A Conversation with Author Tonya Mitchell

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tonya Mitchell who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Thank you, Pam. I’m a great fan of your books. I’m thrilled to have found your Lucy Lawrence series.

Thank you! You are very welcome Tonya, please introduce yourself: 

I received my BA in journalism from Indiana University. My short fiction has appeared in The Copperfield Review, Words Undone, and The Front Porch Review, as well as in various anthologies, including Furtive Dalliance, Welcome to Elsewhere, and Glimmer and Other Stories and Poems, for which I won the Cinnamon Press award in fiction.

I am a self-professed Anglophile and I am obsessed with all things relating to the Victorian period. I am a member of the Historical Novel Society North America and reside in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband and three wildly energetic sons. A Feigned Madness is my first novel.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I read voraciously as a child. There was never a time I wasn’t reading something. When I was eight-years-old, I told my mom I wanted to write a book. I had no idea what I wanted to write, mind you, I just knew I wanted to write books. I cherish To Kill a Mockingbird to this day. I still remember the first time I read it, the colour of the couch, the way the sun shone through the window. But it wasn’t until I read Jane Eyre in high school that I really started gravitating to historical fiction. History fascinates me in ways few other things do. It’s so intriguing, because as a reader I’d think: Wow, things were really like this? How did these people cope? How did they survive? I love seeing characters in those tight spaces, battling it out with the cultural beliefs, social mores, and injustices of their time—particularly women, who had so little power. I think I became a lover of all things British when I started reading—devouring actually—Agatha Christie novels. The combination of mystery inside, oftentimes, an English manor house hooked me every time. And who doesn’t love Miss Marple?

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I’m lucky enough to be traditionally published by a small press. My debut will be out this fall. I wanted to go the traditional route simply because I wanted to walk into a bookstore one day and see my book there. That’s been a dream for as long as I can remember. Getting published was a hard road for me, though. I had lots of fits and starts along the way, lots of imposter syndrome. I’d read an excellent book and think: How the hell can I do this? Who am I kidding? There have also been changes in the publishing industry that have made it harder to get published traditionally. The Big Five in the US tend to see debut authors as a huge risk, so if you don’t stand out from the get-go, and I mean stand out amongst the brilliant, already-successful authors with big followings, chances are you won’t get far. It’s very competitive.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

In a nutshell, the authors who were writing what I most wanted to read. After Jane Eyre, I began looking for other dark stories: Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bram Stoker. At some point along the way, I figured out that gothic was really what I loved. From there, I went on to read Shirley Jackson, Margaret Atwood, and Laura Purcell. If there’s something dark and murky about it, something uber twisted, chances are I’m going to love it. What that says about my mental state, I’m not sure 😉

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I think the hardest part is that horrible first draft. Facing the blank page is a monster to me. I know the first draft is supposed to be bad (there’s a reason writers call it the vomit draft), but it’s hard to write drivel and move on. But that’s what you have to do, keep writing badly until it’s down. It’s the next passes, the editing, that I prefer because I have something to work with I can make better. That’s not to say editing is easy, it’s just that I’d rather have something to improve than work from nothing. I like the research too, though sometimes keeping myself from going down rabbit holes is a struggle.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Proceed as if success is inevitable. I have it stuck to the wall in my office where I write to remind me. Oddly, it didn’t come from an author. It was a meme I think, but honestly, it helped. It’s what got me through all the highs and lows. It helped me keep my head down and working as I approached each milestone. There was some doubling-back of course, but it was all about forward momentum.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I have three teenage boys at home, so school hours are the best time for me. Things get a little chaotic after that. I also work late at night sometimes if things are flowing after everyone has gone to bed.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d probably be drinking too much coffee in Starbucks, lamenting that I should’ve become an author.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

I’d go back to the Victorian period, probably to the 1880’s. It’s when my book takes place. It was such a fascinating time. At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, rooms were lit by candle and transportation was by horse; by the time she died, the world was ushering in electricity and automobiles. The industrial revolution was well underway, but the women’s movement—suffrage, gender equality, etc. was way behind. The dichotomy of that boggles. Reading and writing female protagonists from that era, women who wanted to break free of the mold men were so determined to keep them in, makes for such vivid storytelling. Plus, the clothes. To die for.

