Today Anna Gerard is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Peaches and Schemes, the latest novel in the Georgia B&B mystery series.
Welcome, Anna. 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. PEACHES AND SCHEMES is book 3 in the Georgia B&B Mystery series featuring innkeeper/amateur sleuth Nina Fleet. The story takes place in the fictional tourist town of Cymbeline, Georgia. Recently divorced after 20 years of marriage, Nina has spent a good chunk of her divorce settlement on the Queen Anne home she impulsively bought there and turned into a B&B.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from? I’ve taken part in numerous expos over the years, sometimes as a vendor and sometimes as an attendee. Such a setting with its crowds and high energy is always ripe for disaster…including murder! And when it comes to murder, a public event allows for all manner of potential victims and possible suspects, making the job of my amateur sleuth much harder.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it? I tend not to recognize my theme until I reach the end of my book, at which time I look back and finally see it. PEACHES AND SCHEMES is all about marriage and the fact that no one except the partners involved ever knows the truth about their relationship. It also emphasizes the fact that broken relationships sometimes can be healed if both parties care enough to make that happen.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them? Characters tend to fill a story need, but sometimes the story bends to fit the characters. I really enjoy my protagonist, Nina, but I get a true kick out of her best frenemy, the out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is more complicated than Nina and is one of those characters you love to hate.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about? I employ the writer’s toolbox of using all the senses while harking back to actual sites I’ve known or visited in real life.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel? In addition to the usual online and book research, I must give a hat tip to my friend and fellow author, Maggie Toussaint. A Georgia native, she wrote me a fabulous list of “small town Georgia stuff”…details specific to life in that part of the world that I have incorporated into the series to add verisimilitude.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book? If you like character-driven cozy mysteries with just enough quirkiness to make you smile, you will love PEACHES AND SCHEMES.
Thanks for answering my questions, Anna, and good luck with Peaches and Schemes, the latest book in the Georgia B&B mysteries.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Anna Gerard: DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.”