Storytelling, Blowing Stuff Up, and Heir Hunting with JL Simpson

What do you do with a character who’s terrible at everything?

Today’s podcast guest, JL (Janet) Simpson, has a unique character on her hands, Daisy Dunlop. As you’ll hear her describe, Daisy is terrible at everything. Which is an interesting foundation for a character in a mystery novel.

But, as with so many of us, after multiple failures at finding her vocation, Daisy finally discovers an occupation she can call her own.

In the intro, I mention that the shortlist for the Arthur Ellis Crime Writing awards were announced last Friday. You can click here to see the whole list. It’s a great way to find new authors and books. The site also lists all the previous years’ short lists and winners, so you can work you way backwards, if you like.

Horse With No NameThis episode of the podcast is sponsored by my cozy mystery novel, Horse With No Name.

Would you risk your life simply to be yourself?

Julia Thom is new to the small town of Horse, but she’s not new to trouble. When reclusive watchmaker James Hunter is beaten, but has no memory of the event, Julia vows to find the culprits. Even if Hunter hadn’t saved Julia herself from being assaulted, she would still be on the case; meddling helps keep her focus off her own complicated life. Julia is fast becoming a thorn in Police Constable Jack Merrick’s side and he flounders as he tries to figure out how to deal with such a headstrong woman.

When the attackers strike again and the violence escalates, Julia’s determination redoubles, putting herself in more danger than anyone could have anticipated. While Julia and Merrick grapple with finding unknown assailants, they must also find a way to come to terms with one another.

This novel is FREE for a limited time at all online vendors:
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You can find out more about today’s guest, J.L. Simpson, and all her books on her website JLSimpson.com. You can also find her on Twitter @JLSimpsonAuthor.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Finding the Character that Wants Her Story Told with Judy K. Walker

Author Judy K. Walker tells us how she found her main character Sydney Brennan, and coined the term ‘Thrillergy’, in this interview.

I love that Judy talks about using her experience working for a lawyer on death penalty cases as part of the foundation for her PI’s background.

Stories come from many different places and Judy lets us in on parts of her process for writing her books. Since we recorded the interview, she has published the first book in the ‘Thrillergy’ she mentions – it is called Prodigal is separate from the Sydney Brennan Mysteries.

This podcast episode is sponsored by the free mystery novella, Charlie Horse.

1890. Frontier British Columbia. When one of her students is accused of a crime, will new schoolteacher Julia Thom be able to prove his innocence?

For a limited time you can click here, or on the cover image at right to get your free copy.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Judy, and all her books on her website JudyKWalker.com. You can also find her on Twitter @JudyKWalker.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Writing Comedy and Depth with Kim Hunt Harris

Just like life, Kim Hunt Harris’s Trailer Park Princess cozy mystery novels are a healthy mix of funny moments and challenging times for her amateur sleuth Salem Grimes.

When I read The Middle Finger of Fate, the first book in the series, I was struck by how funny Kim’s writing is, and how touched I was by her character Salem’s ups and downs. Salem is someone really REALLY trying to turn her life around. And she’s going through one of those times in life when no matter what she does things seem to wrong. And the harder she tries to right them, the wronger they go. (We’ve all had times like that!)

And yet, Kim’s writing is so funny, and so sweet, that I laughed outloud throughout the book. Don’t even get me started about the car with the ‘bucket’ seat. Oh my! 😉

If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, do yourself a favor and try out the Trailer Park Princess books. You can thank me later. 😉

You can find out more about today’s guest, Kim, and all her books on her website KimHuntHarris.com. And you will find her on Twitter @kimhuntharris.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

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Historical Chicago and Characters Who Insist on Being Seen with Tracy Tonkinson

Podcast episode 31Tracy Tonkinson is a fellow Canadian author who has a deep love for history. In this interview she explains what drew her to write about late 19th century Chicago. We also discuss her character Drew McMillan, who made himself known to Tracy, and had such an effect on her, that she’s now writing a second mystery series featuring this Pinkerton agent.

