Dotty Sayers is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Fake Death, the first novel in the Dotty Sayers Antiques mystery series.
Welcome, Dotty. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hi, I’m Dotty, Dotty Sayers, and I’m rather nervous. This is my first interview and I’m not sure what to say.
I’ve started working at Akemans Antiques, mostly in the auction house, just as a receptionist, nothing important. Although I help organize the monthly auctions and David Rook – he’s a consultant valuer for Akemans – does ask me to help when he has a valuable collection to evaluate.
I enjoy Akemans and it’s nice working and meeting people and earning my own money. Al, my husband, he died a few months ago. He was in the British army and was sent to Africa on a peacekeeping tour, but he didn’t come back.
I wasn’t sure what to do until I was asked to help at Akemans but that’s another story. A free one actually, called Hour is Come, available on my author’s website, VictoriaTait.com.
I decided to keep my job at Akeman’s and continue living in our military quarter. But then the regiment announced it was merging and I had to decide whether to move to Scotland with them, or stay in the Cotswolds, and find somewhere to live. That’s all in the book, Fake Death.
I didn’t want to attend the Remembrance Parade in Cirencester, but I was told it was my duty and then a man died. The police didn’t know who he was at first and it was very confusing as he had pretended to be other people. When I finally connected the clues worked out who killed him, I was sad.
I hoped there would be no more deaths but in book 2, Valued for Murder, an opera singer and antiques expert is found dead at the bottom of a circular staircase. And all the questions and the suspicions start again.
And the series? It’s named after me – The Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
To start with the author provides a cast of characters who I meet and then a dead body is found. I think she knows who the murder is but she leaves the clues, and handling the police up to me. Luckily, I have a friend on the police force, Constable Varma, who’s rather indiscrete and tells me what’s happening with an investigation.
How did you evolve as the main character?
In Hour is Come, I’m very shy, even more than I am now, but without my husband telling me what to do all the time, I find myself with a job at Akemans. It was only temporary to start with, but I helped solve a murder when a body was found in a large grandfather clock.
I’m not sure why, but I seem to be able to piece clues together and solve murders.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
There are those who work at Akemans. Gilly Wimsey’s the nicest and she looks out for me. Her job is running the antiques center, but she also helps in the auction house when her sister George, who’s rather highly strung, starts panicking and shouting at us in the run up to an auction.
Marion is very efficient, and she helps out before an auction, and her husband is David Rook, who’s taken me under his wing and is teaching me about antiques.
But my closest friend is Keya, Constable Varma, who works for a belligerent Welsh police officer, Inspector Evans. Keya and I work well together.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
The Cotswolds are so pretty, even in November. Coln Akeman is a typical rural village with buildings constructed from sandy-yellow Cotswold stone and it has a pub, The Axeman, and a pretty river, the Coln, running through it.
And I like Cirencester, the local town. It has loads of history and was very important in Roman times. I like living in England, which is why I don’t want to move back to Scotland.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I hope you enjoy the book and please be patient with me. I’m nervous and I know people call me naïve but I am trying to learn more about life, and stand up for myself. I’m having to when murders keep happening around me.
Thank you for answering my questions, Dotty, and good luck to you and your author, Victoria Tait, with Fake Death, the first book in the Dotty Sayers Antiques mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Victoria Tait: Victoria was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. But she fell for an Army Officer, and has followed him from Northern Ireland, up to the Scottish Highlands, across to Africa and the Kenyan Savannah, back to the British Cotswolds, and they are now living in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Southern Europe.
She never expected to be an author, but all this moving is not ideal for holding down a job. Instead, she has taken the experiences of the places she has lived to write vivid and evocative cozy mystery books with determined female sleuths.
She has two fast-growing teenage boys, and together they’ve learnt to ski on the Bosnian mountains. She also enjoys horse riding, mountain biking and she has started running as a way to improve her physical fitness, mental wellbeing and shed some excess pounds.