Tuesday 6 November 2018

Alison Golden Feature and Giveaway!

Hi guys, please welcome Alison Golden to the blog! She is the creator of the Reverend Annabelle Dixon cozy mysteries, a charming, fun series featuring a female vicar ministering in the beautiful county of Cornwall, England. She also produces a Jersey-based detective series featuring Inspector David Graham and the Diana Hunter series, set in Vancouver.

I was lucky enough to interview Alison recently and I would love if you check out the awesome interview below before having a look at her books!

Author Interview:

Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Observing people and their interactions with each other and individual behavior. The news. Activities that I do or come across. Sometimes I have conversations with my characters and see in which direction they’d like to go. Everything is grist for the mill and can generate an idea.

How do you develop your writing ideas?
I write them out. I use Evernote and keep jotting down ideas as they come to me. I will take some time before I start writing the book proper to flesh them out and then with each revision, I keep developing them further.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
In everyday people, their behavior, their trials and tribulations. I have always been acutely sensitive to how humans interact since I was a child and the characters just pop out from decades of observation.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I was about thirteen. I would read short stories in my mother’s magazines and just thought, “I can do better than that.” I forgot all about it until I turned fifty and suddenly the idea came into my head to write fiction after years of writing non-fiction.

What makes you unique as a writer?
Hmm, I would say my characters and their authenticity. They are not caricatures and I strive for them to be layered, flawed, and human. My goal is for my readers to identify with them, like them, and understand them.

Describe one of your books in 140 characters or less.
A charming bed and breakfast. A diabolical murder. A guest with a secret to hide… A secret that just might be worth killing for. ~The Case of the Screaming Beauty

Tell us about the main character(s) from one of your books.
Meet Reverend Annabelle Dixon…

Annabelle is not your typical vicar. Charming, slightly gauche, very tall, this thirty-something vicar has been appointed to the pastoral St. Mary’s Church, in the picturesque village of Upton St. Mary, Cornwall, England.

Annabelle is beloved by her parishioners for dispensing holy wisdom with humor and charm, and her passion and dedication to her calling are matched only by her weakness for cakes and sweets.

She spends her days zipping her Mini Cooper around the country lanes, often seeking out new cafes and bakeries, while attempting to win the finicky affection of her church cat, Biscuit, dispensing pastoral wisdom, and solving the occasional murder.

What writers inspire/d you?
J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith; Agatha Christie; Enid Blyton; Kate Atkinson.

How has your writing career changed since you started?
I started out with an idea about publishing books that were not graphic in nature. Those are not the kind of books I want to read or write and I figured that there must be other readers like me. I decided to write cozy mysteries as a result and presented myself as a cozy mystery writer. However, I have found that moniker to be too limiting and not representative of all the series that I write. I write in cozy mystery, traditional British detective, and finally crime thriller genres. In the future, I feel the need to not limit myself by genre, I want to leave things open so that I can write in whatever genre takes my fancy, but I don’t expect the policy of writing clean books to change.

What does your writing process look like?
A mess. LOL. I usually spend days writing an outline, then dump everything I can think of down on paper. I usually hit a wall at that point and like to leave things to stew in my brain. Later, I’ll organize my brain dump, then start writing in a more organized fashion. I’ll go over my drafts several times, filling in holes and developing characters or the plot until I’m satisfied.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I used to have a terrible habit of having my characters nod a lot. I would have to search for the word “nod” in my early drafts and delete most of the references. I also don’t have a daily word count goals like many writers. My mantra and daily goal is “just one word.” This means I’ve hit my goal by the time the kettle has boiled in the morning and that gets me moving. Then I write as much as I can each day.

What are your writing goals for the next year?
Three books. Maybe a new series.

What is the most useful tool you use as a writer?

I write in Word and use Evernote to get down my ideas. I also use Boomerang to pause my inbox so I don’t keep checking it.

Name the five biggest distractions from your writing.

Sleep, exercise, housework, friends and family, travel, my cat, email.

What character would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Sherlock Holmes. I think he would be interesting and quite ingenious in terms of helping me escape. I would hate to be stuck in an elevator. One of my worst nightmares.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from them every day, they are wonderful. “When is the next Annabelle/Inspector Graham/Diana coming out?” is probably the most common theme. Some give me story ideas or ask me questions, or comment on something I’ve written in my newsletter.

Some Get to know me Questions

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I hang out with my friends, usually meeting for lunch or going on hikes. I go to the movies and have dinner with my husband. We also like to watch British TV dramas. I watch HGTV and comedies and go to escape rooms with my sons. I’m a bit of a neat freak and can’t concentrate if I have a messy house so I tidy up a lot. I visit the UK a fair amount and hope to travel more now that the boys are grown.

