I'm happy to welcome Amy M. Reade to the blog today. Amy's most recent book is House of the Hanging Jade which was just released April 26.
Kathy: Setting is so important, especially in mysteries and suspense. Why choose Hawaii as the location for House of the Hanging Jade?
AMR: I chose Hawaii because it’s a unique spot for a mystery, especially one with a gothic feel to it. And since my main character is a chef, I knew I wanted the book to take place somewhere with a fascinating culinary history. And because I love Hawaii!
Kathy: Have you spent time in Hawaii?
AMR: I have been very lucky to spend time in Hawaii. My favorite island is the Big Island, followed closely by Kauai, then Maui, Lanai, and Oahu. I haven’t been to Niihau or Molokai.
Kathy: Kailani Kanaka is a personal chef. Do you like to cook yourself? Have you ever thought about being a chef?
AMR: I love to cook. It’s relaxing, creative, and a great way to show someone how much you love them. I come from a family of cooks- my mother, my father, my sister, my aunts, my grandmother. We are constantly sharing and comparing recipes and menu ideas. It’s fun!
I did once consider the idea of becoming a chef, but decided against it because of the long and irregular hours. But then I became a mother and found that motherhood has those same hours.
Kathy: What first drew you to novels of suspense?
AMR: Those are the books I love to read. Given a choice, I will almost always go with a novel of suspense over another genre.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AMR: I have begun a novel of historical fiction, but I’ve put it on the back burner for the moment while I work on a new series.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AMR: The three books I’ve written so far (Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade) are all standalone books. There’s no crossover with characters, setting, or plot. They’re all marketed as women’s fiction with strong elements of suspense and setting. I tend to call them women’s fiction that read like gothics.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AMR: I don’t think I can choose a favorite. I like almost all of my characters for different reasons, and they all have their own personal flaws and demons.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AMR: The inspiration for this book came from a home I toured about three years ago while visiting the Big Island. I’ve never seen anything like it, before or since. That home had living quarters for a family chef and it got me wondering what it would be like to live under the same roof with one’s employer.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AMR: I decided that as long as I was putting so much time and effort into something meaningful to me, I might as well take it to the next level and try to get it published. It’s a decision I haven’t regretted for a single second.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AMR: I would invite Phyllis Whitney, James Herriot, M.C. Beaton, and Zelda Fitzgerald. I’m not sure they’d all get along, but I’d choose seating arrangements carefully and by the end of the evening we’d all be friends.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AMR: I’m currently reading Trials Elsewhere by Robin Isard and The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AMR: I’ve already mentioned that I love to cook. I also love to read. Beyond that, I like to hike and I do counted cross-stitch. I’m also working on a genealogy of my father’s family, which I plan to give him for Christmas. I won’t tell him about this interview so the gift will stay a surprise!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AMR: Olive oil, butter, cheese, and fruit. Makes me sound like a glutton, I know.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books or a new series?
AMR: I’m currently working on books One and Two of a new series set in the United Kingdom. Book One is in the revision stage and I’ll soon be sending it to my beta readers. Book Two is in the planning stage. I’m really excited about the series!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AMR: I don’t know that I could name just one thing. I guess I can sum it up by saying that I love every single thing about being an author, from researching to writing to revising to editing to promoting. I love that I have a job where I never feel like I want to take a vacation.
For a chance to win an e-copy of House of the Hanging Jade simply leave a comment on this blog telling us what you think of Gothics or Hawaii (or both). Be sure to comment no later than 11:59 pm EDT Monday, May2, 2016 and leave your e-mail address so that I may contact you should you win.