Sunday, September 18, 2016

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
Murder at Rough Point
(A Gilded Newport Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington (August 30, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496703286
E-Book ASIN: B0190HGUE8


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
Alyssa outside (2)

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?

Originally, Long 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 news?

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 exhilarating.

When and why did you begin writing?

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 me.

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 From there, they’ll find all my social media links. Friend me, follow me, and become part of the circle!


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1 comment:

  1. You sure lived in a interesting town! It sounds like a very neat place. I haven't read your books yet, but, now it want too.