Today Vicki Delany is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Tea & Treachery, her first novel in the Tea by the Sea mystery series.
Welcome, Vicki. 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.
Tea and Treachery is the first in the Tea by the Sea series from Kensington Books. It’s a cozy series, set in a traditional afternoon tea room on Cape Cod. The main character is Lily Roberts, pastry chef and owner of Tea by the Sea. The tea room is located next to Lily’s grandmother’s B&B Victoria-on-Sea.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Lily’s grandmother Rose has moved to North Augusta, on Cape Cod to fulfil her dream of living by the sea. Rose is looking for peace and quiet in her declining years, but can’t actually afford her dream home, so she turned the 19th century mansion into a B&B. When the owner of the property next door tries to sell it to a developer for a golf course and resort Rose vows to stop the project. One way or another. That’s a situation I see in the area where I live. We’re dependent on the tourist trade for income but people resent the actual tourists themselves and the infrastructure they require.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
This is a cozy mystery so it’s not trying to say anything important about anything. I hope I’ve created interesting characters and put them into a fun setting and presented them (and the reader) with a challenging puzzle. Having said, that, yes, the conflict between growth and development and preserving a beautiful place is the idea behind the plot.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
My characters grow pretty organically. I had the idea of Lily, the pastry chef, and her grandmother Rose and as I started writing them, I just let them reveal themselves. My favourite character in this series is Lily’s friend Bernadette Murphy. Bernie is a writer (or she wants to be) but she’s far too impulsive to simply sit down and write her book. Perhaps I see something of myself in Bernie.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I’ve been to Cape Cod and I’ve attempted to capture that seafront setting in the book. The main setting in the book is the tea room and I’ve tried to give it that frantic pace restaurants have.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
I have enjoyed afternoon tea in places as diverse as the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I am a good amateur baker and I’ve given Lily several of my own recipes to make for the tea room.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Recipes! Food! Lots of tea tips and facts.
Thanks for answering my questions, Vicki, and good luck with Tea & Treachery, the first book in theTea by the Sea Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Vicki Delany: Vicki is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.
Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. She is the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.