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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Year Round: Author Interview with Vicki Delany

How did you come up with your new Christmas book?
It was a combination of my agent and me. She suggested a Christmas-theme store, and I expanded it by creating Rudolph, New York, America’s Christmas Town. And thus we came up with the Year-Round-Christmas series for Berkely Prime Crime. The series concept came first, then the characters, setting and all the rest.

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…

That sounds like a fun read.
This is a cozy series, so fun is all important. My agent approached me with the germ of the idea, and I thought I could have a lot of fun with it and did.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Family and food! My family always comes to my little house in the country, and we eat, eat, eat all the traditional foods. Turkey and all the trimmings, pies, tourtiere on Christmas Eve, plenty of cookies. We also play a lot of board games, which we all love. I live in Southern Ontario, so we always hope for a white Christmas. Sometimes we get it; sometimes we do not. I will ensure that in the Year Round Christmas mysteries, they will ALWAYS have a white Christmas in Rudolph, New York. Yes, sometimes we writers get to play God.

I recently returned from a trip to Quebec where I learned about all things French-Canadian. For those not familiar with tourtière, it's is a meat pie usually made with  diced pork, veal or beef and sometimes wild game. I didn't try that, but I did have a marvelous lobster poutine. So what’s next in your writing life? 
I am the author (so far) of 20 mystery books, both standalones and series. And I still like to keep mixing things up. My next book will be Unreasonable Doubt, the eighth in the Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press, coming in February. Under the pen name of Eva Gates I write the national bestselling Lighthouse Library series for Penguin Random House, and the third book in that series, Reading Up A Storm, will be out in April. The second Year Round Christmas book is We Wish You A Murderous Christmas, coming in August.

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
My novella, Juba Good (Orca Books) about an RCMP officer stationed in South Sudan, is currently shortlisted for a Golden Oak award from the Ontario Library association. Juba Good was also a finalist for an Arthur Ellis Award and for a Derringer. The next book in that series, Haitian Graves, came out in August.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
Read. And read a lot. As Stephen King says in On Writing, to be a writer you have to do two things. You have to write and you have to read. That is how you learn your craft. Only by reading what other people have done, can you know what works. And, perhaps more importantly, what doesn`t. Read widely, and not only in your own field.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
The value of patience if you want to be in it for the long haul. I rushed my first book into publication with a minuscule publisher, and it sunk without a trace. I was lucky to get Scare the Light Away, my next novel, picked up by the highly-reputable Poisoned Pen Press. 

It can take a long time to break into publishing, but all that time is worth it if you use it wisely. If your first book isn’t picked up right away by an agent or publisher, maybe it needs some more work, or maybe it isn’t the right book at the right time. You need to you learn and to grow as a writer. The day you finish one book is the day you start the next.

Any last words or tips?
I’m also a big believer in the value of networking and making friends in the business. Go to conferences, join writers groups, make friends. I got my first contract with Penguin because a friend showed my proposed MS to her agent. I am the current president of the Crime Writers of Canada – look us up at

Thank you so much for talking to me. I`ve enjoyed it very much. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Vicki's books sound like great fun reads for the holidays. Here's how you can learn more about her writing:
For info on Vicki Delany books: 

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