In the introduction I mention that podcast guest Cassidy Salem will have the next book in her Adina Donati series available next week. You can learn more about Dying for Data here.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Tracy, and all her books on her website DiamondAndDoranMysteries.com. You can also find her on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Tracy Tonkinson

Alexandra: Hi, Mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s a Mystery podcast and I’m here today with Tracy Tonkinson. Hi, Tracy.

Tracy: Hi, Alexandra, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Tracy: Good, thank you.

Alexandra: Good, excellent, so let me introduce you to our listeners.

TracyTTracy Tonkinson is the author of “Madman” and of “Poison,” the first two books in her “Diamond And Doran Mystery Series,” which follow rookie cop Arthur Diamond and the veteran sergeant Billy Doran as they clean up 19th century Chicago.

Also out soon is “Argent,” which is the first book in the “Drew McMillan Case Files” series and this one follows the early career of Pinkerton agent, Drew McMillan.

Let’s begin talking about Diamond and Doran.

Let’s start by talking about Sergeant Billy Doran. Tell us a bit about him. He’s an Irish Catholic living in Chicago.

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Lesbian Mysteries, Dangerous Settings, and Pond Frogs with Cari Hunter

Podcast episode 30Big congratulations go out to my guest on this episode Cari Hunter, who, a few days after we recorded this won the Best Mystery / Thriller award at the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society awards (also known as a Goldie).

Cari is a full-time paramedic and part-time writer. As she mentions during the interview, her work informs her writing in a number of areas, including giving her a keen ear for dialogue, and an enjoyment for writing it.

In the introduction I mention that podcast guest Janel Gradowski has a new book out in her Culinary Competition Mystery Series called Banana Muffins and Mayhem. You can learn more at Janel’s site here.

And I also mention the mystery I’m reading at the moment; the third book in Paul Doiron’s series set in the Maine Wilderness. The book is called Bad Little Falls and I adore the sense of place and the deep character development that Paul brings to his books.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Cari, and all her books on her website CariHunter.wordpress.com.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Cari Hunter

Alexandra: Hello, mystery readers. I am Alexandra Amor and this is “It’s a Mystery” podcast. I am here today with Cari Hunter. Hi, Cari.

Cari: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Cari: I am absolutely fine, and the sun is shining for once which makes a change for this part of the world.

Alexandra: That’s great. Yeah, we’ve got gray skies and rain here in the middle of July.

Cari: It’s been like that, so it’s a rare occasion when the sun actually peaks through.

Alexandra: Nice. Well, let me introduce you to our listeners.

CariHunterCari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, two cats and a pond full of frogs. (I’m going to have to ask you about the frogs later.) She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Cari is the author of six novels and currently in the middle of writing a new crime series based in the Peak District.

The first in the series, “No Good Reason”, won best lesbian thriller at the 2015 Rainbow Award, and its sequel, “Cold to the Touch”, was published in December. A third book, “A Quiet Death”, is due for publication next year in January 2017.

Let’s start by talking about the Peak District. That’s something I’m fascinated by. I love a strong sense of setting in a mystery novel, and I really try to incorporate that in my books.

You live in the Peak District is that correct?

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Stubborn Characters, Future Spy Thrillers, and Abundant Creativity with Kasia Radzka

Podcast episode 29Today I’m interviewing Australian author Kasia Radzka. Kasia has a series of crime thrillers featuring her ‘stubborn’ investigative journalist sleuth Lexi Ryder. Kasia and I discuss the origin of characters, writing habits, and whether or not outlining a plot works for her.

I’ve added a new segment to the podcast where I mention new books being released by former guests. I’ll add this intro to the audio recording each week, though it won’t be included in the YouTube video.

This week two guests of the show have new books out. Malcolm Richards, who I spoke to in Episode 11, has released his next book in the Emily Swanson series; the book is called Cold Hearts. You can learn more at Malcolm’s website.

As well, Renee Pawlish, who I spoke to in Episode 22, has a new book in her Dewey Webb PI Series called Murder in Fashion. You can learn more at Amazon.com.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Kasia, and all her books on her website KasiaRadzka.com.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Kasia Radzka

Alexandra: Hi mystery readers, I am Alexandra Amor. This is It’s a Mystery Podcast and I’m here today with Kasia Radzka. Hi Kasia.

