It’s my pleasure to welcome author Victoria Gilbert from the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, a rural area outside the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point.
Welcome, Victoria. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
My first published book (2014) was CROWN OF ICE, a fairytale retelling of H. C. Andersen’s The Snow Queen. It was originally traditionally published, but for various reasons I pulled all my rights from that publisher and republished that title, as well as its companion title, SCEPTER OF FIRE – a “mash-up” retelling of Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Steadfast Tin Soldier – as books one and two in the Mirror of Immortality Series. Those books were both independently published in the spring of 2017 with my author co-op, Snowy Wings Publishing.
I also wrote a YA scifi novel that was traditionally published in 2016, but that book is another where I pulled my rights. It’s now out-of-print, and I currently have no plans to republish it.
My first mystery novel was A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS. It was published in December 2017 by Crooked Lane Books, and is the start of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. Since that time, Crooked Lane has published more books in that series – SHELVED UNDER MURDER (2018), PAST DUE FOR MURDER (2019), and BOUND FOR MURDER (2020). A fifth book, A DEADLY EDITION, will be published by Crooked Lane on Dec. 8, 2020.
The first book in my new cozy mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B series, is BOOKED FOR DEATH, which was released by Crooked Lane Books on June 9th.
You have quite an interesting publishing background.
Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
The fifth book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series is A DEADLY EDITION, which will be published by Crooked Lane Books on Dec. 8th of this year. It is already available for preorder.
I have recently signed a contract for books six and seven in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, so I’ll be working on those books later this year and into 2021.
Currently, I’m working on book two in the Booklover’s B&B series, RESERVED FOR MURDER, which will be released in late spring of 2021.
Very nice. They all sound like great books.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I simply want to keep writing and publishing as long as I can. As I already mentioned, over the next few years I plan to continue my current two series. I also intend to write a few books in the general fiction/women’s fiction genre and see if my agent and I can find a home for those books as well.
Those sound like excellent goals. Best of luck achieving them. It’s so important for writers to set goals. I’ve just made up my own plan for starting a new series and writing/finishing other book projects in the next two years.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
As I am a very eclectic reader myself, I would be happy to attract anyone who enjoys reading.
As far as who might be most interested in my two current series, I would say anyone who likes cozy or light mysteries, anyone interested in a small-town settings and interesting and diverse characters, anyone who enjoys some (clean) romance in their books, and anyone who likes historical mysteries mixed in with contemporary crime-solving.
Sounds like you have a wide target audience.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Experiment and try new things, especially if you are feeling “stuck” or unfulfilled with where you are now. I started out in one genre, and while I did get published, I discovered that my real strengths as a writer lay elsewhere. Experimenting with writing mysteries, a genre I always loved but wasn’t certain I could write successfully, opened up a new world to me. I learned that my style and interests fit the mystery genre – something I would never have known if I hadn’t attempted to write in a new and different genre.
I would also say to explore new paths to publication if you find that the traditional publishing world isn’t interested in books that you’ve written and love. Although my SF/F books don’t match the market for traditional publishing today, I still believe in them and have found that publishing them independently (with my author co-op) is a great alternative to leaving them languishing “on the shelf.”
Excellent advice. I haven’t yet landed an agent or a large publisher, but I’ve been publishing with two Indie publishers and have also considered self publishing in the future, although I’m still querying to agents and submitting to my current publishers. I agree completely that writers need to experiment with genres and styles as well as different publishing options.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Despite starting later in life, my path to publication wasn’t as difficult as some. I actually signed with an agent and got a publishing deal after only a year of querying. To be honest, I faced more challenges AFTER being first published than before. I really don’t wish to go into details about those problems, but I will say that all my experiences have taught me a great deal about the publishing business, which I think is always beneficial.
There’s so much to learn about publishing, and writers have to experience most of it firsthand.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I am a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. I am also involved in my local Sisters in Crime chapter, Murder We Write.
I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. I’ve considered joining Mystery Writers of America, also.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Of course I love reading! I also enjoy gardening, walking, traveling, drawing and painting, listening to music, attending theatre and dance performances, and watching films and some TV shows.
