Welcome to The Romance Dish's first Featured Author Spotlight for the 2024 Coastal Magic Convention. Coastal Magic (CMCon24) is a fun-filled, weekend reader/author event held in Daytona Beach, FL each February. Each month from now through January, 2024 all of the Featured Bloggers (including me) will be spotlighting one author who will be attending next year's event. First up is Deb Marlowe, an author I've had the pleasure of knowing for many years. Deb is here today to chat about her current historical mystery series. Please give her a warm welcome.
Hello, Deb! Welcome to our first Coastal Magic 2024 Featured Author Spotlight! Murder on the Mirrored Lake, the third book in your historical Kier and Levett Mystery Series has just been released. What can readers expect from the books in this series?
One of my favorite things about this series is featuring the same couple from book to book. It’s given me a wonderful chance to do a real deep dive into their characters, background and yes, also the slow burn romance. As always, there is a mystery to solve, and action and adventure unfolding as it happens, but there is also a chance to share some revelations about our favorite characters and the people around them. So, yes, adventure, but also character development and world building.
And of course, the romance! It’s been obvious from the beginning that Niall and Kara have feelings for each other, but it’s also been clear that Niall is hiding something. Something to do with his past. Readers have been communicating their desire to know! And now, at last, we find just what his secrets are and how dangerous they might become. But with the truth out, will Niall be free to express himself?
This series is set in the Victorian era. Why did you choose that period? How did it impact the development of your characters?
The inspiration for this series was the Great Exhibition of 1851. I’ve always been fascinated with it. I have long wanted to use it as a setting and it just seemed perfect for the start of a mystery series. The first book, A Killer in the Crystal Palace, is set there. I wanted my characters to really experience the Exhibition, not just visit it, so I had to set about creating a hero and heroine who might be exhibitioners there.
And thus was born Niall Kier—my big blacksmith who is also a forge artist, with an artist’s soul. And Kara Levett—the daughter of a baron who has had an unusual upbringing. She’s also artistic, but she’s very left brain/right brain and she combines all of her interests in creating the astonishingly detailed automatons that she shows at the Exhibition.
What kind of research did you do for this series? Was any of it onsite? Did you discover anything that surprised you?
Oh, PJ, you know me—I LOVE research! I’m such a history nerd. J I did a LOT of research for this series. I did some in depth learning on the Great Exhibition and how it came to be. That held a lot of surprises! I was shocked to learn about some things that I think of as modern, were actually around for the Exhibition—such as carbonated water and weather predictors. In fact, I wrote an article about some of the more surprising finds for my website. You can find it at https://www.debmarlowe.com/behind-the-book.html
I’ve researched much more—details about Victorian London, the political and international landscape, secret societies, poisons, I could go on and on! But details provide a lot of flavor in the stories and I try very hard to make Kara and Niall’s world come alive.
The books in this series feature a continuing lead couple. How does writing a series like this differ from writing a “one and done” book? What attracted you to this type of series?
I’m a character driven author, and as I mentioned, I’m loving the chance to delve deeper and broader into my characters. I’ve got more scope to really explore their layers and I’m enjoying watching them peel them away, a little at a time. I feel the same about the recurring secondary characters. The relationships are deeper and more varied and I’m having fun with it. I love the whodunnit aspect of the stories, but I also love creating a world I get to return to!
Now that you’re three books in, what are you enjoying most about these characters, their adventures, and their romance? Have they surprised you as they continue to evolve?
I’ve often featured some sort of adventure or mystery in my Regency Historical Romances, but now I really get to turn the volume up! Actually, I feel the same way about the romance and the world building in the series. The secondary characters are so vivid and important in my mind and to Niall and Kara. There’s so much room to explore.
And yes, I get a surprise in almost every book I write. A character I didn’t plan for or anticipate. A sudden veer from the plotted path. A truth that just pops out of a character’s mouth. It’s what makes writing fun!
Let’s talk about you a bit. What are your passions (aside from writing, of course)?
I love to cook and garden. I am the designated cook for family and
friend holidays, birthdays, etc. And I
love exploring historical recipes. You
can watch me make some on my extremely amateur Deb Marlowe’s Historical
Kitchen videos on my website! https://www.debmarlowe.com/deb-marlowes-regency-kitchen.html I love to travel and I’m addicted to good
books and good TV.
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
Well, if readers follow me on social media,
they likely already know a lot about me.
I’m an open book. J But if they don’t, they might be surprised to
learn I am a leap year baby and only have a birthday every four years!
If you could time travel, where would you go, what would you do, and who (real or fictional) would you want by your side?
I would definitely want to go to Regency England and Victorian London—the places I write about! It would be amazing to experience it for myself—as long as I could come back. J Hmmm..I would definitely want to meet Prinny, although I would be so tempted to scold him. LOL. And the real Jane Austen. And Prince Albert. Giovanni Batista Belzoni. Robert Peel. Wellington. And by my side? In the Regency, I would wish for Hestia Wright to be my sidekick—if readers have read the Half Moon House Series, they know she has the strength, charm, influence and heart to make it a good time! And in Victorian London, I would love to hang around Kara and Niall from the Kier and Levett Mysteries. We would talk art and literature and science and enjoy good drink and food and probably have an adventure or two!
What books are on your current to-be-read list or what upcoming books are you looking forward to reading?
I’m currently reading several research books for the continuing adventures of Kara and Niall. I’m so looking forward to the next in Mary Balogh’s Remember Series, and I’m woefully behind on both Julie Anne Long and C.S. Harris. I need a few more hours in the day!
Thanks for visiting with us today, Deb. I’m excited to see you in Daytona Beach next February for Coastal Magic Convention 2024. Before we wrap this up, do you have any questions for the Romance Dish readers?
Thank you so much for having me, PJ! I can hardly wait for Coastal Magic! I’m so impressed with the organization and I’ve heard such good things! Plus, it’s been too long since we hung out!
For the Romance Dish readers, I think I would ask how they feel about adventurous books with a slow burn romance. Is there something else they would like to see included in a series like this? I’m having a grand time with it and I want everyone else to enjoy it, too.
One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, August 31 will receive an autographed copy of A Killer in the Crystal Palace (book one of The Kier and Levett Mystery Series). If the winner is international, they will have their choice of one book from the Half Moon House Series, A Series of Unconventional Courtships, or the Castle Keyvnore Pixie Collection.
Click for more information about Coastal Magic 2024. It would be wonderful to see some of you there!