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

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

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. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! 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 August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Interview With Jessica Estevao

by Grace Topping

Depending on my mood, I’ll select a traditional, cozy, historical, paranormal, suspenseful, police procedural, or regional mystery. Finding a book that combines two or more of these forms is always a treat, so I was really pleased to discover Jessica Estevao’s Change of Fortune Mystery series. Set in the 19th century, Whispers Beyond the Veil took me back to another time in Maine and included various forms of the paranormal. It definitely didn’t disappoint and left me greatly anticipating more books in this intriguing new series.

Welcome, Jessica, to Writers Who Kill.

Your Change of Fortune Mystery series focuses on the paranormal. Have you always had an interest in the paranormal or is this something new for you with this series?

As a child I always loved fantasy novels and magical happenings. I suppose I never outgrew my interest in paranormal possibilities.

Jessica Estevao/Jessie Crockett

Your main character, Ruby Proulx, finds herself at the Hotel Belden in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, which is unique in that caters to people who wish to consult with spiritualists and other paranormal specialists. Does Old Orchard Beach, an actual place, have a history of attracting people in search of spiritualism, mediumship, tarot readings, etc.?

Old Orchard Beach has a long history of appealing to people from a wide variety of backgrounds with an equally wide variety of interests. It is a wonderful place to bring so many characters together. At the time Whispers Beyond the Veil is set, Spiritualism was popular all over the country, and in fact, many other parts of the world.

Ruby Proulx’s father involved her in scam operations from the time she was very young. With that background, does Ruby find it difficult to move away from unethical practices?

Ruby struggles frequently with her past and her desire to leave it behind. Unfortunately for her, the skills she relied on as a con artist are useful in her new life and others might suffer if she doesn’t employ them from time to time.

Ruby does tarot card readings. Does she actually believe in their ability to help guide individuals, or are they part of the world her father created?

Ruby believes what she hears from the voice and she believes in her own instincts. The tarot is a tool she uses to connect with both.

Ruby’s Aunt Honoria owns the Hotel Belden and employs an automatic writer, an astrologer, a radiesthesist (someone who can harmonize energy and relieve suffering), a dowser, a numerologist, and a psychometrist (someone who can read the energy of objects by touching them). Fascinating people and quite a draw for people searching for answers. Did you do a lot of research into these areas?

I do spend a lot of time researching my books. I spent a week in Lily Dale, New York, at a spiritualist enclave researching the second Change of Fortune mystery. I’ve attended a séance, had tarot readings and interviewed an energy worker. All of these have had a part in setting the stage for Ruby and her fellow practitioners.

Ruby said that, “I’ve always kept my abilities a secret for fear of being sent to an asylum.” In your research, have you actually met people with these gifts? Have you found that people with certain gifts are inclined to keep them a secret?

I have met several people who had not wanted to open up about their belief in their own gifts for fear of recrimination when they first came to believe they possessed such abilities. Often, as time passed they felt more confident and began to share their experiences with other like-minded people.

Ruby asks a palm reader if the beach makes people more able to see the future or contact the world of spirit and is told that she couldn’t have found a better place to do so. Could this be why so many of these individuals are drawn to the water?

I like the idea of thin spaces, those spots where the possibility of connecting with other realms or times or dimensions is heightened. I like to imagine that Old Orchard is just that sort of place.  I think any place with natural beauty makes it easier to believe in things greater than ourselves. Locations near the water are often beautiful so I can see why that would create such a draw.

Tell us about the voice Ruby hears that helps guide her?

Ruby is clairaudient, which means she hears a voice others do not. The voice she hears counsels her unexpectedly and on a wide range of topics. She has no idea from whence it comes but she does know that every time she fails to heed its advice she regrets it deeply.

Lucinda and Orazelia Yancey consult Ruby about an old murder they wish to have solved. The issue wasn’t resolved by the end of the book. Will we be learning more about that case in a future book?

I am not entirely certain. I have a few ideas about that which intrigue me but I am still in the mulling stage.

Whispers Beyond the Veil is set in 1898. Did you find it easier or more difficult writing a historical novel rather than one set current day?

I find each to be equally challenging and pleasurable to write. Historical mysteries require a sort of vigilance about not assuming things that current day novels don’t. I comb through the historicals during the revising stage and ask myself a lot of questions about what is and is not possible given the time period. It is important to be sure of the timeline for inventions and historical events. It is also important to acknowledge the societal attitudes of the day. In some ways though, the mystery aspect of historical mysteries are easier to construct, as there are no cell phones or Internet searches to assist my sleuths.

What’s next for Ruby, Aunt Honoria, Officer Yancey and the other residents of Old Orchard Beach? I hope we’ll see the next book in the series soon.

There will be another Change of Fortune mystery available in 2017. The title is Whispers of Warning and I am very excited for it to make its way into the hands of readers.

Ruby’s snake-oil salesman father was an interesting character. Will he make an appearance?

We shall see…

Please tell us about your Granite State and Sugar Grove series, written under the name Jessie Crockett. Will we be seeing more books in those series?

