A Conversation with Author Victoria Hamilton

Merry Wynter must solve a disturbing crime among opera singers before the culprit decides it’s curtains for her . . .– Double or Muffin (A Merry Muffin Mystery) by @MysteryVictoria 3/10

Who is your favorite character in the book you are sharing with us today?

When I started writing the Merry Muffin Mystery novels the very first one (Bran New Death; Merry Muffin Mystery #1) featured a teenage girl named Lizzie Proctor, who had gotten in trouble for vandalizing a grave. Not a promising start, right? But the people around her recognized how angry and hurt she was because of circumstances in her life, and gave her a chance to make up for it. 

I didn’t realize then how important she would become to Merry. She is now eighteen, taking a gap year before college and pursuing her passion, photography. I love that kid; she is feisty and smart and difficult… but in a good way. 

If you could have lunch with 3 authors (past and present) who would they be and what do you think you would all talk about during lunch?

This is so easy! I would invite Jane Austen (author of Pride and Prejudice, among other novels) Anne Perry (author of historical mysteries) and the late great Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries. You know, I don’t think we’d talk much about writing. We’d all be too interested in finding out about each other’s lives. Or at least that’s how I imagine it. I’d be asking a whole lot of questions.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’ve been in discussions lately on Facebook about writing habits, particularly in the planning of novels. There has been much talk about whether one is a ‘plotter’ (meaning… you outline a book before starting) or ‘pantser’ (meaning… you write novels ‘by the seat of your pants’, with little or no planning) I fall somewhere in the middle. I try – I really do – to plan the whole book before I start writing. The benefit of this is it keeps the author from the dreaded ‘two thirds doldrums’. It is well documented that many (maybe most?) authors, if they are going to have trouble writing a book, find that spot where they feel stymied and stifled occurs about two thirds of the way through.

So I try. I start writing an outline, with suspects and subplots planned. Invariably I get about two thirds of the way though the outline and decide I can afford to start writing. I’ll go back and finish the outline… won’t I?

But – sigh – I never do. I love the writing (so much) and I loathe the outlining (so much) that I can’t stop writing and so inevitably I end up two thirds of the way through, at the end of what I have outlined, with no idea where I’m going. It’s a dilemma, to be sure, and one I kick myself for every time. However…

Maybe that’s my method? Maybe my quirk is, I outline (or ‘plot’) so far, and then wing it (‘pants’ it!) the rest of the way. It always works out in the end… after much wailing and gnashing of teeth. 

Every single time I promise that next time – next time! – I will plot the book all the way through. And I never do.  

Which of your current works in progress are you most passionate about?

In every case, in every moment, every day, the answer to this question is… the one I’m writing right this moment. I am fortunate that once I dive into a book I become passionate about it, and can’t wait to work on it every day. I force myself to take weekends off, and can’t wait until Monday morning so I can get back to work on the book again.

How do you define success as an author?

Success, for me, is having readers who want to read my books. I’m a journeyman, a craftsperson. I served my writing apprenticeship writing Regency romances (which are so much fun to write and read!) and then was fortunate enough to make it to my goal, writing mysteries. I’m extremely fortunate that I make my living doing it. That’s it; that’s all. Success, for me, is having readers who enjoy my work and doing what I love.

About The Book:

In the new Merry Muffin Mystery, baker Merry Wynter must solve a disturbing crime among opera singers before the culprit decides it’s curtains for her . . .

When a reality TV show for aspiring opera singers descends on Wynter Castle, Merry’s got her hands full catering to the endless demands of the distinguished judges and ambitious contestants. Then mysterious rumors about the cast and crew begin to surface, suggesting that some of their performances may be filled with false notes. When a dogged reporter with an eye for scandal who’s been covering the competition is attacked and left for dead, Merry’s determined to discover who orchestrated the heinous deed.

Her long list of suspects is filled with eccentric personalities, including a promiscuous tenor known for making unwanted overtures, a pampered young prodigy and her meddlesome mother, and a quiet up-and-comer whose shadowy uncle may have ties to the underworld. As the musical contest and Merry’s investigation near their finale, she’ll have to act fast to keep a conniving contestant from plotting out her final act . . .

Buy Links: Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play 

About The Author:

Victoria Hamilton is the bestselling author of several mystery series including the national bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She does, indeed, collect vintage kitchenware and bake muffins. She drinks tea and coffee on writing days, and wine other times. It doesn’t do to confuse days. She crochets (a little), paints (a little) and reads (a lot). A solitary being, she can be coaxed out of her writing cave for brownies and cat videos.

She started her writing life as Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of Regency Romances, paranormal historicals and historical mysteries, and still has a soft spot for the Regency period.

If you Google ‘Victoria Hamilton’, you will find listed first a famous actress who starred as the Queen Mother in the series The Crown and as Charlotte Brontë in ‘In Search of the Brontës’. That’s not the Victoria who writes mysteries.

No, really, it’s not!

You can find her buried in a good book, (entombed in a good tome?) or online at:

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