I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Barbara Monajem and her new book Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen. This is the 1st book in her A Rosie and McBrae Mystery Series. Both of these books in the series were great.
Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen: A Rosie and McBrae Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (April 21, 2020)
Paperback: 244 pages
Digital ASIN: B087BBLLNL
Purchase Link – Amazon
Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.
First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.
Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for adults, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).
Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.
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When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I think it happened not long after I learned to read. I wrote my first story in third grade. It was about apple tree gnomes. The teacher liked the beginning so much that I was embarrassed and finished it off in a hurry. I didn’t want her to praise me to the other kids—or maybe I was afraid I couldn’t think of a good enough ending.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
Well, first of all, Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen is a historical cozy. The crowd of those is much smaller. Also, cozies, as far as I understand, are usually related to a place or occupation. My Lady Rosamund mysteries will probably all take place in Great Britain, but not in one town or village. She doesn’t have an occupation – she’s a wealthy aristocrat, so she doesn’t have to work. She does have some quirks – such as checking things over and over – and she’s always worried her family will put her in an asylum if she doesn’t succeed in hiding her oddities. However, she becomes an amateur sleuth (along with Gilroy McBrae, a Scot she meets in the first book in the series). There’s no violence or sex on the page. So…is this a cozy or a traditional mystery? You tell me!
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
I’m hopeless at plotting. Usually I have a first scene in mind and an idea of where the story is going, but apart from that, I just start writing and see what happens. Eventually, the story takes shape, and then I go back and revise it. It’s amazing how much falls into place without much planning being done. On the other hand, it can be a slow process.
Do you read your reviews?
Yes, usually I do, or at least the ones when a book first comes out.
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I don’t usually respond. The conventional wisdom is not to. But I appreciate them all, and sometimes the bad ones are useful in showing me ways in which I can improve my writing. Mostly, though, I assume those reviewers are just not my readers.
Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
Not really. I have a few beta readers, and also there are services which will send out advance copies to potential readers. Sometimes I contact reviewers who have reviewed other books for me. Also, book tours like this one often provide a couple of reviews.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be bolder and more persistent. I would have been published much sooner if I hadn’t been so shy about following up with editors and agents. However, I haven’t changed much, so I have a feeling my younger self would have ignored me!
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
Usually, the publisher takes care of this, but for self-published books I hire a cover artist. I assume the cover matters—but what appeals to me might not appeal to someone else, and vice versa. It’s a bit of a crap shoot, so if I have a choice, I pick something I like. At least I’ll enjoy the cover. 🙂
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
Lady Rosamund Phipps is the main character in the series, because it is all from her point of view. She is terribly un-PC by today’s standards. Lady Rosamund is the daughter of an earl—wealthy, privileged, and taught to believe in her innate superiority. She means well, but has many prejudices and no idea how the other ninety-nine percent live, much less how they view themselves and their social superiors. As she finds herself pulled into situations a lady should never encounter, she blunders, sometimes unforgivably. I see her often painful process of growth and change as a parallel to modern-day attempts to get rid of the many kinds of prejudice that burden society today.
Gilroy McBrae is the second main character. He is often the catalyst for Rosamund’s process of change. At first, she dislikes him, but he is persistent, and gradually she changes her mind. Hopefully they will solve many mysteries together.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming an author?
That if I really care about something, I will push harder to get it done – but only so far. I’m not ambitious enough to go all out.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part time. I have another part-time job which takes up many of my productive hours. And there are always chores, too!
What do your plans for future projects include?
More books in the Lady Rosamund series, as well as historical romance novels and novellas. Some of my romances have magic in them – hobgoblins, pixies, ghosts, etc. I really enjoy that touch of magic, so I will probably write more of those.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is?
Getting the first draft down on the page.
What is the easiest?
Revising.I love revising. That’s when everything comes together.
What type of books do you like to read?
Mysteries and romances, mostly historical.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Georgette Heyer! It was her writing that inspired me to write Regencies. Mary Stewart is one of the authors who made me want to try writing in first person point of view. There are many others. More recent favorites include Lois McMaster Bujold (SciFi), Kerry Greenwood (mysteries) and Stella Riley (historical romance).
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
Um…I can’t think of anything. I’m not writing about myself, but about fictional characters, so why would they need to know about me?
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
I hope my books provide entertainment while also offering food for thought.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Monajem/e/B002XPTTFC
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