If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.

“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Holmes at Home: Gillette’s Castle in East Haddam, CT

by Shari Randall

221B Baker Street. We all know Sherlock Holmes’s address, right? Well, here in Connecticut we know a secret. Sherlock Holmes had another home, a castle overlooking the Connecticut River.

Don’t believe me? My daughter and I visited just last week. The castle looks like it was transplanted directly from a misty Scottish moor to a spectacular overlook on the Connecticut River.

How did that incongruous mansion get there? It all started with a young man who defied his parents to become an actor.

William H. Gillette was born in Hartford, CT, the son of a US Senator. His mother was the direct descendant of Thomas Hooker, the co-founder of the Colony of Connecticut. Mark Twain and Harriett Beecher Stowe lived down the street from his boyhood home. To say that his parents didn’t support his desire to work in the theater would be an understatement.

But William H. Gillette became one of the most popular playwrights and actors of his time. His legacy endures in two ways.

First, Gillette was the first to portray Sherlock Holmes on stage and screen, and his acting choices became the bedrock for the Holmes persona. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided to bring Sherlock to the stage (evidently Doyle needed the money) he contacted a fresh, young American to adapt the stories into stage plays. Gillette read all the stories and the play he wrote, called simply Sherlock Holmes, debuted in 1899 to great success. Holmes and Conan Doyle enjoyed a long creative partnership and personal friendship.

Some of the trademarks we associate with Holmes were the creation of Gillette, not Conan Doyle. The signature deerstalker hat and caped coat were hunting gear a well-bred Englishman would never wear in the city, but became part of Gillette’s Sherlock costume. He also adopted the curved briar pipe, which did not appear in the stories, thinking it a distinctive stage prop.

One of Holmes’ most famous catchphrases “Elementary, my dear Watson” never appeared in the original stories. For the play, Gillette wrote “Oh, this is elementary, my dear fellow.” For the Holmes films, the phrase was shortened to “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

Gillette played Holmes on stage and on film for almost 33 years and made over 1,300 stage appearances as the great detective. This work made him a famous and wealthy man.

He used his fortune to build a twenty-four room mansion of magnificent imagination and charm in the Connecticut countryside. Known to locals as “Gillette’s Castle,” the building sits high over the Connecticut River in East Haddam. The exterior walls were constructed with local fieldstone, interior walls built in southern white oak. One can imagine Sherlock Holmes retiring to this retreat, walking in the woods enjoying the spectacular view of the river. Inside, Gillette designed ingenious locks, built-in furniture, and strategically placed mirrors that allowed him to keep track of the comings and goings of his guests.

Gillette died in 1937 and the State of Connecticut purchased the property from the executors of his will. He had directed that the property not fall into the hands of “some blithering saphead who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.”

If you’d like to visit this home of “Sherlock Holmes,” it is open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Check out www.stateparks.com/gillette_castle.html for more information.

Have you ever visited the home of a fictional character?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Author’s Toolbox: The Auditory Read Through

by James M. Jackson

Every author develops a toolkit of writing skills and techniques, preferred software and hardware, and proven processes to develop a polished manuscript. In my online course, Revision and Self-Editing (next month-long class starts October 1 if you are interested), I suggest authors add the Auditory Read Through to their stockpile of available tools.

If you are like most modern authors, you compose your first draft using a word-processing program, which means you first see your words on a screen. You may rewrite your manuscript using a screen to display your text, or you may print out a copy of your manuscript, make handwritten corrections and then convert those back to an electronic form.

Many authors have learned that they find different problems when they view their manuscript on the screen compared to what they find when using a hard copy. I know authors who change from their standard font and a single column printout and use a different font and two columns to make sure nothing looks “familiar.” In addition to these techniques, I suggest that you will discover different issues when you read your manuscript out loud.

Even if on previous read throughs you silently sounded things out in your head, you were not using your sense of hearing. Before the written word, stories were spoken, and you should listen to yours to discover a few last issues you may have missed.