Kasia: Hi Alexandra, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Kasia: Good, thank you. Thanks so much for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh you’re so welcome, it’s my pleasure, I’m looking forward to talking to you very much. Let’s give everyone a little bit of information about you.

KasiaRadzkaKasia Radzka is an author, athlete wannabe and blogger living with her husband and son on the Gold Coast, Australia. In her lack of spare time, she likes to run marathons, eat fine food and drink good wine, discover new places and write action-packed novels. She’s currently working on book number four in her Lexi Ryder Crime Thriller series. So that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about Lexi.

Kasia: Okay, Lexi is an investigative journalist who likes to get herself into trouble. So trouble seems to follow her around everywhere and I suppose she likes to get into the way of people who do bad things.

Alexandra: Was she a character that you, let’s say, that you created from some sort of inspiration or did…where did she come from?

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Writing Thrillers on Trains, Visual Story Ideas, and Kidnapping Plots with Rachel Amphlett

Podcast episode 28Thriller author Rachel Amphlett grew up reading thrillers. She mentions both Dick Francis (perhaps my all-time favorite mystery author) and Enid Blyton in our chat; those were two authors who introduced me to the world of mysteries as a young person as well.

I asked Rachel about writing in a genre that is predominantly occupied by men, but like JF Penn, she doesn’t let that phase or stop her. Her Dan Taylor series concerns a former British soldier struggling with PTSD, as well as an injury received during a run-in with an IED.

You can find out more about Rachel and all her books on her website RachelAmphlett.com. And as with so many of my guests, Rachel has a book – and two book extracts – available for free. You can find that on her website.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Rachel Amphlett

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast and I’m here today with Rachel Amphlett. Hi, Rachel.

Rachel: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you?

Rachel: Good, thanks, and thanks for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s great to have you here. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

RachelAmphlettBefore moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a subeditor and editorial assistant. Her thrillers appeal to a worldwide audience and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

Thank you so much for being here with me today, Rachel. The thing that I found so intriguing about your books, or one of the things, is that you’re a woman writing in a man’s world. We mentioned J.F. Penn just before we started recording and the conspiracy theory-thriller genre really is dominated by men.

Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to this genre?

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The Swinging Sixties, Dirty Weekends, and Rat-Like Cunning with Peter Bartram

Podcast episode 27As writers, my guests and I make stories up from our imagination, but we also very often pull parts of them from our own lives. As a reader, I love nothing more than when a mystery novel is grounded in real life. It gives such depth and richness to a novel.

Peter Bartram is an author who has worked as a journalist for decades. He has brought that experience, and the experience of living and working in the seaside town in the south of England called Brighton, to his series of mystery novels. Peter’s series involves main character, and cunning journalist, Colin Crampton, his beautiful girlfriend Shirley the Sheila, and a host of other characters who are entirely fictional, but as Peter says, are influenced by his time on the news desk.

I learned some things I didn’t know during this interview, which always pleases me, including a bit about how newspaper type was set before the age of computers.

You can find out more about Peter and his Colin Crampton series on his website ColinCrampton.com. And as with so many of my guests, Peter has a book available for free. It is a prequel to the series and you can find it here.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Peter Bartram

Alexandra: Hi everyone, this is It’s a Mystery podcast, I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here with Pete Bartram. Hi Peter.

Peter: Good morning, Alexandra.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Peter: I am very well and how about yourself?

Alexandra: I’m good. Yeah, a little soggy here in Vancouver today, but otherwise doing well.

Let me introduce you to our listeners.

PeterBPeter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle Crime Mystery series. Which features crime reporter Colin Crampton in 1960s Brighton, England. Peter’s novels are fast-paced and humorous. The action is matched by the laughs.

Peter began his career as a reporter on the Worthing Herald newspaper in the U.K. before working as a journalist and editor in London and finally becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism, from door stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and the courtier’s chamber at the Buckingham Palace.

Peter has written 21 non-fiction books, including five ghost-written, in areas such as biographies, current affairs and how-to titles before turning to crime and penning “Headline Murder,” the first novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle series.

Welcome Peter.

I want to start back at the beginning and ask you what prompted you to make the switch from non-fiction to fiction after such a long career in non-fiction.

