VICTORIA THOMPSON: MURDER ON ST NICHOLAS AVENUE TOUCHES ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Two weeks ago Victoria Thompson published the next part of her Gaslight Mystery series Murder on St Nicholas Avenue. With the unique style of Western Pennsylvania based writer it’s another hit in a making. The novel already received 30 plus reviews with average 4.6 Amazon stars.
It’s a great honor for Land of Books to introduce Victoria Thompson.
– Victoria, what is your book Murder on St Nicholas Avenue about?
– Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy and Sarah Brandt are not the only ones who have recently tied the knot. Family friend Mrs. O’Neill was delighted when her daughter Una wed charming millionaire Randolph Pollock. She didn’t wonder why such a wealthy man would want to marry a poor Irish girl, no matter how pretty she was. But now Mrs. O’Neill has a problem.
Pollock’s servants have found their employer bludgeoned to death with Una cradling his body. Rendered mute by the horror of her husband’s death, Una cannot explain what happened, so the police have charged her with murder and locked her away in the Tombs to await trial.
Mrs. O’Neill would like Frank to investigate the case and save Una, yet with Frank and Sarah still on their honeymoon, it’s up to the other members of their newly formed household to do some detective work. But solving the mystery behind Pollock’s death means first discovering the truth about who he really is…
– How did you decide to write the story of Gaslight Mystery series?
– My agent told me that Berkley Prime Crime was looking for someone to write a series set in turn of the century New York City with a midwife heroine. She thought I could do it and encouraged met to write a proposal, so I did, and I was selected to write the series.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Once I have the story figured out, the only challenge is finding enough time to sit down and actually write the book.
– Tell us something more about your main character Sarah and Frank? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– They are strictly made up from my imagination. Sarah is the kind of woman I’d like to think I would have been if I’d lived during that time. Frank is very much a product of the times, but he’s grown and changed over the course of the series.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I spend about 6 months writing the book. My publisher takes a year to publish it.
– Did you expect that Gaslight Mystery series will have such a success and they will reach number of books close to 20?
– In the beginning, they asked me to write 3 books. I hoped the series might be as long as six books. I never dreamed I’d still be writing it 16 years later!
– Who are you?
– Victoria Thompson writes the Agatha and Edgar® Nominated Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. The 18th book in the series is Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. She also contributed to the award winning MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University MFA program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Indiana with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Novelists, Inc.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write every day. I try to write at least 5 pages a day and my goal is 20 pages a week.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– Every writer would like to sell more books, but I’m very pleased with how many readers buy my books.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I am on Facebook and Twitter.
– When we will see your next novel after Murder on St Nicholas Avenue and would you unveil something more about it?
– The next book is MURDER IN MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS and it will be published in May 2016. Plot summary:
After spending his first few weeks as a private detective by investigating infidelities of the wealthy, Frank has a more serious case at hand.
Abigail Northrup of Tarrytown, New York, was her parents’ pride and joy. After graduating from a prestigious women’s college in Morningside Heights, she took a job there as an instructor. She also joined the ranks of the New Women, ladies planning for a life without a husband in which they make their own decisions and make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, her murder ended all that.
When the police declare the incident a random attack and refuse to investigate further, Abigail’s parents request Frank’s help. Of course, he’ll need Sarah’s assistance as she’s more familiar with the world of academia, and it will be far easier for her to interview the lady professors. Yet difficulties arise as they learn that Miss Northrup may have been an exemplary student and teacher, but she lived in a world of secrets and lies…
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– Q: You’ve explored a diversity of topics in this series that were topical back in late 19th century New York City and are still, sadly, topical today—racism, adultery, police corruption, white collar crime, etc. A theme throughout Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue is domestic violence. Do you consciously seek out issues that were relevant in Old New York and still relevant today?
A: Oh, my, this is a little scary to even talk about. Although the stories in this series have always addressed issues that people were dealing with in the late nineteenth century and which are still of concern today, something a little shocking started happening a few years ago. While I was writing an earlier book, Murder in Murray Hill, a news story broke that mirrored the plot of that book almost exactly. Next, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue deals with racial issues in the nineteenth century, and it came out just as the Black Lives Matter issues were peaking last spring. As you mentioned, Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue touches on domestic violence, which has also been a hot topic lately, particularly in professional sports. And my next book, well, let’s just say it also touches on another hot topic that wasn’t particularly hot when I started writing the book but which is now dominating the news and social media. I’m almost afraid to plot a new book for fear of stirring up some new social catastrophe. But seriously, I think we’re all just tapped into the zeitgeist and thinking about the same issues. At first, I was surprised to discover that the issues people were concerned about 100 years ago are still the same ones that concern us today. Now I just think it’s sad to see how little progress we have made in so many areas.
– You have been writing also historical romances. How tough was for you to switch on and off between different genres and why you decided to do it?
– I wrote 20 historical romances at the beginning of my career. When the historical market dried up, I was no longer able to publish romances, so my agent suggested I switch to mysteries. It was hard keeping Frank and Sarah apart at first, since they were so obviously perfect for each other, but I didn’t miss writing the love scenes that romances require.
– What is the recipe of successful mystery novel? Give us three compulsory ingredients that you are always using.
– The most important ingredient is characters that people will love and empathize with. The second ingredient is a good story that keeps readers turning the pages. The third is a dash of humor.
Take a look at her books:
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue
Murder on Washington Square
Murder on St. Mark’s Place
Murder in Chelsea
Murder on Astor Place
Murder on St Nicholas Avenue
Murder in Morningside Heights