I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Melinda Mullet and her new book Deadly Dram. This is the third book in her A Whisky Business Mystery Cozy series.
Deadly Dram: A Whisky Business Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (September 4, 2018)
Print Length 300 pages
Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.
It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?
The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I’ve always written, even as a child, but as I got older, I was forced to do a lot of very dry writing as a lawyer. I burnt out on the writing process for a time, but then after I exited the profession I found my desire to write for pleasure coming back. I have always loved mysteries and that style of writing came fairly naturally to me. One weekend I’d been following my husband around on a tour of whisky distilleries in Scotland and we stopped at what felt like distillery number four hundred and thirty seven. I found myself thinking that the giant yeast infused wooden vat we were peering into would make a great place to discover a dead body. Other mystery people will understand that this isn’t really as disturbed a thought as it seems, nor is it a subconscious desire to be rid of my whisky loving husband. It planted the seed of an idea and I began to write on a regular basis. Now, here we are.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd? The Whisky Business series actually walks the line between a cozy and a traditional mystery. It has all the atmospherics of a cozy mystery, and the fun quirky characters that populate the village of Balfour, but the crimes and the villains are a bit edgier. Abi Logan is a strong, complex female lead whose style and energy pay tribute to the exceptional women working to make a name for themselves in the contemporary whisky business.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you? Very much from an outline. I tend to have a general plot in my head and then I use index cards to work out the individual scenes. My story lines tend to be a bit complex. If I try to hold all that information in my head I end up getting confused and losing vital bits of information.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews? At first I read all of them, now I confess I don’t have the time. I respond to people who reach out directly on Facebook or Goodreads, but I don’t respond to reviews, especially bad ones. I had a troll at one point trying to fault me for not being “British enough,”which I found funny because my publishers finds me too British and they are always trying to minimize the particularly British expressions to ensure that the book is understood on a global basis. As a writer, the important thing to remember is that there will always be people who love what you do and people that hate it. It’s in the middle ground where you find comments that may actually help you to improve your writing.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Start writing sooner. Do not put off what you want to do until some later point when you have more time or more energy. Trust me that time never comes, just do it!
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers? I think covers can be very important given the number of new books out there. The Whisky Business series has a header that stays the same from book to book which generally ties the series together and the title font stays the same, but the pictures change. The wonderful art department at Penguin Random House designs the covers, but I do suggest elements for the cover and I do get to make changes to the final designs as necessary.
Please give us an insight into your main character. What do you think makes her special? My protagonist is a young woman named Abi Logan. She’s had a successful career as a photojournalist, winning many awards for her portraits of people in crisis. She has slogged her way through one war zone after another and has reached a point of being burnt out and somewhat isolated by her own emotional exhaustion. After inheriting a single malt whisky distillery in rural Scotland she finds herself once more knee deep in a very male dominated profession and fighting to establish herself. This struggle makes her very relatable to many women. From her past life she brings with her a strong instinct about people and a compulsive attention to detail that serve her well as an investigator.
What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author? I have learned that discipline is key and I am so glad that I’ve always been a very disciplined person. I also discovered that I am more open to criticism than I thought I might be and flexible enough to cut things that aren’t right or aren’t furthering the story line.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-time is all I can manage. I have two children and an elderly mother that require a fair amount of my time, as well as working with a couple of literacy charities that mean a great deal to me.
What do your plans for future projects include? I am continuing to write books in the Whisky Business series as well as a separate project that is set in England in the 1930s. The story is based loosely on my grandmother’s life. She was one of sixteen children all of whom came of age in London between WWI and WWII. She was a widow that had to go out and make her way in the world. Several of her siblings made history on a grand scale and she did too in her own unique way.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest? Deadlines are the hardest part. They force you to write even when the words aren’t flowing the way you would like. Of course, on the upside it keeps the tendency to procrastinate at bay! The easiest part is that it is a creative outlet that I really enjoy. It allows me to have fun crafting elaborate puzzles that involve human psychology and emotions.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors? Mysteries, fantasies and biographies. I always have two or three bios on the go at any one time. Right now I’m reading Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Misty Copeland, the prima ballerina, and I’m re-reading Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge.
I’ve been a mystery fan since my first Nancy Drew and I never stopped. I read through all of the Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers and that ilk by the time I came out of high school. Then I moved on to Elizabeth George, Colin Dexter, Sarah Caudwell — anything I could get my hands on. I love the fact that it isn’t a passive read. It’s relaxing, but it stimulates your brain at the same time. I also love fantasy stories. Tolkien is a particular favorite.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I’m passionate not just about writing but also about reading. I encourage all of the young people I work with to read everything they can, not just the things that reaffirm their own beliefs. Assess, analyze and think. It makes us all better people. I donate 5% of my annual book revenues to a group called Room to Read to support their efforts to publish age appropriate, indigenous literature in third world countries. Local language children’s books are vital to literacy efforts and I love their motto “World Peace through Educated Children.”
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support and encouragement and all the kind words. Writing is an isolating occupation and you make me feel part of a broader book loving community. Keep on reading!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page:
Also check out Room to Read at www.roomtoread.org
There is a Rafflecopter Giveaway for this tour. To enter, just click on the link below:
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