Interview with Ana Brazil & Giveaway of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper

Happy Monday, everyone! Today I have an interview with Ana Brazil, author of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper, to kick off her blog tour!

I highly recommend Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper, it's a wonderful book with three strong leading women. I loved, loved, loved it! Don't forget to enter our giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a copy!

Hello, Ana and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper.

Thanks, Amy! I’m glad to be here! I live and write in California, but have a deep connection to New Orleans and the south. And I have a masters’ degree in American History from Florida State University. Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper is my first novel and the beginning of my Gilded Age New Orleans series, which features Fanny and her friends.

What inspired you to write Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper?

I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction and was always surprised that there were so few southern heroines. Other than Gone with the Wind, where were the stories about brave, clever, and adventurous southern women? Since I had researched and written my masters’ thesis about socially active late 19th century women in New Orleans, I was sure that these women existed. And my very vivid imagination was sure that these women could solve any murder mystery that New Orleans could throw at them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

In one sense—and I’d say this is true for every storyteller—the first chapter is always the hardest scene to write. My first chapter had to perfectly introduce Fanny and get the story rolling.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I really like the scene where Fanny, Sylvia, and Olive are talking on the rooftop of Wisdom Hall. Everything has been so hard and disagreeable between them, and finally, they relax a bit and reveal themselves to each other.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper?

If you really think you’re supposed to be doing something, do it.

Fanny really believes that she’s supposed to be using her smarts to solve her student’s murder. Sylvia believes that she’s supposed to offer education to immigrants. Olive knows that she’s a doctor. When you listen to your heart (especially when it comes to that “what’s my life about” question), you can reach incredible success and satisfaction.

Why did you choose to set the novel in Gilded Age New Orleans?

I wanted to incorporate the “Jack the Ripper in the United States” mythology, and since he committed his London crimes in 1888, I set my story in 1889. And I couldn’t not write about New Orleans! Gilded Age New Orleans is such a rich, complex, and dangerous locale.

What type of research did you undertake when writing Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper?

I’ve read 1889 New Orleans newspapers until my eyes wore out; I’ve toured New Orleans’ Gilded Age buildings and neighborhoods; and I tried to read a lot of biographies of brave and enthusiastic women of the late 19th century.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Almost always; definitely since grade school. Once I read Little Women, I had to be Jo March!

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Although I’m really good at envisioning “the worst that can happen” (which is great for plotting), I really like “everyone to get along”. Which means that I have to work hard at creating conflict, both between characters and internally within each character. I love to read historical romances, but I’m always yelling at the heroine and hero…“Why don’t you just talk to each other! That’ll fix everything!”

Who are your writing inspirations?

Gail Carriger inspires me because she’s so imaginative and wild!

What was the first historical novel you read?

It must have been Little Women. But I also remember reading Caddie Woodlawn.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I just finished Amy Stewart’s Girl Waits with Gun. Loved it! And I also want to mention Kate Warn: Pinkerton Detective by Marissa Moss and April Chu. It’s historical fiction for children and is so beautifully written and illustrated.

If there was a soundtrack for your novel, what songs might we find on it?

I really enjoyed listening to Ken Burns’ The Civil War when I wrote Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper. So my soundtrack would have lots of brass bands, slow waltzes, and soft guitar music. Then I’d add some spirited Irish waltzes! And a version of “If Ever I Cease to Love”, which was written in 1871 and used as the royal anthem for Rex, King of Carnival.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’ve always had a cat and a dog and can’t imagine living without at least one of each.

I performed in many, many children’s theater productions when I was in elementary school.

I love to bake! Need some brownies, bread, or cheesecake? Call me!

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I like mysteries because I like to solve problems. I like the resolution of a mystery and seeing that justice returns to the world, and that most characters are just a little smarter and a little more self-aware from their journey.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

Definitely late 19th and early 20th centuries America. And then the same period in England. But I’ve always wanted to slow down for a while and concentrate on reading just Revolutionary and Colonial American historical fiction. I’m totally in love with Colonial Williamsburg and would love to live there for a summer and just read, read, read Colonial American historical fiction.
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Well, the dog always needs to be walked and the cat always needs to get scritched! And I play the bluegrass mandolin. After a long day of writing, it’s so wonderful to tune up the mando and make some music.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

My friends and I call it “Fanny 2”, but the working title is Fanny Newcomb and the French Quarter Laudanum Lover. It’s “what happens next” to Fanny, Sylvia, Olive, Lawrence, Daniel, and Clarence.

Ha...Fanny it! I cannot wait for this release. I absolutely loved reading Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper and look forward to more of Fanny, Olive, and Sylvia! And I may have to hit you up for some brownies, Ana :)

Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil

Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Sand Hill Review Press
Formats: Paperback & eBook

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Gilded Age New Orleans is overrun with prostitutes, pornographers, and a malicious Jack the Ripper copycat. As threatening letters to newspaper editors proclaim, no woman is safe from his blade.

Desperate to know who murdered her favorite student, ambitious typewriting teacher Fanny Newcomb launches into a hunt for the self-proclaimed Irish Channel Ripper.

Fanny quickly enlists her well-connected employers—Principal Sylvia Giddings and her sister Dr. Olive—to help, and the women forge through saloons, cemeteries, slums, and houses of prostitution in their pursuit.

Fanny’s good intentions quickly infuriate her longtime beau Lawrence Decatur, while her reckless persistence confounds the talented police detective Daniel Crenshaw. Reluctantly, Lawrence and Daniel also lend their investigative talents to Fanny’s investigation.

As the murderer sets a date for his next heinous crime, can Fanny Newcomb and her crew stop the Irish Channel Ripper before he kills again?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

A native of California, Ana Brazil lived in the south for many years. She earned her MA in American history from Florida State University and traveled her way through Mississippi as an architectural historian. Ana loves fried mullet, Greek Revival colonnades, and Miss Welty’s garden. She has a weakness for almost all things New Orleans. (Although she’s not sure just how it happened…but she favors bluegrass over jazz.)

The Fanny Newcomb stories celebrate the tenacity, intelligence, and wisdom of the dozens of courageous and outrageous southern women that Ana is proud to call friends.

Although Ana, her husband, and their dog Traveller live in the beautiful Oakland foothills, she is forever drawn to the lush mystique of New Orleans, where Fanny Newcomb and her friends are ever prepared to seek a certain justice.

For more information, please visit Ana Brazil's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 5
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Thursday, February 8
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, February 9
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Book Blog
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Monday, February 12
Review at Fervently Curious

Friday, February 16
Review at Back Porchervations

Saturday, February 17
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Monday, February 19
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Interview at Fervently Curious

Wednesday, February 21
Feature at The Reading Queen

Monday, February 26
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, February 28
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, March 2
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, March 5
Review at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Wednesday, March 7
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, March 9
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Monday, March 12
Review at Buried Under Books

Thursday, March 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Friday, March 16
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, March 19
Review at Cheryl's Book Nook


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Fanny Newcomb #2

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