by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of an author who is new to KRL-Marriage Vow Murder by Leslie Langtry. We also have an interesting interview with Leslie. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Marriage Vow Murder, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Marriage Vow Murder: A Merry Wrath Mysteries By Leslie Langtry
From Criminals to Cookies…
There are many career changes cozy characters make transforming their boredom into adventure or poverty into success or pain into joy. In Leslie Langtry’s Merry Wrath Mystery series she has taken a CIA agent, whose secret identity was exposed, and reimagined her as a troop leader of a group of cookie-selling, good-deed-doing Girl Scouts in Iowa. Clever! Entertaining! First introduced in 2014 with Merit Badge Murder, and eight books later, Merry Wrath has become a big hit with fans garnering an average of 4.5 stars. From terrorists to traitors, kidnappings to murders, cookies to field trips this series is engaging fun!
Check out the complete Merry Wrath Mystery series
1—Merit Badge Murder 2—Mint Cookie Murder
3—Marshmallow S’more Murder 4—Movie Night Murder
5—Mud Run Murder 6—Motto for Murder
7—Map Skills Murder. 8—Mean Girl Murder
9—Marriage Vow Murder 10—Mystery Night Murder (April 2019)
Scout Camp Murder (Killer Beach Reads collection)
Fishing Badge Murder (Pushing Up Daisies collection)
Marriage Vow Murder earns 5/5 Floral Bouquets…Clever and Entertaining!
Merry is “wedding” stressed, so much so that when she’s told the florist is dead in the front pew, she asks, “Did he drop off the flowers first?” Granted, a bit insensitive, but the wedding IS tomorrow! When the police respond to their 9-1-1 alarm, Merry expects her fiancé/detective to arrive on the scene, but the officer doesn’t know where he is, his cell goes right to voicemail, and the CIA-worthy tracking app installed on their phones pings nothing. Her spy-dar registers…the groom is missing! Worried about what past mission may be back to haunt her or past case of her fiancé/detective, they discover clues as puzzles and riddles. This leads Merry on a wild, somewhat perilous, adventure to find the groom hoping she’ll not be a widow before she’s a wife.
This was a very engaging read! I first learned about Leslie Langtry through her fun books, Ukulele Murder (2016) and Ukulele Deadly (2017), from the Gemma Halliday Publishing multi-author Aloha Lagoon Mystery series, so I knew her engaging writing style and clever plots would keep me just as entertained. I was right. The mystery of this ninth book was a definite page-turner, trying to decipher the clues myself, and seeing possible connections all the way to a satisfying “Oh, my!” ending. The premise of using some precocious Girl Scouts as sidekicks was unique along with an antagonistic ex-handler/PI, close BFF Kelly, quirky family, former teachers, and a plethora of bad deed doers! I enjoyed Langtry’s first-person narrative that set the tone well, sharing Merry’s inner thoughts with vivid descriptions and entertaining banter, and revisiting some of her previous covert entanglements. My newbie status never put me at a disadvantage. Oh, I’ve got to read more of her Merry books!
Be a Big Leslie Langtry!
Alooooha! Leslie Langtry is one of the GHP authors who contribute to one of my favorite series: Aloha Lagoon Mystery. Her first book in the series, Ukulele Murder, gets 5/5 Leis from me. It is also on sale for 99c through January 30. Don’t miss out!
Facebook – Leslie Langtry
Website – Leslie Langtry
Be a GHP Fan!
Facebook – Gemma Halliday Publishing
Website – Gemma Halliday Publishing
Our Guest…Leslie Langtry
USA Today Bestselling Author of the Merry Wrath series
KRL: It is great to have with us Leslie Langtry, author of the very entertaining Merry Wrath series, celebrating the new release of the ninth book, Marriage Vow Murder. Can you give us a mini biography for Leslie Langtry? Who is she and what influenced her to become a writer?
Leslie: Thank you for having me! I’m so thrilled to be here!
KRL: What influenced me to become a writer?
Leslie: Probably a simple pencil and piece of paper. I started writing stories in the second grade, due to what my parents called an ‘overactive and sometimes disturbing’ imagination. I wrote comedies, some mystery, and some science fiction throughout school, but abandoned my writing when I went to the University of Iowa to major in the oh-so-much-more practical field of political science. At some point in my late 30s, I decided to give it a go again, and I sold my first novel to New York two days after my fortieth birthday. Other than that, I live with my family in Illinois (no, not Chicago) with an assortment of unruly animals – one of which has taken over my Facebook posts.
