Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Martin Edwards | 20 Questions: MORTMAIN HALL
Author Guest / September 21, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Mortmain Hall, published by Poisoned Pen Press 2–What is it about? It’s a history-mystery set in 1930, and like Gallows Court, it features Rachel Savernake and the journalist Jacob Flint. They investigate a series of bizarre murder cases apparently involving miscarriages of justice and their enquiries eventually take them to an old country house on the north Yorkshire coast – Mortmain Hall 3–What word best describes your main character(s)? Rachel Savernake is mysterious. Jacob Flint is impetuous. 4–What makes your story relatable? It’s a story set in 1930 and involves bizarre murder mysteries, but above all it’s about human nature, and how people behave at times of stress 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? Jacob turns to Rachel. Rachel is supported by the Trueman family. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book? Mortmain Hall is set in a coastal area near where I used to go on holidays as a child. It’s a beautiful coast, but can be eerie.   7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)? Both; it depends on the story…

Author Q&A | Get to Know the Authors of THE DEADLY HOURS!
Author Guest / August 31, 2020

If you could spend a week with one character from THE DEADLY HOURS, who would it be and why? Susanna Kearsley: I think I’d probably choose Captain del Rio from my own story, who first walked into an earlier novel—A Desperate Fortune–and unexpectedly became one of my favorite side characters, determined to outwit and upstage everyone else in his scenes. I think spending a week with him would be tremendous fun, if not always good for my health. CS Harris: I’d probably say Jude Lowe, the World War II RAF fighter pilot from Siren’s Call. When I was growing up, we had several good family friends who used to tell us their experiences as German generals in WWII, fighting in Europe and North Africa (my dad was in Air Force intelligence). So it would be fascinated to hear Jude talk about fighting those same battles but from the other side. Anna Lee Huber: Susanna knows I’ve had a soft spot for Edmund ever since I read The Firebird, so probably him. I mean, I am named Anna (the same as his wife), so maybe it’s a given. Christine Trent: Ever since reading Anna’s The Anatomist’s Wife, I’ve always had a crush…

Jennifer Ashley | 20 Questions: MURDER IN THE EAST END
Author Guest / August 3, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Murder in the East End (Below Stairs Mysteries Book 4) 2–What is it about?  Kat Holloway, a cook in a Mount Street mansion in Victorian London is asked to look into the disappearance of a nurse from the Foundling Hospital. Distressed for the woman, and intrigued, because the request comes from the foster brother of Daniel McAdam, a man she’s falling for, Kat can’t refuse. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Tenacious 4–What makes your story relatable? The character of Kat. She’s an ordinary person, not an aristocrat or wealthy dilettante. She works very hard, is good at what she does, and knows exactly who she is. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Kat turns to Daniel McAdam, who is a man-of-all-work who sometimes masquerades as an upper-class gentleman in order to assist the police. She also relies on Lady Cynthia, who prefers men’s clothing to women’s more restrictive ones, and Mr. Thanos, a genius mathematician who is smitten with Cynthia. Kat’s kitchen assistant, Tess, and Daniel’s son, James, round out the irregulars. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The Victorian…

Maggie Robinson | Cover-up
Author Guest / July 29, 2020

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my latest Lady Adelaide Mystery, Just Make Believe! This 1920s-set cozy-with-a-touch-of-paranormal features Addie, an aristocratic widow, the pesky ghost of her cheating husband Rupert, and Dev, a divine Scotland Yard detective. Not the usual love triangle for sure, LOL. Rupert is stuck in Limbo after a very rakish life, and unless he protects and assists Addie, he’ll never get to Heaven and redemption. The series has been the most fun for me in my over-twenty years’ book career, and I hope readers are equally amused! In Just make Believe, Addie’s been invited to a week-long house party, but how can she have fun when bodies are piling up everywhere? Rupert and Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter to the rescue! Here’s the blurb: A week-long house party in the country–why not? Lady Adelaide has nothing else to do, now that her year of mourning for her unfaithful husband is up and her plans to rekindle her romantic life have backfired. But when her hostess is found dead on the conservatory floor, Addie knows just who to call Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter of Scotland Yard. Dev may not want to kiss Addie again, but…

Deanna Raybourn | 20 Questions: A MURDEROUS RELATION
Author Guest / March 11, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  A MURDEROUS RELATION, the fifth Veronica Speedwell mystery. 2–What is it about?  My Victorian butterfly hunting sleuth, Veronica Speedwell, joins with her detecting partner, Stoker, to investigate a potential royal scandal during Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror in London. 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Intrepid. Veronica has a zero-tolerance policy for other people’s nonsense and she is never afraid to seize an opportunity or take on a foe. 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  Stoker is a walking contradiction; he’s big and fit and dangerous, but he’s also the guy who needs a constant supply of candy and who reads French romance novels and cuddles stray dogs. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  My characters are always adding to their found family. They have a mentor–an elderly noblewoman who is the power behind the English throne–as well as a resourceful female reporter, a Black master pastry chef from Martinique, and a police detective who is just as likely to arrest them as take a bullet for them. But, always and above all, they turn to each other. 6–What do you love about the setting of…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: Interview with Darcie Wilde
Author Guest / January 27, 2020

