Welcome to next edition of the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & BOOK ALERT series. Today, we’re sharing:
You might have noticed the header and main graphic say this is Part 2 of an interview… Last June, Victoria and I collaborated on Part 1 of the interview and author spotlight when the 6th book in the Merry Muffin series, Muffin But Trouble, was published. If you missed that spotlight, you can read it @ Victoria Hamilton Author Spotlight – Part 1. Today, we’re finishing our wonderful Q&A session and sharing news about the publication of the 9th book in the Vintage Kitchen series, Cast Iron Alibi. Today is RELEASE DAY for this book, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I’ve ordered it and will be reading it this month. Be sure to read the whole post as there is a GIVEAWAY contest to enter where you can win a $20 Amazon gift card. What a generous thank you from Victoria Hamilton! Let’s jump right into the details…
About the Author
Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym of nationally bestselling romance author Donna Lea Simpson. Victoria is the author of three mystery series, the Lady Anne Addison Mysteries, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, and the Merry Muffin Mysteries. Her latest adventure in writing is a Regency-set historical mystery series, starting with A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder. She blogs at Killer Characters, a can’t miss website filled with hilarious and clever authors.
Author Website – VictoriaHamiltonMysteries.com
Overview of Book (s)
Victoria has written ~25+ books, and I’ve read over 50% of them. Check out her dedicated author page on my blog where you can see my past reviews too.
Cast Iron Alibi
In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of Breaking the Mould, when an over-amorous handyman is found murdered, Jaymie will have to use every tool at her disposal to nab the culprit . . .
“I have loved this series from the first book . . . it’s like returning to a favorite nook for a cup of tea. It will delight, entice, and drive a reader to want to solve the murder.” —Goodreads on No Grater Danger
Looking forward to her girls-only college reunion vacation, Jaymie’s on cloud nine at the idea of lazy trips to the beach, dinner cruises on the nearby river, and snug sleeping in the vintage trailer she’s renovated. But no sooner does the group reconnect than her hopes turn to tension as petty squabbles and old acrimonies surface, along with tagalong friends, unexpected guests, and stalkerish ex-husbands. And when a local toolbelt Romeo with an eye for one of the women is found murdered, his home ablaze, the simmering hostility in the group suddenly shifts to secrecy.
Local law enforcement is zeroing in on the victim’s best friend and girlfriend as the most likely suspects, but Jaymie’s inquisitive instincts are telling her one of her former classmates may have been involved in the foul deed. Forced to navigate her fraught relationship with a local police detective and determined to uncover the myriad secrets her college friends are hiding, Jaymie knows she’ll have to dig deep to figure out whose alibi is cast iron, and whose is flimsy as tin . . .
Includes vintage recipes!
Praise for the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries:
“All the right ingredients . . . Small-town setting, kitchen antiques . . . and a bowlful of mystery. A perfect recipe.” —New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert
“[A] charming new series.” —New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly
“A chilling whodunit.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Well-plotted with several unexpected twists and more developed characters.” —The Mystery Reader
“Jaymie is a great character . . . She is inquisitive and full of surprises!” —Debbie’s Book Bag
Interview: Questions & Answers
Q – What are the most important things about you that you would want prospective readers to know?
A – Cast Iron Alibi, Vintage Kitchen Mysteries #9, features Jaymie getting together with a group of the girls with whom she went to university in Canada. I’ve thought a lot about how we sometimes grow out of friends, and sometimes they grow away from us. This features a little of both, and also how sometimes our relationships with others are based on shared experiences, but that isn’t always enough. I feel that’s a common experience, but Jaymie has to struggle with how much or how little she has in common with friends with whom she shared a pivotal life experience.
Q – When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
A – I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read. It crystallized once I started reading Agatha Christie at about the age of twelve; that’s when I knew what I wanted to write. But I was the child of people – a welder and a nursing assistant – who worked hard for a living. It took me a long looong time to figure out that writing was something one could do, as a career, for a living. With the encouragement of a close family member I finally got serious and started writing. I broke into print twenty years ago this December in Regency romance, and twelve years later into mystery writing. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do, and though it wasn’t easy, I’ve gotten to the point where I can make a living. I wish more people would tell their kids it’s possible.
