A Terrible Beauty by V.M. Devine – Author Interview

A Terrible Beauty: the murder at Joyce's Tower by [Devine, V.M.]I recently became aquainted with half of the writing duo of A Terrible Beauty (Valerie Ganzevoort) and was interested in her story and her book, so I invited her and her father to share a bit about both. I think you might find it interesting.

V.M. Devine is the pen name for the writing-collaboration of Valerie Ganzevoort and her father, Michael Mahony.

1.       How did you come to write a novel together?

Valerie’s Response: My Dad had started on the book during a break that he was having from writing a series of theological books. He had always wanted to write a murder mystery and decided to give it a go. I was helping him proof read some of his theological work and so asked to look at the new novel early on in his writing. After a few discussions, he asked if I would like to help him write it and we started to reengineer the book and worked on it from there.

2.       Since you both live in South Africa, why did you chose Dublin, Ireland, as the primary setting for the book?

Mike’s response: The setting came from the place where I grew up. As kids we used to play in the James Joyce Tower in Dublin, Ireland – this was long before it was restored to the formal museum it is today.

The plot and characters were drawn from my own personal journey of life which encompassed living in Ireland, Nigeria, England and South Africa.

 3.       Why did you decide to write a murder mystery?

Valerie’s Response: My Dad has always read Agatha Christie and P.D. James so, for me, growing up and rummaging through the bookshelves for something to read often resulted in my reading them as well. We both enjoy the ‘puzzle-like nature’ of a murder mystery, where the book is not just a story but a mystery to be solved. We have particularly enjoyed hearing from readers who followed certain red herrings in the story or told us of their delight ay having picked up on certain clues which were important in solving the murder. Though, to date, we have not heard from any reader who has successfully guess the murder, so if anyone does guess correctly, we would love to hear about it.

4.       The Penname for the collaboration is V.M Devine, where did this come from?

The V and the M comes from our initials (Valerie and Mike) and the Devine is Mike’s mother’s maiden name, so a surname that felt fitting for both of us.

5.       Have you started writing another book?

Mike’s Response: Yes, I have recently returned from a family visit to Ireland where I visited the scene of our next murder, the Chester Beatty Library. I had arranged to meet with the Operations Manager of the Chester Beatty Library, Derval O’Carroll who was somewhat intrigued by the prospect, eventually even helping me to select the specific location within the library where the murder will now take place!

While in Dublin, I also met with the curator of the Dublin Writers Museum (Robert Nicholson) who is also the curator of the James Joyce Tower & Museum in Sandycove where our current novel, A Terrible Beauty – the murder at Joyce’s Tower, by V. M. Devine, has its setting. The book has since been catalogued into the museum and is on permanent display at the James Joyce Tower for visitors and tourists to flick through at their leisure. This was a great moment for us as the book ‘found its home’ in own setting.

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You can pick up A Terrible Beauty: The Murder at Joyce’s Tower on Amazon. And remember, if you don’t have an ereader or kindle, you can pick up a free app from Amazon to read it on any device.

Michael hails originally from Dublin, Ireland but has spent the greater part of his life in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a retired IT guy.

Valerie was born in Johannesburg. In between exploring her interest in Children’s Fiction, and writing in collaboration with her dad, she is primarily focussed upon raising her three very young children.

“A Terrible Beauty – the murder at Joyce’s Tower” is V.M. Devine’s first novel.

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Rock Paper Scissor Book Author Interview – A Lizzy Ballard Thriller

Matty is an author I know so I wanted to share her latest book with you. I haven’t read it yet myself, but it’s on my list!

What is the underlying theme of Rock Paper Scissors?

The underlying theme of all my books is how a person with an extraordinary ability deals with that ability in the context of the ordinary world. In the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning, it’s Ann’s ability to sense spirits, an ability that sets her apart from other people, and causes the end of an important relationship. In Rock Paper Scissors, the first of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers, it’s Lizzy’s ability to cause strokes in others, an ability that forces her to live in isolation, for the safety of others as well as herself.

Since Rock Paper Scissors is billed as a thriller, I suspect that Lizzy’s ability results in some mayhem!

Yes! The people who are responsible for Lizzy’s ability, and who are scheming to use it to further their own goals, are Gerard Bonnay, the head of a Philadelphia fertility clinic, and his wife and head of research, Louise Mortensen. During the course of the story, they acquire an unexpected ally, and Lizzy’s situation becomes even more perilous.

Does Lizzy have any allies to help her deal with the challenges her ability poses, and with the people who are trying to take advantage of it?

Initially, Lizzy’s primary allies are her parents, Charlotte and Patrick. The novel begins with Lizzy as an infant, and describes some incidents when she is a toddler and young girl to illustrate the dangers of her situation. However, most of the action of the story takes place when Lizzy is a teenager, and is triggered by a trip she wants to take from her home in the Philadelphia suburbs to New York City to see the sights at Christmas-time. At that point, it appears her closest allies are Owen McNally, a neurobiologist and friend of her father, and her family’s housekeeper, Ruby DiMano. But is Ruby really an ally? It’s clear that Ruby’s loyalties are torn, but it’s unclear which way she will ultimately throw her support.

You mentioned that Lizzy lives near Philadelphia—is that the main setting for the story?

As with The Sense of Death and the beginning of The Sense of Reckoning, most of Rock Paper Scissors is set in the Philadelphia area, near my home in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Ballards initially live in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and as their fortunes decline, they move further out along the Main Line, which is the name given to the towns along the rail line that stretches west from Philadelphia. Lizzy and her mother also spend some time at the family cabin in the Pocono Mountains, a couple of miles to the north of Philadelphia. There’s also a critical meeting that takes place in Longwood Gardens, which is one of my favorite spots in Chester County. Patrick Ballard and Owen McNally work at William Penn University, which is my stand-in for my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lizzy hides out for a time in a slightly fictionalized version of the Spruce Lane Lodge and Cottages in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County.