Please tell us about your debut novel. 

Elizabeth Cochrane has a secret.

She isn’t the madwoman with amnesia the doctors and inmates at Blackwell’s Asylum think she is.

In truth, she’s working undercover for the New York World. When the managing editor refuses to hire her because she’s a woman, Elizabeth strikes a deal: in exchange for a job, she’ll impersonate a lunatic to expose a local asylum’s abuses.

When she arrives at the asylum, Elizabeth realizes she must make a decision—is she there merely to bear witness, or to intervene on behalf of the abused inmates? Can she interfere without blowing her cover? As the superintendent of the asylum grows increasingly suspicious, Elizabeth knows her scheme—and her dream of becoming a journalist in New York—is in jeopardy.

A Feigned Madness is a meticulously researched, fictionalized account of the woman who would come to be known as daredevil reporter Nellie Bly. At a time of cutthroat journalism, when newspapers battled for readers at any cost, Bly emerged as one of the first to break through the gender barrier—a woman who would, through her daring exploits, forge a trail for women fighting for their place in the world.

Available: October 6th 2020

Pre-order book: https://www.cynren.com/catalog/a-feigned-madness)

Pre-order ebook: Amazon

 

If you would like to know more about Tonya and her work, please check out her links below:

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/TonyaMitchellAuthor/

Twitter               https://twitter.com/tremmitchell

Instagram:        https://www.instagram.com/tmitchell.2012/

Email:               tmitchell.2012@yahoo.com

 

 

Amelia Edwards: A Victorian Trailblazer

Amelia Edwards was a fascinating woman who popped her head above the parapet of  convention and made a real impact in her own lifetime. And this was an era when women were supposed to stay at home and not be noticed. Not only did she support herself with her writing, both as a novelist and  journalist, but she fell in love with Egypt and the consequences were absolutely wonderful.

Inclement weather during a hiking holiday in France, and a pioneering spirit, led Amelia to Egypt in the autumn of 1873. Mere chance, but it changed her life completely. Already an experienced travel writer, she took to the land of the pharaohs with a passion and wrote about her experiences in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile.

I came across the book by chance while undertaking research for my second Lucy Lawrence novel, Footprints in the Sand. I was astonished when I first read the book for it could have been written today. There was none of the stilted dryness you would expect from a Victorian writer but humour and a fascinating insight into Egypt’s heritage and its people. For anyone with an interest in Victorian women (who broke the mould!) or indeed Egyptology, I highly recommend investing in a copy. She even did the wonderful illustrations in the book (example below)!

Amelia was born in London in 1831, daughter of an ex-army officer and an Irish mother. She was educated at home and soon showed a talent for the written word. She produced her first full length novel in 1855 – My Brother’s Wife. Her poetry, stories and articles were published in magazines including Chamber’s Journal, Household Words and the Saturday Review and Morning Post. Her many novels proved popular.

By the time Amelia was 30, both her parents had passed away. Against the conventions of the time, she decided to go travelling (without the proper male escort!) and had the funds to do it because of her writing success. With a female companion, Lucy Renshawe, she set off, only hiring male servants or guides as required. Her first trip was to Belgium in 1862 and in June 1872 the pair explored the Dolomite Region of Northern Italy (Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys).

