Tag: Swiss Vendetta

Swiss Vendetta

Book Tour! A time for writers and readers.

 On February 6th I left home for my very first book tour, and for the next two and half weeks I visited 13 cities to talk about and sign Swiss Vendetta. I had an idea of what to expect. I have public speaking experience from my former job in the non-profit world and with university alumni relations. The latter required travel and sometimes Q&A in a different city every night. From this, I was prepared for the daily cycle of fatigue and even random thoughts along the lines of – why did I say yes to this? At the same time, I anticipated the jolt of energy that arrived every time I stepped in front of the crowd or sat at the signing table. In this, I wasn’t disappointed. There were a few surprises. The first one is a slightly embarrassing: that people had read Swiss Vendetta. To give me some credit, the night of my first stop coincided with the day of the book’s release. It was impossible for anyone other than a beta reader or recipient of an advance copy to have read it. I got used to that rhythm. The questions were about my background, why I started to write, did I always know I wanted to write mysteries. A few days into the tour, the story changed. A man raised his hand, not for a question, but with a statement: I loved this line from the book, “The young are foolish. But foolish doesn’t mean you deserve to die.” For a second I didn’t know what to say. Was the nice man a plant, someone sent by my mother to make me feel good? How could he know what was in the book? Fortunately, I relied on the old standby of Thank you, which bought me a moment to realize he’d read the Swiss Vendetta and had an opinion. However, in that first half second it was a little like what it must feel like to meet a stranger who holds up a photograph and says, Hi, I’m your here-to-fore unknown brother. Very personal and unsettling and then exciting and also a step into uncharted territory. From this point forward I had the great pleasure to meet readers – many people who had read the book and wanted to talk about characters and setting and plot points and favorite lines. Each and every one of them gave me a tiny moment of joy (even the man who had a complicated question about a character entering a place and leaving and then reentering). It was a pleasure to talk about the second in the series – A Well-Timed Murder – and to speculate about a third. I had another entirely pleasant surprise near the end of my time on the road. In reading emails from readers who had a thought to share, and some who said that they wished they could come to a signing but work prevented it, there was one from a very nice woman who had heard my book recommended by an author at his own book signing. I have always felt a comradery among writers (at least in the mystery and suspense genre) but the idea that we are out there in the world celebrating each other was such a pleasant experience. I arrived home exhausted. There is a rhythm on the road that keeps you going and when the rhythm breaks you feel the fatigue of travel and of ‘being on’ every afternoon or evening. At the same time, I can’t wait to go out there again. Apart from actually writing, talking about writing and reading is pure joy. Thank you readers who turned out and made these weeks unforgettable! As a reader, what do you look forward to at a book talk and signing? Authors, what’s been your experience meeting your readers? 

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PUB DAY!!!! An interview with Swiss Vendetta author Tracee de Hahn

 Publication day!!!! For my first book, it was the fulfillment of a dream, the culmination of years of work and the validation that I had not been crazy when I’d quit my journalism job to get “serious about writing fiction.” It was also terribly unnerving to know that my baby would now be out there, inviting judgment. I was uncharacteristically touchy the whole day, like a raw nerve. Today is fellow MissDemeanor Tracee de Hahn’s publication day for Swiss Vendetta, the first in her Detective Agnes Lüthi mystery series. Award-winning author Charles Todd called the mystery  “a true page turner” and the novel has been hailed as “tense, atmospheric and richly detailed.” She answered a few questions about her writing process and feelings about her big day for today’s blog.  Q. What was your inspiration for writing Swiss Vendetta? A. My husband is Swiss and we lived there for some years. It is a fascinating country. Incredibly beautiful and peaceful and orderly… until you notice the undercurrent of energy expended to keep it that way. The contradiction is fascinating and made me think of the elements of a mystery. There were a few other pieces that had to come together – the winter setting was inspired by the memory of a devastating ice storm some years ago in Geneva. The famous Château de Chillon on the shores of Lac Léman above Lausanne was the inspiration for my Château Vallotton (Lord Byron was also inspired by this location). After I had the location in mind, the plot and characters evolved. The crime at the center of the book came easily. Q. How do you come up with your characters? Are they modeled after people that you know? A. They certainly contain bits of people that I know, but the elements of the individuals are transformed into something wholly of my imagination. For example, one of my favorite characters in Swiss Vendetta is the aging Russian, Vladimir Arsov. His voice, his manner of speaking, and his confidence were all inspired by an Italian architecture professor I had the good fortune to know. Arsov’s life story was all my invention, but the reader will understand how the man’s presence – based on my friend’s – helped created the rest. Q. Do you picture the actress who would play your protagonist in a movie?A. I’ve thought about the cinematographic dimension of the book, but I haven’t thought about the actress who would play Agnes. Hopefully I’ll need to one day. Q. What was the most surprising thing about the book publishing process to you? A. The collegiality of the writing community, particularly those in the mystery and thriller genre. Writing is a solitary endeavor and they make it less so. I imagine that before the internet, authors wrote to one another. Now the immediately of the internet and the growing network of conferences mean that we can connect daily. There is much to be learned and this group is always willing to share. Q. Now that it’s launch day, are you happy, sad, relieved? All of the above? Why?… A. A combination of happy and relieved. I know myself too well, and while writing is solitary, a book is a shared experience. I wanted to be out and about at launch time. My publishers lined up a tour of several cities and I’ll be distracted for a few weeks. For the actual launch date, I am signing at one of my favorite book stores, in a city I love – Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY. If you want to join me on tour, the events are all up on my website at www.traceedehahn.com Q. What is next for you?  A. Finalizing the second in the series and then starting the third! I think that the second is a psychological hurdle. I have a dozen ideas for the next one and hopefully the ones after that. Really, can’t wait to get started! 

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