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Rhys Bowen | Exclusive Interview: GOD REST YE, ROYAL GENTLEMEN
Author Guest / October 13, 2021

Danielle Jackson: Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Rhys! We are so happy to have you here to chat about your long-running series, Royal Spyness. What are some of your favorite things about writing about Lady Georgiana and all of the mysteries she gets involved in?   Rhys Bowen:  I have become so fond of these characters, it’s rather like going back to a high school reunion and reconnecting with old friends. And who wouldn’t want the chance to spend time with the royal family and eccentric aristocrats? The newest book, GOD REST YE, ROYAL GENTLEMEN, is a holiday mystery novel! Did you do anything fun to get in the mood while writing a Christmas novel? Were there any unforeseen challenges writing a mystery with some added holiday cheer?  I was actually writing this last October to December so it was a good time of year as the stores already had all their Christmas items. Also, I usually spend my winters in Arizona where it isn’t cold and Christmassy. Because of Covid, I stayed home in California so there were cold winds and occasional rain. It would have been harder to write it in July. The big challenge about writing a holiday mystery…

Samantha Verant | Exclusive Excerpt: SOPHIE VALROUX’S PARIS STARS
Author Guest / October 12, 2021

FROM CHAPTER EIGHT: Real or Surreal Nicolas grabbed a glass of sparkling wine off one of the servers’ trays, the movement bringing me back to the present. At over six feet tall, he towered over me, intimidating. His perfectly disheveled chestnut hair blew in the breeze, as if he’d just rolled out of the sack with the blond. His eyes bored into mine, dark blue with a devilish twinkle. His trimmed beard highlighted a chiseled jawline. By the way his chin lifted, he knew he was good-looking and he appreciated being looked at. But I didn’t like the way he was looking at me—like a meal he wanted to devour. He raised his glass and said, “I’m thoroughly enchanted to meet the world’s most beautiful cooking face.” Wrong thing to say. My spine went rigid. “Believe me, I can carry my own pots and pans. Merci beaucoup.” “But you look so sweet and delicate,” he said, eyeing me up and down. I don’t know if it was my imagination working in overdrive, but his eyes seemed to hold a certain lascivious quality. Whether it was rude or not, I turned on my heel to walk away. “It was lovely to…

Auralee Wallace | Exclusive Interview: IN THE COMPANY OF WITCHES
Author Guest / October 4, 2021

Danielle: Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Auralee! Please tell us a little about yourself and your new book, IN THE COMPANY OF WITCHES.   Auralee: Thank you so much for having me!! So, what can I tell you about myself? I’m a happily married mom of three who plays way too much soccer for her age, and I absolutely love autumn. The more pumpkin spice, the better! As for my new book, IN THE COMPANY OF WITCHES tells the story of a grieving young witch trying to solve the murder of a guest at her family’s B&B without the help of her powers. The story has lots of quirky relatives, spells gone wrong, and a crow named Dog. Witches are having a bit of a pop culture moment right now. What drew you to having a witch as your main character? Do you think her supernatural abilities help or hinder her amateur sleuthing?   Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a witch. I blame the Brothers Grimm, and the fact that I grew up in a stone cottage that backed onto a forest. I can’t tell you how many days I spent playing by the creek in my…

Jane Igharo | Exclusive Excerpt: THE SWEETEST REMEDY
Author Guest / September 28, 2021

CHAPTER SIX San Francisco On Monday, Hannah made the biggest decision of her life. In response, her mother called a man named Dayo. And a day later, Dayo emailed Hannah a business class plane ticket. Destination: Lagos, Nigeria. On Thursday, a day before her departure, Hannah pushed a fork through bits of kale and tried to ignore the anxiety that had given her a sleepless night and an unproductive morning in the office. Despite her attempt, the nerves were impossible to disregard. She tossed the fork on the plate and huffed. “Not hungry?” Flo said, pulling round sunglasses from the crown of her head and over her narrowed eyes. “You’ve hardly eaten a thing.” “I don’t have much of an appetite today.” A fly buzzed above Hannah’s head. She swatted it and protected her drink with one hand over the rim. The salad, she didn’t bother to guard. She had given up on it, her growling stomach be damned. “Maybe we should have gotten a table inside.” Flo dipped sweet potato fries into a glop of ketchup. “It’s so damn hot today.” And the massive umbrella wedged in the middle of the round table did very little to ease their…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner Interview: DEATH IN CASTLE DARK by VERONICA BOND
Author Guest / September 27, 2021

New series are always a delight to find. When it’s written by a tried and true mystery author, it’s like finding unexpected money in the laundry. Not a one-dollar bill or even a five, but a twenty—crisp and clean—the perfect, unexpected treasure that you want to tell everyone about, yet keep it for yourself. After all, you never know what kind of castle doors that treasure could open;) Even better when it’s the gateway to Castle Dark:) I was lucky enough to chat about those wonderous doorways and the new Dinner and a Murder Mystery series with ever-talented, Julia Buckley writing under the pseudonymVeronica Bond. Kym: Hi Veronica, thank you for joining us at the Cozy Corner on Fresh Fiction! Veronica: Thank you for inviting me!  When I read the premise of your new series, Dinner and a Murder Mystery, I was hooked. I’ve only gone to one of our local murder mystery dinner theater, but thoroughly loved the experience. How were you inspired? Did you visit a local theater in Chicago, or go on a weekend trip to an enchanting Castle Dark? I used to go to a wonderful dinner theater called the Candlelight Dinner theater (alas, now closed), but…

