Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Warm Welcome to Amy Corwin

Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and recently joined Mystery Writers of America. She has been writing for the last ten years.  She writes romance, historical and cozy mysteries. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

Amy’s books include the three Regency romantic mysteries, I BID ONE AMERICAN, THE BRICKLAYER’S HELPER, and THE NECKLACE; Regency mysteries, THE VITAL PRINCIPLE, and A ROSE BEFORE DYING; and her first cozy mystery, WHACKED!, will come in in 2012 from Five Star.
Join her and discover that every good romance has a touch of mystery.
Blurb for 'The Necklace'
Legends foretell death for anyone who possesses the fabled Peckham emerald necklace, lost by an Archer ancestor. Certainly, it has brought the Archers nothing but heartache. So Oriana is relieved it’s missing, assuming it ever existed. She has enough difficulties protecting her uncle—and her heart--from his dangerous new friend, Chilton Dacy. However, when Oriana finds the necklace, the curse reawakens. The necklace disappears, only to reappear clutched in a dead man’s hand.
The stranger’s death leaves Oriana with a frightening choice: ask Chilton for help, or face the possibility that she may hang for murder.

'The Vital Principle'
An inquiry agent seeks to expose a spiritualist as a fraud only to uncover a murder.
In 1815, inquiry agent, Knighton Gaunt, is asked by Lord Crowley to attend a séance with the express purpose of revealing the spiritualist as a fraud. When the séance ends abruptly, an unseen killer poisons Lord Crowley, leaving Gaunt to investigate not fraud, but murder.
Suspicion turns first to the spiritualist, Miss Prudence Barnard. But as Gaunt digs deeper into the twisted history of the guests at Rosecrest, he discovers a series of deadly secrets. Long-time friends soon turn against one another as the tension mounts, and Gaunt is challenged to separate fact from fiction before another death at Rosecrest.
The Vital Principle is the first mystery in the Second Sons Inquiry Agency series and features coolly intellectual Mr. Knighton Gaunt, the agency’s founder. This witty, historical whodunit in the tradition of Bruce Alexander’s Blind Justice will keep you guessing until the unexpected end.

“Murder, mystery, and a dash of romance combined with witty dialogue and unforgettable characters make The Vital Principle a book that will definitely go on my keeper shelf!” —Lilly Gayle, author of Into the Darkness and Slightly Tarnished.
And the blurb for Amy's latest release,
'A Rose Before Dying'

A murderer is stalking the streets of London and the evidence points to Sir Edward, the uncle of Charles Vance, Earl of Castlemoor. The first victim is none other than Sir Edward’s mistress who threw him over for a younger man, giving him a clear motive to kill her. However, Charles is convinced Sir Edward is innocent and enlists the aide of Mr. Knighton Gaunt of the Second Sons Inquiry Agency. When more clues surface, including roses hinting at another victim, Charles steps in and takes control. He can’t let his uncle hang for murders he didn’t commit, despite his uncle’s foul temper and abundant motivation.
Charles teams up with noted rosarian Ariadne Wellfleet to decipher the clues and prove Sir Edward’s innocence and stop the murderer before he can strike again.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Amy Reveals...
From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write A Rose Before Dying?
My most recent book, A Rose Before Dying, was inspired by my rose garden. For years, I tried to grow fussy, modern Hybrid Tea roses and they just didn’t thrive the way I wanted them to. I didn’t like working with chemicals and because our yard is designated as a Nature Conservancy Wildlife Habitat, I did not want to expose all the birds and other creatures to poisons. So I started researching roses and discovered the world of Old Garden Roses which are perfectly suited to my policy of no chemicals. The Old Garden Roses did so well in my garden that I actually entered them in local rose shows and won several awards.

As I researched roses, I realized that hybrids frequently go by a variety of names and it can be very challenging to identify exactly which rose you may hold in your hand. I can’t exactly explain how that connected up in my admittedly twisted brain with the idea of a serial murderer who taunts a detective with a clue the murderer is sure the detective can’t decipher: a rose. If the rose is correctly identified, it will help the detective identify and possibly save the next victim.

Quite a dilemma and one I could not resist posing to my fictional detective who must enlist the assistance of a rosarian to find the answers he so urgently needs.

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?

For some reason, I’m always attracted to “nice guys” and Charles Vance is no exception. He’s the kind of guy who would stop to help a stranger, and in fact, this puts him in a bit of a humorous bind when he saves the life of an orphaned girl and then is left with trying to figure out what to do with her. He can’t just abandon her. So while I admire him for helping others, he can also be rather irritating because of his excessive sense of responsibility. That, and an impulsive streak are his two biggest weaknesses, but they are also what makes him so endearing (at least to me).

