Kathy: Claire Barclay moves to a quaint English village in Hazards in Hampshire? Have you ever thought to do the same?
ED: Oh yes! I’d love to do that. I travelled to Yorkshire last year where my third book in this series is set and wished I could stay longer. Next year, I’m looking at staying for a month just outside Edinburgh where the fourth book may be set. I currently live in a village in British Columbia’s west coast.
Kathy: What makes such a location the perfect setting for murder?
ED: A small village (or a hotel, or an island, or any somewhat isolated environment) allows the reader to concentrate on a cast of characters who relate to one another.
Kathy: Mrs. Paulson was the president of the local Mystery Books Club. Have you ever belonged to a book club?
ED: I was surprised to discover that I had not. I spent the last week with a friend who does belong to a mystery book club, so I am going to talk to my local librarian and see if I can join one here—or start one.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
ED: I read almost anything in the house when I was young. My parents had Books of Knowledge which I considered the forerunner of Google; I read the dictionary going from one word to another. My father read Burgess Bedtime Stories to all the children in the family, and I loved stories. When I was a teenager, I discovered Agatha Christie and searched out similar titles from then on.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
ED: Yes, under the name Marion Crook, I have written about ten young adult and middle-grade novels as well as ten non-fiction some for teens and some for adults.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
ED: Claire Barclay thought she was going to retire to a life of guiding tourists to the sites of mystery novels and enjoy her inheritance. Finally, she was back in England, settled into her new semi-detached cottage and ready to live a less-hectic, less globe-trotting life. It’s her driving curiosity that doesn’t allow that. If murders happen, she wants to know why. The tourists she takes from America, are intrepid older women who have well-developed personalities and opinions. The English tourists give a different flavor to the conversations, and Claire finds herself learning how to form friendships which help her solve the murders. She has a love interest, a tentative one, with Detective Inspector Mark Evans. It’s a wonder either has time for a relationship. We’ll see how it goes.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
ED: Aside from Claire, I’m fond of her sister, Deirdre. Deirdre is well-educated in law, opinionated, kind, flamboyant, and I am never quite sure what she’s going to say.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
ED: Yes indeed. At Bouchercon Mystery Writers Conference in New Orleans. I joined a woman sitting alone in the bar having her lunch. She gave me permission to join her as there were few vacant tables. We chatted. When I asked her what she did, she said she took guests on a tour of the sites of British Mystery authors. I stared at her. “Can I use that as a plot?” I asked. “Sure,” she said. That was Kathy Ackley. She definitely inspired me.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
ED: I have already published over thirty books. It’s an obsession.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
ED: Only four? Well, Carola Dunn, Kerry Greenwood, Sara Rosett and Alan Fry.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
ED: I picked up about ten novels at the Bouchercon Conference in Dallas and I read Felix Francis “Crisis” on the plane home.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
ED: I outrigger canoe on the Pacific west coast with a group of six women—rain, shine, sleet and all, except high winds. I line dance with ladies and I play the violin in a classical chamber group. I also play fiddle with ad hoc groups.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
ED: Milk, cheese, chocolate, scotch
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
ED: Yes, I would like Claire to take tourists to Edinburgh. I have been there many times and, while I believe my mother’s family came from Yorkshire, I know my father’s came from Scotland, the Outer Hebrides, in fact. I have been there. It’s beautiful but a long way out in the sea.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
ED: Writing. Truly, just sitting in front of the computer and diving into another world.
Hazards in Hampshire (A British Book Tour Mystery) by Emma Dakin
About Hazards in Hampshire
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Camel Press (October 15, 2019)
Paperback: Number of Pages 190
Moving to a quiet English village should have been tranquil, but Claire Barclay learns that even an invitation to tea can be deadly. Who killed Mrs. Paulson, the president of the local Mystery Books Club? Was the motive for murder located in the archives of the book club? The members of the books club might have reason to want Mrs. Paulson’s out of the way. She had lived in the village all her life, been involved in many organizations and societies and knew many secrets of the villagers. Was one secret too dangerous for her to keep? She had been wealthy and left her money to a member of the club. Could the legatee have been impatient for her inheritance? Who cared enough to want her dead? Claire, an expert in solving problems in her job as a tour guide, decides to delve into the archives and into the lives of the villagers—and find out.
About Emma Dakin
This is Emma Dakin’s first series, set in Britain the homeland of Emma’s grandparents. Emma channels her mother’s inherited English culture along with the attitudes and sayings of the modern Brits. She travels widely in England and at one point this May while travelling through the Yorkshire Moors she had all the tourists in a tour bus looking for a good place to hide a body. As Marion Crook, she has published many novels of adventure and mystery for young adult and middle grade readers as well as non-fiction for adults and young adults and non-fiction on social issues. Firmly in the cozy mystery genre now, and committed to absorbing the culture and changing world of Britain, she plans to enjoy the research and the writing of cozies.
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