Q– Which book are we talking about today?
A– DEAD MAN’S LEAP revisits Bianca St. Denis in Batavia-on-Hudson, New York.
It is the second book in my series. The first book, WINTER WITNESS was an Agatha, Silver Falchion, and Chanticleer Award-nominated book.
In DEAD MAN’S LEAP, Bianca and her neighbors scour their attics for donations to the charity rummage sale, and they unearth secrets as well as prized possessions. Meanwhile, when a storm forces the villagers to seek shelter, close quarters fuel simmering disputes. When the floods wash up a corpse, Bianca once again finds herself teaming up with Sheriff Riley to solve a mystery.
Dead Man’s Leap explores the burden of secrets, the relief of renunciation, and the danger of believing we can outpace our past.
Q– What inspired the idea for your book?
A– Many years ago, as a young teenager, I briefly lived in this same Catskill Mountain town. At that time, I was shocked to hear that the older kids in my school used to jump off the cliffs into the river or creek. I thought that was crazy since I was never a strong swimmer, but then I found out that one boy’s jump resulted in an injury that put him in a wheelchair. It was a stunning thing to know a peer had done such a thing. This jump has stayed in my memory for all these years and when I decided to set my series in this area I knew that one of the stories would center around a cliff and jumps of this type.
Q– Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
A– I have always been drawn to strong independent women and my first and favorite is Jo March from LITTLE WOMEN. I wanted to see myself in her. I admired her nonconformity, her resilience and her talent. I have since looked for similar characters in my readings and I hope to convey some of that strength in Bianca and the other females in my series.
Q– What does it mean to you to be called an author?
A– Authors are the people I most admire in the world. Books have helped me work through my struggles, have helped me find direction in my life, have entertained me, and have provided an escape during difficult times. It means everything to me to be called an author. The beauty of some writing makes me daydream and at times makes me cry. Good prose is transcendent and can be a balm even for hurts we didn’t know we suffered. To be someone whose writing might do that for others is a dream come true.
Q– How do you define success as an author?
A– I know that success as an author is generally measured in dollars and sales, but I am lucky enough to be experiencing another kind of success. I have had readers write to me to tell me that they are transported by my writing, that they see themselves in a character, or that my writing inspired them to be better writers. I have had a great deal of help from the writing community and I have tried to pay it forward and to my surprise, my help has been instrumental to a few authors. These are successes that aren’t measurable on a ledger but make writing worthwhile for me. These successes have also resulted in more confidence on my end which has made the writing experience more fun for me.
Q– What do you look for in a story as a reader?
A– As a reader, I seek a slow-burning character-based story. I love a good plot like anyone, but a riveting plot with little or no investment in the character always falls short for me. Whereas a well-developed character study, even when the plot is secondary will always keep my interest. I have always been an observer; reading is another window for me.
Q– What has been your favorite reader feedback?
A– To my immense pleasure, I have had a fair amount of readers and reviewers say that my books remind them of Louise Penny’s books. I love how she develops her individual characters as well as the dynamics of the village relationships. It’s an enormous honor to have my work compared to hers.
Q– What is your all-time favorite book or author? Do you think this has influenced your writing?
A– Anne Tyler is a master at character development. Her stories are so engaging precisely because each character is so well-drawn. We as readers can relate to their quirks and their concerns. I have always said that if Anne Tyler’s books had no plot I would still read them. She has definitely influenced my writing. My favorite part of creating my books is creating my characters, their backstories, their needs, desires, flaws and aspirations.
Q– Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
A– I pick a playlist for each project. For example, I wrote WINTER WITNESS while listening to Cannonball Adderley’s Somethin’ Else album. I wrote DEAD MAN’S LEAP to Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet. All I need is the opening beats of each album and my head is in that particular book. It puts me on a wavelength, in a certain mood.
Q– How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
A– This might sound cliché, but I avoid writer’s block by sitting down to my computer or legal pad. As long as I sit down to write, I write. If I wait for inspiration before I sit down, other things in life take over. So, my personal formula is sitting in front of my screen or blank page, preferably with a cup of coffee and some music. This ritual seems to signal to my brain that it is time to focus on what I intend to write and it works for me.
Q– Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?
A– I find baking, cooking, and making jam very relaxing and I use them as a way to de-stress. We have a huge garden that keeps us busy planting, harvesting, and preserving. We also keep bees and have 300 shiitake mushroom logs in our woods.
Q– What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
A– Make sure you share your writing and get out of your vacuum. You need feedback, guidance, criticism, and encouragement. Don’t keep your writing locked up.
Q– What are you working on in the near future?
A– Book 3 of the Batavia-on-Hudson series is underway. The working title is AUTUMN DISPATCHES and this time a large part of the story takes place in Japan. Events in DEAD MAN’S LEAP have led Bianca to go to Kyoto.
I am also working on a collection of interconnected short stories on a Japanese theme. And I have started to sketch a standalone novel.
Q– What difference do you see between a writer and an author?