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
The heroine is definitely a woman of her time (the Regency period). I like her calm, thoughtfulness and wish I had her self-control. I’ve always tried to control my temper—it is the bane of my existence—so I tend to write women who manage to control their tempers. Perhaps it’s my way of compensating. But Ariadne Wellfleet isn’t perfect. Because she is so controlled and thoughtful, she tends to over-think things. She may be too willing to play by the rules and meet the expectations of those around her. While she is strong, she is not stridently so—it is a more subtle, internal strength.
I admire her greatly. In fact, I wish I were more like her.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
I’d like to think I control the story, but after the first three chapters, the characters always take over and that’s that. Whatever I planned pretty much goes out the window and they begin to tell me what to do. But in the end, I have the upper hand because if any of them get too obnoxious, I can always kill them off. That is, after all, the advantage to writing mysteries.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
I’d really like them to come away with a smile on their face and a feeling of optimism. Over the years, I’ve learned that no matter how clear you think you see the future, you really don’t know what lies around the next corner, and that’s a good thing because it’s so easy to lose your hopes and dreams. I’d like to think that readers come away with the idea that our greatest gift is optimism.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
The characters. If your characters don’t come alive or don’t resonate with the reader, then no matter how good the plot, it won’t be memorable or successful. I read a lot of mysteries and I never remember the end or how the plot works out. The characters, however, stick in my mind if it’s successful.

What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I love, love, love happy endings. I read a lot of mysteries, suspense and other genres and while I enjoy them, I often have a sense of something missing at the end if the characters don’t find someone to share the adventure. I want them to be happy in the end and looking forward to a happy future.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I garden. In fact, I love gardening and am fortunate to live in an area where you can grow things year around. When I’m well organized, I can grow lettuce under floating row covers throughout the winter and it’s wonderful to be able to go out and pick a fresh salad for dinner.
I’m also an avid birdwatcher and in fact, that’s how I met my husband. He’s also a birdwatcher and some of our best vacations have consisted of flying to a distant location, renting a car, and driving at random to various parks and locations where we can spot a few more birds for our life lists. We also enjoy crabbing and fishing and I love kayaking.

I also love to cook and sew, and if I ever find the time, I may finish a sweater I started knitting a few years ago.

In fact, I have so many interests and hobbies that I figure I need at least ten more lives to do even half the things I want to do.

What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I’d like to get three more books published this year. Ambitious, I know, but I like having high goals. I’d also like to clean our house. LOL

Which flower would best describe you and why?

Blackberry. I’m thorny and often in a hopeless tangle, but I’d like to think I do eventually produce some sweet treats like A Rose Before Dying. I also like the simple, white blooms. Like me, they are not fantastically beautiful like a rose, but there is a certain elegant simplicity. As my mother used to say, “You’ll never be beautiful, but you are interesting-looking.” (Gee...thanks, Mom.)

Any exciting plans for the near future?I sure hope to get those three books out. In fact, I should have a new Regency romantic mystery, Escaping Notice, coming out by the end of March. My second paranormal romance, A Fall of Silver, will be out by June (with luck and help from my editor). I’ve got a hardcover mystery, Whacked!, coming out later this summer, and then I hope to round out the year with a second Regency romantic mystery featuring Prudence Barnard and Knighton Gaunt in the fall.
Whew. Just writing that makes me tired (and nervous).

And now for A Taste of Amy

In this excerpt from
A Rose Before Dying, Charles Vance, Lord Castlemoor, has brought a rose to the Wellfleets, hoping someone can identify it. The rose is the only clue he has to identify the next victim of a vicious killer bent on framing Charles’ uncle.