Credit: Amelia Edwards

But over the winter of 1873-74, Amelia and Lucy sailed up the Nile to Abu Simbel. Unlike most travellers who saw Egypt as another pleasure-ground, Amelia was keenly aware of the underlying political and cultural problems of the country. To her shock, she witnessed the results of the highly lucrative and extensive illegal trade in antiquities. Sites were being pillaged and destroyed by all and sundry. All of this was happening in an unstable political climate with rivalry and tension between French and English explorers added to the mix. Saddened and disturbed by what she saw as the desecration of Egypt’s heritage, she returned to England determined to do something about it.

Flinders Petrie

Amelia was convinced a more scientific approach was needed to preserve Egypt’s treasurers. She studied Egyptology and formed lasting friendships with the likes of Gaston Maspero, who would later become director general of excavations and antiquities for the Egyptian government, and one of the greatest Egyptologists, Flinders Petrie. Amelia promoted the founding of an Egyptological society, culminating in its first meeting in 1880 at the British Museum. Two years’ later, it became the Egypt Exploration Fund, its main purpose to study, conserve and protect ancient sites in Egypt. Amelia’s campaigning paid off, and soon they were able to fund the exploration work of Flinders Petrie in Egypt.

Subsequently, Amelia undertook grueling lecture tours and even gave up her successful novel writing to concentrate on all matters Egyptological. Eventually, her work earned her honorary degrees from several American universities and in honour of her work, she received an English civil list pension for “her services to literature and archaeology”.

In the early 1890s, Amelia’s health began to deteriorate, and in January 1892, Lucy Renshawe, the woman who had travelled with her and shared her home for nearly thirty years, died. A few months later, Amelia succumbed to influenza. She is buried at St. Mary the Virgin, Henbury, Bristol.

Amelia left a library and collection of Egyptian antiquities to University College London and a bequest to established the first English Chair in Egyptology. Fittingly, Flinders Petrie was the first appointed to the Edwards Chair in UCL.

I cannot deny that the Egypt described by Amelia in her book presented countless possibilities for mischief to a mystery writer. Her descriptions of Cairo and the many sites she visited, transported me back to Victorian Egypt like no dry contemporary source could do. My heroine, Lucy Lawrence, shared some of Miss Edwards’ qualities of curiosity and determination and so Footprints in the Sand quickly transformed from a vague plot idea to a novel.

Cairo, Autumn 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?

Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the land of the pharaohs.

Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers a city teeming with professional rivalries, and a thriving black market in antiquities which threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.

When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?

Buy Link

Victorian Tourism: Thomas Cook

Today, everyone is familiar with the guided tour or cruise, but such things were virtually unheard of in the early years of the Victorian age. The man who changed that, and who is now considered the inventor of modern tourism, was Thomas Cook.

Who was he?

Thomas-Cook
Credit: Thomas Cook Group

Thomas was born in 1808 in Derbyshire, England, and left school at ten years of age to work. In 1826, he became a Baptist minister, becoming an itinerant evangelist, distributing pamphlets and sometimes working as a cabinet maker to earn money. Eventually, Thomas settled in Market Harborough and while there, was persuaded by the local Baptist minister to take the temperance pledge. As a part of the temperance movement, Thomas organised meetings and held anti-liquor processions. In March 1833, Thomas married Marianne Mason at Barrowden in Rutland. They went on to have three children, John, Henry (who died in infancy) and Annie.

The First Excursion

Cook’s initial idea of offering excursions came to him while walking to Leicester to attend a temperance meeting, thus taking advantage of the extended Midland Counties Railway. On 5th July 1841, Thomas escorted almost 500 people, who paid one shilling each for the return train journey. It was the first publicly advertised excursion train in England.

A Growing Business

Soon after, Thomas moved to Leicester, and set up as a bookseller and printer, specialising in temperance literature but also producing guidebooks. Then, in 1846, he took 350 tourists by train and steamboat to Glasgow. For customers travelling for the first time, he offered a guidebook entitled Cook’s Scottish Tourist Practical Directory. One particular chapter bore the heading: Is it Safe for Ladies to Join in Highland Tours? [I’d love to know the answer!]