Approaches to the Auditory Read Through

#1 I read it myself

One key to this approach is I try to mimic a reader’s experience.
I print out the manuscript single-spaced applying the same font, type size, lines per page and page size as the publisher uses. As I read, I’ll see, for example, a long paragraph that needs splitting or dialogue that runs unbroken for two pages. [I do not worry about exact layout, orphan lines, where words break on a line, or anything like that.]

What do I listen for? Anything that doesn’t sound right on a sentence-by-sentence basis, or as part of a paragraph, or the entire page. Whenever I stumble or trip over a word, there is a good chance I need a rewrite. This gives me the opportunity to straighten convoluted sentences and exchange flabby diction with precise wording.

I often discover I used a word several times within a short span. I might not see the multiple uses on screen or page, but my ear picks them up. Reading often reveals double words: detritus remaining from earlier rewriting (the the is my most common).

I pay attention to adverbs: are they covering for a flabby verb? Make sure every adverb is necessary. As an example, consider the line “She quickly walked to the sidewalk.” With the multitude of verbs available to describe exactly how she moved to the sidewalk, this sentence employs a lazy approximation for what the reader should visualize as they read.

Where I used multiple adjectives, can I replace them with one perfect descriptor?

Have I noun-ized verbs (xxxxx-ness) or verbed nouns (xxxxx-ize)?

Are verbs that end with “ing” appropriate?

Have I fallen into a repetitive pattern? Do too many sentences share the same form? Are sentences all the same length?

#2 Use software to read the manuscript

I used this technique with Empty Promises (Seamus McCree #5) this week as the final step before sending the manuscript to my editor. I allow the software to read the words (fully engaging my ears in the process) while I follow along on the computer screen. A variety of free and for-purchase software exists to read documents. I use the voices incorporated in Microsoft Word.

Most of my POV characters for this story are male, so I chose Microsoft’s David Mobile. Unlike a voice actor, or when I read my WIP aloud, this electronic reading does not provide inflection, which allows me to pay more attention to the actual words. It does take a bit of getting used to. Microsoft mangles many proper names because it tries to pronounce them phonetically and guesses at syllables. One character is Frank Cabibi. I’ve pronounced his last name in my head as Că-BEE-bee. Microsoft David chose CAY-bǝ-BY. David also doesn’t correctly enunciate the difference between the “live” in live bait versus the one in live and let live.

The occasional auditory jar startles me back to listening with careful ears. When I read my own work, I read through typos. (I know what the word is supposed to be.) Microsoft David reads what’s there, catching, for example, “habit” in a sentence where I intended “habitat.” (The error had survived two earlier drafts.) He always reads double words, something I sometimes miss when I read my own manuscript.

Some things are more obvious when I listen to my writing rather than read it myself. I can’t catch words or sentences I stumble over—Microsoft David is too competent to stumble. However, I do catch more clunky sentences when hearing his monotone—words, not inflection, must carry the meaning.

#3 Record, then listen

I have not tried this technique, but I know authors who swear by recording themselves reading their manuscript out loud and then listening to the recording. While they record their words, they muzzle the internal editor. (This is the part I find impossible.) Once they start the playback, they are truly listening (since they are not also reading).

When to perform an Auditory Read Through

My current workflow incorporates two Auditory Read Throughs. The first is as I described in my use for Empty Promises: when I think I have a manuscript ready to send to my editor. I know the editor will find many things for me to change, and much of this polishing will be wasted effort. However, if I’ve corrected all the problems I can see, it allows my editor to spend her time spotting things I haven’t seen. For me that is worth the extra time.

I perform a final Auditory Read Through on the final, final, final, manuscript. It’s my last bit of quality control before I approve the manuscript for publication. I admit it’s probably a belt-and-suspenders approach to a clean read, but hey—it’s my name on the cover!

If you’ve tried the technique, how did you think it worked for you? If you haven’t performed an Auditory Read Through, do you think you might?

