my questions today! With all the parts to each one, it’s far more than just 11 questions and I appreciate her taking the time! And thank you for joining me on this stop in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! The banner below takes you to the main Tour Page where you can visit other stops along the tour and all of the author’s links!

 

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Monika Schröder – INTERVIEW

Along with inviting me to read her middle grade book, Be Light Like a Bird, Monika Schröder graciously agreed to answer some questions as an interview for me! Thank you for being willing to do that!

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Question #1: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a certain number of words or pages? How does music/other noise affect your concentration?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I set aside about three to four hours a day to spend with my work in my studio. I am not always putting words on paper, but I stay “in the zone.” I need absolute silence.

 

Question #2: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or are you firmly in control of where the story is going? Similarly, do you outline your books or let the plot take you where it wants to go?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I usually have an idea of the broad plot line and the ending. But after I got stuck with this method, I am now becoming more of a planner.

 

Question #3: 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?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: The number of revisions varies. I re-wrote my first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, 37 times. Now I don’t need that many revisions any more. But my new book, BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD, also went through several revisions.

Yes, time is the best revision helper. It is always good to set a manuscript aside and then go back to it with fresh eyes. My husband, a former English teacher, is always my first reader. I appreciate his comments and once all his suggestions are incorporated I send my manuscript to my agent, who then gives his input.

line of books - some stacked, some standing, some leaning - books are blue, brown, red, green, and yellow
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Question #4: Your latest book, Be Light Like a Bird, is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Did you travel to the Upper Peninsula to do research for the book? If not, how did you make sure you got all the details of what life is like there correct?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband is from Michigan and we used to spend part of our summers at his family’s cabin near Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, my husband and I got married up there. We inherited the cabin and still own it. So I was familiar with the setting when I wrote the book.

 

Question #5: 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?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My first novel was rejected by the first editor I sent it to and I spent several years rewriting it. Yes, it takes tenacity to get published. My second and third book were published by the legendary Frances Foster, an editor with her own imprint at Farrar Straus Giroux. When she passed away it pulled the rug from under me. She was not only my editor but also my mentor and friend. After her death I had to find an agent and BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD was rejected several times. So, even though I already had published three novels, I experiences set-backs. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the hope. Again, my husband is a great help. He coaches me through times of self-doubt and he is a great fan of my work.

(Blogger’s Note: I, for one, am super glad that you kept trying with Be Light Like a Bird because it really is phenomenal.)

 

Question #6: 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?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I do read my reviews. It is painful to read bad reviews but in most cases I can find a kernel of truth in them. I might not agree with the weight a reviewer gives a certain aspect of the book, but I try to look at the issues raised with a clear eye.

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Question #7: What are some great books/authors you’ve read recently?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I am a big fan of Avi’s work and I also loved Louis Bayard’s first book for kids, LUCKY STRIKES.

 

Question #8: What hobbies do you have/enjoy?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I tend to a big flower garden and I look forward to gardening season starting again soon. I also love to bake and cook.

 

Question #9: Do you like to travel? If so, what was your favorite location to visit?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband and I worked and lived overseas for 16 years. We have travelled a lot during those years. Now that we live in the US we don’t travel as much any more. But we recently visited Jekyll Island in Georgia and found it very beautiful.

 

Question #10: What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process? What is your least favorite?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My least favorite part of the process is writing the first draft. It is agonizingly slow and I have to force myself to keep on writing without looking back too much before I have reached the end of one whole draft. And that draft is usually very bad and then I make it better. I love revising, but my favorite part is probably when someone offers me a contract to publish my book.

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Once again, I’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Monika Schröder for agreeing to answer my questions. Be sure to check out her newest book, Be Light Like A Bird!

Author Interview – Morgan Talbot

Welcome! Today I’m featuring an interview with Morgan Talbot, author of Smugglers and Scones. I’m very grateful that she was willing to answer my questions. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I have!

Morgan Talbot, author - White woman in her 30s or 40s, dark brown hair, wearing sunglasses halfway down her nose, a grey overshirt and a purple blouse

1) 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 used to write every day like a mad thing, but I think I’m done with that phase of my writerly evolution. Nowadays, I still have a schedule, but it’s slower. Schedules are important for me, or I’ll just wander off and get interested in something else. I usually aim for a chapter per writing session, because that fits with my writing speed, chapter length, and pain tolerance—too long at any one manual task and I’m all achy for the rest of the day. Background noise is pretty useful for me—if I’m not in a coffee shop with the babble of voices, I’ll put on my headphones and listen to some Doctor Who soundtracks. Or whatever I’m into at the moment—right now, it’s the music from Doctor Who Series 6: Madman in a Box.

2) With this book, you not only create the storyline, but the whole backstory of the house and the author that lived there. How easy/difficult was that for you to do?

It took some time, but that kind of backstory/research is right up my alley, so I enjoyed every second of it. I also write epic fantasy under another pen name, so I’ve created entire worlds from scratch. Focusing more tightly on a single house and its famous occupant has been so much fun. I’ve spun all kinds of plots and events from Moorehaven’s past that’ll come out in future books. A building that old must have plenty of thrilling secrets, and I love discovering what they are just as much as everyone else.

