The winner of Staging is Murder is Autumn Trapani! Watch for an email from Grace!
It’s always exciting when a friend has a new book coming out and it’s even more exciting when it’s the first in a new series. I’m so happy for Grace Topping and Staging is Murder will delight fans of cozy mysteries! Grace is going to giveaway a print or ebook copy of Staging is Murder (US and Canada only) to someone who leaves a comment.
Grace: Several years ago, a friend invited me to go with her to Malice Domestic. She didn’t want to go alone. I was sympathetic, but I had never heard of Malice Domestic. When she explained it was three-day conference for fans of traditional mysteries being held in nearby Arlington, Virginia, it piqued my interest. When she said there would be famous authors there and named some of them, I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
The weekend was enjoyable, and I encourage mystery fans to go. But be warned: if you attend, it could change your life—it changed mine.
For fans of traditional mysteries, going to Malice Domestic is like being a movie fan who gets to attend the Academy Awards. There I was, simple Grace Topping, writer of very exciting computer user manuals, rubbing elbows with famous, and some not so famous, mystery writers. How could it get any better than that?
But it kept getting better. One afternoon, Katherine Neville, holding a hotel map, stopped and asked me for directions to a meeting room. As we walked there together, and I gushed about how much I’d enjoyed “The Eight,” she confided in me that she hadn’t told many people, but she was writing a sequel to her best-selling book. Later, when I got to tell Edward Marston, who had come in from England, how much pleasure his books had given me, I felt like I’d died and gone to mystery lovers’ heaven.
Throughout the weekend, I got to hear authors talk about how they got started, the challenges they faced, what inspired them, what kept them going, what books they had coming out. What surprised me was how they looked and acted like ordinary people. People like me. Never in my life had I thought about writing a mystery, but it made me think that if they could do it, perhaps so could I. The seed was planted.
It took a few years, but those seeds germinated and began to grow. I faced periods of drought and miserable growing conditions and often wondered whether I would make it. But this May 3rd, I’ll emerge at Malice Domestic—a fully grown published author.
Readers: What inspired you to write? Or have you met a favorite author?
STAGING IS MURDER
Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, removing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties. To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure. Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.
Bio: Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. The first book in her series, Staging is Murder, is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. Grace is the current vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.