Wednesday, June 8, 2016

History & Mystery meet in Shelley Freydont's A Golden Cage: Interview

Book: A Golden Cage 
(A New Port Gilded Age Mystery - 2nd in series)
Author: Shelley Freydont
No. of pages: 368 pages
ISBN: 978-0425275856
Publication Date: 7 June 2016 
Publisher: Berkley

The author of A Gilded Grave returns to Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, where headstrong heiress Deanna Randolph must solve another murder among the social elite.
With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable new bathing costumes, joining a ladies’ bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks, all of which would scandalize her mother.
Far more scandalous is the discovery of a young man bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards’ sumptuous “cottage.” Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?
Concerned her new friend may be in danger—or worse—Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, and her former beau, Joe Ballard, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.

Interview Questions with Shelley Freydont, author of A Golden Cage – Exclusive to Nadaness In Motion

Q: Why did you choose historical fiction for the mystery?
Shelley Freydont: I love historical novels and I love history.  I have a big library of memoires of 19th Century actors and actresses.  I’ve wanted to set a mystery in a historical period for a long time so when I had a chance to do one set in Newport during the Gilded Age I jumped at the chance. The Gilded Age is a huge era of the haves and have nots. A period of excess and jealousies and broken dreams. It lends itself so well to murder.

Q: Apart from the internet, where did you go to for research for the historical aspect of the novel?
SF: Because it is the late 19th Century there are many primary sources available. The most wonderful and fun is the town of Newport itself and the “cottages” that have been restored to depict the period in which they flourished. The newspapers and magazines and photographs of the time. Memoires, diaries, and the gossip rags of the period were crazy.

Q: What are some negative traits or flaws in the protagonist, Deanna?
SF: Deanna begins the series as a young, innocent girl somewhat neglected by her mother who saves her attention for older daughter Adelaide.  Since she’s been left much on her own she's headstrong and a bit reckless. However, this is the period where women began to come into their own.  So yes, she’s too familiar with her maid, who is her best friend, since her mother is too strict to allow her friends of her own.  She’s enamored by the dime novels of the middle classes, especially the female detectives' stories. She wants to wear the new fashions and play tennis and golf and ride a bicycle. Are these character flaws?  I think they are more a case of dancing to a different tune.  A modern one.

Q: How many parts are you planning for the series?
SF: I could go on forever.

Q: What are the aspects of the 'cozy' genre that can be found in A Golden Cage or the series as a whole?
SF: These stories aren’t totally cozy. There was a real underbelly to the opulence of the time.  Social issues that I wanted to include. But it does have the cozy elements of the small town environment, the main characters are good people and are concerned with right and wrong. 

Q: Can you briefly explain the writing or plot process for a mystery novel?
SF: Plotting is important of course in a mystery, because it all has to make sense. But also the motivations have to be believable but also hidden. Everyone’s alibis need to be established then made questionable. Then add relatable characters and put them all together to make an exciting satisfying mystery.

Q: What are some interesting and possibly unknown facts about the time/era in which the novels are set? (historical or otherwise, anything you've come across in your research that was previously unknown to you or that you found surprising)
SF: A lot of things.  The biggest is that I think we think of the 19th Century as very old fashioned.  I’ve had people say to me, they really did that in “those days?” Oh no one would do those things in “those days.” 1895 was on the cusp of the modern era, women were trying new things and my favorite, the bicycle, freed them from depending on men for transportation, and there was no stopping them.

Q: Were there major changes to the novel during the editing process? If yes, can you give us an example?
SF: No major changes, this time around. On the first book, A Gilded Grave, yes, because it had to set up the whole series, so it was important to be clear about the parameters of the stories.

Q: (Apart from Deanna) Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
SF: I love Elspeth, Deanna’s maid. She’s not the kind of girl who would normally be hired as a ladies maid, but through lack of interest from Deanna’s mother she slipped in.  She’s a true lower class woman, knows how the world works, is enthusiastic and tough and still can pull off an acceptable courtsey.

Q: Can we expect to see Joe Ballard in the upcoming parts of the series?

Q: Do you have any writing habits? If yes, what are they? (like writing every day or at specific place or anything different)
SF: I write full time, though usually I’m working on different projects and in different places like editing, proofreading, first, second draft. I don’t write every day, or five days a week.  I take a day off when I need to (and sometimes when I don’t need to).

Q: If you could experiment with any other genre apart from cozy and mystery, what would it be? Is it likely that we will see a novel in the genre in the near future?
SF: I would do Time slip and combine my love and history with my contemporary novels. 

Check out the rest of the tour here.

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About the Author:
Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery, Celebration Bay Festival Mysteries, (SilentKnife, Trick or Deceit),the Katie McDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mystery series. Her Newport Gilded Age Mystery series began in June 2015 with A Gilded Grave, followed in June 2016 with A Golden Cage
Shelley loves puzzles of all kinds and when not writing or reading mysteries, she’s most likely working on a jigsaw, Sudoku, or crossword.
As Shelley Noble, she’s the author of the women’s fiction novels, Beach Colors, StargazeyPoint, and Breakwater Bay as well as several novellas.
She lives at New Jersey Shore and loves to hear from readers.  

Connect with the author via her Website, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

Purchase Links
Amazon and B&N

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