BLOG TOUR – Much Ado About Murder – INTERVIEW

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Welcome to today’s stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan! Today I’m featuring an interview with Ms. Duncan and I’d like to say a big “thank you” to her for being willing to answer my questions! All of the pertinent information about the book, including Goodreads, purchase links, and a link to the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

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Interview with Elizabeth J. Duncan

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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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: Not any more. I stepped down as a professor at Humber College, Toronto, in December, 2013, to write full time. I enjoyed teaching, but it felt like the right time to move on. I use the extra time to add a second book a year to my growing list of titles.


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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: I don’t have a specific time to write, and to be honest, I’m not as disciplined as I should be, or would like to be. I do set quotas. When I’m writing, it’s 1,000 words a day. When I’m editing, I’ll set a page count. I don’t often have radio or television playing while I work, but now that you suggested it, I’ve just tuned in to a music channel for some soft instrumental background music.


Q3: 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. Duncan’s Answer: I know the basics of the story before I type the words Chapter 1. I know quite a bit about the victim, something about the killer, and a lot about the sleuth. I know why the murder was committed and have a pretty good idea how. I wish I could outline, but I just can’t see that far ahead. An author I admire (thriller writer Barry Lancet) described that part of the process as like driving from LA to San Francisco at night. You know your destination, but can’t see much beyond the headlights. A lot of my best ideas don’t surface until I’m at the point in the story where I need them. And I love when the characters take over and do the heavy lifting. Then the story starts to make sense in way that’s right for their world.

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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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: My path to publication was unusually, exceptionally smooth. In 2008 I won the St. Martin’s Press, Malice Domestic competition, with included a one-book contract with St. Martin’s. The Cold Light of Mourning, first in the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales, was published the following year. That was my first attempt at fiction writing so I had no rejections, and no reason to think about quitting. I was, and am, fortunate in the way my publishing journey began and has continued.


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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: It’s hard to say how many revisions, because I revise as I go. I don’t blaze through one draft, then start over at the beginning and revise everything. But a good guess would be five or six, including rewrites based on the editor’s and copy editor’s suggestions. There will always be words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve. I keep revising until I run out of time. Everything would be better if you had more time.

I have a few people who read early drafts and make helpful suggestions, and I’m grateful for their input and willingness to help.

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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: I’m afraid if I answer the question I’ll give too much away! So I’ll just say I can’t think of anyone who was a real life inspiration for this particular villain.

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rupert in glassesQ7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: No one I know has ever ended up in one of my books as a fully developed, recognizable character, but I met someone this summer who very well might! However, bits and pieces of people I know show up all the time. Something I find interesting that someone said, or a situation they described, could very well end up in a book.


Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: Lady Macbeth. She’s one of the most intriguing and least explored characters in literature. I’d love to have a chat with her over a nice cup of tea and a Scottish shortbread.


Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: While I still love books, and have what I call ‘ book greed’ – I want to own them and read them — I don’t read as much as I used to. There just seem to be too many other demands on my time and my attention span seems shorter. And this at a time when there are more wonderful books available than ever before! I can’t remember the last book I read that I would describe as “great”. So may I tell you what’s coming up on my To Be Read list that I’m really excited about? The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware,  Japantown by Barry Lancet, and The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

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Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: The summer I was 13 my father gave me a boxed set of three books that were an odd combination to be bundled together: Black Beauty, Anna Karenina, and a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories. These were the first adult books I read, long days lying in a shaded hammock at the cottage … a horse, a married Russian aristocrat, and a detective. I chose the detective.


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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: I would spend the day with Rupert the corgi, who lives with my amateur sleuth costume designer Charlotte Fairfax. Rupert and I would enjoy several long walks, and a short nap. And there would be treats! The best days are the ones you spend with a lovely dog.


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?