Kym: I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming back one of my favorite mystery writers. Darcie Wilde has written under several names and several genres, but her Rosalind Thorne Mysteries are as delightful as they are intriguing. Welcome back to the Cozy Corner, Darcie! Darcie: So nice to be back with you and your readers! I was thrilled to see your Rosalind Thorne Mysteries continue! Congratulations on your continued success with this lovely series. Has the experience of changing publishing houses effected Rosalind’s direction for the future?  Actually, there’s been very little change in direction.  Since I changed publishers, I am once again working with the series’s original editor, the fabulous Wendy McCurdy.  Wendy was the one who had the idea to create a mystery series for Rosalind rather than just a straight set of romances. Go Wendy! In your latest Rosalind Thorne Mystery, And Dangerous to Know, you open each chapter with a small clip of written correspondences that tell a large part of the story all by themselves. Did you write the clips first, last, or did they develop with each chapter? I keep a running list of possibilities as I research, and I’m generally researching and rewriting…

James Ziskin | The Five Animals Ellie Stone Meets in Florence, Italy
Author Guest / January 21, 2020

I write the Ellie Stone mysteries, a series featuring a young newspaper reporter set in the early 1960s. In the seventh installment, TURN TO STONE (January 21, 2020), Ellie is in Florence, Italy for an academic symposium honoring her late father. But just as she arrives on the banks of the Arno, she learns that her host, Professor Alberto Bondinelli, has been fished out of the river, quite dead. Then a suspected rubella outbreak leaves ten of the symposium participants quarantined in villa outside the city with little to do but tell stories to entertain themselves. Making the best of their confinement, the men and women spin tales and gorge themselves on fine Tuscan food and wine. And as they do, long-buried secrets about Bondinelli and his checkered past rise to the surface, and Ellie must figure out if one or more of her companions is capable of murder. It was great fun—challenging, too—researching and writing about one of my favorite places on earth, Florence. There’s so much history and art to be found, literally, on almost every corner. Ellie, of course, has visited Florence before. In 1946, shortly after the end of the war, she accompanied her father on…

Bradley Harper | You Don’t Say?
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

Dialogue is an ancient Greek stage direction, meaning “action through words.” One of the first critiques I got from an agent, looking at my neatly printed manuscript was “There’s not enough white space,” meaning there was too much narrative description, and not enough dialogue. Dialogue opens up the tightknit block of words we are accustomed to in textbooks and allows your story to breathe through verbal exchanges between your characters. Frequent doses of white space make your work less intimidating and helps your reader speed along through your story. Dialogue is used to accomplish three things: Exposition, to reveal character, and to provoke an action. Let’s look at these in turn. Exposition. I write historical fiction, so putting my reader into an unknown universe and making them quickly comfortable there requires that I give them a sense of time and place, but without the dreaded “Info Dump.”  So how do I do that? I incorporate the information transfer into as graphic a manner as possible. In my first novel, A Knife in the Fog, my heroine, Margaret Harkness, is a female author from a proper middle-class British family temporarily living in Whitechapel to do research on her novels. As she…

Bella Ellis | Exclusive Interview: THE VANISHED BRIDE
Author Guest / September 11, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Congrats on the release of your new novel, THE VANISHED BRIDE, the first book in your new Bronte Mystery series. Please tell us a little bit about where you came up with the idea for this book, and about yourself!  I have been a fan of the Bronte sisters since I was around the age of 10. The idea for The Vanished Bride came as I was writing another novel set in Haworth. I had the idea of the Brontë sisters appearing in this novel as cameo characters, involved in uncovering a literary mystery. However, as soon as I had that idea I realized what a great novel it could be in its own right, and so The Vanished Bride was born. One of my favorite things about this novel was your clear appreciation and admiration for each of the Bronte sisters. What was your favorite thing about bringing each of them to life in this book?  I love Charlotte, Emily and Anne so much that it was really important to me to take a great deal of care in bringing my fictional versions of them to life. They are such iconic women, and mean so…

Rhys Bowen | On LOVE AND DEATH AMONG THE CHEETAHS
Author Guest / August 9, 2019

Lady Georgie has certainly come a long way since I met her in that first book called HER ROYAL SPYNESS, ten years ago. Then she was a naïve, unsophisticated person, unsure of herself and her future. She was brave enough to make the decision to flee from the family castle and come alone to London where she had to learn the most basic of skills: from making tea to lighting a fire. For the first few books, she tried various ways of earning money, from cleaning houses, to running an escort service, to modeling clothes–all disastrous. But the one good thing that happened to her was that she met Darcy. And in spite of the fact that she was not the sort of sophisticated girl-about-town he normally associated with, he fell for her.  She certainly played hard to get, didn’t she?  It took twelve books before he got her into bed and then it was after they married. Now we come to the thirteenth book in the series, called LOVE AND DEATH AMONG THE CHEETAHS. You’ll guess from the title that it might take place in Africa. The book starts exactly where the last one left off, with Georgie and…