He pulled out the small bundle containing the rose. He knew it was useless, her father, the rose expert, was dead. But he couldn’t stop a small spurt of hope. “I’d like to identify this rose. Do you recognize it?”
“I supposed you’re only asking me as a last resort. Because my father is no longer with us.” She held out a peremptory hand. “Let me see it.”
Her face was a smooth, expressionless mask. However, he detected traces of tired resignation at the implication that she could not be expected to have the depth of knowledge exhibited by a man.
When he placed the limp spray in her palm, she held it up to her nose and breathed in several times with closed eyes, cupping the flowers in her hands. Then she gave it a cursory examination before pulling the petals off of one flower.
“Stop!” He reached over to wrench it out of her hand. She turned her shoulder, blocking him. “What are you doing?”
“Counting the petals. Why?”
“You’re destroying it! How shall I identify it if you ruin it?”
She held it out. “Take it. Plant it, or allow me to root it. Or graft it. If it grows, you can ask your friend, Mr. Lee, to identify it in two or three years from the shape of the bush and bloom habit. Most men who grow roses agree that it takes at least one cycle of blooming to identify a rose with any assurance.”
“Two years!”
“Yes—if you want to be sure. And isn’t that why you wish to identify it? So you can purchase a specimen for your own garden?”
He gazed into her coolly discerning eyes and realized she was aware that he was not being open with her. But given Mr. Lee’s reaction, he could not bring himself to tell the complete truth. The rose wouldn’t last long enough to find another master gardener, assuming he could even locate one in London. “It’s…a wager. Silly, I know, but one of my friends said I couldn’t identify this rose.” The tips of his ears burned.
“I see.” Her eyes grew colder. “This is all a wager?” She glanced at Rose.
“No, of course not. Not Rose—she’s not part of it.”
Miss Wellfleet’s fingers pushed the petals into a line on the table and hovered over them. Thirteen petals, thin and wilting, spread in a tattered line. The slender spray was dying. The small, tight buds had already blackened and hung limply. His chest tightened with frustration.
Then with a theatrical gesture that suggested more defiance than scientific inquiry, she ripped apart the remaining flowers. She arranged the petals in three parallel lines, one for each flower. The roses didn’t all have the same number of petals. The first had thirteen petals. The next had eleven. The final rose had seventeen.
After examining what remained of the stalk, the yellow stamens, and leaves, she looked at him.
Although she didn’t precisely shrug, there was a quality in her expression that spoke of disdain when she said, “Rosa Collina fastigiata.”
“That’s it?” His tired disappointment reminded him of the lateness of the hour. Useless. He needn’t have come here at all. Lee had it right the first time.
“Well, yes. What were you expecting?”
“Something…more. A name….”
“That is a name.” Irritation sharpened her voice. “Or Flat-Flowered Hill Rose, if you prefer an English one.”
“You’re sure?”’
Her eyes hardened. “As sure as I can be from this small spray.” She flung the petals and twig onto the table. “No one can be absolutely sure without seeing the bush and knowing the growth habit and bloom cycles. Have you any idea how many roses there are?”
“That’s why your friend made a clever wager—if wager it was.”
“No. Truly, I apologize. I sincerely appreciate the name.”
“It’s late. You have your name. I hope you win your wager.”
With a coolness he deserved but saddened him nonetheless, she gestured for him to leave. The butler, Mr. Abbott, waited just outside the French doors to the greenhouse. His silent presence ensured Miss Wellfleet had never been truly alone with Charles. Somehow, this reminded him of how attractive he found her, and he flushed when he caught Mr. Abbott’s curious gaze.
However, his embarrassment faded as he remembered his purpose.
A life could be saved if he interpreted Rosa Collina fastigiata properly.
How many people named Collins lived in London? Unless the clue rested with the English name, Flat-Flowered Hill Rose. Did this blossom point to a location instead of a person?
Time was slipping away.
Find out more about Amy at these links: Facebook: Blog:    Website:   Twitter:
Thank you, Amy, for visiting here today. It has been a pleasure to meet you.
Follow the rest of Amy's tour at this link
Now leave a comment for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC


  1. What a fabulous post, beginning with: "killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

    Most informative & entertaining, just like Amy's books.


  2. Thank you for hosting today's stop for Amy!

  3. This sounds like a fascinating mystery. I love regency stories anyway.

  4. Hi! It's great to see folks joining me here! And I'd like to thank Megan for hosting me, thank you!
    You folks are terrific. I'll tell you, after a rough weekend, with another rough one coming up, it is wonderful to see sunny faces here. I think that's why my writing usually has a humorous streak, even if it's just a small one: life is hard enough. We all need a little sunshine. :) Anyway, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it!

    And I hope you will check out my latest book which was just released, Escaping Notice, . It's in the Archer family series (you don't have to read them in any particular order) and there's a serious line of humor in that one, too.

    Enjoy and have a wonderful week!

  5. Congratulations on the release of Escaping Notice. I love the Regency period and the combination of humour doubles the appeal.Sounds great!

  6. Hi! Thanks so much. I hope folks enjoy it. Times seem to be tough all over and I think a little humor and romance can be just what we need at the end of a long, weary day.

  7. YOU are a domestic goddess--gardening, sewing, knitting, cooking. Domesticity is an aloof concept for me, LOL! How wonderful it must be to have a Nature Conservance Wildlife Habitat right outside your door. Is it very labor intensive to maintain?

    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  8. Hi:
    The garden itself is very labor intensive, but if I were to go straight wildlife habitat, versus my patches of roses and veggie garden, then it would be much less intensive. In fact, I'd love to have some patches that only get mowed twice a season, in the fall and spring. There are a lot of critters that need that kind of habitat and it's rare. Mowing twice a year keeps it from being overtaken with trees, but allows it to produce the seed heads that so many animals need for food.
    But for my gardens, I just try to avoid pesticides and fungicides. The plants may look a bit rough at times because of this, but overall, I think it's healthier for everything, including us. It does mean, though, a LOT of weeding. :)

  9. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day!