A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry
A Legacy of Murder: A Kate Hamilton Mystery
by Connie Berry
About A Legacy of Murder
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 8, 2019)
Hardcover ~336 Pages
Digital ASIN: B07NKQDYM3
American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.
About Connie Berry
How long did it take you to get your first work published (from creation to actual book)? What was your first published work?
With the release of A Legacy of Murder on October 8, I now have exactly TWO published works—no long back list for me. I started writing fiction later than most, but I wasn't able to commit to full-time writing until I retired from teaching three years ago. How long it took me to get my first work published "from creation to actual book" depends on what you mean by "from creation." I started writing A Dream of Death, the first in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series, about ten years ago. Six years ago I typed "The End," but the book was in no way finished. Over the next three years, working mostly in the summers, I revised, revised, and revised. The final massive revision was completed in January of 2018. One month later, in February, I attended Sleuthfest in Florida and met Faith Black Ross, my editor at Crooked Lane. She liked my story and my writing and offered me a contract. This isn't how things usually work, I know. The only reason I don't have a pile of rejection notices is because I refused to send the book out until I felt confident I'd done my best. I did query agents four or five times and participated in agent "speed-dating sessions," mostly for practice, but I knew enough to recognize that my book still needed work.
Are you a plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of the writing process) or a pantser (one who writes by the seat of his/her pants)?
I started out as a pantser, and that was part of my problem. With little idea of story structure or pacing, my first complete draft resembled an amorphous blob of words. The process of revision I undertook involved learning about the essential structure of a good story (the bones) and creating an outline that made sense. I know some wonderful authors are pantsers. It works beautifully for them but not for me. My second book, A Legacy of Murder, took a lot less time to finish because I had an outline, knew where the story was headed, and understood how each part of the plot fit into the whole. That's not to say that unexpected plot twists didn't happen. They did—and usually for the better. For me, inspiration thrives in a prepared soil bed.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
I've said it often, but it bears repeating: take time to learn craft. Many aspiring writers are like me—eager to get writing, unwilling to spend the necessary time to learn the essential elements of fiction-writing. I strongly advise new writers to find and join a local writers' group such as Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, or Sisters in Crime. Attend as many workshops and conferences as you can afford. If you have to choose, begin with actual writers' conferences (Sleuthfest, Crime Bake, Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop) rather than fan conferences (Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime). Fan conferences are perfect when you have a book coming out, but what you need first is encouragement and practical help. I've named conferences I know and love, but there are plenty of wonderful local conferences and workshops as well.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
That's easy—revision. I love to revise, polish language, find strong words for weak ones, tighten up pacing, deepen characters, sharpen sensory images... (I'll stop there). I could happily go on revising forever. In fact, I've often joked that if I could, I'd follow my readers home from Barnes & Noble with a red pencil. For me, the fun begins once I have words on the page. Getting those first words on the page is hard. Really hard.
What is the one thing about the writing life that you didn't know until you were published?
I didn't know how much time it takes to be an author. Being a writer isn't the same thing as being an author. It takes different skills—managing an online presence, blogging, developing a fan base, speaking at author events and book clubs, learning stuff like algorhithms and reviews, getting your name and the name of your book out there in the wide world. Writing the actual book is just the beginning. I'm still learning—and fortunately the mystery-writing community is incredibly generous with advice and practical help.
Thanks for allowing me to share my writing journey. To all the aspiring writers out there, best of luck! If you have questions, message me at www.connieberry.com.
Author Links: Website –www.connieberry.com
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