Veronica's #WritersDiary, It's an #IndieApril Wrap with #Holiday Mystery #Author Amy Reade!
What better way to close out #IndieApril than a chat with one of my favorite #Holiday mystery writers, the fabulous Amy Reade! I've read many of Amy's tales and am a huge fan of her Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series. Without further adieu, Ladies & Gents, #Author Amy Reade:
Q1: Amy, I thoroughly enjoy reading your Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series--what inspired you to write it? Pssst..love the #Holiday theme!
Thank you! I have grown to love these characters and the town of Juniper Junction.
I was inspired to write the series by my love of Christmas mysteries. There’s something enchanting about a yuletide mystery, don’t you think? I assume you agree, since you’ve written one yourself. 😊
So I knew I wanted to write a Christmas mystery. I needed an uncommon spin to set it apart from other mysteries set during that time of year, so I began the story (The Worst Noel) on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and ended it on Christmas. Since my main character, Lilly, is a jewelry store owner, I figured there was no better way to ramp up the tension in a hurry than to kick off her holiday season with a dead body in the store—and not just any dead body … someone Lilly had recently argued with in public.
I also knew cozy mysteries are much more satisfying to readers when they’re part of a series, so writing a series was a no-brainer. Because The Worst Noel takes place during the holiday season, and because I love holidays, it made sense to write a series featuring different holidays. Dead, White, and Blue (Book 2) takes place around the Fourth of July, Be My Valencrime (Book 3) is obviously a Valentine’s Day mystery, Ghouls’ Night Out (Book 4) takes place around Halloween, and Book 5, MayDay!, takes place around May 1st, also known as May Day.
Q2: Tell us about your latest #NewRelease, MayDay!
As I mentioned, MayDay! is the 5th book in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series. Lilly has volunteered to plan the wedding of two very special people despite having extremely limited experience doing so (the only wedding she has ever planned was her own, and we all know how that turned out—or we do once we read The Worst Noel). Naturally, through no fault of her own, the wedding reception is a complete disaster and includes not only a dastardly prank (involving a plane, hence the play on words in the title), but a dead body, as well.
Lilly’s mother, Bev, plays a crucial role in each book in the series, and I hear often from readers that she is their favorite character. She suffers from worsening dementia as the series progresses; her capabilities change from one book to the next, and even within books. Her disease is sometimes a sobering part of the series, but one I thought was important to address, since there are so many people living as caregivers for aging parents. As anyone who has ever loved someone with dementia knows, though, there are often moments of lightness, too, and some great humorous scenes emerge from Lilly’s interactions with Bev.
There are other issues in the books, too: Lilly is a single mom with two teenage kids, and if you’ve ever had teens in your life, you know that can be challenging. Same with Lilly. There’s a recurring cultural issue, too, but you’ll have to read the books to learn what it is, since it’s a spoiler. *wink*
Q3: You have a few series in your #writing portfolio, tell us about them---what was the inspiration behind these books?
In addition to the Juniper Junction Holiday Mysteries, I have written the 3-volume Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), which takes place in the United Kingdom and features three main characters, all female members of the same family.
Like my three standalones (Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade), the books in the Malice Series are Gothics in the style of Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney. My love affair with those kinds of books began in my teens and continues today, so I suppose that’s what inspired me to start writing them.
And finally, I also have the Cape May Historical Mystery Collection. This is not a series, since there are no characters who appear from one book to the next. The collection is a set of mysteries that take place in and around Cape May, New Jersey, from the time of its inception to the twentieth century. The first book, Cape Menace, takes place in the early 1700s. The second book, which I’m currently working on, takes place during the Revolutionary War.
Q4: I've seen you recently updated your website, tell us about what we'll see and experience!
I spent an obscene amount of time updating my website during the first quarter of 2021 to make it more streamlined and easier for visitors to navigate. I’m very happy with how it turned out. I invite your readers to visit at https://www.amymreade.com and let me know your thoughts.
One of the things I added to the website was a Secret Room (because … mystery) that can only be accessed by subscribers to my newsletter. The Secret Room contains something for readers of all my subgenres: cozy mystery, historical mystery, and Gothic mystery. There’s a free cookbook, games, puzzles, and a Cape May itinerary. I’ll also be adding short stories soon.
If you’re wondering how The Secret Room works, just sign up for my newsletter and I’ll email you the password.
I am currently almost done plotting the second book in the Cape May Historical Mystery Collection (the working title is The King’s Men, but I expect that to change) and I will start the writing in the next week. I’ve actually started that book twice already, but realized after I had written 20K words (twice) that I needed a stronger story structure (thus my trip back to the drawing/plotting board).
I’m also in the beginning stages of plotting Book 6 in the Juniper Junction series, Fowl Play (a Thanksgiving mystery this time).
Amy, thank you so much for the lovely chat and updates. Best of luck with your #NewRelease MayDay!
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Veronica. I enjoy your posts and it’s an honor to be included on your guest list.
If your readers would like to connect with me, they can find me at my website (above), and at the following places:
and with you and Bibiana Krall on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaeRjV-K4fWjibl-siWRMYg).
To celebrate the launch of MayDay!, I have put The Worst Noel, Dead, White, and Blue, and Be My Valencrime on sale! My Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery books:
The Worst Noel (99¢): https://books2read.com/u/brvGne
Dead, White, and Blue ($1.99): https://books2read.com/u/bQR9Le
Be My Valencrime ($2.99): https://books2read.com/u/bwvjjO
Ghouls’ Night Out: https://books2read.com/u/m2ZB86
The Tangled Webs Tales are Spinning!
Wedding mayhem this week from the #writers of Twitter...
Author Amy Reade, MayDay! (Book 5, Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series), 5⭐!
Lilly Carlsen has taken on a big task--planning the wedding and reception for her police officer brother, Bill and best friend and cook book author, Noley. As the big day approaches, she has to deal with the somewhat expected hiccups between the caterer and venue manager, and a call or two from a weepy bride-to-be with last minute jitters. Staying calm through it all, Lilly is relieved when the big day arrives...for a moment at least!
Bill and Noley's reception gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'wedding bell blues'. As guests literally dodge an unexpected visitor, it's game-on for Lilly to try and salvage the day for her brother and friend. Just as things appear to be back on track, once again the wedding trolls intervene--this time with deadly results.
Author Reade delivers a thrill filled tale that will send shivers down the spine of even the most seasoned wedding planners! Throw in a dose or two of teen love angst, deadly deeds, career sabotage and the bittersweet decline of a beloved relative leaves Lilly reeling. As she pieces together the clues and events, unexpected twists place her directly in danger's path. Will the wicked actions prevail? An exciting read to the end, highly recommended!
Next up in the #reading queue:
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. My print copies just came in! Thanks again for everyone who has read Twins in the City! Gemma and Rikkhe most definitely approve 💖👑