Kathy: With The Final Reveille, you start a new series. While your previous mysteries have centered around Amish communities the Living History Museum Mystery series does not. Was there a reason for this departure?
AF: I wrote the proposal for The Final Reveille before my two Amish series sold. The Amish novels sold very quickly, and the Living History Museum Mysteries had to be put on hold. I'm thrilled to be finally writing it.
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this series?
AF: Yes. When I was in college, I worked at a living history museum for one summer. I knew it was the perfect setting for a cozy mystery.
Kathy: I've always loved the idea of time travel. I'm pretty much come to grips with the fact that while I can't "really" go back in time I can "sort of go back in certain time periods" with the help of living museums. I'm fortunate in that I have the Genesee Country Village and Museum close by so that I can easily take a trip to a 19th century American village. How did you decide to make a living museum the scene for your new mystery series?
AF: I have been waiting to write a cozy set at a living history museum even since I work at one. Finally, I got the chance when Midnight Ink bought the idea.
Kathy: Is Barton Farm based on a real living museum?
AF: Nope, but it's based on several that I know.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite part of a living museum? For me it's a toss up between seeing the animals and trying my hand at some sort of craft as well as seeing anything about the Shakers or any other 19th century Utopian society or religious group-a particular interest of mine.
AF: I like to see the people in period dress and the ones who refuse to break character no matter what. That's dedication to your work. You will see some instances of that in the series.
Kathy: Civil War reenactments are quite popular. Have you ever attended one?
AF: I have. I have been to several reenactments and find them so interesting. It's an fascinating hobby to be sure.
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Kelsey?
AF: Yes, Kelsey will be back in two more novels. Book two, The Final Tap, releases May 2016 and centers around the maple sugaring season in Ohio. I'm not sure what book three will be yet.
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
AF: Sure! I have three books coming in October 2015. My upcoming books are:
Murder, Plainly Read, Amish Quilt Shop Mystery #4 written as Isabella Alan
Andi Unstoppable, Andi Boggs #3, a mystery for kids
An Amish Christmas at North Star, a four part anthology that includes a novella by me
The Final Reveille by Amanda Flower
The First Living History Museum Mystery
Kelsey Cambridge is the director of Barton Farms, a living history museum in Ohio. For the past two years Kelsey, who lives on the farm with her father and young son, has brought new ideas, and increased crowds to the museum with the financial help of benefactress Cynthia Cherry. Things become worrisome when Maxwell Cherry, Cynthia's son, who has no interest in history and thinks donating to the museum is a waste of time, tells Kelsey that his mother is ill and he'll be taking over her foundation's charitable work...and will stop funding the museum. As if Kelsey doesn't have enough to worry about with the current Civil War reenactment on museum grounds! Things get worse when Maxwell's body is found in the village and Kelsey becomes prime suspect in his murder. Searching for answers to clear her name Kelsey also faces her ex-husbands threats over custody of their son, a suspicious Civil War medic, a detective who seems to have it out for her, and several people who had cause to murder the unpleasant Maxwell Cherry!
This book is the first in the Living History Museum series and it's off to a great start. I love living history museums and am lucky enough to have the Genesee Country Village and Museum nearby. So I was thrilled to see this new series. Amanda Flower has captured the ambiance of living history museums with her docents who stay in character (even with annoying teenagers trying to get them to break character), the featured activities of the town ( I'd like to make a brick), and the added excitement, and trials, of having civil war reenactors about! Not only that, she has crafted a finely tuned mystery. We have interesting suspects and I enjoyed not knowing quite who to trust.
Amanda Flower combines a love of history and the importance of family into a fresh mystery novel complete with engaging characters and interesting facts set against a background of 19th century living in a 21st century world.