I am so excited to have the wonderfully talented Vivian Conroy on my blog today, giving us all a sneak peek into her plot inspiration in the run-up to the release of her fabulous new series. But before you get engrossed in the guest post, here is what you need to know about pre-ordering the Cornish Castle series.
DEATH PLAYS A PART by Vivian Conroy
Release date - 7th July 2017
Pre-order links - www.amazon.co.uk
With high tide comes murder...
When her beloved London theatre closes for renovations, costume maker Guinevere is excited to start a job at Cornisea castle, a centuries-old keep on a small tidal island off the coast of Cornwall. Imagine a whole summer full of stories of hidden treasures, fab food and long walks with her perky dachshund Dolly.
But when a reenactment of a medieval trial in the castle dungeons ends in real-life murder, and accusations threaten the castle's future, Guinevere and Dolly dig deep into the island community's best-kept secrets to unmask the killer and save their Cornish summer.
RUBIES IN THE ROSES by Vivian Conroy
Release date - 30th August 2017
Pre-order links - www.amazon.co.uk
Welcome to Cornisea island and spend your summer holidays in a Cornish Castle.
Guinevere and her Dachshund Dolly are happily enjoying their summer by the Cornish coast - sun, sea and delicious food. Until a long-lost treasure and a mysterious death turns her holiday into a search for justice!
AND NOW YOU CAN DIVE INTO THIS FABULOUS POST BY THE AUTHOR HERSELF. ENJOY!
Plot Inspiration - Guest post by Cornish Castle series author Vivian Conroy
Having talked about how the Tour de France inspired the idea for Cornish Castle with Rae Reads and about creating characters, both main cast and minor characters, with Bibliomaniac UK, I'm delighted to be here on Books of All Kinds today to share about plot inspiration for Death Plays a Part, first in my brand-new Cornish Castle mystery series.
Once I had the concept for the series - costume designer from London with perky dachshund gets summer job cataloguing books at castle on Cornish tidal island and hits on deadly secrets involving local history and hidden treasure - I thought up plots for the first two books. For Death Plays a Part, the kick off for the whole series, I chose a locked room mystery that is a murder that takes place in a room to which no one had access and from which the killer could not have escaped. In my case it's a locked dungeon mystery as the murder takes place in the dungeon of Cornisea Castle during a trial reenactment.
I loved the idea of Guinevere arriving at the castle when rehearsals are about to begin for the reenactment, something naturally appealing to her as she comes from a theatre world herself. Even though she is new to the island and the castle, she can immediately engage with the locals by taking part in the reenactment, be it not as actress but in a supportive role. And her presence gives her the ideal opportunity to witness what appears to be a harmless rehearsal but what in the end will turn out to be a deadly scene.
The locked room is a well-known device in mystery books and found with my favourite authors such as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and also in TV series like Death in Paradise. I envision that a plot builds from an initial question or assumption that then turns into a plot line. For instance: can the murderer tell the story without giving away that he is the murderer? (you all know which Agatha Christie book this is!) That part of the process fascinates me and where I had already done this to some extent with my Country Gift Shop series instalment Written Into the Grave, where a murder takes place at the exact moment when the entire town reads about it in the morning paper, I wanted to take it one step further with Cornish Castle.
For this new series, where theatrics play an important part, I loved to have a murder where figuring out the how is as important as figuring out the who did it. And with her background in drama Guinevere is the right person to sort it out. So the plot isn't just a matter of choosing a way to kill off someone, but also intimately connected with the MC and the typical skills she has that enable her to solve it. Lady Alkmene for instance could not have solved this murder in quite the same way.
But there was more to it. To have a plot where acting and real-life murder collide I could have chosen to have a play being performed at Cornisea Castle. Why the reenactment of a medieval trial? Because as Oliver proposes to Guinevere there might be a link between the victim and the way in which he died: in a dungeon, awaiting trial. Did the killer move in and execute his own sentence for the alleged guilty party, namely death? Why did the victim want to play the specific part of someone on trial for serious crimes? And are there more parallels between the trial and real situations on the island than one would at first glance suspect?
When writing my mysteries, I love to think of the scenes as twisting a caleidoscope where the picture shifts and shifts constantly appearing different to the beholder. Each bit of new information has to make the reader rethink what is already known or believed to be known. That delicious thrill when you think 'now I see it', so dear to me from my own teen experience of reading Agatha Christie for the very first time. Even if later on it turned out I didn't really see it or all of it. It was a disappointment not having been able to figure it out, but it also inspired me not just to read more mysteries and improve my understanding of how the mystery was set up, but also to start writing them.
There is nothing better than sitting down to escape into my fictional world, be it 1920s' London or present-day Cornisea Island, to create an intricate mystery for readers to solve. I'm excited to be sharing this new seaside world with my readers from the 7th of July when Death Plays a Part will release. And ... there will also be a big blog tour all through July where a large cast of book bloggers share their reviews and thoughts of the castle, the murder and Dolly the dachshund.
Thanks so much for celebrating this pre pub party with me and be sure to follow along with the blog tour by following me on Twitter via @VivWrites and keeping an eye on all the book blogs. Plus if you have a dog and want to tweet me a picture of him or her - maybe with my book on the ereader - I'd be thrilled to meet all your canine companions, or indeed other pets!
Vivian Conroy writes the Cornish Castle Mysteries for HarperCollins, with Death Plays a Part releasing in July and Rubies in the Roses following in late August. Her Lady Alkmene Mysteries, of which the first instalment A Proposal To Die For became an Amazon USA and Canada best seller in five categories, will continue with a new instalment in October, Fatal Masquerade, set at a Venetian style masked ball where every guest has a secret and some of these secrets prove lethal.
For all the latest bookish news, with plenty of dogs and desserts, follow Vivian on Twitter via @VivWrites. You can also find her books on Goodreads, Library Thing, Book Bub and Fantastic Fiction.
*I WANT TO THANK VIVIAN CONROY FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE THIS FASCINATING GUEST POST AND FOR ALLOWING ME TO BE A PART OF THIS AMAZING NEW SERIES.
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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