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Single Malt Murder
by Melinda Mullet
Ballantine Group; Alibi | On Sale: March 21st, 2017 | ISBN: 9780399179051| 300 Pages | Price: $4.99
When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.
Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing? I’ve always written, even as a child, but as I got older, I was forced to do a lot of very dry writing as a lawyer. Worse yet, since lawyers are notoriously bad writers and I was an English major, I got stuck editing everyone else’s work as well as my own. I burnt out on the writing process for a time, but then after I exited the profession I found my desire to write for pleasure coming back.
What genres do you write in? As far as fiction writing goes, I write mysteries. I’m especially partial to cozy mysteries, because I like the strong rapport you develop with the characters in the story. There’s a lovely feeling of coming home when you pick up the latest installment of a series you enjoy.
What drew you to writing these specific genres? Very simply, I write what I love to read. I’ve been a mystery fan since my first Nancy Drew and I never stopped. I read through all of the Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy Sayers by the time I came out of high school. Then I moved on to Elizabeth George, Colin Dexter, Sarah Caudwell, anything I could get my hands on. I love the fact that it isn’t a passive read. It’s relaxing, but it stimulates your brain at the same time.
How did you break into the field? Honestly, Single Malt Murder is my first novel. I wrote it and rewrote it a dozen times before sending it out to a variety of agents that dealt in cozy mysteries. I was unbelievably fortunate to find a phenomenal agent at The Lark Group who has shepherded me through this process with unending patience and good humor. It is so vital to find someone who believes in you and your project from the beginning.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works? With the Whisky Business series I’d love for readers to come away with a desire to visit Scotland. It is a breathtakingly beautiful country and the people are just delightful. It is the perfect antidote to the stresses of our contemporary life. It’s also a country with a fascinating history of rebellions, bootlegging and smuggling. The historical aspect is in integral part of the second book in this series called Death Distilled. I’d also love it if more people, and especially women, would give single malt whiskies a try. Often people dismiss whisky as being too intense and too sharp, but there are many really lovely very smooth very mellow drams out there. Moreover, women are finally breaking into the distilling business and I think it is so important to support their efforts. I post information on cool whisky bars from all over and profiles of women who are breaking into the business on my Twitter and Facebook pages.
What do you find most rewarding about writing? It’s a creative outlet that I really enjoy. It also allows me to have fun crafting elaborate puzzles that involve human psychology and emotions.
What do you find most challenging about writing? Deadlines. When you’re on a deadline you have to write even when the words aren’t flowing. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the discipline. It’s definitely more fun when you are in a good place and the prose is coming quickly and efficiently.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field? Revise, revise, revise. It’s very important to be willing to take constructive criticism and look at your own work objectively. It can be very hard to remove a favorite character or scene, but if it’s slowing down the pace of the story it may have to go. As we all know pacing is everything in commercial fiction these days. If you want to sell you have to adapt. One of my tricks early on was to cut sections and keep them in a separate document. That way they’ve been transferred not killed. Somehow that hurts less and I often find homes for the passages left in limbo in later stories.
What type of books do you enjoy reading? Mysteries and biographies. I always have two or three bios on the go at any one time. Right now I’m reading Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Misty Copeland and I’m re-reading Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge. With respect to mystery fiction I love Elizabeth George and Dorothy Sayers.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you? I’m a con woman. Something I never knew existed until I had teenagers. Now I have a daughter who wants to make her living as a movie costumer and I join her and her sister at a variety of fan conventions up and down the Eastern seaboard. You meet fascinating people. It provides me with endless fodder for character sketches and it’s fun to step outside of yourself for a day or two. This past summer we dragged my husband along to Comic Con in San Diego. The mother ship of all Cons. I got to spend time with the artists who did the initial renderings for the Lord of the Rings movie and was in fan-girl heaven.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.
Webpage – http://melindamullet.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mulletmysteries/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries
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