3) How did you break into the publishing world?

About eight years ago, I first got published a startup small press I’d heard of through a friend on a writing site, but I soon found myself back out on the street due to creative differences. It felt more like I’d ricocheted off the wall of the publishing industry—confusing and disheartening. But I found a job reviewing indie books, and eventually the owner shifted to publishing instead. I had just written my first mystery novel, First to Find, and I submitted it with bated breath. To my delight, my book passed acquisitions and was accepted for publication. I’ve been very happy at Red Adept Publishing ever since.

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Continue reading “Author Interview – Morgan Talbot”

Author Interview with Vicki Delany

Happy Monday to everyone! I hope you’re having wonderful weather like we are here in Southeastern Michigan! It’s unreal that

As I stated at the end of my review for We Wish You a Murderous Christmas, I’m back with an interview with Vicki Delany. Of course, life happens and it didn’t quite get up in the timely manner I meant for it, but here we go! 🙂

I was first introduced to Ms. Delany’s books through the Lighthouse Library series (written under the pen name Eva Gates). I am a librarian and I thoroughly enjoyed the books. I was rather disappointed when the publisher did not continue the series. On the positive side, that introduction has led me to Ms. Delany’s other cozy mystery series, including the Year Round Christmas series and her new series, The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries that will be coming in 2017. Many, many thanks to Ms. Delany for agreeing to do this for me. 🙂

Photo of Vicky Delany, a middle-aged caucasian woman with blond hair pulled back and bangs, wearing a black camisole & grey cardigan

Vicki Delany’s Bio:
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The second in Vicki’s national bestselling Year Round Christmas series, We Wish You A Murderous Christmas, was released Nov. 1 by Berkley.  The first in the Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 by Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

http://www.vickidelany.com. Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates (evagatesauthor) and twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

Line of books - some with spine out, others with page edges out, mostly green, blue, brown

Question #1: 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 number of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Delany: I am a total creature of routine. I write three to five hours a day, every day of the week, every day of the year when I am home, unless I have company. I have no set goals, but I put in a few hours and then quit when the time seems right. I always listen to Mozart; anything else in the way of music or the radio would destroy my concentration.

 

Question #2: Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

Ms. Delany: I love Malice Domestic and Left Coast Crime. I am really looking forward to Bouchercon in Toronto next year. And – something new – I am one of the organizers of Women Killing It – a new crime writing festival in Prince Edward County, Ontario. The first festival will be held September 1-2, 2017, and I am sure it will be my favourite from then on.

 

Question #3: 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?

Ms. Delany:  I do five or six drafts. I have one good friend who reads my cozy manuscripts and provides suggestions, and another for my Rapid Reads novellas, but that’s all in the way of beta readers.

Line of books - some with spine out, others with page edges out, mostly green, blue, brown

Question #4: Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

Ms. Delany: Nope.

 

Question #5: Have you ever learned anything from a negative review and incorporated it into your writing?

Ms. Delany: One reviewer of my first novel, Scare the Light Away, said the sub-characters were “cartoonish”. I never forget that, and I have always tried since not to ever be accused of that again.

 

Question #6: Have you ever left any of your books to stew for months on end or even a year? Do/did you go back and finish them?

Ms. Delany: Not that long, no. But when time permits, I like to put aside a book for six weeks or so and then read it with new eyes. I find it really does make a difference.

Line of books - some with spine out, others with page edges out, mostly green, blue, brown

Question #7: If you’re writing about a city/country/culture you haven’t physically visited, how much research do you conduct before you start writing?

Ms. Delany: I have never written about a place I have never been to, although I have set things in historical times (which I can’t visit). Setting is very important to me in my writing, so I don’t think I could do a good job about a place I’ve never been. My Rapid Reads novellas, featuring RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer Ray Robertson, are set in South Sudan, Haiti, and Turks & Caicos, and yes, I have been to all those places. I traveled to the Outer Banks specifically to visit before writing my Lighthouse Library series (under the pen name of Eva Gates). Sometimes, of course, I make it all up, as in Rudolph, New York, where the Year Round Christmas Books are set.

 

Question #8: If you could write about anyone from any time period, who would you write about?

Ms. Delany: Not a real person, but a fictional one, and that’s Sherlock Holmes. In fact, as it happens, I sort of am writing about Sherlock in my new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series. The main character, Gemma Doyle, has a lot of similarities to the Great Detective. The first book in that series is Elementary, She Read, and it will be released in March 2017 by Crooked Lane Books.

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany Cover
Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

 

Question #9: If you could spend one day with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during the day?

Ms. Delany: I have two picks. For serious research, I’d spend the day following Constable Molly Smith (of the series by the same name) on the beat in Trafalgar, British Columbia. For pure fun, I’d love to have a day in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, the store owned by Merry Wilkinson in the Year Round Christmas series. Maybe we can go to lunch at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe.

 

Thank you once again to Vicki Delany for being willing to answer my questions and share a little bit of her writing process and a bit of herself with us! Don’t forget to check out her newest release, We Wish You a Murderous Christmas!

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas - Year Round Christmas Mystery - Room with Christmas tree in right corner, fireplace with stockings hanging, and dog lying on the floor.