Thursday, February 25, 2016

Q&A with Maia Chance: Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna

National Bestselling Mystery Author, Maia Chance, is the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal and The Discreet Retrieval Agency series. Her first mystery, Snow White Red-Handed, was a national bestseller. Please join me in welcoming her to Books & Benches!

Q&A with Maia Chance

Describe Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna in 140 characters or less.
Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna is a fun, adventurous, and romantic historical mystery set in a secret-riddled French chateau in 1867.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness for me is spending time outside somewhere beautiful, with my husband, kids, and dog.

What’s your favorite part of Ophelia’s quirky personality?
I like the way Ophelia compensates in creative and gutsy ways for her lack of a good formal education.  She’s smart and resourceful and she uses her unusual skill set—farm girl, circus performer, actress—to help solve the mystery.

Which living person do you most admire?
My husband, actually.  He is an unusually gifted person who overcame significant disadvantages and obstacles to get where he is today.  And he gives the best pep-talks!

What inspired you to marry fairytales and mystery?
I was searching for something that hadn’t been done yet, and I was reading a lot of fairy tale criticism for school at the time.  It sounded like a deliciously fun project, so I plunged in.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sticking to strict schedules.  I don’t like to keep people waiting, but there is something to be said for giving yourself creative or restful wiggle-room during the day.

Which of the characters in this novel do you feel the most drawn to?
I became more attached to Professor Penrose in this book.  He’s more vulnerable and at a loss than in the previous two books—and more deeply in love.

Who are your favorite writers?
Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Edith Wharton and Theodor Adorno.
You're hosting a dinner party, which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite?
P. G. Wodehouse would probably be the life of any party.  Also, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  There would be lots of drinking at this party.  Maybe some arguments.  No strip poker though.

What is your motto?
Keep trying.

Where would you most like to live?
A place with lots of trees where I could do all my daily activities and errands on foot.  I’m working on it.

What are you working on next?
I just completed a humorous contemporary mystery that does not yet have a publisher, and I’m working on a historical fantasy adventure with a co-author.  After that, the next thing will be book #3 of the Discreet Retrieval Agency series.
Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna
From the author of Cinderella Six Feet Under, a beauty must solve a beastly murder.
Mass Market | Kindle

Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax knows how to win over an audience. That’s why she’s accepted the marriage proposal of the brutish Comte de Griffe to nettle her occasional investigative partner—and romantic sparring partner—the pompous if dashing Professor Penrose.

But with his boorish table manners, wild mane of hair, and habit of prowling away the wee hours, the comte has shredded Ophelia’s last nerve. She intends to disengage from her feral fiancé at his winter hunting party—until Penrose, his lovely new fiancée, and a stagecoach of stranded travelers arrive at the comte’s sprawling château. Soon she can’t tell the boars from the bores.

When one of the guests is found clawed and bloody in the orangerie, Ophelia is determined to solve the murder before everyone starts believing the local version of Beauty and the Beast. But until the snows melt, she can’t trust her eyes—or her heart—since even the most civilized people hold beastly secrets...

The Author
Maia Chance writes historical mystery novels that are rife with absurd predicaments and romantic adventure. She is the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal and The Discreet Retrieval Agency series.  Her first mystery, Snow White Red-Handed, was a national bestseller. 

Maia is a candidate for the Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington. This means that the exploits of Fairy Tale Fatal’s heroine, variety hall actress Ophelia Flax, were dreamt up while Maia was purportedly researching 19th-century American literature and fairy tale criticism. The Discreet Retrieval Agency series was born of Maia’s fascination with vintage shoes, automobiles, and cocktails combined with an adoration of P. G. Wodehouse and chocolate.

Upcoming titles include Come Hell or Highball (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) and Cinderella Six Feet Under (Berkley Prime Crime, 2015). Maia lives in Seattle, where she shakes a killer martini, grows a mean radish, and bakes mocha bundts to die for.

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