Wild Dog Revenge (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
by Victoria Tait
I am so happy to have Victoria Tait visit today!
First, I’d like to thank you for all your hard work helping cozy mystery writers like myself.
Your help to organise book tours, especially for new authors, is invaluable, as visibility is becoming harder as more and more books are released.
Thank you so much!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I had no intention of becoming a writer, but in January 2019, I found myself sitting in a sparsely furnished house, during a UK winter, dreaming of the warmth and life in Kenya, which I had just left.
I started listening to author podcasts, which is when the idea of writing about the 8 years I’d spent in Kenya came to me. It may have been, in part, because of a version of homesickness and, in part, wanting to convey the extraordinary life my family and I’d spent in such a fascinating country.
My husband is in the British Military, and his job takes him, and our family, around the UK, and the world. We are currently based in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is another fascinating country, as is neighbouring Croatia and I’m sure I’ll use them as settings for a future book series.
On a personal note, I’ve not been able to do much in the pandemic except try to maintain my mental health and juggle various different tasks and calls upon my time and emotions.
I’ve started exercising again and I’m up to 25 minutes continuous running, longer with some walking, and I swim twice a week.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend about a week undertaking research, character development, and plot ideas. As I’m still a relatively new writer, the process keeps changing.
My new series has required a lot more research and development, particularly of the characters. I had to return to the UK recently, as my youngest son was suspected of having Covid, so I used the opportunity to visit the area where my series is set, and I discovered villages I’d lived close to but never visited.
After a week, I usually begin a book, writing in the mornings, and undertaking any additional research in the afternoons.
Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?
I certainly look at the first blank page and think, “New book, where do I start?” So, I look to my main character and ask what is her motive and journey in the story? Or it may be that a particular theme comes to me which I want to develop further. I follow the threads, and characters and plot ideas develop, although I always leave room for development as I write.
In the mornings, I write for one to two hours until I reach a point where the words are hard to find and my concentration lapses. Then I take a break and do some exercise, housework or cooking.
If I continue to wonder what happens next in my story, I sleep on it and usually find a solution in the morning. And if I’m really struggling, I put the story to one side and read, or listen to audio books, to re-fill the ‘creative well’.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I’ve learned so much on my writing journey. I have so many tips and resources for those wanting to write and publish their first, and subsequent, books that I’ve started a blog on my website, www.ShoestringPublishing.com. In particular, I’m focusing on budget and not spending the family savings, or the weekly grocery budget to publish a book.
A smaller and smaller percentage of writers, particularly aspiring ones, are given traditional publishing deals but it is still possible to publish a book via a small press, or as an independent author. And the good news is that there is an ever-increasing number of resources to help self-published authors, as well as a very supportive author community.
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
It’s more of a case of what I have to do rather than what I want to do. My husband and I both caught Covid in March, and he had complications, including pneumonia. I felt drained for a time and now I’m trying to re-energise through exercise and healthy living. But things keep knocking me sideways, and I’m struggling to find a rhythm. Fingers crossed the world will start to open up so I can explore more of Sarajevo, Bosnia and the Balkans.
How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?
I finished editing my first book as the pandemic started and quickly wrote my second. I managed to write, even with home schooling, by getting up each morning at 5.30 am and sitting at the computer for a couple of hours.
But what affected me most was packing up the house and moving to a new country, where we had to settle in without personal contact with anyone. As my boys are at school in the UK, I’ve continued to travel, which has been extremely stressful.
As I don’t know what the publishing world was like pre-Covid it’s difficult for me to comment further. What did affect me was not having my summer job in 2020, so I didn’t have the money I needed for publishing and marketing, and I found myself in debt. I’m continuing to write but I’ve cut back my costs and found alternative ways to do things.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
At the moment, I’d love to return to Kenya to catch up with friends and visit the glorious white sandy beaches of Diani.
After that, I’d like to visit the countries close to Bosnia such as Romania, Hungary and my boys would love to visit Venice and Florence in Italy. Fingers crossed we will have a chance next year.
What is next on the horizon for you?
I have started a new cozy mystery series set in the scenic Cotswolds of England, close to where I lived in 2019/2020. I really enjoyed visiting and attending local auctions as I furnished our house, so the series begins at an auction house, with the strange and eccentric characters that are found in the antiques world.
I’m also developing my Shoestring Publishing brand with advice and resources for new writers and those who are published but can’t afford to keep going unless they find a method to publish on a budget.
I’ll continue marketing my Kenya Kanga Mystery series, targeting readers interested in Africa and wildlife.
What a wonderful interview! Thank you, Victoria for spending some time with us today!
Keep reading for my thoughts about Wild Dog Revenge.
About Wild Dog Revenge
Wild Dog Revenge: A Page-Turning Cozy Murder Mystery (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – Kenya
Publisher : Kanga Press (November 12, 2021)
Print length : 237 pages
ASIN : B09B66WXJ4
A high-stakes match. An inexplicable death. As the players take their positions, can an amateur sleuth solve the mystery before the final whistle blows?
Mama Rose just wants to enjoy a local polo tournament and care for any injured horses. But when a polo player is found dead in a stable, there’s all to play for if our silver-haired investigator is to discover the deadly truth.
Intrigued by tales from a late-night party, Rose unearths multiple suspects all with motives to harm the victim. But when her enquires lead to dead ends, she begins to doubt her intuition that there’s been foul play.
With the tournament drawing to a close, and the dead man’s influential father demanding answers, the police are on the losing side.
Can Rose unravel the clues before the umpire calls full time?
I couldn’t wait to get back to Kenya and Mama Rose. In this final book of this series, Mama Rose takes us to a local polo match where she will tend to any injured horses and find herself in the middle of another murder investigation. One of the prominent polo players is found dead in the stable. With all the people attending the matches there is a vast number of suspects. This is a tough case for Mama Rose and she even second-guesses herself but she doesn’t give up.
I have enjoyed this series so much. Ms. Tait has created such diverse characters. Mama Rose is a unique character. She is such a strong woman, very intuitive, will do anything to help an animal or person in need. She is also an awesome amateur sleuth. Her husband Craig was a great character too. Everyone that Rose meets is vividly described. The core characters we have met over the course of the series developed naturally and the characters introduced are given plenty of background. This book had a large cast with all the polo players and those attending the matches. Each was easy to keep straight and all had a purpose within the story.
I also enjoy the setting of the series. I will never travel to Kenya so these little virtual trips excite me. She describes each place so well, I picture everything so clearly. I feel like I am right there on the scene witnessing all the happenings. I also learn about the animals of the region. Ms. Tait piques my interest and I always find myself doing just a little more research.
On top of the great characters and the amazing setting, she gives her readers a fantastic mystery to really escape into. So many suspects and situations that tug on your heartstrings grab your attention and hold on tight.
Again, I am amazed how the author packs this all into less than 250 pages.
I am sad this series is ending because I have grown to be very interested in the lives of these characters. That being said I am thrilled Victoria Tait is working on a new series. Her travels must give her a font of ideas. I am looking forward to reading anything and everything she writes.
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More About Victoria Tait
Victoria Tait is the author of the enchanting Kenya Kanga Mystery series. She’s drawn on 8 years’ experience of living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative books. Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness and smell the dust of Africa. Her silver-haired sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie, is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.
Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and currently lives in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has two fast-growing teenage boys and enjoys horse riding and mountain biking.
You can find Victoria at VictoriaTait.com, on Bookbub and in her readers’ Facebook group, Victoria’s Voracious Readers (with her cat Izzy)
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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.”