Interview & Giveaway: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Hello, dear readers and Happy 4th of July to our US peeps! Today I am super excited to be hosting an interview with Dianne Freeman, who is now on blog tour with HFVBT for A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder! I hope you enjoy the interview and be sure to enter our giveaway for a paperback copy of the book.

Hello Dianne and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I was always the kid with her nose in a book and I fell in love with history early on. Not necessarily the history of events, dates, and places, but personal histories, biographies, even novels written long ago, the type of historical writing that could pull a reader in and make you feel as if you had a sense of what it was like to live during a particular time. I ended up with a career in accounting, so I became the accountant with her nose in a book.

Somewhere around my 30’s I started writing stories of my own. They were never meant for anyone else to read, it was just my hobby, and as it turned out, good practice.

What inspired you to write A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder?

Gossip and Murder is the second book in the Countess of Harleigh series which was inspired by the Transatlantic marriage phenomenon that took place during the last quarter of the 19th century. By some accounts, there were upwards of 300 marriages between newly minted American heiresses and out of pocket European aristocrats. As many as half that number were British lords.

Since they were basically trading wealth for a title, this didn’t strike me as a very good basis for a marriage. Edith Wharton used this as a theme for several books and they usually ended in misery. I decided to take this premise ten years down the line with the “bride” as the protagonist and see if she could make a better life for herself.

What was your favorite scene to write?

It’s not one specific scene, but I love writing the opening scene for each book. They’re very challenging and I rewrite them several times, but I enjoy dropping hints about what’s to come, setting the tone for the whole book, and enticing the reader to join me in this story.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

That would have been in the first book. Frances’ sister, Lily falls off the bridge over the Serpentine. It happens in an instant and I needed the reader to feel that, yet I still had to describe how it happened. It’s less than one percent of the story, yet I revised it at least ten times.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Back in my 30’s when I first gave it a try. I loved it and even if I was only writing for myself, I was hooked.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I write four to maybe five days a week and I like to start off with a walk. Something about being in motion is great for plotting the next scene I’ll be writing. By the time I sit down to write, I have it all plotted in my head and I just need to get in on the screen. After four hours I start succumbing to distractions, but I try to push it for another hour. I can definitely focus much longer when I’m editing than when I’m drafting, but four to five hours is the norm.

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

Getting through the first draft is the hardest part for me. When I come to a scene I know is going to be trouble—I may not have all the research material I need to write it properly, or I may not have decided exactly what details to include—I used to just struggle through it, or stop and do the research. Either way, my forward movement has been diverted and it’s hard to get it back. Now, I’ll just write whatever part of the scene I can, or even skip over it, leaving myself a note and knowing I can write it later.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Agatha Christie for her masterful plots. In every story she leads me astray and I willingly follow, all the while wondering, how did she fool me again? Also, Jane Austen because she wrote first for her own amusement.

What was the first historical novel you read?

This may not qualify as a historical novel since it was contemporary at the time it was written, but Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was the book that made me fall in love with history.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I feel like I’m cheating again because you can’t read this book yet. One of the best things about being a writer is that you sometimes get to read another writer’s manuscript well before publication. I just finished Spitfire which is a debut novel by M.L. Huie. It’s a suspense/thriller/mystery set in post WWII London and Paris. It will be out in January of 2020 and you’ll want to watch for it!

What are three things people may not know about you?

1) I love American Ninja Warriors. 2) I’m a terrible cook but 3) I make an awesome pavlova.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love that I get to totally immerse myself in another era. I jump willingly into those research rabbit holes even though I probably won’t use more than a quarter of what I dig up. On the mystery end, I love plotting the crimes.

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

It’s a very broad period ranging from mid-Victorian through the 1930s, although I do love a Regency romance too.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Reading would be my favorite thing, but I also enjoy gardening, golfing and hiking.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on the first draft of book four in the Countess of Harleigh series, currently titled A Lady’s Guide to Scandal and Murder, and I don’t think there’s anything I can say about it that won’t be a spoiler for books two and three, so I’ll have to leave it there.

Sounds exciting! Thank you so much for spending time with us today!

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Kensington Publishing
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook

Genre: Historical Mystery

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out...

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Advance praise for A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder

“Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes.” —Heather Redmond, author of A Tale of Two Murders

“The full cast of talkative aristocrats, the lighthearted tone, and the fast pace will keep readers actively engaged. This would make a wonderful introduction to cozy mysteries for fans of Regency or Victorian romance, and it will also hit the mark for followers of Elizabeth Peters and Deanna Raybourn.” —Booklist

“A charming period mystery with enough sexual tension and credible suspects to keep the reader guessing.” –Kirkus

Praise for A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”—Library Journal, Starred Review

“Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman has in mind.”– Kirkus Reviews

“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She's been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Book Frolic
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 26
Review at Macsbooks
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, June 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, June 28
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Saturday, June 29
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, June 30
Review at Oh, The Books She Will Read

Monday, July 1
Review at Mama's Reading Corner

Tuesday, July 2
Interview at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, July 3
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 5
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, July 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story


During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a paperback copy of A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder

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