Credit: Thomas Cook Group

In the early 1860s, Thomas ceased to act as a personal guide and became an agent for the sale of domestic and overseas travel tickets to countries such as America and Egypt. As the decade progressed, alpine journeys became popular and in 1864, parties began to venture into the newly united Italy. Thomas opened a London premises on Fleet Street, London, and in 1872, he went into partnership with his son, John, and renamed the company Thomas Cook & Son. Around this time, the firm started to use ‘circular notes’, which were eventually known as travellers’ cheques.

Thomas retired in 1878, following a disagreement with his son. He moved back to Leicester where he lived quietly until his death in 1892. The business passed to his only surviving son, and was subsequently taken over by Thomas’s grandsons in 1899. The company continued to be run as a family firm until 1928.

Nile_cruises
Nile Cruise Poster 1922

The ‘Cook tour’ rapidly became famous during the Victorian era. However, not everyone thought highly of them. One critic referred to them as ‘everything that is low-bred, vulgar and ridiculous’ (Blackwood’s Magazine, February 1865).

Not surprisingly, the worst critics were the wealthy English, now finding their exclusive haunts overrun by the middle-classes. Another gripe was that tourists were ruining the places they visited by importing their customs, such as tea, lawn tennis and churches!

In my novel, No Stone Unturned, Lucy Lawrence does not travel as part of a Cook tour to Egypt, however, she does encounter many tourists in Cairo who have. As Lucy is fairly occupied trying to solve a robbery, and subsequently a murder, she doesn’t pay them much heed. However, it was her upper class of Victorian male who traditionally did the ‘Grand Tour’, the forerunner of the guided tour. It was frowned upon for a woman, even a widow such as Lucy, to travel without a male escort. Thankfully, there were women prepared to break the mould, and I talk about one of them in my next post on Victorian travel.

Footprints-EBOOK-Cvr

Footprints in the Sand – Book 2 of The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries

Cairo, Autumn 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?

Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the land of the pharaohs.

Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers a city teeming with professional rivalries and jealousies and a thriving black market in antiquities which threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.

When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?

Buy Link

New Release – Cover Reveal – Jenny O’Brien: Silent Cry

I am delighted to be taking part in today’s cover reveal for one of my favourite authors, Jenny O’Brien. I was lucky enough to read Silent Cry and can tell you, you are in for a treat.

unnamedAlys is fine. Don’t try to find us.

Five years ago, Izzy Grant’s boyfriend Charlie took their newborn daughter Alys out for a drive.

They never came back.

After years of waiting, Izzy has almost given up hoping that they’re still alive – until a note is pushed through her door telling her they’re fine, not to look for them. Suddenly the case is top priority again, and Izzy is swarmed with faces from the past: the detective who was first on the scene to help; an old friend who vanished not long after Alys and Charlie.

Izzy doesn’t know who she can trust, who is sending her notes, where Charlie and Alys might be. Her only ally is DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Cardiff and fleeing a painful past of her own.

Gaby knows something doesn’t fit with the case, and she knows Izzy won’t rest until she finds out what really happened to her daughter. Could someone she knew and trusted really have taken Alys from her?

Wherever Alys and Charlie are, Gaby is determined to find them, no matter what it takes. Somewhere in Izzy’s past is a clue, if Gaby can only find it …

Footprints in the Sand: New Release from Pam Lecky

The excitement of releasing a new book never dims. Amazon stole a march on me by setting the book live for pre-order in the middle of the night, however, it was a nice surprise to wake up this morning and see the link was there.

46203408._SY475_I think of all my books, this one will resonate with me the longest. It combines two great loves: Victorian adventure with a feisty heroine and ancient Egypt. How could I resist putting them together.

It was important to me for Lucy to grow more independent and to emerge from the shadow of Phineas Stone from the first book, No Stone Unturned. I know many readers will wonder why Phineas doesn’t feature much in this book (don’t worry – book 3 is all about him!), but I wanted Lucy to come into her own and shine.

