Today my very special guest is the author of a brand new cozy mystery series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries. But Victoria is not a brand new author, this may be her first venture into the cozy genre but she has written several bestselling romance novels. I am thrilled to welcome her today to tell us about her crossover to the genre that I absolutely love! Help yourself to a cup of tea and join me in welcoming Victoria.
The Ultimate Game of Pretend
By: Victoria Hamilton
A couple of years ago I approached a wonderful agent, one I was hoping to interest enough that she would represent me as an author. I had a mystery series idea, and had already written one book, and was a good way though a second in that series. I was devastated – crushed! – when she read my proposal, but just didn’t find it compelling enough to offer me representation. And then she went on hiatus, and was not accepting proposals for about five months. Ack!!
I was sending around to other agents, but not a one of them was my ‘dream’ agent like Jessica was (and still is). So I did something rare for an author. I asked for – and took! – her advice. Read some of the ‘first in a cozy series’ books by authors she represented, she told me. And I did. I read Hannah Reed, Sarah Atwell, Betty Hechtman, Joyce and Jim Lavene, Sheila Connolly and many others.
And I got it!! I finally got it.
To create a cozy mystery series that people would love, I had to take something I was passionate about and find a way to incorporate it into a set of characters and a town that was both fun and entertaining. I created a concept, wrote a proposal, presented it to my dream agent, and voila! She loved it as much as I did. Within weeks I had a three book contract with Berkley Prime Crime, my dream publisher.
That was how my Vintage Kitchen Mystery series was born. I’ve been collecting vintage kitchen stuff since… well, since the stuff wasn’t even vintage. I have some of my mom’s Pyrex refrigerator dishes, old tablecloths, and even her handwritten recipe book from way back when. Since then I’ve added to my collection with a set of Primary Colors Pyrex bowls, bought one piece at a time so it cost me less than a whole set. I have vintage cutlery, Depression glass bowls, old cookbooks… more than I really should have.
Then I imagined a town I’d like to live in, one where Americans and Canadians could mingle. And so Queensville, Michigan popped onto the map along the St. Clair River, which is the border between Michigan and Ontario. I invented an island – Heartbreak Island – with an interesting history, and a neighboring Canadian town, Johnsonville. I built an old yellow brick house in Queensville, and peopled it with a youngish vintage collector – Jaymie Leighton – and her two fur friends, Hoppy, a three-legged Yorkie-Poo of indomitable character, and Denver, the crabby tabby.
And then I let Jaymie loose, looking for that big, elusive prized piece on which to display some of her collection, a Hoosier kitchen cabinet. Jaymie went to an auction, and guess what she found… a Hoosier cabinet! Being a writer is wonderful, like an extended version of that favorite childhood game of ‘Pretend’. Do you remember that? It was my favorite. While other little girls may have treated their dolls like their babies, I treated them all like characters in a story, and made up lives for them.
And I guess I’m still doing that today. Being a writer is the ultimate game of pretend!
Book 1 of my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, A Deadly Grind, is now out, and I am thrilled with the reception… readers seem to love it! Book Two, Bowled Over, will be published in February of next year.
When I thought of writing another series, guess what? I realized another collecting passion of mine would come in handy!! I love and adore and collect teapots and teacups. So next year will also see the introduction of Book 1 of my Merry’s Muffins series, A Bran New Death.
This really is too much fun!
Read an excerpt from A Deadly Grind, and check out the site for online availability of this and other Victoria Hamilton Mysteries.
Victoria, I am so happy you have been bitten by the cozy bug. You play the game of “pretend” very well :).
Now let me me tell you why I loved this story!
A Deadly Grind
(A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)
Brand New Series!
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Tim O’Brien
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Jaymie Leighton lives in her parents nineteenth century yellow brick home. They have retired to a warmer climate and just visit during the summer. Her sister Rebecca visits on the weekends from London, Ontario, and together they hit the auctions and estate sales. They are both collectors. Jaymie collects vintage cookware and cookbooks. Rebecca china, tea cups and saucers. Rebecca is fifteen years older than Jaymie and sometimes seems like a second mother. She still thinks she knows what is best for Jaymie, but at 32 years of age Jaymie can make her own decisions.
Jayme decides to bid on Hoosier cabinet that made be a little worse for wear but she knows with a little elbow grease she will have a treasure. She outbids the other buyers and is thrilled to get her purchase home. Her sister, not so much. She thinks the house is full enough of Jaymie’s clutter. They get it home and leave it on the summer porch. They are exhausted from the day and enjoying their purchases can wait until morning.
But someone else had other ideas. Becca and Jaymie are woken up in the middle of night by noise downstairs. They are beside themselves when the find a dead body on the summer porch. They don’t recognize the man and even the police have a hard time identifying him. Why their house? Who is this guy? Jaymie needs to know. She starts to do just a little investigating. She had better be careful or she may be the one “who ends up going, going,…gone”.
I can identify this sibling relationship clearly. My sister is 12 years older than me and she too was like a second mom. We are close today but there have been times when she has made me so mad, thinking she knows best.
Before my accident I loved to attend auctions and estate sales. I was just like Jaymie. I would have killed, not literally, for a Hoosier like the one in this story. Our home has been cluttered over the years with my “finds”. This story hit home for me, really struck my heart.
Jaymie and I could be friends, we would be hitting the sales. Becca would probably be friends with my sister 🙂
The setting of these mysteries is really brilliant. Fictional Heartbreak Island between Michigan and Ontario where both American and Canadian tourists arrive for a variety of celebrations is the perfect backdrop. In this installment, a “Tea With The Queen” fundraiser gives the tourists, residents, and suspects a place to gather.
The author has laid the great foundation for more books in this series, setting us up for many return visits to Heartbreak Island. I hope not too many hearts are broken but with cozy mysteries you never know who the next victim or suspect may be. I just know this author is going to give us a wonderful who-dun-it that will find us Bowled Over!!
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”