~ Jim

There is still time to register for the Revision and Self-Editing class, which you can do from Jim's website.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Time to Kill, A Time to Sellabrate, by Kait Carson

Once upon a time there was a hungry novelist and his name was John Grisham. The guy couldn’t sell a book to save his life. That’s right. John Grisham couldn’t sell a book. And he was desperate. The man came from a working-class background. He had his law degree, and like many of his characters, he took on the hard cases. Cases he believed in. Cases for indigent clients. Cases that would let him learn his trade. It beat his earlier jobs, heavy construction and selling tidy whities at Sears.

Sitting in the back of a courtroom watching a trial unfold he learned more than his trade. He learned anger and rage and had no place to channel them. It wasn’t his case. Lacking a way to control the outcome, he put pen to paper and A Time to Kill was born. Like many first born, it was a slow, painful, process. It took three years. After all that emotion, time, sweat and tears, the darn thing tanked. Grisham went back to the practice of law, hoping someday he would get good enough at it to quit.

This should be the part of the story where we write the rest is history. Except there’s a twist. Why not, Grisham writes thrillers. Ya gotta have a twist or two. Grisham’s second book The Firm turned into a runaway best seller. The book was optioned, Tom Cruise played the lead and a novelist star was born. Overnight fame (never mind those two pesky years between books) doesn’t get much better than that.

Grisham continued to churn out best sellers and the movies kept calling, The Pelican Brief followed The Firm, then The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker followed a year apart. The guy was no longer practicing law. Or if he was, his partners were shouldering the briefs. At some point, A Time to Kill made its second debut. Looking back, the book was ahead of its time. It horrified the reading public on a visceral level. Much the same way the true-life crime must have horrified Grisham. Horrified him enough to confess that he modeled the revenge shooting on his own desire.

A funny thing happened to A Time to Kill. The book of Grisham’s heart was a book he couldn’t give away. In fact, he claims to have forty or fifty buried in his back yard. These days, you can buy it on Amazon, probably eBay too, or you can go to a rare book store. If you are lucky you can find a first edition, for about $3,000 to $4,500. Talk about the ultimate backlist!

Readers, have you read A Time to Kill?
Writers, are you feeling as hopeful as I am about those early books that only jump off the shelves in earthquakes and hurricanes?

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Deep by Mickey Spillane: A Review by Warren Bull

The Deep by Mickey Spillane: A Review by Warren Bull

The Deep was published in 1961. Deep, a man with a history of violence and delinquency as an adolescent, returned to the streets he used to rule with his friend and their gang after twenty-five years. Long ago Deep and Bennett flipped a coin to see who would run the criminal empire in New York and who would leave to start in a new empire away from the city. Deep lost and departed. Nothing was heard from him again for those twenty-five years. Then Bennett was murdered. Four days later a big man arrived. It was Deep.

In his will Bennett left his real estate, businesses and cash to Deep with the provision that if his death is a violent one, Deep will identify Bennett’s killer within a week.

Deep renewed his acquaintances with friends and foes of long ago. He announced that he would take over Bennett’s operations. He lived up to the worst fears of those who wanted to take over the illicit enterprises themselves. He also reconnected with the woman who loved him.

Through shootouts, rumbles and ambushes, Deep proves he is still the toughest of the tough. The novel rocks along to it satisfying conclusion. The Deep is a fun easy read.  I recommend it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Castello di Amorosa

On my recent trip to California to visit my daughter we went to Napa Valley, California’s wine country where we passed numerous vineyards and wineries. What we were heading for was a winery that was in a fantastic authentic Tuscan castle.

The owner, Dario Sattui calls it “The Castle of Love.” It was a culmination of his life’s dream to build an authentic Tuscan castle where he could make outstanding Italian-style wines. It took him thirty years to build. To make it authentic in every respect, he used only old, hand-made materials and had it built employing the same methods and materials that would have been used 700-800 years ago. He said you can’t fake something like this. You either do it right or people will know it’s not authentic.

Mary and I are getting ready to go in.