Q – With so many books being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
A – That’s a tough question. I’m versatile, I think; I have written Regency romance, historical romance, paranormal historical romance, historical romance-mystery, traditional mystery, and I have dabbled in harder edged mystery. But I hope the readers enjoy my work for the people they meet along the way; I love writing character driven mystery, and that’s one reason I enjoy writing series, the leisure to develop a group of characters and to explore lives woven together by love and hardship. I hope that makes me stand out!
Q – Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
A – I hate to say it, but I shy away from reading reviews. A bad one can ruin a day, and make you doubt yourself. Doubt is a killer; it can make the writing slow to a trickle, and I like to keep the flow going! I deeply deeply appreciate the reviews; I really do. Readers take their leisure time to read and review my books, and I couldn’t continue to work without that. But reviews can be a double edged sword, and it doesn’t do for a writer to spend too much time worrying about them unless they show a worrying trend of criticizing the same thing over and over. That being said… I have learned and grown as a writer because of reviewers who showed me the things I was doing wrong, bad habits I had fallen into.
I don’t respond though, except when someone writes a review that shows how I touched them somehow. That has happened a few precious times. One was a review of my first Regency romance, and the reviewer was touched by my depiction of a heroine with crippling arthritis. Another wasn’t so much a review as a letter from a reader; she deeply appreciated that Hannah, the librarian from my Merry Muffin Mysteries, is wheelchair-bound but still lives life to the fullest, pursuing her career with ambition and talent and drive. In a wheelchair herself, the reader loved the character. That letter made me so happy. I’d tell any reader… writers love hearing (in a review or letter) how our books matter to them.
Now, about bad reviews; I never respond to bad reviews. That is a losing game for a writer.
Q – What advice would you give to your younger and/or older self?
A – Write. And read. And keep writing. Write what you’d want to read. Stop doubting yourself, and if you can’t, then write through the doubt.
Q – Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
A – My main characters are people I would like as friends. They aren’t perfect, but they mean well and they try hard to be good people. And they are a little bit me; Jaymie is the me who is a homebody, and loves to cook and peruse vintage recipes; who collects vintage kitchen stuff; who loves to read books, drink tea and visit with friends. She’s nicer than I am, though, and she has become more outgoing. Jaymie is a joiner and a doer. I am most definitely not a joiner; I’m more of a loner.
Merry is the me who is a bit of a smart aleck, who likes art and opera, and wine. But she’s the reverse me, in one sense; I grew up in the country and live in the city. Merry grew up in the city and now lives in the country.
But both care about people and social justice, as do I. Both believe that every single person deserves an equal chance at life and love and joy, and if they can help someone achieve that, they will step and do something.
Q – Do you write full-time or part-time?
A – Full time, every week day.
Q – What do your plans for future projects include?
A – I’m so happy you asked that. I am continuing both of my traditional/cozy mystery series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries, published by Beyond the Page. Cast Iron Alibi, Vintage Kitchen Mystery #9, comes out November 5th. Double or Muffin, Merry Muffin #7, will be out mid-2020. I am also writing a fourth Lady Anne Addison historical mystery, The Menacing Mystic, and a second Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder historical mystery, Some Touch of Madness.
Q – What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
A – People always say, ‘I could never have the willpower to sit down every day and write’. But think of the most fun thing you have ever done – whether it is travel, or hiking, or crocheting or cooking – and consider doing that every day for a living. You’d be able to do that, right? Well, that’s me; writing is the most fun thing I can think of, creating new people and new lives and new places and investigating mysteries. So sitting down every day to do it is the easiest, not the hardest. What is hard is summoning the will to do all of the planning – writing an outline and plotting the book in advance – because I long to jump into the writing. But if I don’t do the disciplined part, about two thirds of the way through I end up in deep trouble with the plotting. So… writing = easiest; plotting = hardest.
