Deadly Traditions: a Christmas Traditions themed mystery anthology

Maxine “Max” Englebright is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, her story in Deadly Traditions, a Christmas Traditions themed multi-author anthology, and the Ghostly Fashionista series where she usually lives.

Welcome, Max. 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.

Hello, darling! I’m Maxine “Max” Englebright, and I live inside the Ghostly Fashionista series. In fact, I’m the titular character! Isn’t that the elephant’s eyebrows? I died in 1930 and am tethered to my house, which is now a consortium of small businesses. Imagine my delight when Amanda Tucker, a retro fashion designer, moved into the building and was able to see and talk with me! I hadn’t had a friend in decades! And guess what else? She introduced me to books that can be read on a tablet. I can’t touch physical objects, but I can maneuver electrical things and am able to read books and watch videos. I’m having the time of my—well, my afterlife!

Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?

Amanda usually tells our stories from her point of view, which is fine by me. I have absolute trust that she won’t misrepresent me. But I’m really excited about Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, which is my story in the DEADLY TRADITIONS anthology. In that story, it’s all about me and a Christmas mystery my family and I solved together when I was younger. It made me nostalgic to look back, but the holidays are good for that, aren’t they?

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m really not the main character, darling. I know I should be, but our stories could get boring if they were all from my POV. Okay, probably not, but I realize readers want to visit more than one location in a book. For instance, in DESIGNS ON MURDER, the first book in the series, Amanda went all over Abingdon, Virginia, the place where we live. In PERILS AND LACE, she visited (and allowed me to peep in through something called a livestream) a high school where she made costumes for a presentation of Beauty and the Beast. In CHRISTMAS CLOCHES AND CORPSES, we investigated a nursing home; and in BUTTONS AND BLOWS, she made costumes for a Renaissance Faire. We have the best time, even if there is a murder here and there.

Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?

Oh, I dearly love Amanda’s grandfather, Dave. I call him a silver fox. That phrase wasn’t in my vocabulary until I heard one of the other merchants say it, but it suits Dave. He can also see and hear me. The Tuckers and I have a special connection. I also adore Zoe and Dwight.

What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?

It’s ever so charming! I’ll ask Gayle (the writer) to send you a photograph of the house on which she based our building. In the first book’s author’s notes, she gives you a bit of history on the house. Plus, Abingdon is filled with historic sites. If you ever go, you should be sure to visit the Barter Theatre, which boasts such illustrious alumni as Gregory Peck and Patricia Neal.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?

Only that I hope they’ll enjoy it! We have so much fun at Designs on You—that’s Amanda’s shop—and we’d love to have them join us.

Thank you for answering my questions, Max, and good luck to you and your author, Gayle Leeson, and all the other authors in Deadly Traditions, the Christmas Traditions themed mystery collection.

Readers can learn more about Max and her author, Gayle Leeson by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Pinterest pages. You can also watch her Youtube channel and follow her on Twitter.

The Deadly Traditions anthology is available at the following online retailers:


About Gayle Leeson: Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.


About Dianne Ascroft

I'm a Canadian writer and author, living in Britain. My first novel, 'Hitler and Mars Bars' was released in March 2008. More information abo
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