How do you decide when to use a place’s real name and when to change it?

I change it when I want to reserve the right to adjust factual details to meet the needs of the story. I may also change the name if I may be portraying the place in a negative light. For example, early in the writing of Rock Paper Scissors, I thought the villain might be affiliated with the university, so I didn’t want to refer to it as the University of Pennsylvania. Similarly, I changed the real Philadelphia Inquirer into the Philadelphia Chronicle because I wanted to reserve the right to have one of its reporters engage in some less than ethical reporting.

Even though I’m tweaking the facts to support the story, I feel I’ve still been able to create a consistent world that runs through the books and across the series. For example, Lincoln Abbott, a reporter at the Chronicle who first appeared in The Sense of Death, pens several newspaper articles that appear in Rock Paper Scissors. Also, readers who are familiar with the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels will be pleased to hear that Detective Joe Booth makes a brief appearance in Rock Paper Scissors.

What are you working on next?

I just started work on Lizzy Ballard Book 2. Book 1 ends in Sedona, Arizona, and my husband and I were just there for our yearly getaway from the Pennsylvania winter. Book 2 will start in Sedona, so I wanted to get started on that while I was still under the influence of the Sedona vibe. I also just finished my first Ann Kinnear short story, which I plan to make available to subscribers of my newsletter.

Where can people connect with you to sign up for your newsletter or to keep track of Ann Kinnear and Lizzy Ballard’s next adventures?

They can sign up for my newsletter at my website, mattydalrymple.com. For more frequent updates, they can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

matty-dalrymple-author-photo-2016-headshot-2

Matty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, “The Sense of Death” and “The Sense of Reckoning,” and “Rock Paper Scissors: A Lizzy Ballard Thriller,” which launches in March 2017. She lives with her husband, Wade Walton, and their dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for much of the action in “The Sense of Death” and “Rock Paper Scissors.” In the summer, they enjoy vacationing on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where “The Sense of Reckoning” takes place. Matty also blogs, podcasts, and speaks about independent publishing as The Indy Author.

Matty is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group.

You can purchase Matty’s book on Amazon.

Published in: on February 17, 2017 at 11:26pm02  Leave a Comment  
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Author Interview: L.H. Williams and a FREE Book!

I bumped into (so to speak) a new author the other day that has an interesting story to tell. I’m talking about her life story. You’ll have to pick up her/his books to decide if you like the stories she/he writes.
Why all the she/he business? Read below and find out!
Then let me know if you want a FREE, yes I said FREE ecopy of one of their books by telling me in the comments.
Hey and Lou
1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a retired jack-of-all-trades, having worked as a Marketing Manager, a newspaper reporter, and an administrative assistant. Now I write with my husband, who is an engineer. Heyward and I write together. Our ideas begin with a long walk, or a quiet drink somewhere. Later we compose our individual storylines, which we then join, chapter by chapter. But I am getting ahead of myself. You see, we were childhood sweethearts; we played in the high school orchestra, sang in the choir, went to dances, rode our bikes, skied, and were even taught by the same beloved English teacher. Then we went our separate ways. Heyward studied Engineering and has a successful career. I studied English and went to Brazil for two decades. There were marriages and children; there was happiness and there was loss.
We married in April of 2014. He moved to Florida and bought the condo next door to mine. The first thing we did was make sure that our two offices were set up for all the work we do. Now we are both on our condo board, and we have added two rescue cats to our family – one a tuxedo cat and the other a darling Siamese.
2. When did you start writing and why?
I’ve always loved writing, but I didn’t really get into it until I was in my sixties. [Step back] to 2012 when we reconnected via Facebook. I had been going it alone for a long time, and he was lonely too. He flew 1500 miles to see me, and we fell in love all over again. On the last night of his visit I told him about my desire to finish a book I’d started. A few days later I received his contribution. It was so beautifully written that I pasted it into Saving Dee and it immediately became an integral part of the book. In fact, his love of sailing created a whole new host of characters for all three novels – not to mention a beautifully cared-for sailing vessel he named Chauffeuse.
3. What’s your favorite books and why?
My favorite books are Regency Romance novels, especially the ones that have a touch of humor and a clever heroine.
4. What is your latest book?
My latest book is Lady in Lace. It’s the third book in THE DEE CHRONICLES. The other two are Saving Dee and The Penny Scam.
Saving Dee Cover Art
5. Where can people pick it up?
All three are available on Amazon, in e-book and paperback. [Or leave me a comment telling me you’d like a Free ecopy and I’ll pass it onto Louise and Heyward!]
1. Saving Dee     2. The Penny Scam    3. Lady in Lace
And note: Louise suggests you read the books in order.
6. What’s your favorite color?
I love turquoise, because it reminds me of the ocean.
You can also find Louise and Heyward on Goodreads  and  Facebook
 So let me know in the comments if you would like a free copy of their book(s). They are “young at heart” couple that would love to know what you think of their writing.
Published in: on March 9, 2016 at 11:26pm03  Comments (4)  
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A nice interview on the blog: indiebookspot.com

Indie BookSpot

Christine Keleny, whose books include A Burnished Rose and Rosebloom, talks about her approach to writing and her plans for the future.

Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?

I think it’s kind of funny, I really didn’t like to read when I was in school, and it’s hard to be a good writer if you aren’t a big reader. I write now because it makes me smile. It’s something I can’t wait to do when I get home from my other job. I started writing when I was in college. My nephews were small at the time, and when I would read them stories, some of them were just plan bad. I thought: “I can do better than this,” so I did. I wrote children’s stories. I still have those and…

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