Experts consider the Castello an architectural masterpiece. It’s a magical place which will transport those who visit to medieval Italy. With two thirds underground, the Castello contains eight levels – four of which are underground. (I think he was counting the towers.) – 107 rooms; each one of which is beautiful and distinctive from the others. It totals 121,000 square feet or three acres of rooms. We visited most but not all of them including a room with a video playing with Dario Sattui talking about how he had his castle built.

He brought more than two hundred containers from Europe filled with old materials and furnishing, used more than 8000 tons of local stone which they hand-chiseled, and brought nearly 1 million antique hand-made bricks from Europe.

The Castello contains all the elements a medieval castle would have possessed – a moat, drawbridge, five towers, high defensive ramparts, courtyards and loggias, a deep well, a functioning church, stables, an outdoor oven, an apartment for the Nobles, a Great Hall, and even a prison and torture chamber, and some of the most beautiful vaulted wine cellars in the world.

The castle is surrounded by 171 acres, 30 of which are grapes situated on one of the most beautiful properties in the United States. Looking out from one of the higher windows, it was lovely. I liked seeing goats and chickens wandering over some of the grounds. 

Mary and I didn’t take the guided tour which was more expensive, but paid the entrance fee and wandered about on our own. The Catholic church was a beautiful, and we each lit a candle for my son John, and sat down on chairs in front of the church to say a little prayer.

Then we wandered on to look at the huge Great Hall which had tables and chairs enough to fit many, people. I didn’t take time to count all the chairs, but there had to have been two dozen or more. In the inside court yards there were planters full of lovely flowers.

We eventually ended up in the basement area where there was a gift shop, lots of wine bottles for sale, and free wine tasting, which we did. Mary bought some wine.

From there we wandered on to the room holding large wine caskets, and eventually to the prison area, too.

Some more facts from the brochure:

*Two thousand pounds of hand-hewn doors from Italy

*All ironwork including lamps, gates and door hardware was hand-forged by Italian artisans.

*All doors and windows were made by Italian artisans and feature leaded glass windows.
I'm standing on the drawbridge.

I have visited castles in England, Wales and Scotland and was impressed by them, but I think this castle was even more impressive, and we didn’t even have time to visit all the 107 rooms. Fortunately, there were modern day toilets.

A little church on the way in.

Have you ever visited a castle or some other building that was very impressive?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An Interview With Jeri Westerson

by Grace Topping

Recently, my daughter stayed at a hotel in Atlanta where Dragon Con was taking place. She returned home with some very interesting stories. Dragon Con bills itself as the world’s largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe! More than 80,000 people gathered in Atlanta for the event.  

At the same time, Jeri Westerson was reporting on Facebook about her involvement as a first-time Dragon Con attendee and presenter. Jeri posted pictures and recounted some of her experiences there to promote her new book, Booke of the Hidden. It sounded as though she had stepped into a different world. So when I had the opportunity to read Booke of the Hidden, and interview Jeri, I jumped at it. Jeri, well known for her award-winning Crispin Guest series, was making a leap into the fantasy genre with Booke of the Hidden, and I wanted to find out more. 

Welcome, Jeri, to Writers Who Kill.

Jeri Westerson
Kylie Strange from Booke of the Hidden relocates to a village in Maine, only to find herself facing down demons, succubi, incubi, Wiccans, a motorcycle gang, and one unfriendly villager. What is it about Kylie that enables her to hold her own facing such great odds? 

The woman’s a fighter. Her mother had just died, too, and there comes a time when you either pick yourself up and strive on, or you fall apart completely. She has her moments of falling apart, but she IS the heroine, after all, and we’re rooting for her. It’s important to me to have her come across as the everyperson. I want the reader to think, “Now what would I do in this instance?” She goes above and beyond, that’s for sure. Readers want resilience in their protagonists, and she’s got it in spades. She’s in for a bumpy ride.

Booke of the Hidden is a story of intrigue, murder, romance, and the supernatural. How would you categorize it?