And how could she fail with her devoted maid, Mary, by her side, always ready to bring her down to earth when Lucy’s enthusiasm takes her down the wrong path?

I don’t want to give too much away, other than this is another murder mystery which will keep you guessing until the end. Above all, I hope it entertains and leaves you wanting more! It might even tempt you to go on a journey up the Nile!

Series Ad 1

What’s it all about?

Cairo 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?

Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery to the land of the pharaohs.

Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers an archaeological community plagued by professional rivalries and intrigue. It is soon apparent that the thriving black market in antiquities threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.

When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?

Footprints in the Sand will be published on the 14th March. Buy Link HERE.

If you enjoy Lucy’s antics in Egypt, do, please, leave a review to let me know.

Thank you!

 

 

A Conversation with Colin J Galtrey

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Colin J Galtrey, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Colin, please introduce yourself:

Picture2I was born in a small village in the Peak District of Derbyshire. I love travel and meeting people of different nationalities. For many years, I had this book in my head until one day five years ago, I sat down and wrote it. This was my very first book based on a fictitious character by the name of Detective Inspector John Gammon.

The detective books, of which there are four series now with five books to a series, take on John Gammon’s professional and personal life in the villages of the Peak District. It is a very popular collection of books and I have people contact me who actually take holidays in the Peak District on a quest to find the villages and people who are part of the stories, with some success I might add.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I enjoy writing in many different genres. I have written thrillers, afterlife mysteries, historic time travel, a love story with a twist, and a book on the IRA.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I am a self-published author with books on Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub and iBooks.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

A very good friend who encouraged me to write my first book.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

The Peak District, without doubt, influences many of my books.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

For some reason I never get writer’s block. I tend to have between seven to nine books being written at the same time.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

An established author told me to just write and never worry about grammar or spelling but just let your ideas flow. Then let somebody else take care of the rest.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I enjoy writing at any time.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I can’t imagine my life without writing

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

For the detective books and the character of John Gammon, I see somebody in the Cary Grant mould. For the Looking for Shona Trilogy, the first book would be Brad Pitt. For the afterlife thrillers, I see David Nielson ( Roy Cropper from Coronation street).

If you could live the life of an historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?

Possibly John F Kennedy. I would quite like lunch with Marilyn Monroe as I am quite sure their conversation would be interesting.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

Sixteenth century and the life of a pirate. All the swashbuckling sounds exciting and seeing the world how it was.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

  • Mein Kampf (Adolf Hitler)
  • The Bible
  • Let’s Dance in the Kitchen (Colin J Galtrey)
  • Freedom and Reality (Enoch Powell)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Please tell us about your latest published work.

My latest book, The Stanton Incident, was released on Amazon on the 4th February, 2020. It is a time travel book based on a stone circle on the moor at Stanton in Derbyshire.

Jake Ingis made a mistake the day he entered the Stone Circle known locally as The Nine Ladies. From that day forward everybody he loves will be affected. How can a normal fun-loving young man be pulled into this life? Who is Cynbel and what was a warrior from the past doing on Stanton Moor? Nothing made sense.

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If you would like to know more about Colin and his work, please check out the links below:

Facebook: Colin J Galtrey Author

Instagram: thepeakdistrictauthor

Web-site: https://colinjgaltrey.wixsite.com/colingaltrey

 

New Release from Renny deGroot

I am delighted that Renny has dropped by to tell us about her new release, Torn Asunder. Renny, what inspired your story?

As an author of Historical Fiction, I’m fascinated by the human perception of historical events. For example, each of us have family stories of events that took place before our birth and handed down to us. These spoken stories become a part of us, and the details may or may not fit exactly with other stories of the same events and yet we absorb and take for truth those that have been given to us by people we love and trust. While all cultures and families have these stories, in my opinion, no culture does this better than the Irish (and I don’t have a drop of Irish blood coursing through my veins). Dating back to ancient times an Irish story-teller (or a Seanchaí ) was the keeper of the community history, and the tradition of story-telling falls naturally in an Irish family.

