I was so excited about my birthday today that I completely forgot to post my interview with the wonderful Victoria Hamilton. Mea Culpa, Victoria. Victoria has been very busy, albeit less forgetful than me. Her latest book, and the first in a new series, Tempest in a Teapot, was released last week and she has the second book in her Merry Muffin Mystery series coming out next month. Please welcome Victoria back to Cozy Up With Kathy.
Kathy - Tempest in a Teapot was just released last week. Unlike the Merry Muffin and Vintage Kitchen series, you write the Teapot Mysteries under the name Amanda Cooper. Why the change in name?
VH – Actually, it is simply a technical issue. My fabulous editor at Berkley came up with the idea for the Teapot Collector Mysteries and wrote the synopsis for Tempest, after which I was given the opportunity to write the series. If I decided to move on from writing the series (NOT going to happen!) they could continue with another writer, who would continue using the author name, so I needed to come up with a new pseudonym. However… I picked a family name, so you just know I’m not letting this series go to anyone else!
Kathy - How do you juggle writing three cozy mystery series as well as the romances and historical mysteries you write under your real name, Donna Lea Simpson?
VH – It’s not easy at times. I’m lucky, though, because it allows me to be a full time author. Just like any job or being a stay-at-home parent, you have to juggle priorities, and I work harder at some times than others. I try to stay organized, which helps a lot, and I write everything down. I have a calendar open under my computer keyboard, and make notes as to what I’m doing what day. I write lists… what I need to do next. Ultimately, I have to rejig my schedule constantly and be flexible. I appreciate that folks are patient with me. I have a hundred deadlines, and I try not to miss any, but it does occasionally happen and I so appreciate timely reminders!
Kathy- I love having the Merry Muffin series set in my neck of the woods. I was thrilled to find out that you set your new series in the Finger Lakes region of New York; a region just a stone's throw away from me and one I visit often. How did you decide upon this location?
VH – I look for settings that inspire me. The original ‘book’ for the Teapot series set it in Maryland in an ocean front village, but I’ve never been anywhere close. I was given the freedom to choose, and the Finger Lakes fascinate me. The locale is so beautiful I felt like I could live there, and never want to leave!
Kathy- Jaymie Leighton collects vintage cookware, Sophie Freemont Taylor collects teapots, while Merry Wynter bakes muffins. How did cookware become a focus for your characters?
VH – I suppose it’s a combination of market-driven practicality and just writing what you know! Traditional mystery readers seem, for the most part, to enjoy cooking, or at least reading about cooking. I love to cook, and have collected vintage kitchen tools, old cookbooks, bowls, teapots, teacups… all of that. So it was a natural fit to combine my own loves into the cozy mysteries I write and hope readers love the same stuff I do! It seems to be working.
Kathy - Did you have a specific inspiration for your new Teapot Mystery series?
VH– Actually, I kind of did. In the summer of 2011 I went on a day trip to a village that had a wonderful tearoom. We had lunch there, and the owner displayed her collection of over 300 teapots on dressers, sideboards, shelves… everywhere! I spent time photographing and oohing and aahing over the collection. When the opportunity to write the Teapot Collector Mysteries came to me, I was so excited! I knew exactly what that tearoom would look like, so Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House was a place I long to visit and have lunch at!
Kathy- The second Merry Muffin book will be released next month (I can't wait!). Will you share any other upcoming books? Thanks for coming over to my blog-I love having you visit!
VH – Thanks so much, Kathy! Of course July 1st Muffin But Murder, Book 2 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries, comes out. I’m so excited about that and hope readers will love another visit to Wynter Castle and Autumn Vale as much as I do. In November Vintage Kitchen Mysteries #4, No Mallets Intended, comes out. There is a change in the air for Jaymie, and I sure hope readers are up for it! I had to go with her heart, and folks might be a little surprised at what happens both mystery wise and in Jaymie’s personal life!
About Tempest in a Teapot, Book 1 of the Teapot Collector Mysteries written as Amanda Cooper.
Sophie Freemont Taylor, failed restaurateur, chef and teapot collector, is at loose ends in Manhattan until she decides on the spur of the moment to return ‘home’ to Gracious Grove, a town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Though not her real home town, it is where she finds respite at her grandmother’s establishment, the same place where Sophie fell in love with teapots, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Her grandmother, Rose Freemont, aka ‘Nana’, welcomes her with open arms and twenty nine year old Sophie settles in to find her groove cooking again, even if it is ‘only’ tearoom fare. At the same time she reestablishes friendships with her childhood buddies Dana and Cissy, and her first love, Jason Murphy.
Life in Gracious Grove is never boring, but is not usually as spirited as it becomes when there is a murder at the tearoom next door, the establishment of cranky octogenarian Thelma Mae Earnshaw. Thelma has nursed a six decade long grudge against Nana, who she claims stole her beau, Harold Freemont, also known as Sophie’s grandfather and Nana’s late husband. But despite Thelma’s irascibility, Sophie feels compelled to help figure out who killed a local socialite with a baked goody at Thelma’s tearoom, Belle Époque. It’s unnerving that it occurred so close that Sophie heard the hubbub surrounding the murder by poison! Too soon the danger strikes close to home with an attack on her Nana, and Sophie races the clock to figure out what is going wrong in the pretty little town of Gracious Grove.
The Teapot Collector Mysteries continue in book 2 with Nana’s teapot collector group, the Silver Spouts, attending a collector conference in a nearby town. When someone is bashed over the head with Nana’s prized antique teapot and dies, Sophie rushes to the rescue once again, intent on saving her beloved grandmother from suspicion.
For more on Tempest in a Teapot and the Teapot Collector Mysteries, visit the series’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Coopers-Teapot-Collector-Mysteries/296605927102353
Learn more about Amanda Cooper, her alter ego Victoria Hamilton, and all her mystery series at: www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym for bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper.
Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.
But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper also enjoys collecting vintage kitchenalia, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She loves crafts, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.
Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.