A nice and varied set of hobbies.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
What I like most is the creative process and bringing my characters to life. I also enjoy developing plots and honing my words into something that can make me feel proud. (Even though my writing is never perfect and I am still learning). In addition, I love hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books, and discussing writing and books with other readers.
My toughest challenge is promotion. I am not a natural salesperson so dealing with the marketing aspect of the business is much more of a challenge for me than the creative side.
Those are my favorite and least parts of the publishing process, and I believe most authors feel the same about the challenges of marketing and promotion.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
As someone who is not fond of reading books that include graphic violence, language, or sex, I enjoy writing in a genre that doesn’t include those things. I also enjoy being able to focus on characters and everyday life while still being able to include action and adventure. In addition, cozies are fun – something I think we need more of in this world.
I feel the same way.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
From BOOKED FOR DEATH, Book One in the Booklover’s B&B series:
Scott leaned back in his chair. “A costume party? Sounds like fun, but I have another engagement. Of course, to be honest, I’m not really a part of the Tey celebration, so I guess I can be forgiven for my absence.”
“Yes, you’re excused, but no one else.” I kept my tone light. I never wanted to force my guests to participate in an activity. Their payment for the event, which ran from Saturday to Saturday after a Friday evening check-in, included the dinner party, but if they wished to skip it, that was their choice. “We do have some local people attending the party, so there are plenty of participants even if you can’t come, Scott. Although you are welcome, of course.”
“I, for one, wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Lincoln said. “I have the perfect costume, which I certainly don’t want to waste.”
“Let me guess,” I said. “Richard the Third?”
“Oh no.” A slow smile spread over Lincoln’s face. “That’s much too expected. No, I plan to represent his eventual adversary, Henry the Seventh.”
“Siding with the opposition—the House of Tudor against the House of York?” Scott stood up and tossed his napkin onto the linen tablecloth.
Lincoln sat back in his chair. “The Tudors won.”
“But even that line didn’t last,” Scott observed. “Still, your choice is unique, so good for you.”
Jennifer tapped her chin with one finger. “According to Tey, Henry was the villain who killed the young princes.”
Lincoln shrugged. “Who knows the truth of that story? Tey had her opinions, but nothing has ever been proven.”
“At any rate, I hope you’ll all have a good time tonight, virtually traveling back in time just as Tey’s Detective Grant did,” I said, as Alicia appeared with fresh eggs and other items and plopped them down in front of Lincoln and Jennifer.
“Full English breakfast,” she said. “Enjoy.”
Lincoln lifted his fork. “Thank you. Now, once more into the breach…”
I turned aside, swallowing a remark about the inappropriateness of his quote. Because, as far as I knew, no one was at war, or in any danger of death.
Of course, as later events soon proved, I was quite wrong in this assumption.
Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I want them to know that I am happy to engage with readers on social media or via my website contact form and would also love to talk to them if we meet at any conferences, signings, or related events. So readers – don’t hesitate to connect with me!
Also, while I do write series, and there is character development and plot progression over the course of the series, I never write cliff-hangers! If someone wants to read my books out of order, they should still be able to enjoy them.
Finally, my mystery books are all available in audio book format as well as hardback and eBook.
Great! Thanks so much for the interview, and I will share your current blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on your new series.
Booked for Death: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert
About Booked for Death
Booked for Death: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B07XX7PHTV
From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.
A book lover’s B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder–and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.
Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader’s paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It’s the perfect literary retreat–until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.
The victim’s daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.
Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt’s name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer’s death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer–or end up writing her own final chapter.
About Virginia Gilbert
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. This is her fourth Blue Ridge Library mystery.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/
Amazon B&N Kobo Indie Bound
A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/a-murder-for-the-books/
SHELVED UNDER MURDER: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/shelved-under-murder/
PAST DUE FOR MURDER: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/past-due-for-murder/
BOUND FOR MURDER: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612101/bound-for-murder-by-victoria-gilbert/
A DEADLY EDITION (preorder): https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/647523/a-deadly-edition-by-victoria-gilbert/9781643854762/
BOOKED FOR DEATH: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622813/booked-for-death-by-victoria-gilbert/
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June 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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June 16 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
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June 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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