It falls very close into the “Urban Fantasy” category, where the emphasis is on the paranormal, and where a feisty (they’re always “feisty” or “plucky”) heroine—in a contemporary setting—does her best by supernatural means to fight the baddie. Though it isn’t too “urban” being set in a small town, there are still some gritty elements to the story. And it’s a little bit of a mystery, too, especially in the second book, Deadly Rising, when it starts to get a little more into the whodunnit range.

To me, Booke of the Hidden is like a bit of Harry Potter for adults. Kylie’s magical crossbow empowers her a bit like Harry’s magic wand empowered him. What is it about the supernatural that makes reading about it so compelling?

It’s fun! Who wouldn’t want a little magic in their lives? And a chthonic crossbow just when you need it? Except that the kind of magic Kylie encounters is decidedly deadly. The magical book she finds bricked up in the wall of her tea shop is a Pandora’s Box of sorts, because when she opens it, she unleashes creatures and forces beyond her ken, and she alone is responsible for putting it back to rights. And it isn’t easy. People are dead because of it. But just like J.K. Rowling’s magical world, there are certain rules that an author creates. The reader soon gets the hang of that world and what the heroine can and cannot do. That’s the fun of it for the reader, knowing that she’s cornered and “how is she gonna get out of it this time!” She can’t just wave a wand. It involves smarts and quick thinking, and a lot of hutzpah.

This is a serious, faced-paced story that includes physical battles and characters killed by having the life sucked out of them (those damn demons), but you still managed to insert touches of humor, which I loved. The excerpt below made me laugh out loud. Did the humor just creep into your story or did you use it for a bit of comic relief?

I looked around for a possible weapon and ended up grabbing a bag of tea. “Allergic, [to tea] right? Just how allergic?”
He pulled up short with a look of horror on his face. Aha! His kryptonite!
“Don’t come any closer,” I warned, brandishing the cellophaned tea. “I’ve got Earl Grey and I know how to use it.”
Humor is all a part of life anyway, and Kylie is a bit snarky, so as ridiculous as her situation is—and she knows it—she has to inject that humor in there just to keep sane. There’s nothing light-hearted about the story, but I do keep coming back to the aspect of what would I do in similar circumstances, and yeah, I’d be cracking jokes and snarking a bit, especially to keep the fear down. Even the Crispin books have their moments of humor because that’s life. And I wanted a little of that Buffy humor in there, because I think that readers expect it.

Kylie finds herself split between two possible love interests: a pleasant and appealing sheriff and bad boy Erasmus Dark, a mysterious demon. Why is it that women find bad boys so appealing?

It’s the danger they exude. The excitement. Most of us have pretty mundane lives with mundane jobs and meet some pretty mundane people, so when someone shows up in full color to our black and white drab, we tend to sit up and take notice. Didn’t we all like Spike in the Buffy series? Or Eric in the Sookie series?

Modern-day Kylie is a big departure from your medieval Crispin Guest series, which has loyal followers. What do you think your Crispin Guest followers will make of Booke of the Hidden?

Some will come along for the ride because they are intrigued by the concept and seem to enjoy my writing style, and some won’t because their only reading interest is in the medieval, and that’s okay. But it is tough striking out in a whole new genre, pretty much starting over trying to promote your book to an audience that hasn’t yet heard of you. And there’s very little help out there. You are kind of on your own. Now, your readers will be seeing this interview after I come back from Dragon Con. I was pretty excited to be invited on a panel there. Ever since I heard of these cons, like Comic Con, I wanted to go to them as an author, and now I’m getting my chance. I hope it introduces Kylie, Erasmus, and the gang to a whole new audience.

It’s funny, but readers tend to categorize you as much as publishers try to, as writing the one kind of thing. But I’ve been reading and enjoying sci fi and fantasy since I was in high school and that is a very long time indeed. So finally writing it is a little like old home week for me, getting back to my roots of what I enjoyed reading. So I hope that most of my readers will give it a try.

