Tag: tracee de hahn

tracee de hahn

The Artist and the Entrepreneur

I love themes. I’m the kind of person who plays bachata in the background if I’m hosting a dinner party with Central American cuisine (my sister-in-law is from Belize and got me hooked on bachata) and chanson for French. The reason I bring this up is because it’s launch week for Tracee’s second Agnes Lüthi Mystery A Well-Timed Murder.  Perfect timing for a week devoted to what’s really involved in getting your book out there into the world. With my own pub date set for this August, I’m learning quickly that it’s not just about the edits.  Spoiler alert: being an author requires a lot more than writing. It’s easy to think of writers as artists, but writing is also about producing something and getting that something to the people who will want it. In other words, a writer lives both in the world of the artist and the world of the entrepreneur. Exhibit A is Tracee’s elegant Tour Postcard below. After the writing and rewriting, the back-and-forth with an editor, then a copy editor, then a production editor, finally there’s a book. …but that’s just the beginning. That’s when the entrepreneur joins the artist. That’s when you do book readings, post videos, be interviewed, attend conferences, write guest blogs, send out newsletters, find a publicist. OR NOT. What I’m discovering as I stumble into this world is that there are as many options for what an author can do as there are opinions about what an author should do. My fellow Miss Demeanors will share their thoughts on the topic this Friday. In the meantime, if you’re in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia or Texas, I know someone who’ll be signing her latest book about a Swiss-American police officer who is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.       

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What time is it?

The day has arrived for fans of Agnes Agnes Lüthi: A Well-Timed Murder is out, and before Tracee heads off for her book tour, I was able to get her to answer a few questions about book number two. Alison: Your book releases today, what’s the day look like for you? Tracee: I’m lucky to celebrate my pub day in a bookstore! The marvelous WordsWorth Books & Co. in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’ll be there from 5-7 pm so there’s still time to come out and chat and support a great independent book store. Alison: You live in Virginia, why Arkansas? Tracee: My mother’s family moved to Arkansas pre-statehood and she was born there. It is a perfect spot to kick off my tour. After Little Rock I’ll go to my hometown in Kentucky. Then I’ll carry on for another two weeks, through a variety of states, ending with a Barnes & Noble and a new independent book store, Book No Further, near where I currently live.  Alison: This is the second in a series. What is Agnes Lüthi up to now? Tracee: We pick Agnes up a few weeks after the conclusion of Swiss Vendetta. A Well-Timed Murder can certainly be read as a stand-alone, but if you’ve read Swiss Vendetta you’ll know why Agnes has a limp. I think of the connection between the two books as a behind-the-curtain glimpse that returning readers have. As a series reader myself, I like to feel a connection between books. At the same time, I don’t want to have to read them in order. Alison: Agnes works for a Violent Crimes unit in Lausanne, Switzerland. I’ve always thought of Switzerland as idyllic, what kind of trouble does she uncover? Tracee: You’re right about the country being idyllic. That’s part of the reason for crime! There is a lot of pressure to keep up such a high standard of living. For example, in A Well-Timed Murder we see the pressure behind the watch industry when a well-renowned watchmaker dies in suspicious circumstances. By the end of writing the book I started to think that timing is everything. In life, death, and love. It certainly proves to be for Agnes. Alison: I heard the book’s first victim died of a peanut allergy, is that true? Tracee: Yes! Recently, I possibly frightened a guest at our home when I mentioned this.She has a serious peanutallergy and I’m sure she wondered if I felt a need to test my ‘mysterious circumstances.’ The unusual circumstances of my victim’s death pose one of the first obstacles to Agnes’s investigation, an investigation that takes her to Baselworld – an annual show at the heart of the watch industry – and to a boarding school where the victim died. Alison: Didn’t your husband attend boarding school in Switzerland? Is this the revelation of a dark secret from hispast? Tracee: No revelations from his past, but certainly his idyllic school (there’s that word again!) served as inspiration.An international school is a true melting pot of cultures and languages at the very time when young people are testing their limits and finding their identity. A perfect place for chaos. That said, the main way my school is based on his, is in the central architecture. Who can resist a towering chalet? Murder and mayhem played no part in his education. Truly. Alison: Thanks for joining us on pub day! And promise to send us some photos during your tour.  I posted Tracee’s Book Tour Postcard in yesterday’s post in case any readers live nearby. If you missed that, just check below so you can see Tracee’s (rather packed) schedule. Do stop by. Tracee would love to meet you.  Tracee: Please do. I’ve met so many friends-of-friends and friends-of-readers in bookstores this past year and the connection is amazing! Tour dates Feb. 6 – Little Rock, ARWordsWorth & Co., 5 pm Feb. 7 – Madisonville, KYReadmore Book-N-Card, 3 pm Feb. 8 – Louisville, KYCarmichael’s Bookstore, 7 pm Feb. 12 – Lexington, KYJoseph-Beth Booksellers, 7 pm Feb. 13 – Knoxville, TNUnion Ave Books, 6 pm Feb. 14 – Chattanooga, TNStar Line Books, 6:30 pm Feb. 15 – Woodstock, GA (Atlanta)FoxTale Book Shoppe, 6:30 pm(With Roger Johns and Jonathan Putnam) Feb. 17 – Christiansburg, VABarnes & Noble, 2 pm Feb. 20 – Houston, TXMurder by the Book, 6:30 pm Feb. 24 – Roanoke, VABook No Further, 2 pm   

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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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