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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Interview with Dorothy Cannell by E. B. Davis

“The headmistress wants to see you.” Words to strike terror in the heart of any inmate of St. Roberta’s boarding school. Fortunately for Ellie, she is no longer a pudgy, wayward pupil but a happily married mother and interior designer with a beautiful home by the sea. Still, thanks to her success as an amateur local sleuth, Ellie has been summoned.
St. Roberta’s needs Ellie’s help now that the former games mistress, Ms. Chips, has retired. Could Ellie please come back on campus and find out who has stolen the Loverly
sports trophy—and is seeking to bring embarrassment to the school? Her less than rosy memories of being a student notwithstanding, Ellie cannot refuse headmistress Mrs. Battle’s entreaties. Soon she finds herself in the thick of boarding school life, where an apparent schoolgirl prank gives way to murder.

The Thin Woman was published in 1984. I read it and found it delightful. The series sustained and preserved my humor during what seemed like a lifetime of stress but in retrospect was just life with all its ups/downs and uncertainties. When I picked up the Ellie Haskell mystery, Goodbye, Ms. Chips, I did so knowing that my old friends, the thought-racing Ellie and the wonderfully tacky Mrs. Malloy, awaited me. Reunited, I dove through the book like a porpoise dances on waves—on my tail, drink beside me, and plenty of potential snacks surrounding me.  

Please welcome Dorothy Cannell to WWK.       E. B. Davis

Do you think first impressions are true?

ANSWER: Not always, but I do believe in giving heed to an inner voice saying ‘look where you go with this person.’

Do you have fun thinking up characters’ names?

ANSWER: I do.  Before I can get hold of a character I must form a visual image and for this I need the name.  For instance with Goodbye Ms. Chips I needed Ellie’s former headmistress to project a fierce image to a child – thus Mrs. Battle.

Dorcas Critchley, now the games mistress at Ellie’s old school, St. Roberta’s, asks Ellie to help discover who stole the Loverly Cup and recover it. How did Dorcas and Ellie become acquainted?

ANSWER: Dorcas first appeared in The Thin Woman, my first book in the Ellie series.  Ellie and Ben
(later married) had inherited a neglected house named Merlin’s Court and advertised for a housekeeper. Dorcas took the position, her reasons for doing so linked to an old family secret.

Seeing Ms. Chips again causes Ellie anguish. What did Ellie do to Ms. Chips?

ANSWER: She had betrayed her trust by absenting herself from Lacrosse and by so doing was involved in a popular pupil’s disgrace.

What obstacle did Mrs. Malloy overcome to join Ellie at St. Roberta’s?

ANSWER: A visit from her newly married sister and husband.

Do English children still dance around the Maypole?

ANSWER: This centuries old tradition continues, with less frequency but the same exuberance.

When Ellie meets Mrs. Battle, she’s amazed to find her much younger than she thought. Do you remember being so young you thought everyone old?

ANSWER: I wasn’t aware of it, but when I visited my old high school some twenty-five years later I was amazed to discover that the art mistress hadn’t aged a day and that another “ancient” was still teaching domestic science.  

Harpsichord, Carrots, and Tobias are all cats, whose loyalties are questionable. Why does anyone have pet cats?

ANSWER: Our thirteen-year-old cat recently died.  Even though I was the one who brought her home, she despised me from the word go as the creature who intruded on her slavish devotion to my husband.  If she could have locked me out of the house and thrown away the key, or better yet hired a hit man to put me underground she would have done so.  I shouldn’t miss her at all, but I do painfully.

Ellie is asked to substitute for a teacher with a dental problem. She doesn’t seem as nervous as I expected her to be. Why didn’t she have butterflies?

ANSWER:  Her focus is on solving the problems besetting the school and she has no time to worry about smaller issues.  I think what readers find cozy (comforting) about the traditional mystery is being drawn into a world where at least one person is coping within the turmoil.

I remember wearing blue cotton bloomers for gym in junior high. Describe the St. Roberta’s uniform for our readers, if you would.

ANSWER:  Bottle green shorts and mustard yellow shirts.  My school uniform was an even more hideous combination.

Why are children ruthless? Is compassion learned?

ANSWER: Maybe I’m a Pollyanna but I don’t think most of them are, beyond occasional spiteful behavior, which makes the trait so worrisome. The nature nurture thing is the eternal question.

At St. Roberta’s Ellie was bullied by Rosemary Martin. Ellie finds Rosemary in residence at the “old girls’ retreat,” where they stay on the school grounds. Does Rosemary have any power over Ellie anymore?

ANSWER: I choose to think that bullies are at root inadequate personalities.  On meeting Rosemary again, Ellie is struck by how boring she is, yapping on forever about trivia.

What is the legend of the Gray Nun, and why wasn’t the crypt sealed off?

ANSWER: The Gray Nun is the ghost of a young woman who was dragged off to a convent because of her carryings-on with an unacceptable suitor, who later turned devout and fought off the marauders of the Reformation at the sacrifice of her life.  It is rumored she hid the convent treasure in the crypt.  This was not sealed off by St. Roberta’s because it was off school grounds and visitors to the area enjoyed exploring the ruins.

Many of our fears from school turn out to be our own perceptions rather than reality. What does Ellie discover about her own years at St. Roberta?

ANSWER:  That the benefits outweighed the negatives.  She was left with lasting friendships and met a remarkable woman in Ms. Chips.

You started a new historical series set in England during the 1930s. Why? And why that time?

ANSWER: Because it is set not far behind my childhood years in England and fills me with delightful nostalgia.  I also enjoy writing in the language of the time, using words and phrases no longer in common usage.

Do you get to travel to England to conduct research for the series?

ANSWER: It’s not so much about research as of reabsorbing the atmosphere – walking through ancient church yards, wandering along country lanes, hearing and smelling England.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

ANSWER: Find your voice and your own truth.

You sponsor a scholarship for one unpublished SinC Guppy to attend the Malice Domestic Conference each year. Why did you decide on that gift?

ANSWER: The scholarship was a gift from my agent who is a strong enthusiast of the Guppies.

Are you a beach or a mountain woman, Dorothy?

ANSWER:  I’m my own back garden woman.


Grace Topping said...

I've enjoyed your books over the years and seeing you at Malice Domestic. Thank you for joining us at Writers Who Kill.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for stopping by at WWK. I like your advice to new writers.

Margaret Turkevich said...

interesting insights, especially about absorbing a location: sights, sounds, smells, infused with memories.

Gloria Alden said...

Dorothy, I've enjoyed your books over the years, too, and seeing you a Malice. I'm looking forward to reading your new historical mysteries. And my favorite place to be is in my own gardens, too.

Kait said...

The books sound delightful. Just the thing for reading out by the pool. Definitely on my TBR.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for the insight into your work. I like the way you absorb a setting using all your senses!