Guest Post: “Write What You Know…” by Victoria Gilbert

Write What You Know
by Victoria Gilbert

GuestI’ve always heard, “write what you know,” and while I don’t think authors should limit themselves to only their own experiences, I believe that having a connection to a setting or other aspects of a book does help to create a sense of verisimilitude.

When I decide to write a cozy mystery set in a small town, I immediately thought of the area where I grew up – far northern Virginia, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not only did I have access to my memories of the people and places, but I also knew that the area offered a long history that could add depth in my stories. Drawing on a long-established, unique, mountain culture meant that I could incorporate some distinctive aspects that would hopefully make my fictional town feel like a real, fully realized, community.

In addition, I’m a retired librarian, and I draw on that background in depicting my protagonist, library director Amy Webber, as well as the work she and her assistants do at the Taylorsford Public Library. My background in art and music has also heavily influenced the plots of my books. Another influence is my age—as someone over sixty, I like to include older characters who are involved in the action and who are living full lives.

I have enjoyed my research into the various historical aspects that infuse each book, including the work of folk healers and herbalists, details about theft and forgery in the art world, Appalachian folklore and folk music, and, in BOUND FOR MURDER, the “hippie” culture of the 1960s. Adding in at least one historical mystery that ties into the current-day murder investigation in each book is something I find both fascinating and rewarding. I hope my readers enjoy that aspect of the books as well. In that vein, let me give you a little preview for book five, A DEADLY EDITION, which will be published in early 2021 – the historical mystery that ties into a contemporary murder is connected to a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer!

What’s your favorite unsolved historical mystery? Please feel free to comment below.


About the Author:

Virginia Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. This is her fourth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

Author Links: Website/Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram / You Tube



Leo Review sm

A slice of life with a side of murder is how I would describe the latest book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, ‘Bound For Murder’. Librarian Amy Webber has a lot on her plate. She is supporting her best friend, Sunny’s, run for mayor against a disliked and corrupt incumbent and she is fending off an avalanche of unsolicited wedding planning advice. When a skeleton with ties to 60’s commune is dug up on Sunny’s family farm, Amy’s research skills are called in to help solve the mystery of the unfortunate soul who has been murdered. All of her suspects and possible witnesses are holding on to decades-old secrets, it seems no one is quite as innocent as they seem, and someone really doesn’t want her to keep digging.

I love that the heart of this series is a library and I love that the library seems to be the heart of Taylorsford. The strength in this story lies in the familial and extended relationships. It doesn’t much take to see the bonds are strong and the history is deep and these people would move mountains for each other. The beautiful descriptions of the town and its old houses make me want to move there, murders and all. Luckily Amy is handy to have around in a murder investigation. 

This is my first book for Victoria Gilbert, but any author who can write a mystery series that reads so well as a stand-alone, with just the right amount of clues and the occasional back-to-the-drawing-board red herring, and can work the word verisimilitude into a blog post is my kind of author.

I received a complimentary evaluation copy of these books. All opinions and insights are my own.



About The Book:

Bound for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert

BOUND-FOR-MURDERBlue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn’t all peace and love among the “flower children” when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.

Taylorsford Public Library director Amy Webber’s friend “Sunny” Fields is running for mayor. But nothing puts a damper on a campaign like an actual skeleton in a candidate’s closet. Sunny’s grandparents ran a commune back in the 1960s on their organic farm. But these former hippies face criminal charges when human remains are found in their fields–and a forensic examination reveals that the death was neither natural nor accidental.

With Sunny’s mayoral hopes fading, Amy sets her wedding plans aside, says “not yet” to the dress, and uses her research skills to clear her best friend’s family. Any of the now-elderly commune members could have been the culprit. As former hippies perish one by one, Amy and her friends Richard, Aunt Lydia, and Hugh Chen pursue every lead. But if Amy can’t find whoever killed these “flower children,” someone may soon be placing flowers on her grave.

Book Links: Amazon     Barnes n Noble    Kobo    Indie Bound   

Series Links:




BOUND FOR MURDER (preorder):

BOOKED FOR DEATH (preorder):


excerptMy foot, resting next to the macramé purse, vibrated from the loud music blaring from Sunny’s cell phone. “You want to get that? I realize the rule is no phones at the desk but since there’s no one here right now…”

Kurt coughed.

“No one who will care, I mean.” I cast him a smile before grabbing Sunny’s purse and handing it to her. “Go on—I know that ring.”

“Yeah, it’s the grands. Again.” Sunny pulled a comical face as she fished her phone out of the pouch. “They aren’t usually this needy, but ever since the county started that dredging work on the creek, they’ve been calling nonstop. They’re so worried about damage to the trees and shrubs along the stream bed.”

“Of course.” I’d heard plenty about this from Carol and P.J., who were irate over the
heavy equipment that had recently descended upon their quiet organic farm. The fact that the county had a right-of-way to the creek, which was part of a larger watershed, did nothing to appease their anger.

“Government barreling in and taking over, like usual,” P.J. had told me, his thin lips
quivering with repressed rage. “Didn’t even inform us ahead of time. Just showed up one day and proceeded to rip up my fields with their equipment. Well, they’d better not destroy our trees along the creek, that’s all I’ve got to say.”

I shook my head. “Can’t say I blame them.” I directed my words to Kurt as Sunny
listened intently to her phone. “The county’s been tearing up the stream banks all along its route.”

Kurt’s expression betrayed no emotion, but his jaw tightened. That was odd. The art
dealer rarely appeared tense, even in the direst of circumstances, yet the mention of dredging a creek seemed to have distressed him. It piqued my curiosity.

Or maybe I was imagining things. I shook my head to clear my thoughts. “They say it
benefits the environment because it allows for better run-off from nearby rivers and ponds. But I don’t know. It seems rather destructive to me.”

When Kurt replied, his voice was as calm and charming as ever. “I knew that the
dredging work was ongoing but didn’t realize it involved that farm.”

“Yeah, unfortunately.” I glanced at Sunny and noticed that all the color had fled her face.

“Anything wrong?”

Sunny’s fingers clutched her cell phone so tightly I worried she might crack the plastic
case. “Yes. Not with the grands, thank goodness, but dredging crews found something on the farm.”

“Buried treasure?” I asked, with a quick glance at Kurt.

“No, not anything like that.” Sunny’s voice shook. “According to the grands, an operator
swung his Bobcat bucket the wrong way and dug deep into the bank, up and away from the stream. And that’s when they found it.”

“Found what?” I asked, my gaze flitting from Sunny’s trembling lips to the carved-in-stone stillness of Kurt’s face and back again.

“Bones,” Sunny said. “Human bones.” She stared at me, her eyes as glazed as glass. “An entire skeleton.”


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