Sarah Echavarre Smith | 20 Questions: ON LOCATION
Author Guest / September 21, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? ON LOCATION 2–What is it about? It’s a multicultural romcom between Alia and Drew, two crew members on an outdoor TV show. They have a VERY interesting meet-cute which results in them disliking each other, but then they have to work together on a series about the national parks in Utah. The host of the show is a D-list celebrity who is monumentally difficult, so Alia and Drew have to overcome their messy history—and budding attraction—in order to save the show. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The book takes place in southern Utah, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s probably my ultimate hiking destination—I can’t think of a more beautiful landscape with the red rock landscape that goes on for miles and miles. I wrote ON LOCATION during quarantine/pandemic when I was stuck in my house dreaming about escaping to a gorgeous destination. Writing it was such a wonderful escape and gave me all the happy feels. 4–How did your heroine surprise you?  I set out to write Alia as a tenacious and hardworking woman in the television industry who’s been through…

Freya Sampson | Exclusive Excerpt: THE LAST CHANCE LIBRARY
Author Guest / September 2, 2021

It was twelve o’clock and the start of the lunchtime lull. The only other people in the library were Stanley, snoozing behind a newspaper in his chair, and Mrs. Bransworth, skulking around the shelves muttering to herself. June sat down at the desk and took a few deep breaths, filling her nostrils with the comforting scent of the library. As a child, she used to believe that each book had its own smell, specific to its story, and the smell of a library was the combined scent of thousands of different tales. She once explained this theory to her mum, telling her that the Children’s Room smelled best because everyone knew that kids’ books had more exciting stories than grown-up ones. For months after that they’d played a game whenever they read a book together, deciding what particular aroma the story had. The Secret Garden, for example, smelled of mud and roses, while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory smelled of both sugar and cabbage soup. “Excuse me, can I take these out, please?” June looked up to see a tall pile of books in front of the desk, with a pair of eyes blinking at her over the top. “Of…

Sarah Zachrich Jeng | Exclusive Excerpt: THE OTHER ME
Author Guest / August 17, 2021

I tell Eric I’m reorganizing the closet in the spare bedroom, which has the desired effect of getting rid of him. As soon as he’s gone to his “office,” the alcove downstairs where he keeps his computer, I start tearing through photo albums. I’m not looking for memories. I already have those. I recognize faces in the pictures, remember where and when most of them were taken. Prom, Senior Skip Day, the first years of college, before we stopped printing out snapshots. A few from our courthouse wedding. But those memories feel as though they belong to someone else. What I’m searching for is some emotional connection to the life I find myself living. But even with my entire history laid out in front of me, I’m unable to feel that it’s mine. I have the bed covered with memorabilia, photos and old birthday cards and handouts from college we kept for some reason, when Eric opens the door. I jump, my hands twitching with the compulsion to push everything into a single pile to hide what I’ve been doing. “I see you’ve made a lot of progress,” he says dryly. I laugh, the sound high-pitched and unnatural. “I got…

Jenn McKinlay | 20 Questions: WAIT FOR IT
Author Guest / August 10, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? WAIT FOR IT 2–What is it about? WAIT FOR IT is the love story of two people who have to change their self protective default settings if they want the romance that is sparkling right in front of them. This is much more challenging than they anticipate. Can Annabelle learn to ask for what she wants in a relationship instead of always putting her partner first? Can she stop picking men who need her instead of want her? Can Nick confront his anxiety and fear and be the man he once was? Can he believe in true love and its power to heal instead of harm? There’s only one way to find out! 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  It’s set in Phoenix, AZ which has been my home for almost thirty years. 4–How did your heroine surprise you?  Annabelle stepped out of her comfort zone repeatedly and hilariously. It was a joy to watch her challenge herself even when it hurt. 5–Why will readers love your hero?  Nick has a huge heart. He pretends he doesn’t but it is obvious in all of his actions how much…

Sarah Zachrich Jen | Exclusive Interview: THE OTHER ME
Author Guest / August 9, 2021

Danielle: Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Sarah, and congrats on your debut novel, THE OTHER ME! Can you tell us a little about your journey into publishing this book?   Sarah: Thanks for having me! The book that eventually became THE OTHER ME went through several rewrites on its way to publication. When I started writing, I had no idea that it would be a thriller—I was having more upmarket/literary thoughts, though still with the speculative element, and the original pacing and ending reflected that. I took a few years to get the book to where I thought it was ready to query, and then I entered the Pitch Wars mentoring program, which I’d read good things about online. I didn’t get in, but PW mentor Layne Fargo (who’s also an amazing author) loved my manuscript. She was kind enough to refer me to an agent she knew, who asked me to revise and resubmit. I signed with that agent, did one more revision, and settled in to wait for months while my agent shopped the book around to editors. My agent emailed the manuscript to one editor on a Friday to give her an advance look before we went on…