by Lorie Lewis Ham &
Due to some computer problems this past week that prevented me from properly spreading the word about this giveaway–the giveaway of Rhys’ book is being extended an extra week! Deadline for entering will now be October 11! I just heard Rhys speak in Fresno and she was delightful! I can’t wait to go out and pick up all of her books now, they sound very interesting and fun! Don’t miss your chance to own one for free!
Mystery author Rhys Bowen will be speaking at the San Joaquin Sisters In Crime meeting in Fresno on Saturday, October 1-for more info check out their event page. She took some time to speak with us here at KRL and Terell Byrd reviews her latest book, Naughty In Nice. At the end of this article is a chance to enter to win a copy of Naughty In Nice.
Lorie: What is the title of your latest book?
Rhys: Naughty in Nice (A Royal Spyness book). Published Sept 6 2011. A historical/humorous mystery.
Lorie: Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Rhys: Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the throne of England but penniless is sent on a mission by the queen to the French Riviera where she encounters Coco Chanel, a jewel thief and a murderer.
Lorie: How long have you been writing?
Rhys: All my life. Published since 1976
Lorie: When did your first novel come out? Can you share a little about it?
Rhys: My first mystery novel came out in 1997. It was called Evans Above, first in the Constable Evans series about a young policeman in North Wales.
Lorie: Have you always written mysteries? If not what else have you written?
Rhys: I began by writing radio and TV plays for the BBC in London. First books were children’s books. Then YA novels, some historicals, some TV tie ins before I switched to what I like to read: mysteries.
Lorie: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series and can you tell us a little about them?
Rhys: I felt that the world was full of darkness at the moment so I wanted to write something fun and make people laugh. I am also so drawn to the 1930s–a time when the world was poised on a knife-edge. So my heroine is a minor royal but her branch of the family has lost their money and she is trying to survive at a difficult time. In this book, I thought she needed a little R and R and sent her to France for a fun French frolic.
Lorie: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Rhys: Obviously any book about crime and murder must have serious underpinnings and in my Molly Murphy series especially I deal with morality and evil. They are present in the Royal Spyness books but these are especially what Booklist described in a starred review as “a delightful romp.”
Lorie: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Rhys: I write two books a year so I need a tight schedule. I write every day for three months and finish the book within that period. Then it is polished and I’m touring around promoting the next book. Not much time for rest!
Lorie: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Rhys: I don’t outline, in fact I know very little when I start. I know in which environment I want to set the book, usually who is going to be killed, but that is that. So I stumble one step behind my heroine watching what is happening to her. This makes the stories fresher and more surprising, I think. As for keeping track. I use post-its on a board to remind me what might need to happen and remove them when it has happened.
Lorie: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Rhys: I start writing right after I’ve read emails in the morning. I’m a morning person.
Lorie: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Rhys: My first book was accepted by the second publisher and I have been published ever since. Pretty lucky, I feel.
Lorie: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Rhys: My interesting story was when I was asked, many years ago, to write a YA novel. I hadn’t written one before and was given a quick deadline. I came up with a proposal and was given the go-ahead, but I never asked which publisher it was for. It turned out to be one of the books Bantam used to launch Sweet Dreams and was a mega success, going through a printing of 100,000 in a week! Quite unexpected.
Lorie: What kind of promotion do you find most affective?
Rhys: To begin with it was meeting people face to face, touring bookstores, gradually making myself visible. These days I do most online, Facebook etc.
Lorie: Do you have a most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Rhys: That would be when I had to have my picture taken with the store pet, and it turned out to be a pig… a giant snuffling pig. Yuck.
Lorie: LOL Future writing goals?
Rhys: I have so many ideas but it’s hard to move away from series that fans love. My goal is to write a better book each time.
Lorie: Writing heroes?
Rhys: Tony Hillerman. Deborah Crombie, Jacqueline Winspear (who happen to be my very good friends)
Lorie: What kind of research do you do?
Rhys: Lots. I am often in New York for Molly. Everything has to be right when you are writing about a real place and time. I go to England almost every year for Georgie and last year I was in Nice for the latest book.
Lorie: What do you read when you can find time?
Rhys: Many mysteries especially historical and British, fun chic lit, women’s novels, travel books depending on my mood. Nothing too dark any more.
Lorie: Favorite TV or movies?
Rhys: British comedies, travel shows…almost anything on PBS. Recently favorite movie Midnight in Paris.
Rhys: Married to fellow Brit John. Four children. Five grandchildren.
Lorie: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Rhys: Don’t ever write something because you think it might sell. Write where your heart is, pay your dues, write the best book of which you are capable.
Lorie: How do you feel about the growing popularity of e-books?
Rhys: If it keeps people reading, I’m for it. I’m sure the next generation will switch entirely to e-books and they will get more and more user friendly. But I mourn the loss of my beloved bookshops.
Lorie: Do you read e-books yourself?
Rhys: Yes, I have a Kindle for when I’m stuck at an airport. Real books at home.
Lorie: Where do we find you online?
Rhys: Website: www.rhysbowen.com. And I blog at www.rhysbowen.blogspot.com (This one has the fun title of Rhys’s Pieces) and at www.jungleredwriters.com I am also on Facebook and Twitter. Come and ‘friend’ me!
Naughty in Nice, A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen
Review by Terell Byrd
Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch, is known to her friends and family as “Georgie.” She is thirty-fourth in line for the British throne but, has only the prestige of the position and no money.
The year is 1933 and it is the coldest dreariest part of January. At the beginning of the story, Georgie is serving the line of unemployed men in a soup kitchen at Victoria Station and dreaming of the French Riviera. It is hard enough when her best friend departs for the continent, but when she arrives home and finds her miserly sister-in-law preparing for a sunny vacation and planning to close Rannoch House in London – Georgie is faced with having no place to live.
In this novel, the fifth in the Royal Spyness series, fate in the form of Queen Mary intervenes. Her Royal Highness has commissioned Georgie to do little “tasks” for her in the past and has one that requires Georgie to travel to Nice, France. Someone has stolen a prized snuff box from the Queen’s collection and she wants Georgie to retrieve it for her.
On the way to the Riviera Georgie meets Coco Chanel who immediately insists she model her new design. Georgie, the ultimate klutz, tries to decline but is swept up in the world of fashion and is modeling haute couture when the ornate necklace of diamonds and pearls she is wearing is stolen. As if the police weren’t suspicious enough of Georgie, the next door neighbor is found murdered in his pool and someone who looks like her was seen leaving the estate just before the body was discovered.
This series is bright, witty and tremendous fun. It has memorable characters, adventure and authentic people and places. Bowen is renowned for her ability to breathe life into historic settings and speech. Many of you are familiar with her Constable Evans series set in Wales or Molly Murphy set in early twentieth century New York. The Royal Spyness Mysteries are light cozies with real heart. Georgie is a decent, honest young woman with old-fashioned values in the middle of the ‘Lost Generation.’ Sit down and read Georgie’s journal of her life. I think you will be pleased with her friendship and hooked on her books.
To enter to win a copy of Naughty In Nice, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Nice”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 2, 2011. U.S. residents only.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.