KRL: Is there a reason you chose to write in the cozy mystery genre? What is it about cozies that interested you?
Leslie: It was the very first genre I read, starting with Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew before graduating to Agatha Christie. I still read mysteries today. I love to puzzle through the book to try to figure out whodunit, and I like that there isn’t a lot of gory violence. I’m a fairly brave person, but buckets of blood will send me running for the hills. Well, that, and the fact that my mom wouldn’t like it.
KRL: In 2014, you first released the Merry Wrath series with Merit Badge Murder. I loved the premise of “outed CIA agent becomes a Girl Scout’s troop leader.” What a delightful career change…cookies and criminals! Can you give us some insights into how the series started?
Leslie: My first series – the Greatest Hits Series – is about people whose family business is assassination. Which, I guess, demonstrates that my brain is a bit off. Since the idea of assassination puts some people off, my current publisher and I were trying to come up with a cozy series, and the idea just hit me. Well, that and the fact that I’d been a Girl Scout Leader for ten years – which gave me more material than I can possibly write.
KRL: I was a Camp Fire Girl, but a couple of my childhood friends were Girl Scouts and, of course, I love the Do-si-dos cookies. Were you a Girl Scout? Is there a story behind choosing that notion?
Leslie: I was a Girl Scout in my small hometown of DeWitt, Iowa. We went camping, canoeing and had one, week-long trip to Washington DC. I couldn’t wait for my (then) little girl to start school so she could be in a troop. Little did I know I’d be a leader for that troop for ten amazing and often hilarious years. As for the cookies? I can always be bribed with Thin Mints.
KRL: The characters you’ve created seem so universal. Their personalities, manner, and relationships make them seem like neighbors, family, and friends. Do you have a personal connection to any of them? Can we find you in Merry or one of the other characters? Did you write your characters by taking real-life people and “changing the names to…,” you get my drift?
Leslie: I’m sure there’s a small part of me in Merry Wrath. I can’t seem to help that. And my scouts are based on the girls who were in my troop. There really is a Betty – and she seems to be my most popular character. I had two Hannah’s and two Kaitlyn M’s, and my real co-leaders inspired the character of Kelly – Merry’s co-leader. Many stories in the books are actually true – my troop was very (and awesomely) precocious.
KRL: This book, Marriage Vow Murder, is the ninth book in the series. So much as transpired with a dozen murders and countless perilous predicaments, but relationships have begun and strengthen. What does the future hold for Merry? Will you be continuing the series in 2019?
Leslie: Oh yes! There will be three more books coming out in 2019 and hopefully four more each year after that. I’m really looking forward to book #10, Mystery Night Murder, which comes out in April. I wanted to do something special with my tenth book, so I set it on an island in the middle of a lake, with a huge nod to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and the board game CLUE. I’m not done with Merry yet. In order to use up all my real stories, I’ll probably have to write thirty more books.
KRL: My introduction to your writing came when I read about Nani Johnson in Ukulele Murder (2016) and Ukulele Deadly (2017) from the multi-author Aloha Lagoon Mystery series, Can you give us a bit of background about this series? Can we expect another Ukulele book in 2019? Do you play the ukulele?
Leslie: I do play! I have four ukes and love messing around with them. I even took lessons for a while. I’m really only a hobbyist, but when my publisher came up with the Aloha Lagoon Series, I jumped at the chance to write about Nani Johnson, ukulele virtuoso. As of right now, I started the third one, but it’s on the back burner until I get more Merry Wrath books out. Merry can be very demanding.
KRL: Did you dream of being a secret agent of sorts when you were young? You use that theme in your Bombay Assassins Greatest Hits series with Gin Bombay as a single mom/top secret assassin. Can you give us a bit of background about this series? Can we expect more from Gin?
Leslie: I did think about that – I loved spy stories as a kid. In fact, I was a Russian minor at the University of Iowa in the 80s and the CIA and Navy Intelligence tried to recruit me. I always wonder what would’ve happened if I’d gone through with it. If I had to guess, I don’t think I would’ve been all that good at it. Probably would’ve been captured on my first mission. That would’ve sucked.
