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













June Interview Schedule:
6/5 Daphne Contest Finalists: Joyce Woollcott, Amy Drayer, and Margaret S. Hamilton
6/12 Susan Van Kirk (new WWK Blogger)
6/19 Julie Mulhern
6/26 Barbara Ross

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 6/1 Julie Mulhern, 6/8 Andy Potter

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 6/15 Gloria Alden, 6/22 Kait Carson, 6/29 E. B. Davis

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Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE 2019 AGATHA NOMINEES FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

by Paula Gail Benson

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Little Comfort by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell (Level Best Books)
Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari Randall (St. Martin’s)

Malice Domestic is recognizing these phenomenal authors for their first mystery novels, but already each is accomplished in his or her craft. They have tackled fascinating concepts with the skill of seasoned pros. I’m delighted they could spend a little time with us here at WWK. Welcome, Dianne, Edwin, Aimee, Keenan, and our own Shari! Thanks for answering a few questions.

While you were writing your nominated story, tell us (a) something you learned from the writing, and (b) something unique that happened in your life.

Dianne Freemwn
DIANNE FREEMAN:
I’ve been writing for over 20 years just for my own amusement. In writing this novel, then revising, and revising, then actually liking the finished product, I learned to consider myself a writer rather than just someone who has a strange hobby. 

When I had what I thought was a finished manuscript, I entered a contest called PitchWars--and got in! I worked with a mentor for six weeks, gained 125 new writer friends, who were fellow mentees, and ultimately found my agent. For someone who never had a critique partner or group, joining this writing community was an amazing experience.

Edwin Hill
EDWIN HILL:
For me, writing a first novel meant learning something new practically every day. In writing LITTLE COMFORT, I think the most important things I learned were about structure and pacing - about making sure that I was always (and I mean always) raising the stakes for my main character, Hester Thursby. When I sent around the first few drafts to beta readers, I always asked them to identify places when they started to feel bored or -- even better -- when they realized they hadn’t paid attention for a few pages. Those were the spots in the manuscript where I knew I needed to either add something to push the story, or cut way back because I was getting bogged down in something unnecessary. 

As for something that happened in my own life: my dog Edith Ann came to live with me. She is a yellow lab. She’s goofy and sweet and has absolutely changed my life in all the best ways. “Everyone says they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.” It couldn’t be more right!


Aimee Hix
AIMEE HIX:
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU was the first book I wrote and finished. I’d started several and got about five pages in before abandoning them because I had no idea what I was doing and thought I was supposed to know. With WDKY I had an online friend who turned into a writing mentor (the amazing Matthew V Clemens) and I learned that no one knows that they’re doing. “Writing the first draft of a book”, he told me, “you’re just telling yourself the story.” Julie Hyzy told him/people that and it’s true.

Nothing really unique happened in my life while writing it but something spooky happened. WDKY is set in the Fairfax County area and I have fictional places set where real places exist. There is a fire in WDKY and the day after I wrote it there was a fire at the actual business where my fake business is located. The same fake business that has a fire in the book. 
😨

Keenan Powell
KEENAN POWELL:
I was surprised when I learned from a social worker friend how large the homeless community is in Anchorage, where they live, and how they’ve developed this kind of Dystopian society all their own. Something unique that happened in my life as I was writing DEADLY SOLUTION, was discovering how writing satisfied a deep need for self-expression that is not met by other creative endeavors.

Shari Randall
SHARI RANDALL:
Since my series is set in a lobster shack, I learned a lot about lobsters. Fun fact: in colonial times in New England, lobster was so plentiful that native people and colonists used the hundreds of lobsters that constantly washed up on the beach for fertilizer and bait  - it was considered a nuisance. Lobster was served to prisoners so often that a law was passed that prisons could only serve it twice a week. Clearly things have changed.
I also learned that writing with a beautiful, inspiring setting is not for me. My writing spot was a seat at the dining room table, which faced a gorgeous, instagram worthy view of the ocean. But it was so distracting! So I started writing in a carrel at the local public library. Facing a plain white wall is very good for word count.
Unique in my life? I started writing my debut three days after I moved into a new home in a new state. Thank goodness writing is a portable occupation.

Now, some short answers:

Favorite Mystery Movie:

DIANNE:       The Thin Man. I love Nick and Nora

EDWIN:        I like a lot of mystery movies, but I think I’ll go into the archives and pull out The Last of Sheila, a movie that came out in the early seventies and starred people like James Coburn and Rachel Welch. It has a fantastic atmosphere and a perfectly plotted mystery that was revealed, step-by-step, in finale. In the early days of VHS, my friends and I our hands on a copy and watched it over and over again looking for how the clues were revealed. 

