Monday, May 9, 2016

Killer Cocktail by Tracy Kiely Interview & Giveaway

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Killer Cocktail
by Tracy Kiely

Killer Cocktail
(A Nic & Nigel Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink (May 8, 2016)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745237


Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn that Nic and Nigel have discovered behind the scenes footage from A Winter’s Night, an acclaimed film known for backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers.
Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates beloved actress Christina Franklin, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-era crime caper.

About The Author –

Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”
After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.
While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Reston, Virginia but now live in Severna Park, Maryland.

Tell us your latest news?
My latest book, Killer Cocktail (Midnight Ink), comes out May 8, 2016. This is the second book in the Nic and Nigel Martini series; a modern-day twist on Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man. When Nic and Nigel discover behind-the-scenes footage from A Winter's Night, the acclaimed film known for backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers, all of Hollywood takes notice. However, someone does more than just notice. After their house is ransacked, several of the tapes are stolen, and their assistant is left for dead, Nic and Nigel must uncover a twenty-year-old mystery before another killer cocktail is served. Lights, Camera, ACTION; it’s murder, mirth, and the perfect martini.  

When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. For a brief while, I dreamed of being a cartoonist for The New Yorker until a pesky little thing known as “absolutely no talent” reared its ugly head. The same aliment happened to my dream of becoming a professional drummer and tap dancer (well, that and my parents’ steadfast refusal to live under the same roof with someone who would have to practice both the drums and tap). Now that I think about it, it may have been my parents who suggested I try the relatively quiet pastime of writing. 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote a poem when I was seven that my grandmother loved so much that she had it framed. It hung over her bed. I thought that was pretty impressive. This was the poem:

The rain comes down
Upon the ground
Will it ever stop?
I’ll get the mop.

However, not everyone agreed that this qualified me as a writer.  It wasn’t until 2009 when my first book, Murder at Longbourn, was published that I felt comfortable calling myself a writer.

What inspired you to write your book?
I love The Thin Man movies, which were inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s book of the same name. A few years ago, I was on the phone with my agent (the force of nature that is Barbara Poelle) and we were talking about the fifth book in my Elizabeth Parker series (St. Martins). I was having trouble with it, and we were discussing plot options. Near the end of the conversation, I told her that I’d heard Johnny Depp had signed on for a remake of The Thin Man. (If you’re unfamiliar with the book/movies, they feature Nic and Nora Charles, a wealthy, elegant and witty couple who solve mysteries while sipping a seemingly never-ending supply of cocktails.) I told her, “I’d love to write a modern-day version of The Thin Man; except the ex-detective would be the wife (Nic) and her husband (Nigel) would be the wealthy jetsetter.” I remember there was a brief pause and then Barbara said, “Hang up right now, and go write that book.” So I did, and Murder With a Twist was born.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I suppose you could call it humorous. Well, I hope you would call it humorous. I’m definitely aiming for that.

How did you come up with the title?
There is a fair amount of drinking in Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man.  Actually, there is a tremendous amount of drinking. Frankly, I don’t understand how any of them are standing by the story’s end. Rather than have Nic and Nigel drink throughout the novel, I gave them the surname of Martini instead. It’s a nod to Hammett’s original, but without the constant damage to the liver. The first book was Murder With a Twist. We kept the drink theme for the second book; Killer Cocktail. The third book is tentatively titled Killer Hangover.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I didn’t set out to include a message in Killer Cocktail, but as I wrote it I realized that I was annoyed at the dismissive way women are sometimes treated. We are judged on our looks, largely paid less for the same job, and many times overlooked for promotions. By no means is this book a lecture on the inequalities in modern society; but it does feature some characters who perhaps have not been treated fairly.

What would you like my readers to know?
That if you haven’t already read The Thin Man or seen the movies – do so! They are great fun!

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  1. This book sounds amazing! Can't wait to read. Great review and interview.

  2. This book sounds amazing! Can't wait to read. Great review and interview.