These are both contemporary series set in New Hampshire. The Granite State Mysteries features a volunteer fire chief in her tiny village. In the Sugar Grove Mysteries protagonist Dani Greene is a maple sugar maker who lives on her family’s tree farm in a small New Hampshire town. There will be more books in the Granite State mysteries series. I hope to have the next one available by mid 2017. The Sugar Grove series is complete at three novels.

You recently attended New England Crime Bake and Iceland Noir conferences. Can you tell us about them?

They were both wonderful experiences. I’ve attended Crime Bake for ten years and it never fails to bring me joy. The conference is capped at under 300 attendees and has a friendly, intimate feeling. It is a craft conference and really focuses on delivering valuable content for writers. Iceland Noir is more of a celebration of the genre. It attracts both writers and readers from around the world. It had an almost family reunion feel to it. The organizers did such a lovely job and it was a joy to attend. If you have any interest in Nordic crime novels I cannot recommend it highly enough. Reykjavik is lovely and easy to navigate and there are plenty of flights!

Live Free or Die was the winner of the 2011 Mainstream Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and translated into German. How exciting was that? Has receiving recognition early in your writing career put more pressure on you?

It was a wonderful beginning to my publishing career. I was delighted to win, not only because it is so easy to doubt yourself, especially early on, but also because I love Daphne du Maurier’s work. I think rather than feel pressured I felt encouraged to continue writing.

Tell us a bit about your writing process. Do you write with music in the background or need quiet? Is your work area messy or tidy?

I just can’t write with music. I wish I could but it distracts me entirely. I often write listening to recorded sounds of the ocean especially when I am writing about Old Orchard Beach. My office swings between very tidy and heaving with delayed decisions. When the surface of my desk gets a bit too heaped up I swamp it out and feel ready to get back to business.

Standing in a bookstore, what book couldn’t you resist recommending to a nearby stranger?

I loved both The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. I’ve recommended each of them to many readers. I’ve also recommended Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg M.D. and Zoë François. If you like to bake bread it may just revolutionize your life!

Thank you, Jessica, for joining us.

To learn more about Jessica Estevao/Jessie Crockett, visit her websites:

Whispers Beyond the Veil

First in a dazzling new historical mystery series featuring Ruby Proulx, a psychic with a questionable past who suddenly finds her future most uncertain...

Canada 1898. The only life Ruby Proulx has ever known is that of a nomad, traveling across the country with her snake-oil salesman father. She dreams of taking root somewhere, someday, but, until she can, she makes her way by reading tarot cards. Yet she never imagined her own life would take such a turn…

After one of her father’s medical “miracles” goes deadly wrong, Ruby evades authorities by hiding in the seaside resort town of Old Orchard, Maine, where her estranged aunt, Honoria, owns the Hotel Belden, a unique residence that caters to Spiritualists—a place where Ruby should be safe as long as she can keep her dark secret hidden.

But Ruby’s plan begins to crumble after a psychic investigator checks into the hotel and senses Ruby is hiding more than she’s letting on. Now Ruby must do what she can to escape both his attention and Aunt Honoria’s insistence that she has a true gift, before she loses her precious new home and family forever…


Margaret Turkevich said...

thanks, Grace, for a good interview. Jessica, looking forward to sampling your different series.

Jessica Estevao said...

Thanks Margaret! It was a pleasure to turn my hand to a different sort of story while remaining in the mystery genre.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing here on WWK.

Cynthia Kuhn said...

What a wonderful interview! I can't wait to read your latest book. Congratulations!

Shari Randall said...

Great interview, ladies. Jessie, your new series combines two of my favorite subgenres - paranormal and historical - fantastic! And thank you for the bread book recommendation. Nothing nicer than homebaked bread.

Kait said...

Great interview, Grace. Jessie, I looked at your photo and kept thinking I know that face, but can't fit the name. So funny.

Can't wait to dig into the mysteries of Old Orchard Beach. Sounds wonderful and delightful and when I come home to Maine, you will have to recommend that Tarot reader to me. I should be curious to see what is in the cards.

Best of luck with the book. And I'm off to order the bread book.

Gloria Alden said...

Jessica, I enjoyed your Maple sugar series and was sorry when they ended. I'm a little iffy about paranormal, although I do believe that the dead do return - at least for awhile. However, I do think I'll enjoy the Old Orchard Beach series.

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds fascinating. It's not easy to do a reasonable paranormal historic mystery, but it sounds like you've got it down!

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Jessie, for joining us at WWK. I hope future readers enjoy your book as much as I did. I can't wait for the next in the series.

Jessica Estevao said...

Warren, thanks fo r having me!

Jessica Estevao said...

Cynthia, thanks and I hope you enjoy the book!

Jessica Estevao said...

Shari,nothing is nicer than fresh, homemade bread!

Jessica Estevao said...

Kait, glad you were able to connect me with my alter ego! Have fun with the bread book!

Jessica Estevao said...

Gloria, thanks for being willing to give my paranormal book a try!

Jessica Estevao said...

Thanks, KM! I had a lot of fun with this book partly because of the challenge of combining sub genres.

Jessica Estevao said...

Thanks so much, Grace, for having me on the blog! I can't wait for the next book to be released either!