Booke of the Hidden is set in modern day Maine, while your Crispin Guest series is set in 14th century London. Which do you find more challenging to write, the historical or modern-day stories?

There’s no question that the Crispin Guest books are far more challenging, because when you are writing historically, it’s up to you to get the history right on which to hang your fiction, and that is some heavy-duty research. But even though Booke of the Hidden is contemporary with the liberal use of fantastical creatures and happenings, there is always a basis in truth or at least in the myths and legends of these creatures that people might be familiar with, so yes, there is still research. What’s the use of just making it all up? J.K. Rowling did her research on the myths of the past to inject them into her stories—the familiar, if you will—just to ground the reader and then take off from there. Stephanie Meyer started with what we think we know about vampires and werewolves in her Twilight series and gave it her own twist, her own rules. I’m having a lot of fun researching all the kinds of creatures Kylie will encounter that come out of the Booke in subsequent novels in the series. And, of course, I researched the heck out of Maine, what the cops wear, place names and surnames, the colloquialisms, and so on. Just like my historicals, I want it as real as I can make it.

What inspired Booke of the Hidden? Is this a new genre for you, or have you written other books in this genre?

I haven’t written these kinds of books before but I have enjoyed reading them. The Sookie Stackhouse novels, the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson, the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, the Buffy series on TV as well as Grimm and Supernatural—all urban fantasies. So this is a brand new genre for me to write and market. But let me tell you what inspired it: I had a dream. No, really. I dreamed the plot in that Kylie was there, opening a big, ancient book and released baddies into the world. And there was a demon who was sort of helping her, and some of the Wiccans to help her, so all the flesh of the story was there. And it was very entertaining. It was sitting down immediately after the dream to write down all I could remember and filling in the gaps in the synopsis, that I realized I had a series. And I wanted to stretch my writing wings anyway, not just to get out of the medieval for a while, but also to get out of the midlist. Some authors have found amazing success in this genre. But you never know. I thought Crispin Guest, a hardboiled detective in a medieval setting, was original enough to get some attention, but that didn’t happen. We’ll see what happens once Booke of the Hidden takes off.

Now that you’ve written books in different genres, do you find one pulling at you more than the others?

No, not really. My agent wasn’t keen on my sneaking into another genre. He was more comfortable with marketing me as the “medieval gal” and encouraged me to write more medieval mysteries—and I will, eventually—but let’s face it, it’s a pretty niche market. And a writer has all sorts of stories in their heads. Why should they be relegated to only one kind? I have more paranormals up my sleeve, including a paranormal mystery series. One idea I had might even be a mash-up of paranormal and medieval mystery, not that there aren’t already little hints of paranormal in the Crispin books, but this one will be more blatant about it. But that’s all in the planning stages as the Crispin books wind down in a few years.

Your books have garnered all kinds of accolades. When you were starting out and a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies, did you ever think your work would be so well received?

I was hoping it would be, and I certainly worked hard to get it out there, but I still have a long way to go. The series has been nominated 12 times for industry awards for 9 books so far, but I have yet to win any of those awards. So far, I’m the Susan Lucci of mystery awards!

A Maiden Weeping was released in the UK before it was released here. How are your books received in the UK and in other parts of the world?

It’s funny, but UK readers—or is it publishers?—think Americans can’t write historicals. We’re uneducated boobs, I guess. But the readership is growing in the UK. And the books have been translated into Italian, French, Polish, and Russian, so far. The interest is slowly growing.

You’ve written a popular series and been nominated for twelve awards, including the Agatha and Shamus. I understand that you still find it difficult to get into some bookstores for public appearances. What is it about publishing now that makes promotion and book selling so difficult?

Money is so tight and if a bookseller doesn’t think they can sell an adequate number of books, they don’t want to invest the time and effort, and believe me, I understand that. I have sat in bookstores at a signing and did not sell one copy. 

And the Internet has made it far easier and cheaper for consumers to get their hands on books they never would have known about before. Still, a personal appearance is a great way to hand sell a book. I do a lot of library events throughout the year, and I’ll be doing some specifically on my book tour in November and December after the book comes out.