Ms. Duncan’s Answer: There are two kinds of reviews: reader reviews and professional reviews, like those that appear in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and newspapers.  Occasionally I brace myself to read a few. I appreciate and enjoy good reviews from readers but professional reviews tend to carry more weight.  For some reason, a negative review, no matter the source, stings more than a positive review makes me feel good. I don’t respond to reviews, even when they are factually wrong. I have incorporated suggestions into future work. If someone tells me they like something, I try to deliver more of that. If they don’t like something, I’ll leave that out the next time.

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Thank you again to Ms. Duncan for being willing to answer my questions today! Here’s other information about the book! Below that is a banner with a link to the main tour page if you wish to visit other sites on the tour!

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
by Elizabeth J. Duncan


Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover 265 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313250
E-Book ASIN: B071RR32NZ

Purchase Links: Amazon – Amazon.caB&N

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Synopsis

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

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Author Links

Website: www.elizabethjduncan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabethjduncan

Twitter: @elizabethduncan

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End of the month review – APRIL 2017

Here we are at the end of another month already! Goodness, where did the time go?! It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be May 1st, but here we are!

We hit a milestone here on this blog in the last few days – *50* followers here on WordPress!! Thank you to all of you who follow my blog here and sometimes on other areas of social media as well!

In life outside of my blog and reading, I’m working on getting my water garden up and running for the season. Mostly that means cleaning out all the dead leaves and algae that have built up in the winter, putting the fountain in so the water aerates, fix the rocks that birds and animals knocked over in the winter, and fertilize the plants. My only drawback right now is there’s a mother robin nesting right above the electrical outlet where I plug my fountain in. I hate to disturb her, but I need to get the fountain in the pool so it aerates the water for the plants. I cleaned out a bunch of debris last week on my day off. This week I’m hoping to at the very least get the fountain in the water. If I can get the rocks reset and the plants fertilized as well, excellent. If I can’t, I’ll do it another day.

Spring also tends to be a time when my depression and anxiety are higher so it makes it harder to keep up with things. This year hasn’t been as bad as last year, thankfully, but sometimes it’s still hard to get myself to read instead of playing mindless, stupid computer games like Mahjongg.

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©Cute Colors

However, I still managed to read 15 books this month – 7 cozy mysteries (1 of which was a novella), 7 romance books (1 of which was actually a novella & 1 was a short story), and 1 picture book.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been quite as good at keeping up with the reviews of what I’ve read. I only wrote 9 reviews in the month of April. I have 3 reviews that are still in draft format and a fourth that I plan to start at some point! I also participated in 1 blog tour and had 2 other posts. One on a few housekeeping things and the other a post about recommendations for Reluctant Readers in the Middle Grades (ages 8-12).

As far as Reading Challenges go, I made progress on 5 of my challenges:

  • Goodreads 2017 Challenge – up to 64 total out of my goal of 175
  • Craving for Cozies Challenge – up to 38 total out of my goal of 80
  • Cruising Thru the Cozies Challenge – I have completed two categories and am still working on the other eight.
  • Pages Read Challenge – up to 17,540 pages out of my goal of 48,001-60,000 pages
  • eBook Challenge – up to 37 total out of my goal of 50 (which I may raise to 75)

Looking Ahead to May

In May, I will be participating in 5 blog tours, one spotlight post, the others with books to review. In fact a couple of stops have multiple books to review. On top of that I’ll be reading one other book for review for another review crew I’m apart of. The books included in these blog tours and reviews are:

As you can see, I’ll be busy reading this month!  On top of the blog tours and Daryl Wood Gerber’s newest, I’m finishing up reading some flash fiction for our teen writing contest, “It’s All Write!” at my library. Flash fiction are super short stories, usually less than about 200-250 words. They’re very interesting to read and I’m enjoying it immensely. 🙂

On top of all the books above, I still need to finish reviews for the following books:

Since I have so many books to read for review this month, I doubt that I’ll get much of my backlog read, but maybe. I suppose it depends on how rainy and cold it is and whether or not I can be outside!

Thanks for joining me along my journey!