Finding the Mystery Genre with the Help of Greek Gods with Shannon Baker

Shannon Baker has written two very different female sleuths for her mystery novels.

56 Shannon BakerIn this episode she introduces us to both solitude-loving Kate Fox, and rolling stone Nora Abbott.

We touch on the way that the landscape around a character can be a metaphor for their state of mind, and also on history and geography in this wide-ranging conversation.

The day I spoke to Shannon, she had just arrived back home from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ conference where, for the second time (!), she received the writer of the year award. If you’re looking for strong, confident female heroines in your mystery novels, you’ve come to the right place when you sit down with a Shannon Baker book. 😉

You can find out more about today’s guest, Shannon Baker, and all her books on her website You can also find her on Twitter @sbakerwriter.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Shannon’s books on Amazon

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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Exploring the Alienation Created by Extraordinary Abilities with Matty Dalrymple

Matty Dalrymple is my first return guest to It’s a Mystery Podcast and I’m thrilled to talk to her today about her new book, Rock Paper Scissors.

Matty is fascinated by the alienation that can be created when people are different or extraordinary. Both her spirit sensing sleuth, Ann Kinnear, from her first two books, and Lizzy Ballard, from the new release, Rock Paper Scissors, are characters who are set slightly apart from the average person. For me, what was interesting about this chat with Matty was that she has written two female protagonists who have reacted very differently to their respective situations. You’ll hear us explore how Ann Kinnear, from The Sense of Death and A Sense of Reckoning has reacted to her abilities by withdrawing from the world. Whereas, Matty’s newest protagonist, Lizzy, has a greater need to connect with the world.

This 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:
Barnes and Noble

You can find out more about today’s guest, Matty Dalrymple, and all her books on her website You can also find her on Twitter @MattyDalrymple.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Matty’s books on Amazon

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.
Keep reading →

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 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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Interview with Romantic Mystery author Jane Firebaugh


JaneFirebaughToday I’ve got a very special interview for mystery lovers – with Jane Firebaugh, author of the White Mountains Romantic Mysteries.

Jane was born and raised in eastern Tennessee. She grew up with an insatiable appetite for books of all genres. As she grew older, that desire continued and finally developed into a love of writing.

She says her books are a bit of a mix between cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. You’ll find them to be fairly cozy, with no profanity, overt sex or obvious gore, yet there is a bit more romance and suspense than you normally see in a cozy mystery.

When Jane is not in front of a computer writing, she can usually be found hiking with my dogs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during temperate weather seasons, skiing there during cold ones or occasionally melting in the Florida sun.

You can find Jane on her website at
She is also on Twitter, and Facebook.

The first book in Jane’s White Mountains series is Antiques and Avarice. The second is Old Crimes and Nursery Rhymes.

(FYI, no audio or video with this interview.)

Interview with Jane Firebaugh

Alexandra: Tell us about the main character in your White Mountain romantic mysteries, Olivia McKenna. What is her background? What does she care about? How does she end up embroiled in murders?

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Scottish Castles, Casanova and Island Mysteries with Myra Duffy


Podcast episode 18Myra Duffy has the loveliest Scottish accent. I could have listened to her all day long. Not only is she a pleasure to listen to, she’s got loads to share about the Scottish island where her cozy mysteries are set.

The Isle of Bute is off the west coast of Scotland, known for its architecture, its long sandy beaches, and, when Myra’s around, the odd fictional murder. 😉 Coincidentally, a few days before I talked to Myra, there was the confirmation of the authentication of one of Shakespeare’s folios that is in the possession of a museum on the island. In this interview Myra brings us up to speed about what’s happening with that fascinating piece of history, and shares lots more about the Isle of Bute and the mysteries she sets there.

You can find out more about Myra and her books at
She is 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.

Transcription of Interview with Myra Duffy

Alexandra: Hi, Mystery Readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery Podcast”. I’m here today with Myra Duffy. Hi, Myra.

Myra: Hi there, Alexandra.

Alexandra: How are you?

Myra: I’m very well today, thank you.

Alexandra: Good. Looks like a nice, sunny day there today.

Myra: Yes, at last, after a long, hard winter.

Alexandra: Yes, I guess it’s great.

Myra: A wet winter.

Alexandra: Was it white?

Myra: Oh, wet, very wet. We get a lot of rain in the west coast of Scotland.

Alexandra: I guess so. I’m on the west coast of Canada, and we get a lot of rain, too, so very similar climates, I think.

Myra: Exactly.

Alexandra: Let me introduce our listeners to you.

MyraDuffyMyra Duffy is the published author of non-fiction, but she has been writing fiction for as long as she can remember, winning a national writing competition when she was 13. In the past few years, she has turned to a life of crime, fictional crime that is. She has won a number of competitions, and had short stories published in various magazines, but prefers writing novels, most notably the very successful series of cozy crime mystery novels set on the island of Bute, just off the west coast of Scotland.

And that’s what we’re gonna talk about mostly today. Just before we jumped online, we were chatting about a very current event that’s going to be woven into your newest book.

Let’s start at the beginning, perhaps, and maybe you could tell us a bit about Alison, your main character. Alison Cameron. Alison Cameron, so tell us a bit about her. She’s a writer?

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Police Procedurals, Profilers and Private Investigators with A.D. Davies


Podcast episode 15Author A.D. (Antony) Davies is clearly a man who likes to explore characters and their motivation. He had three different types of mystery novels available and we talk about them all today: A police procedural series with a female serial killer profiler as the main character; a wealthy private investigator; and a stand-alone mystery involving a cult in Nevada and a cop with a deep faith.

You can find out more about A.D. and his books at
He’s also on Twitter.

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 watch the interview on YouTube, if you prefer.

Transcript of Interview with A.D. Davies

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s A Mystery podcast and I’m here today with A.D. Davies. Hi, Antony.

Antony: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you?

Antony: I’m good, thank you.

Alexandra: On a Sunday afternoon in…I forget where you live.

Antony: Staffordshire in the United Kingdom.

Alexandra: Staffordshire. Yeah, I knew the U.K. I chad West Yorkshire in my head but that’s where you were raised.

Antony: That’s right. Yeah. That’s where I’m from originally and it seems to be where I’ve put a few of my books.

Alexandra: All right. Well, I have a ton of questions because you’ve got three different series, sort of, that I want to ask you about. So let me introduce you to our listeners.

AD DaviesA.D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, and we’ve all had those, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation he moved to the midlands to marry the love of his life. A.D. Davies is well-traveled, his favorite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam which have influenced his writing immensely.

For now, however, globetrotting is taking a back seat to raising his two children and writing. Although he hopes one day to combine all three.

Let’s start maybe talking about this stand-alone mystery novel and then maybe we can talk about the two series that you have.

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Hat Creek Ranch – Book Research

Molly and Dolly, pulling the stagecoach
Molly and Dolly, pulling the stagecoach
One of the things that is the most fun about writing books is doing research. There’s book research, which, for me at least, is so-so fun. There’s online research which is slightly more fun.

And then there’s riding on a stagecoach research.

Come on! SO fun.

In the summer of 2014 I spent a day at Hat Creek Ranch, which is near Cache Creek in central British Columbia. I’m writing a series of mystery novels set in 1890, so becoming familiar with life in that time is important to me. The shot above was taken from the driver’s seat of a stagecoach. I took dozens of photos that day and absorbed as much information as I could about life in BC’s interior in the late 19th century.

On my list for my next research trips are:

In the meantime here are some other photos from my trip to Hat Creek Ranch.
IMG_0659IMG_0656IMG_0663watering trough pump