Is Booke of the Hidden available for pre-order?

It’s always available for pre-order on Amazon, but might I suggest you call your local Barnes & Noble or independent bookstore and pre-order it there? It will be releasing on Halloween and my in-store appearances will begin the first weekend in November. Check BOOKEoftheHIDDEN.com to find my appearance schedule, or come to my Facebook Virtual Booke Launch for two hours of spooky fun and giveaways. That’s on November 1st. And don’t forget to check out my book trailer. It’s pretty fantastic. You can see that on my website.

What’s next for Kylie Strange? Will there be a sequel to Booke of the Hidden?

Oh yes! There will be six books in the series, and the next one is Deadly Rising, where a kelpie, a demon horse, is luring young women to their doom in the swampy marshes outside Moody Bog. Kylie must figure out a way to stop this new fiend without following its siren song herself, except she’s preoccupied with thoughts of another demon—Erasmus Dark, even as things heat up between her and Sheriff Ed. The Ordo [evil bike gang] is up to their old tricks, and a new danger only stirs up more questions about the hidden secrets just below the surface of Moody Bog.

Being a real Crispin Guest fan, I can’t help but ask, what’s next for Crispin? I hope we’ll see more of him—and of Kylie Strange.

Crispin will return in the tenth book, Season of Blood, releasing on New Year’s Day, which, I have to tell you, is now one of my favorite Crispin books. It’s full of the kind of twisty plot I like to write with some really fun characters and a love interest: Embroiled in a war of relics between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, Crispin finds himself shielding a former sheriff and old nemesis, Simon Wynchecombe, from a charge of murder while entangling himself with a mysterious and beautiful woman caught between Church politics and the dangerous intrigues of King Richard’s court.

Thank you, Jeri.

Booke of the Hidden Trailer Video: https://youtu.be/3LPfNQAIasc

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Booke-Hidden-Jeri-Westerson/dp/163576050X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Booke of the Hidden Jacket Copy
To get a fresh start away from a bad relationship, Kylie Strange moves across the country to open a shop in a seemingly quiet town in rural Maine. During renovations on Strange Herbs & Teas, she discovers a peculiar and ancient codex, The Booke of the Hidden, bricked into the wall. Every small town has its legends and unusual histories, and this artifact sends Kylie right into the center of Moody Bog’s biggest secret.

While puzzling over the tome’s oddly blank pages, Kylie gets an unexpected visitor―Erasmus Dark, an inscrutable stranger who claims to be a demon, knows she has the book, and warns her that she has opened a portal to the netherworld. Kylie brushes off this nonsense, until a series of bizarre murders put her, the newcomer, at the center. With the help of the demon and a coven of witches she befriends while dodging the handsome but sharp-eyed sheriff, Kylie hunts for a killer―that might not be human.

Los Angeles native Jeri Westerson is the author of ten Crispin Guest Medieval Noir novels, a series nominated for 12 national awards from the Agatha to the Shamus. Her first in the series, Veil of Lies was named Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Review, her third The Demon’s Parchment received a coveted starred review by Library Journal, and her sixth, Shadow of the Alchemist, was named Best of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. Also in 2013, her fifth novel Blood Lance was named one of the "Ten Hot Crime Novels for Colder Days" by Kirkus Reviews. For her debut urban fantasy series, Booke of the Hidden, releasing this Halloween, Jeri was invited as a paneled author to prestigious Dragon Con. Jeri was featured on two local NPR shows, ‘My Awesome Empire” and KVCR-Arts. She has served two terms as president of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, as vice president for the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and twice president of the Orange County Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She frequently guest lectures on medieval history at local colleges and museums, and lives in southern California with her home-brewing husband, a complacent desert tortoise, and 40,000 bees. See more about Jeri at JeriWesterson.com or visit BOOKEoftheHIDDEN.com for exclusive content about her new series and a fabulous “Booke” trailer.