Welcome to author Victoria Dowd who brings us a fascinating debut mystery which is soon to be followed with book two in the series.

Describe your favorite writing spot or space.

I love to write in my study, looking out at the trees. It’s very peaceful and quiet. I hang up bird feeders so I can see the birds every day as well. I like being able to see my garden.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m pretty strict with myself. I usually deal with admin, interviews and my website for the first hour and then I write solidly for about 5-6 hours a day. It’s a real discipline but I like to stick to working hours. It’s very easy to let things slide when you work from home.

Were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one? For how long?

Oh yes, very much so. I’ve been writing all my life and spent a long time writing short stories whilst I was in my previous job. I was a criminal defence barrister for many years, appearing at the Old Bailey. I finally took the plunge into full time writing when I won the Gothic Fiction Prize for short fiction. It was a dream come true when Joffe Books offered me a contract to publish a series of my crime books. I’ve not looked back since!

What kind of research do you do for a book?

For my second book, I did a lot of research about the location. It’s set on an uninhabited island in the Outer Hebrides. The islands are absolutely beautiful and incredibly atmospheric. I had to get the scene perfect. The flora had to be correct, the wildlife, the weather. I also did a lot of research on their rich heritage. The history of the islands and their people is fabulous. They have the most wonderful tradition of folktales and all manner of strange stories featuring unusual faeries, kelpies and witches. The culture very much incorporates a lot of the past and their beliefs. The islands encapsulate so much of that. Some still have the old Druid stones on them.

The island I use in the book is particularly eerie since there is only one old manor house and a tiny chapel there. No one lives there anymore, but I managed to get in touch with the owner and we chatted about me taking a trip out there. Sadly, the current situation has prevented that, but I’m still planning it! It will be challenging, I suspect, particularly since there’s no electricity and no phones, mobile signal or Wi-Fi. Perfect for a murder mystery, though. When the book comes out later this year, there’s going to be a competition to guess which island I based my island on. I don’t think anyone will get it!.

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

I’m near the coast, so I love sea swimming. I managed a very cold New Year’s Day swim this year. A few years ago I swam around Burgh Island just off the coast of Devon which was the island that inspired Agatha Christie to write And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun. It’s a beautiful spot and my favourite place. I’m also a very keen gardener. I love watching the seasons unfold and seeing old friends come back in the spring. It’s very calming and I do a lot of thinking there. In the summer, I switch from working in my study to working by my pond if the weather’s good enough.

What is your favorite childhood book(s)?

When I was very young, I loved all the Mallory Towers books and The Worst Witch. I also really loved a book called The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy by Penelope Lively. It’s set in a village that’s reviving the old tradition of the Horn Dance. There’s a constant sinister atmosphere that builds all the way through. It’s a fantastic book! I quickly moved on to Agatha Christie books when I was about 10 years old. I absolutely loved them and still do. I was just absorbed by the puzzle in them and the wonderfully glamorous people and locations. It was the start of a lifelong obsession.

I’m a crime writer and my debut novel, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder, was released on 6th May by Joffe Books. It’s the first part of a crime series that is a darkly subversive take on the Golden Age and the works of authors such Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Josephine Tey.

I also write short fiction and have been lucky enough to win some awards for this. In 2019 I was awarded the Gothic Fiction prize for short fiction by Go Gothic. The piece is Vengeance and the Doctor, which you can find in the blog section here.

I live with my husband and two children and can frequently be found in Devon swimming/floating/drinking around Burgh Island, reading Agatha Christie’s. I’m originally from Yorkshire, which possibly explains the passion for all things Gothic and dark. After studying law at Cambridge University, I was a criminal law barrister for many years, but I finally hung up my wig in favour of more fictional crimes.

Where to Find Victoria Dowd & Her Books:

Website | Facebook Personal ~ Author | Twitter | Instagram

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