What’s the best vacation you ever had?

Probably the most recent one to Seattle with my family. We had such fun and found a great balance making our activities meet everyone’s disparate preferences, not always easy with four adults. I also loved taking my 6-year-old sons to the UK for the first time and again for their first British Christmas.

What’s your favourite rainy day movie?

Anything my sons will watch with me. We’ve watched anime, Hidden Figures, The Full Monty, Secrets and Lies, The Orient Express, Black Panther.

If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose and why?
My late thirties because I had little ones and I loved the life.

If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would it be?
When man walked on the moon.

Where’s your favourite place to read?

When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
The tables in the middle of the store.

If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?
A home in the British countryside which is my favorite place on earth.

Thank you so much Alison!! You rock! Below is a look at each of the first books in her series. I've read a lot of them and enjoyed them immensely. 

Murder. Mayhem. A madcap lady vicar. Reverend Annabelle Dixon is the charming, slightly gauche, very tall, thirty-something vicar of St. Mary’s Church located in the picturesque village of Upton St. Mary in Cornwall, England. 
Recently appointed to her rural church position, Annabelle is beloved by her parishioners for dispensing good advice and godly wisdom with humor and charm while zipping her Mini Cooper around the country lanes and attempting to build a relationship with her church cat, Biscuit, who, quite frankly, couldn’t care less. 
Trouble arises when Annabelle faithfully welcomes a new resident to her quaint parish. Her visit to the latest newcomer, Sir John Cartwright, is two-fold: to greet him and to dispel rumors of shady doings at the manor. This time, however, instead of tea and cakes, Annabelle is served a heaping plate of murder and a fine helping of handsome Inspector Mike Nicholls! 
Filled with laugh-out-loud moments and cake and pastry recipes, this humorous, cozy mystery is an excellent introduction to the Reverend Annabelle Dixon series. 
Included in this book are recipes for: – Wicked Walnut Cupcakes with Magnificent Maple Buttercream Frosting – Beatific Baklava – Chaste Chia Seed and Coconut Macaroons – Angelic Almond Cupcakes and Abundant Almond Butter Frosting

Did Lydia commit suicide, and leave her husband and daughter by choice – or is something more sinister afoot? Meet Lydia, John, and Diana Hunter. Lydia is a loving mother and wife, who wants nothing more than the best for her family. John is her husband. He is an over-protective homicide detective who loves his wife and teenage daughter with everything he has. Their daughter, Diana, is a genius, with an IQ level far higher than most. This is a family that adores one another. A family, however, that is torn apart by tragedy. 
When Lydia is found dead at her workplace, John loses the love of his life. His heart breaks for himself and his little girl as Diana spirals out of control. The authorities rule the death a suicide, but when events don’t start to add up, the family that is left behind begins to suspect something isn’t right.


The prestigious Lavender Bed and Breakfast in Chiddlinghurst, England has a rich, Tudor atmosphere, an enviously manicured lawn… And a deadly problem. A young, beautiful woman, Norah Travis, has been found murdered in one of the rooms with no witnesses and seemingly no motive. Detective Inspector Graham, a man with a singular drive, a penchant for tea, and silent demons of his own, has been brought in to ferret out the perpetrator. Joining Sergeant Harris at the sprawling estate, the duo set their caps to solving a mystery that leaves them frustrated. 
It’s a “whodunit” of crafty design with suspects on all sides and nothing clear cut. The proprietors, Amelia and Cliff, have jokes to share and almost nothing to hide, while their long time guest, Tim, seems shiftier. There is an ex-husband, a housekeeper, an old man, and questions galore. But who could it be? It’s a conundrum. 
The Case of the Screaming Beauty is a modern murder mystery with an old fashioned feel; a story for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and CSI. Enjoy!

About the Author:

Alison Golden
Alison Golden is an award-winning mystery writer and author of the bestselling Inspector David Graham Mysteries and Reverend Annabelle Dixon Cozy Mysteries.
As A.J. Golden, she writes the Diana Hunter thriller series.
Alison was raised in Bedfordshire, England. Her aim is to write stories that are designed to entertain, amuse, and calm. Her approach is to combine creative ideas with excellent writing and edit, edit, edit.
Alison is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twin sons. She splits her time between London and San Francisco.


Want to win an ecopy of any of the books above, or another in the series? Then comment below and a winner will be chosen Nov 15th. 

1 comment:

  1. I love cozy mysteries! I haven't read any by Alison Golden and would like to read the first Reverend Annabelle book.