KRL: I enjoy your writing style, clever plot lines, humor, and fun characters. Do you any plans to write another cozy series? Any plans to write in a different genre?
Leslie: I do have another series I’d love to write – funny sci-fi. I’ve written the first novella and half of the second. I’d love to finish it and put it up myself. I’ll keep picking at it in between writing Merry Wrath Mysteries. As I said, Merry is quite the taskmaster.
KRL: Writing can be very personal and unique to each author. What is a day of writing like for you? Do you have a special technique for your writing?
Leslie: I wish I had a special technique! I used to be a morning writer, but over the last year have turned into an afternoon writer. These days, I hit the YMCA in the morning, work on marketing until lunch (I love lunch…lunch is my favorite). In the afternoon, I write for about three hours. I write very fast, so three hours is a big drain. I don’t think I could do more than that without slipping into a coma. And that would be bad because the animals like being fed regularly.
KRL: Getting published can be a daunting, often disappointing, task, and many authors multi-task with writing more of a second career. How did you go about getting your series published? Are you a full-time writer!
Leslie: I am a full-time writer, and I’m happy to say my profession manages to keep my kids in college. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when lightening struck when I found my first publisher. After a few years, I got my rights back to the Greatest Hits Series and tried self-publishing. I liked it and was fairly successful, but preferred to just write and not worry about all that other stuff. When my friend Gemma Halliday started a publishing company, I jumped on board. She’s amazing to work with and helped me hit the USA Today Bestseller list a few times. It would be hard to work for anyone else.
KRL: Your bio mentions cake a couple of times. Are you baker or is cake just your go-to treat? Is there a certain cake you enjoy or are you any “cake” in a storm?
Leslie: LOL! I like that ‘any cake in a storm!’ Yes, I’m obsessed with cake. I can bake, but I don’t like to. Almost any cake will do, but my favorite is chocolate. The only thing I don’t like is German chocolate. There’s something unnatural about the coconut frosting, and I do not like pecans. And why is it called German chocolate when coconuts don’t grow there? That seems to be a red flag to me. Now, black forest cake – yum!
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Leslie: I have a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration. And I worked in the field for about ten years before I decided to take a serious crack at writing.
KRL: Ok, here’s something fun, Leslie…Rapid Fire!
Ready! Set! Go!
Coffee or Tea? — Tea! But no milk or sugar. My favorite is Earl Grey.Finish these sentences:
Dog or Cat? — Tough choice! I have three of each. I’m going to say ‘cat’ so my cat Jelly doesn’t eat me in my sleep.
Carnivore or Herbivore? — I grew up in Iowa – total carnivore. Not sure I even ate veggies until I was 21.
Pie or Cake? — Cake, but I’d never turn down Boston Cream Pie – which is called a pie but is technically a cake.
Picnic or 5-star Restaurant? — Restaurant – definitely. I like to eat and I’m lazy.
Print/eBook or Audio version? — Ebooks mostly – I’m of an age where I need large fonts. However, there are presently thirty-two print books on my nightstand right now…
Theater or Wait for the DVD? — Wait for the DVD – I cannot stand people talking in theaters and I’m lazy.
Favorite Actor? — Johnny Depp. What a range, from pirates to guy with scissor hands!
Favorite Actress? — Carol Burnett – best comedian ever.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? — Grey Goose Vodka martini, please.
Beachfront Property or Cabin in the Woods? — A cabin in the summer and the beach in winter. I really like being outside in nice weather.
Active or Cuddling in a Comfy Chair? — I like having my comfy chair to myself, thank you.
If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be – Mark Twain. I would like to have dinner with Mark Twain.
If I had just one wish, it would be — Cake for everyone! People are always happy eating cake. Except for maybe one of those pie people.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world for one day, it would be — Anyone who is currently sitting on a beach with a Grey Goose Martini.
KRL: This has been great connecting with you. We’ve covered so many topics and had some fun, too. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Leslie: Just to thank everyone for having me! I had a great time answering these questions! Now I’m off to find some cake. I think I at least have a Twinkie somewhere…
Thank you, Leslie, for joining us and sharing a little about yourself and your books.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Marriage Vow Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “marriage,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 2, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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