A– I don’t know if others see it this way, but my sense of identity in this field evolved. Early on, I avoided giving myself a label and merely said ‘I write.’ Once I had a little more confidence and had sold my first short story, I started calling myself a writer. It wasn’t until I had a book contract that I called myself an author.
All along I obsessed on the idea of the falling tree in the woods. If I write but I am never read, can I call myself an author? I feel writing exists to be read, it is a symbiotic relationship. When I write, only half of the equation has been solved. I need a reader to complete the process.
Q– What would the title of your autobiography be?
A– Second Chances
Describe yourself in as few words as possible.
A– Persistent, sensitive, and introverted.
Q– What would your dream library look like?
A– Floor to ceiling books, lots of windows with breezes passing through. Many armchairs, sofas, and tables. Coffee brewing. Real deep quiet, the kind we used to have in libraries. I love the role libraries play in the community these days and that requires more noise than it used to, but I still believe there needs to be a truly quiet part of the library.
Q– Name three fun facts about you or your work.
A– I love hot-air ballooning
I visit Japan regularly since my son lives there
My wonderful husband built me a writing cottage which is the perfect writing space.
Q– If you had a secret room that opened by pulling on a book, what book would you choose?
A– THE TWENTY-ONE BALLOONS by William Pène du Bois
Q– If you went on a road trip with any author, who would it be, and where would you go?
A– Haruki Murakami and we would go jazz club hopping.
Q– If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
A– I would either be a book publisher or start a literary journal. I love the idea of being instrumental in bringing good books and short fiction into the world that might otherwise languish.
Dead Man’s Leap
by Tina deBellegarde
May 1-31, 2022
Virtual Book Tour
DEAD MAN’S LEAP revisits Bianca St. Denis in Batavia-on-Hudson, New York
Rushing waters…dead bodies…secrets…
As Bianca St. Denis and her neighbors scour their attics for donations to the charity rummage sale, they unearth secrets as well as prized possessions. Leonard Marshall’s historic inn hosts the sale each year, but it is his basement that houses the key to his past. When an enigmatic antiques dealer arrives in town, he upends Leonard’s carefully reconstructed life with an impossible choice that harkens back to the past.
Meanwhile, when a storm forces the villagers of Batavia-on-Hudson to seek shelter, the river rises and so do tempers. Close quarters fuel simmering disputes, and Sheriff Mike Riley has his work cut out for him. When the floods wash up a corpse, Bianca once again finds herself teaming up with Sheriff Riley to solve a mystery. Are they investigating an accidental drowning or something more nefarious?
DEAD MAN’S LEAP EXPLORES THE BURDEN OF SECRETS, THE RELIEF OF RENUNCIATION, AND THE DANGER OF BELIEVING WE CAN OUTPACE OUR PAST.
Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 1685120849 (ISBN-13: 978-1685120849)
Series: A Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon
Read an excerpt:
Tina deBellegarde has been called “the Louise Penny of the Catskills.” Winter Witness, the first book in her Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery series, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, a Silver Falchion Award and a Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Award. Her story “Tokyo Stranger” which appears in the Mystery Writers of America anthology When a Stranger Comes to Town edited by Michael Koryta has been nominated for a Derringer Award. Tina’s short fiction also appears in The Best New England Crime Stories anthologies. She is the vice-president of the Upper Hudson Chapter of Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America and Writers in Kyoto. She lives in Catskill, New York, with her husband Denis and their cat Shelby where they tend to their beehives, harvest shiitake mushrooms, and cultivate their vegetable garden. She winters in Florida and travels to Japan regularly to visit her son Alessandro.
Catch Up With Tina deBellegarde:
BookBub – @tinadebellegarde
Instagram – @tdb_writes
Twitter – @tdbwrites
Facebook – @tinadebellegardeauthor
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
05/02 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/05 Showcase @ nanasbookreviews
05/06 Interview @ I Read What You Write
05/07 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/10 Review @ sunny island breezes
05/11 Review @ It’s All About the Book
05/12 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
05/13 Review @ Waterside Kennels Mysteries
05/13 Showcase @ Books to the Ceiling
05/16 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
05/17 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/18 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
05/18 Showcase @ Nesies Place
05/23 Guest post @ Novels Alive
05/24 Review @ Scrapping & Playing
05/25 Review @ Lisa Wetzel (FB)
05/30 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
05/31/ Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
08/08 Interview podcast @ Blog Talk Radio
08/08 Review @ Just Reviews
Enter to Win:
THIS IS A GIVEAWAY HOSTED BY PARTNERS IN CRIME TOURS FOR DEAD MAN’S LEAP BY TINA DEBELLEGARDE. SEE THE WIDGET FOR ENTRY TERMS AND CONDITIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
There will be FIVE (1) winners (US ONLY) for this tour.
- TWO (2) winners will each receive a print edition of Dead Man’s Leap by Tina deBellegarde
- TWO (2) winners will each receive a digital edition of Dead Man’s Leap by Tina deBellegarde
- ONE (1) winner will receive a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card.