Murder at Rough Point by Alyssa Maxwell Interview & Giveaway
Murder at Rough Point by Alyssa Maxwell
Maxwell is quite skilled at creating a tightly woven mystery. I did not want to put this story down and return to reality. ~Booklady’s Booknotes
This latest installment of an already fantastic series, is just the icing on the cake. Maxwell has a way with words and creating a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. ~Girl Lost in a Book
…this time, it is not her ladies’ maid who assists her in finding a killer, it is none other than the writer Edith Wharton! The lines between history and the world of the book blend together in a most interesting way, adding to my delight in reading this book. ~Back Porchervations
With twists and turns in the story, you will be engaged and captivated from the start. ~Shelley’s Book Case
Maxwell creates a delightful mystery in MURDER AT ROUGH POINT and I’m pleased to travel back in time with her. ~Cozy Up With Kathy
In glittering Newport, Rhode Island, status is everything. But despite being a poorer relation to the venerable Vanderbilts, Emma Cross has shaped her own identity—as a reporter and a sleuth.
As the nineteenth century draws to a close, Fancies and Fashion reporter Emma Cross is sent by the Newport Observer to cover an elite house party at Rough Point, a “cottage” owned by her distant cousin Frederick Vanderbilt that has been rented as an artist retreat. To her surprise, the illustrious guests include her estranged Bohemian parents—recently returned from Europe—as well as a variety of notable artists, including author Edith Wharton.
But when one of the artists is discovered dead at the bottom of a cliff, Rough Point becomes anything but a house of mirth. After a second murder, no one is above suspicion—including Emma’s parents. As Newport police detective Jesse Whyte searches for a killer, Emma tries to draw her own conclusions—with the help of Mrs. Wharton. But with so many sketchy suspects, she’ll need to canvas the crime scenes carefully, before the cunning culprit takes her out of the picture next . . .
Praise for Alyssa Maxwell and her Gilded Newport Mysteries
“Another entertaining entry in this cozy series.” —Library Journal on Murder at Beechwood
“Maxwell’s second entry has a credible mystery, solved by a female detective who’s likeable.” —Kirkus Reviews on Murder at Marble House
About The Author
Alyssa Maxwell has worked in publishing as an assistant editor and a ghost writer, but knew from an early age that being a novelist was what she wanted most. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns while strolling manor house gardens, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons.
Where are you from?
Island, NY. But we moved up to Connecticut, to a small town with strong
Colonial roots, and that’s where my interest in history really flourished. Just
a short walk from our house was a little red school house used in the 1700s,
and further into town was a tavern with a Revolutionary War cannonball still
lodged in one of its walls. Homes from the Colonial saltbox style to
gingerbread Victorians with wraparound verandas could be seen all over town.
Stone walls lined our roads, and here and there were signs commemorating the
battles fought there. My friends and I loved to explore, especially once we
could drive. I remember putting $5 in my dad’s VW station wagon on the
weekends, and basically getting “lost” in the area, looking for lovely,
picturesque spots, of which there were many, where we would take pictures or
get out and hike.
Tell us your latest
I’m keeping very busy
all the time. While the fourth book in my Gilded Newport Mystery series, MURDER
AT ROUGH POINT, has just released, I’ve also finished up the fifth book, MURDER
AT CHATEAU SUR MER. Meanwhile, the second book in my England-set Lady and
Lady’s Maid Mysteries, A PINCH OF POISON, will come out this December. I’m
working on the third installment now, titled A DEVIOUS DEATH.
I’m also excited to
be signing my Gilded Newport Mysteries in Newport this month, at The Breakers
and the Newport Mansions Store in town. It’s quite an honor and a lot of fun to
sign in the city where the books take place. The support of local Newporters
and The Preservation Society of Newport County has been both humbling and
When and why did you
I actually began
writing as soon as I learned how—way back in elementary school. I loved to make
up stories, and it was usually in those subjects where I could use my writing
skills that I excelled. A big part of the reason, I suppose, is that I was
basically a shy and introverted child—the thought of speaking in front of a
room full of people was terrifying—and writing offered me a form of expression
where I felt comfortable. I also loved to read, and as I grew up my favorite
writers became my “rock stars.” I wanted to be like them, although it was many
years before I realized you didn’t have to be a rock star to write books, you
just needed to be willing to put in a lot of hard work.