AIMEE:          The Big Sleep

KEENAN:      My favorite mystery movie is Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

SHARI:           My favorite mystery movie? The Killers from 1946 -- (not the one made in the sixties). The film is based on a short story by Hemingway and dazzles with double crosses and triple crosses everywhere. It’s so noir! Plus it had stunning debut performances by Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner -- you can’t take your eyes off them.

Place You Would Love To Set A Mystery:

DIANNE:       I’d love to take my characters to Paris. Since my novels take place in 1899, I think it would be fascinating.

EDWIN:        The Hester Thursby mystery series is all set in Massachusetts where I live, which is by design. I have a very demanding day job, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time for research into setting, so it is easier to have the books set in a place where I live. I would love to set a book in a distant locale, though, one where I would have to go live for many, many months to do research, and I think would choose Ile de Re, which is an island in the Atlantic, off the coast of La Rochelle in France. I spent a semester in La Rochelle when I was in high school and it is a place I hold close to my heart. Ile de Re is an isolated summer resort, one with beautiful landscapes and fishing villages, and I think I could get used to researching over croissants and moules frites!

AIMEE:          Abandoned insane asylum - so much paranoid fear and comic potential

KEENAN:      I’d love to set a mystery in the back corridors of a courthouse.

SHARI:           On a cruise ship!

Animal You Would Like To See Included In A Cozy Mystery:

DIANNE:       Maybe a chicken. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chicken in a cozy mystery.

EDWIN:       Hester Thursby’s long-time boyfriend Morgan Maguire is a veterinarian, so animals play a large role in all of the novels in the series, though the number one animal is their basset hound mix, Waffles. I really love the show Parks and Recreation,  and have always liked the episodes that feature Lil’ Sebastian, so maybe I’ll try to work a mini horse into one of the future novels. 

AIMEE:          Hmmmm, maybe an otter or a seal - again, the comic potential is off the charts for a silly funny animal

KEENAN:      How about a baby beluga? They are so darned cute.

SHARI:           I keep hearing about goat yoga. I’d love to write a scene about it.

I can’t wait to read your new novels, particularly the ones with the settings and animals mentioned above!

Following is a brief bio for each author.

Best wishes to you all!

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. Her debut novel, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder has been nominated for an Agatha and a Lefty Award for best first novel as well as a Mary Higgins-Clark Award. 

Edwin Hill is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hester Thursby mystery series. His first novel, Little Comfort, was nominated for an Agatha Award for best debut. The second in the series, The Missing Ones, will be available in September. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

Aimee Hix, after twenty years as a federal contractor, retired and turned to murder. Fictionally, of course. She began writing the Willa Pennington PI mystery series in 2014 and decided to set it in her “hometown” of Fairfax County because of the rich diversity and opportunities for a private investigator to become entangled in with interesting people. What Doesn’t Kill You, has been nominated for a Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel and an Agatha for Best First Novel. Aimee lives in Virginia with her family, three dogs, and all her killer thoughts.

Keenan Powell’s first publication was illustrations in Dungeons and Dragons drawn during high school. Art seemed an impractical pursuit – she wasn’t an heiress, didn’t have the disposition to marry well, and hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. The day after graduation, she moved to Alaska where she continues to practice. Her debut, Deadly Solution, A Maeve Malloy Mystery, was nominated for a Lefty and an Agatha for Best First. Its sequel, Hemlock Needle, was released in January 2019. The third in the series, Hell and High Water, is scheduled for release in January 2020.

Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series from St. Martin’s Press. A native New Englander and former librarian, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and the International Thriller Writers Association. When she’s not cooking up a devious plot twist, she enjoys dancing, cruising garage sales, and visiting her globe-trotting children. You can see what’s new with her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sharirandallauthor


9 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congrats to all!

Shari Randall said...

Thank you, Paula! You ask such fun questions. It's an honor to be part of your series.

Art Taylor said...

So much enjoy these interviews! And such a tremendously fun time for this group, I know. Look forward to seeing you all at Malice!
Art

Edwin Hill said...

Many, many thanks, Paula! You have me dreaming about a new series!

Kait said...

Congratulations and good luck to all. I don't know how anyone can pick and chose among these books. They are all excellent. Glad it's not my job to select a winner.

Gloria Alden said...

Very interesting. I can't wait to meet you at Malice and buy copies of your books.

Paula Gail Benson said...

What a terrific group of debut authors! Thank you for spending some time with us and for such great answers. Looking forward to seeing you all at Malice! Margaret, Kait, and Gloria, thank you for your kind comments.

KM Rockwood said...

They all sound great! I've read most of them, but I have the other one on my TBR (soon) list.

Grace Topping said...

What a great group of nominees. It's going to make voting very difficult. I look forward to seeing the nominees there.