Peter: Well, I’ve always wanted to do it. A basic problem wretched me, I thought, “No money in it.” That may ultimately prove to be wrong, only time will tell.

The fact of the matter is, I’ve worked all my career as a journalist. I was a freelance journalist from 1974 onwards. When you’re a freelance journalist and you’re earning your living from it, you have to keep your nose to the grindstone writing features and stories and commissioned non-fiction books at the time. And it was only in recent years that I have had a chance to do this, which is something that I always wanted to do.

Alexandra: Colin and the stories that are set in Brighton.

You specifically chose to set them in the 1960s. So why is that?

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Spirit Sensing Sleuths, Rockefellers, and Aviation with Matty Dalrymple

Podcast episode 26In this interview with author Matty Dalrymple, she describes a scene that caught my imagination and reminded me why writers write. I loved hearing more about Matty’s amateur sleuth, Ann Kinnear, who, Matty explains, isn’t really even a sleuth in the first two books of this mystery series. Ann is someone with psychic gifts who, by accidents of timing and location, lands in situations that require her to use her gifts to help solve two crimes.

And isn’t that the way most of us would or could get embroiled in a murder investigation? I love that Matty has created a character who is growing into her role as a sleuth, rather than arriving on the scene fully formed. It seems so true-to-life.

When you hear her describe the scene on the battlefield you’ll know what I mean about why writers write. So beautiful! And it all came from her imagination. 😉

You can find out more about Matty and her Ann Kinnear series on her website MattyDalrymple.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook. And, for those of you who are interested in writing, Matty shares information and resources about her journey as an independent author at TheIndyAuthor.com.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Matty Dalrymple

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery Podcast and I’m here today with Matty Dalrymple. Hi, Matty.

Matty: All right. How are you doing?

Alexandra: Very well. How are you?

Matty: Good, thanks.

Alexandra: Good. So, let me introduce you to our listeners.

MattyDalrympleMatty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear suspense novels, “The Sense of Death” and “The Sense of Reckoning.” Matty lives with her husband and her two Labrador retrievers in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for much of the action in “The Sense of Death.”

In the summers, they enjoy vacationing on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where “The Sense of Reckoning” takes place. Matty is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Brandy Wine Valley Writers Group. So, welcome, Matty. It’s great to have you here today.

Matty: Thank you. This is very exciting.

Alexandra: Oh, well.

Let’s talk about your main character, Ann Kinnear, and she’s a little bit special. So tell us about her.

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Italian Mafia History and Romantic Suspense with Dana Delamar

Podcast episode 25Romantic suspense author Dana Delamar explores themes of family and destiny in her Blood and Honor series of novels. As someone who was trained as a life coach, and who believes firmly that life is all about choice, it was fascinating to me to talk to Dana about the path that those in Italian mafia families must take, whether they like it or not.

Research plays a big part in Dana’s books – she’s been to Italy and looks forward to going back. (I hope she takes me with her!) And as she mentions, all of us authors live in fear of any kind of legal entity ever getting a hold of our browser history. Dana’s will be sure to include searches about money laundering and body disposal. 😉

You can find out more about Dana and her books on her website DanaDelamar.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Dana Delamar

Alexandra: Hello, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s a Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Dana Delamar. Hi, Dana.

Dana: Hi, how are you doing Alexandra?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Dana: Good.

Alexandra: Let me give our listeners a little bit of an introduction to you.

danaone_0057_crop_9x5qDana Delamar is the author of “The Blood and Honor” mafia romance series which is set in Italy among the Calabrian mafia. Her first book, “Revenge”, received four stars from the RT book reviews, and was a top pick at the romance reviews. And was a double finalist for best first book, and best romantic suspense in the 2013 Bookseller Best awards. Her other books in The Blood and Honor series have been multiple award nominees and winners. Dana is a voracious and an omnivorous reader everything from biographies to Booker prize winners, to mysteries, thrillers, and anything to do with vampires. She says her parents let her watch way too many hammer horror films when she was a kid.

Let’s start by talking about “The Blood and Honor” series.

What drew you to writing about the mafia? I guess that’s my first question.

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