I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author P. A. De Voe and her new book No Way To Die. This is the second book in her A Ming Dynasty Mystery series.
No Way to Die: A Ming Dynasty Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Drum Tower Press, LLC (April 18, 2019)
Paperback: 210 pages
Digital ASIN: B07PWJ715D
Purchase Link – Amazon
Through mystery and intrigue, No Way To Die transports the reader into the complex and engaging world of early Ming China.
When a peddler finds a partially mutilated body of a stranger, the unlikely duo of a young scholar and a local women’s doctor once more join forces to discover who killed him and why. In probing the highly gendered world of early Ming China, unanticipated questions surface, complicating their investigation.
As their case rapidly transitions into the unexpected, they find all roads leading away from the victim, forcing them to consider alternate routes. Was the death the result of inexorable bad karma and beyond their purview, or merely the result of mortal foul play? Was the murdered man the intended victim? If not, who was and why? The investigation leads to a growing list of potential suspects: a lustful herbalist, an unscrupulous neighbor, a vengeful farmer, a jealous husband, a scorned wife, and a band of thieves. Who is innocent and who is the culprit? To solve the murder and bring peace to the victim’s spirit, the duo must untangle the truth and do it before the murderer strikes again.
P.A. De Voe is an anthropologist with a PhD in Asian studies and a specialty in China. She has authored several stories featuring the early Ming Dynasty: The Mei-hua Trilogy: Hidden, Warned, and Trapped; the A Ming Dynasty Mystery series with Deadly Relations and No Way to Die; Lotus Shoes, a Mei-hua short story; and a collection of short stories: Judge Lu’s Case Files, stories of Crime & Mystery in Imperial China. Warned won a Silver Falchion Award for Best International Mystery; Trapped was a finalist for an Agatha Award and for a Silver Falchion Award. Her short story, The Immortality Mushroom, (a Judge Lu story) was in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks edited by Art Taylor.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I really don’t remember when I wanted to be an author. I do remember thinking that I couldn’t write until I had something to write about. And as a small town, Midwestern girl that meant I had to wait. Eventually, I studied anthropology and Chinese studies in college. That gave me a foundation for understanding culture and also lead to many and various types of experiences—both through a multitude of first-hand experiences and through submersion in history.
Even then, it took me several more years before I finally gave myself permission to write.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
I like to populate my stories with diverse characters, whether they are different from each other because of ethnicity or social status. I also like to use a different time and place for my stories—late 14th century China.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
I definitely am a structured writer. Before I write anything, I have to have an outline. As the story line develops, however, I may change the outline by adding another scene or even a complete chapter. The outline is my flexible road map; it’s not a train tracks where any deviation would be impossible.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
I do read reviews. No, I don’t respond to any of them.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Join writers’ groups. These people are our natural tribe and they are very supportive of fledgling authors.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
Yes. Book covers are very important. For my Mei-hua trilogy (Hidden, Warned, and Trapped) I was lucky enough to find a wonderful person to do the covers. Unfortunately, she is no longer available. Therefore, all of the other covers—for my short stories and the new series with Deadly Relations and No Way to Die—I have designed myself.
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
I have 2 protagonists in No Way to Die, Xiang-hua a women’s doctor and Shu-chang a teacher. They are both young and trying to find their footing in life. Xiang-hua was trained by her grandmother and is constantly trying to live up to her family’s expectations. She puts up a brave face in everything she does, but fear of failure is her constant companion.
While Shu-chang was away, his father and uncle were murdered as they tried to protect their village. With no evidence to go on, the district’s magistrate gives up looking for the murderers. Shu-chang vows to to find their murderers. Yet, he is now destitute and has to take a teaching job in a small school in another town. His inability to bring them justice haunts him, even as he helps to solve crimes for others.
What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
How much I enjoy the writing process and getting together with other authors to talk about our craft.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
What do your plans for future projects include?
- I am working on a collection of my Judge Lu short stories (early Ming Dynasty). They are spread around in various anthologies and an e-magazine, and I want to bring them together in one spot.
- I am working on writing an outline for the third novel in my A Ming Dynasty Mystery series. Xiang-hua and Shu-chang will continue to work together to solve crimes in their town.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
The hardest part of writing for me is sitting down and editing. Nevertheless, it must be done and with care and attention.
The easiest part of writing is doing the research for my story.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Mysteries and especially international and historical ones. Mysteries that not only are well plotted and have great characters, but which also have depth to them.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
That when they pick up one of my stories, they can count on it for a unique experience. One where a window is open to them, which provides a mystery with engaging characters and a unique setting.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
I hope that through my mysteries you enjoy taking a trip to another time and place, where the exotic and the familiar are intermingled.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: pa de voe https://www.amazon.com/P-A-De-Voe/e/B07D3BVGR8?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4&qid=1572806845&sr=1-4
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