A Conversation with Author Vicki Delany

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series. — Deadly Summer Nights (A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery) by  @vickidelany 

What inspired the idea for your book?

1953 – Catskills! 

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?

 Elizabeth Grady is the manager of a Catskills resort, so we’d spend the day swimming and boating and the nights dining and dancing. We might even have a cocktail or two

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

Nothing I’d call quirky, but I am a very disciplined writer. I write at a set time every day, on a computer dedicated to writing books and nothing else. I am not a disciplined person so in order to write three or four books a year (which I do) I need to be disciplined about it. 

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? 

For the Catskills Resort mysteries, it was definitely the setting. 1953, a Catskills Resort. The character came fairly naturally after that – a young war widow trying to manage the resort her mother, a former Broadway star, unexpectedly inherited. After that the plot largely flowed from the times. A hotel guest is murdered and the police suspect he was part of a communist cell operating in the area. 

Who is your audience? 

Cozy mystery lovers. I love the cozy mystery readership. They are the most marvelous group of people, so supportive of their favourite writers. For this series, I am also hoping people who love those times (1950s) will enjoy it. 

What is your all time favorite book or author? Do you think this has influenced your writing?  

Probably the Lord of the Rings. I can honestly say that hasn’t influenced my writing in the least. Which is just as well as Tolkien’s tone wouldn’t suit a cozy novel. 

How do you avoid or defeat writers block?

 A creative writing teacher once told me there’s no such thing as plumber’s block. So why do we allow writers to have writer’s block? It’s a job – do it. Essentially, I write every day, as I said earlier, and so that’s just what I do. 

What are you reading now?

I’m almost finished Fault Lines by Robert Goddard. I used to love Goddard and then he just dropped off my radar for some reason. I was reminded of him again recently and dove back in to catch up on the books I’d missed. He’s been called the Master of the Tripe Cross, so you never know what’s going to happen next.

Describe yourself in as few words as possible. 

Extreme introvert 

Name three fun facts about you or your work. 

I live next door to a sunflower farm.

I am a very good baker, but I live alone so I don’t often bake.

I’ve been to various countries in Africa more times than I can count.

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose? 

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (A Nancy Drew Book). In my Tea by the Sea series, there is a secret room in the house, but they access it through the linen cupboard. I like the bookshelf idea better. 

If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go? 

 I’m happy to say I’ve lived that dream.  A bunch of my fellow Canadian mystery writers and I used to drive down to Malice Domestic every year. In earlier days, we’d go from Malice to the Mystery Lovers’ Bookshop event in Pennsylvania, and when that ended, we started dropping in at Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop. Obviously it’s been two years now since we’ve been able to do that, but I am so looking forward to doing it again.

There is simply no setting more fun or rich with fictional texture than the Catskills Mountain resorts of the 1950s. For just about any genre it provides a wonderful backdrop, but it lends itself beautifully to cozy mystery with its picturesque landscapes, small-town life, and hundreds of guests moving to, fro, and about the various resorts all summer long.

Elizabeth Grady has been co-opted by her celebrity mother to manage a mid-size resort set in the Catskills mountains that she just happened to inherit. There is plenty to keep Elizabeth and her department heads busy, day-to-day challenges, guest drama, the neighbors… I love that we find out Elizabeth’s backstory bit by bit. The story flows in a natural groove and there is never an info dump, yet the reader picks up a whole series worth of information about Elizabeth, her family, friends, and the trials and tribulations of running a full-service resort with plenty of competition.

The author’s detailed descriptions of everything from the resort grounds to the food and clothes drop the reader in another time and place. The pacing and elements of the mystery surrounding the death of a reclusive guest simply add to the immersion into 1950s upper-middle-class Americana.

The yellow ball of the sun shone in a sky dotted with fluffy white clouds , and we were surrounded by every shade of green imaginable. The dark greens of the trees on the hills, the emerald green of the well-maintained lawn, variegated greens in the foliage of the flower beds and the iron pots lining the lakefront path. Even Velvet’s lime-green exercise shorts and matching shirt. To our left the blue waters of Delayed Lake

I can’t wait to read the next book. Life will never be dull at Haggerman’s. Readers who enjoy good post-wartime historical fiction with a puzzle to solve and a touch of romance in the wind will enjoy this book and I am guessing the series to follow.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.

It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Bookshop

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links

Website –  www.vickidelany.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor;

Twitter:  @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor


Bookbub: Vicki Delany Books – BookBub


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