Today Zara Keane is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Deadline With Death, her first novel in the Time-slip mystery series.
Welcome, Zara. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
ZK: Deadline with Death is a time travel cozy mystery set in Ireland. It’s the first book in the Time-Slip series. Over the course of the first three books, the historical mystery introduced in Deadline with Death will be explained. As well as the ongoing historical mystery, each book has a self-contained contemporary murder mystery that’s solved by the end of that book.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
ZK: My fear of clowns. Seriously, they freak me out. I disliked them before I saw the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, and I’ve been terrified of them ever since. When we visited Bunratty Castle in Co. Clare a couple of years ago, there was a group of street performers right outside, including a clown. I was already planning the Time-Slip Mysteries at the time, and it got me thinking about making a clown a murder victim.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
ZK: Time travel! I’m fascinated by the concept, particularly how someone from the past would cope in the present. Many of my favourite childhood books were time travel stories (Penelope Farmer’s Charlotte Sometimes, for example) and I’ve always wanted to write my own.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
ZK: I start with a name and I go from there. If for some reason I need to change a character’s name after I’ve started writing the story, it completely changes who they are. Even if all of the information doesn’t make it into the story, I have detailed notes about each character’s background, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. In spite of this prep work, I find I don’t get to know a character properly until I start writing and I often have to tweak the plot to accommodate their development. My current favourite character is Nana in Deadline with Death. She’s a hoot and the sort of person I’d like to be when I’m eighty.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
ZK: I create fictional places for all my stories but they’re heavily based on places I’ve lived or visited. For example, Dunleagh Castle in Deadline with Death was inspired by Kilkenny Castle and Dublin Castle. While I’m writing a story, I have Pinterest boards with pictures of places similar to those in my story. Settings are important to me. I love bringing them to life.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
ZK: It depends on the story. For Deadline with Death, I needed to do quite a bit of historical research into the Irish War of Independence. We covered it at uni, but it’s been a while! I also spoke to someone who works at a small local newspaper to get a feel for staff numbers and how they combine roles to get everything done.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
ZK: If a humorous cozy mystery with a touch of time travel sounds like your kind of book, check out the complete Chapter One on my website: https://zarakeane.com/deadline-with-death/
Thanks for having me on your blog!
You’re welcome, Zara, and thanks for answering my questions. Good luck with Deadline with Death, the firsst book in the Time-slip Mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon.
About Zara Keane: USA Today bestselling author Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to the fictional Ballybeg and Smuggler’s Cove.
She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.