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
I knew by high school
that I was a “writer,” in that I knew writing was something I loved and was
fairly good at. I didn’t consider myself a fiction writer until I began my
first manuscript back in the early 1990s, joined a writer’s group and critique
group, and set my mind to pursuing a career as an author. I set my sights on
that, and even through many initial rejections I never swayed from the course
I’d set myself. Honestly I’m not quite sure where I got the confidence to
continue, other than a love of the craft and a need to create characters and
let them live their stories. And the support of my critique group and writing
organizations also kept me going.
What inspired you to
write your first book?
My very first
manuscript was a medieval romance with mystery/suspense threads. I’ve always
been fascinated by the medieval period, and I was very much influenced by
writers like Sharon Kay Penman, Mary Lide, and Mary Stewart’s King Arthur
books. You might say I’d become obsessed with certain events in history and
needed to write this story. It did well in contests and even gained me an agent
at the time, but ultimately was never published. From there I moved on Regency
Historical Romance, but again with strong mystery threads. Finally, I realized
I’d been a closet mystery writer, and decided to go full throttle into writing
mysteries. I’m glad I did!
Do you have a
specific writing style?
That’s a very good
question, but one I don’t know how to answer. I know I have my own specific
writing “voice,” but that’s an elusive and mystifying thing to define. Words
and rhythm come into my head and that’s how I set them on the page. But I don’t
really know where that rhythm comes from. It’s simply what comes naturally to
How did you come up
with the title?
My Gilded Newport
Mysteries were easy to name – Murder at… whichever Bellevue Avenue “cottage”
figured into the plot. I haven’t fictionalized the names of either the houses
or the illustrious families who owned them. It’s been too much fun digging into
Newport’s history, and I felt fictionalizing the names and places would detract
from the my own and the readers’ experience of being “in” Newport.
But titles are not
something I’m particularly good at. My editor at Kensington came up with the
titles for my Lady and Lady’s Maid books, and I like them. I like the use of
alliteration with each one.
Is there a message in
your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Murder is a bad idea?
Just joking. But along with the murder mystery, I delve into family and other
relationships, where concepts such as forgiveness and open-mindedness should
take precedence over pride and old resentments. Another theme running through
the Newport books is the New England work ethic and sense of independence. My
sleuth, Emma Cross, enjoys much more independence than most women of that
period. Circumstances have allowed this, but she has to tread carefully and
make sacrifices to maintain that independence. This means often not accepting
favors, even if they might make her life easier, in order not to be beholden to
someone and having to live by standards set by others. Does that make sense?
Suffice it to say she is a self-sufficient young miss with ambitions and
fortitude, and she always relies first on herself.
What would you like my
readers to know?
I would like them to
know how much I value my readers, and the support and encouragement they’ve so
generously shown me. I began hearing from readers before my first Newport book,
MURDER AT THE BREAKERS, even came out. This astonished me. The level of
enthusiasm astonished me. Then I realized the same love I have for the city of
Newport is shared by countless people who have lived there many years, or just
visited there once. I feel as though these people have embraced me, and that
we’re part of a tightknit circle with Newport at its center. By the way, my own
regard for the city is in large part due to my husband having been born and
raised there. His family has been there for generations and is very much a part
of its history—even having links to the Vanderbilt family—so you can say I’m a
Newporter by marriage.
Thank you so much for
hosting me! If anyone would like to learn more about me and my books, they can
visit me at www.alyssamaxwell.com.
From there, they’ll find all my social media links. Friend me, follow me, and
become part of the circle!