My new novel, Torn Asunder draws on this tradition when the main character chooses to fight for the Cause with his pen (ie as a journalist) rather than a rifle. His challenge is his lack of awareness of the power of his words.

Fiercely loyal, Emmet Ryan plays his part in the war against the British to see a free and united Ireland. As a 16-year-old boy, Emmet is thrilled to join his father and brothers in the Finglas Volunteers during the 1916 Easter rebellion. The effects of that week mark Emmet for the rest of his life as he wrestles between his allegiance to his country and loyalty to his family. At times he isn’t sure he’s given enough to the fight until the day he realizes he may have given too much.

The story of Ireland’s birth as a modern nation and her turbulent formative years is woven into the very fabric of this multi-generational family drama.

http://mybook.to/TornAsunder

New Release from Historical Fiction Author John Anthony Miller

Today, I am delighted to share the news that one of my favourite authors has a new release. John Anthony Miller hails from southern New Jersey and his writing is motivated by a life-long love of travel and history. This really does come across in his writing. I loved Honour the Dead and can’t wait to read For Those Who Dare.

For Those Who Dare by John Anthony Miller

East Berlin, August 13, 1961:

Kirstin Beck watches from her townhouse second-floor window as the border with West Berlin is closed, a barbed wire fence strung through the cemetery behind her house. With a grandmother in West Berlin that needs her care, and a daughter given up for adoption sixteen years before that she’s recently found, she must get to West Berlin. Married to a college professor who is also an informant for Stasi – the East German intelligence service – she’s trapped in a cage, caught in a web of world events.

Tony Marino is an American writer living in West Berlin. His apartment abuts the cemetery that the border fence divides. As he watches the construction progress, he sees Kirstin looking from her townhouse window. Casual acquaintances before the border was closed, Kirstin holds up a sign for Tony to see. It states: HELP ME.

This basic communication spawns an evolution of events focused on an escape from East Berlin. Failed attempts, fake passports, a growing list of refugees, and ultimately a tunnel, lead Kirstin and Tony through a kaleidoscope of deceit and danger as she’s determined to attain freedom at any cost.

The two men in Kirstin’s life symbolize the governments they represent: her cold, dogmatic husband from East Berlin, rooted to a rigid philosophy that needs walls to contain its people, and Tony, the brash, optimistic American from West Berlin who rescues her from a world she can’t endure.
Buy Link

 

New Crime Novel from Valerie Keogh

I‘m so happy to share the news that one of my fav crime writers is releasing a new book today. Valerie has come along to share the news and talk about the inspiration behind No Simple Death

Writers take inspiration from things they see, read, or do, things that lodge in their memory until finally they’re able to incorporate it into a story.

I live in an old house, at the end of a short road that ends in a church gate. A key to the gate came with the house and I can go through it as a pleasant walk across church grounds to the supermarket. The chain and lock are a bit of a palaver to use – it was here I got the idea for the death in the graveyard in No Simple Death. Although the heroine of my story lives in Foxrock, Dublin, I used my house and the road I live on for the house where she lives – a long way from Foxrock!

I also use the name of a very small village in Cornwall that we drove through many years ago – Come-to-Good. Such a great name, it remained in my head all these years until I found a perfect use for it in this story. (I also used the village named Tiddlywink in a different book!)

It’s nice to use some of the ideas that are floating in my head – but the space quickly fills up with more!

***

No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh

How can you find someone who doesn’t want to be found?

When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.

Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.

Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.

Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?

No Simple Death is a murder mystery with a touch of romance, set in the Dublin suburbs. It will appeal to fans of authors such as Peter James, LJ Ross and Ruth Rendall.

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