Q – What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you? Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
A – That I’m grateful to them for reading and reacting to my books. I’m totally serious; I never in my life would have thought that I could do this every day and make my living. I’m grateful for the readers, I’m grateful for their comments, I’m grateful for their friendship. I’ll never meet most of them, but they are an important part of my life.
Q – Name 3 influential authors on you and tell us why.
A – Jane Austen, Anne Perry, Sue Grafton. Jane Austen taught me that people are at the heart of every plot, and a writer must strive to make them realistic. Anne Perry taught me that people are at the heart of every plot, and a writer must strive to make them realistic. Sue Grafton taught me people are at the heart of every plot, and a writer must strive to make them realistic. LOL. I suppose you can see how I became a writer who writes character driven novels; all my favourite writers write/wrote character driven novels.
Q – Which other authors and/or books do you think are similar to your own books?
A – You know, I don’t think I dare answer that; it would be presumptuous. I certainly would be interested to know if readers could answer it for me. What books are my novels comparable to? I strive to make my historical mysteries Anne Perry-ish. I work hard to make my Merry Muffin mysteries humorous, like Joan Hess books. I try my best to make my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries heartwarming like… I’m not sure.
Q – Do you blog and share book reviews of other authors? Tell us all about it.
A – I think I’ve given up blogging and I don’t review. As an author, I’m afraid that readers would give my reviews of other authors too much weight. I’m actually a fairly uncritical reader, easily entertained. But if I didn’t like a book and said so, I wouldn’t want my opinion having more weight than it should, so… no.
Q – Who are your own least and favorite characters?
A – I heartily loathe Valetta Nibley’s brother, Brock. He’s the stand in for every doofus I’ve ever met, I suppose. Favorite? I adore Hannah, from the Merry Muffin Mysteries, and Pish, Merry’s best friend. Valetta, Jaymie’s best friend is special, I think, and Mrs. Stubbs, her elderly friend, is also a favourite.
Q – What are you afraid to write about?
A – I could never write about a serial killer. I don’t feel like I could (or would want to) climb into the mind of someone seriously mentally ill in that way. Most of my killers are people who want something bad enough to take out the person in their way… evil in a very banal way, I suppose.
Q – If you could co-write a book with a famous author who would it be? If it was another writer you admire but isn’t well known, who would it be?
A – I have a recurring dream (daydream) that I am the amazing Joan Hess, (Author of the Claire Malloy and Maggody mystery series) who sadly passed away in 2017. It would be a dream come true to continue her Maggody and/or Claire Malloy series.
Thanks so much, James, for inviting me to continue our Q&A! I’ve enjoyed it so much. I hope readers will find me on Facebook and sign up for my newsletter on my website! -Victoria
Today’s GIVEAWAY contest is a big one! Victoria Hamilton will provide a $20 Amazon gift card to the winner. Entry is quite simple: all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Perhaps you want to tell us which books you’ve read… maybe you’d like to indicate which character is your favorite. What do you want Jaymie to do next? Let us know if you read any of her other book series. Share a favorite memory of your time reading them. Connect with us somehow regarding Victoria’s wonderful books, and just by leaving that comment on this post here on the This Is My Truth Now blog, you’re automatically entered to win.
Victoria and I will pick a random number. The comment that matches that number (verified by date and timestamp it was posted) will be the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card. My responses won’t be included in the count to determine the winner. Please be sure to leave a way to contact us or check back when the contest is up to see if you’ve won. We’ll reach out to the winner privately to secure the details of how to email you the prize. This contest will run from today (11/5) through November 10th, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST. It is open to all international readers too. We will notify the winner shortly after the contest is over. Good Luck!
What an honor! It’s always amazing when I secure an author for the Spotlight series, but to be lucky enough to have someone drop by a second time… truly, I am a lucky blogger. Thank you very much to Victoria Hamilton for this wonderful interaction. I’m excited to read Cast Iron Alibi in the coming days… and I will most definitely be sharing a review. Go sign up on Victoria’s newsletter link now, so you can stay current on everything she’s doing! See you next time on our Spotlight series.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.