Friday, May 03, 2013

A Conversation with Mystery Author Victoria Hamilton

Omnimystery News: Author Interview
with Victoria Hamilton

We are delighted to welcome mystery author Victoria Hamilton to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Cozy Mystery Book Reviews, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

Victoria's second "Vintage Kitchen" mystery featuring collector Jaymie Leighton is Bowled Over (Berkley Prime Crime, March 2013 mass market paperback and ebook formats).

We recently had a chance to talk to Victoria about her series. And we don't want you to miss out on the opportunity to win one of four terrific prizes courtesy of Cozy Mystery Marketing; click on the banner at the end of this post for more details.

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Omnimystery News: You have written historical mysteries as Dorothy Lea Simpson and now a new cozy series of mysteries as Victoria Hamilton. What is it about series characters that appeals to you?

Victoria Hamilton
Photo provided courtesy of
Victoria Hamilton

Victoria Hamilton: I love writing a series. I get involved with the folks in my books, and want to visit the place and people again and again. I guess that's not so strange since when I'm reading, I want to rush right out and get the next book in the series to go back to that time or town or place. I do try to create characters who are human and changeable; they grow, learn, improve or get worse, experience highs and lows and learn from them. People change with time; I don't expect my characters to stand still.

OMN: Tell us about your writing process.

VH: I don't have one writing process, I have many and use them at different times. It's a helter skelter mish-mash of processes. I always start out with a synopsis … indeed, most writers sell books to the publisher based on a synopsis or proposal. From there, I always tell myself I'm going to do a detailed synopsis then flesh that out into a chapter by chapter outline, and I usually start out that way. But outlining is boring and writing is fun. Guess what I do? I usually race ahead with the writing and end up having to go back and fill in the outline from the actual chapters. That means, of course, that the story does develop as I write and changes from the synopsis I began with, but that's the way it should be. The story is more organic that way.

I do, though, write descriptions for my characters so I can keep it consistent, especially since I write several series. There is nothing worse than going back and finding that you've changed the color of someone's eyes!

OMN: Your new series character, Jaymie Leighton, is a collector. Do you collect, too?

VH: Well, I really do collect vintage kitchenware, enjoy baking muffins and collect teapots and teacups! So yes, I have definitely mined my interests for material. Other than that I enjoy classical music, cats, cooking, crocheting … there seems to be a "c" theme emerging! Oh, and cross stitch! There is never enough time to do all the things I love to do.

OMN: Did you read mysteries as a child?

VH: As a kid I read Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers. But I also read Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. So, given that I started my writing career as a Regency and historical romance author and have now become a mystery writer, I'd have to say that I have used every bit of my early literary influences.

OMN: What authors do you enjoy reading now?

VH: I think that Sue Grafton ought to, when she is finished the alphabet, go right back to the "A" and keep on writing, that's how much I love her Kinsey Millhone books. I never miss one, but they come out too slowly! I read cozies, of course, and recommend Janet Bolin's Threadville series, as well as Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse series. Love them! Also, I can't get enough of the Agatha Raisin books by M. C. Beaton.

I do enjoy other kinds of books, too, though, historicals and literary fiction. My favorite that I've read recently are Diana Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron, and I highly recommend the YA series beginning with Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

OMN: How do you go about interacting with your readers?

VH: I meet a lot of folks on Facebook. I like getting to know people through their photos and likes and dislikes. But letters are wonderful. Actually, I received a lovely letter the other day. The reader enjoyed A Deadly Grind and Bowled Over, and told me that she likes to get out a map, while she is reading a book, and do a little research on the area in which it is set. She told me that she knew Queensville was a fictional town, but asked what Michigan town it was based on. Now that is an engaged reader!

OMN: What's next for you?

VH: I am enjoying the unusual situation of being too busy … and I love it! I am launching a new cozy series September 3rd; the Merry Muffin Mysteries starts with Bran New Death. In June 2014 my Teapot Collector Mysteries written as Amanda Cooper debuts with Tempest in a Teapot. I have my third Vintage Kitchen Mysteries book, Freezer I'll Shoot, coming out November 5th, and the series has been renewed for at least two more books, taking me into 2015!

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Victoria Hamilton Book Tour

Victoria Hamilton is a pseudonym for Donna Lea Simpson, who writes historical mysteries but, like her series character here, is also a collector of vintage cookware and recipes.

You can learn more about the author on her websites, VictoriaHamiltonMysteries.com and DonnaLeaSimpson.com.

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Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton

Bowled Over
Victoria Hamilton
A Jaymie Leighton, Vintage Kitchen Mystery (1st in series)

Stirring up trouble …

Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton has been estranged from her high school best friend Kathy Cooper since they were teenagers, but she never knew what turned Kathy against her. After fireworks at a Fourth of July picnic, Jaymie discovers the body of her former friend in the park. On the ground nearby is Jaymie's own Depression-era glass bowl, broken in two.

With her fingerprints all over the bowl and a troubled history with the victim, Jaymie suddenly finds herself at the top of the list of suspects. Did the killer intend to frame her for the murder? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton …

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Apple iTunes iBookstore  Kobo eBooks

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Cozy Mystery Marketing Giveaway

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