Welcome Back Dianne Freeman

The winner of A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder is KaraLeigh2! Watch for an email from Diane.

I’m so excited to welcome back Diane Freeman to the blog. I loved the first book in her The Countess of Harleigh Mysteries and am reading the second A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and MurderHere’s a bit about the book — look for a chance to win a hardback copy (US only) at the end of the blog!

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself…

Dianne: One question I’m asked frequently is “Are your characters based on real people?”

Well, yes and no. Kind of?

Frances, the Countess of Harleigh and my amateur sleuth, was originally a conglomerate of various real American Heiresses of the day. In my mind, she looks a great deal like Consuelo Vanderbilt, who later became the 9th Duchess of Marlborough. Her mother was every bit as pushy as Alva, Consuelo’s mother. Frances’ family came from Ohio, like Helena Zimmerman. Her wit and confidence were much like that of Jennie Jerome, though that confidence took a beating while Frances was trapped in a loveless marriage.

I knew once her mourning period for her late husband was over, Frances would want to move away from her grasping in-laws and create a life for herself and her daughter. As this was 1899, she could not simply pack up and leave. She had to win at least one member of the family over to her way of thinking with a little misdirection; make them think it was their idea. As the youngest of four siblings, I learned to employ these tactics at an early age. So, Frances is even a little bit me.

While I was inventing Frances, I started working out, sometimes with a fitness trainer named Fran. Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. Frances would be bringing her little sister, Lily, out to Society. Lily was not as good a student of the social graces as Frances had been. She’d require some coaching, a guiding hand, and gentle, but firm, correction—all for her own good, of course—much in the way Fran worked with her clients. Not tough, but firm and insistent—you are going to do those crunches.

By the end of the first draft, Frances, and all her friends and relatives, were fully formed, well-rounded characters. None of them were based on one person, but they were all influenced by real people.

For a chance to win a copy of A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder answer the question below or just say hi!

Readers: Do you know anyone who should be a character in a book? What kind of book and what would be their role?

Dianne Freeman is the acclaimed author of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. She is an Agatha Award and Lefty Award winner for best debut novel, as well as a finalist for the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award from Mystery Writers of America. She spent thirty years working in corporate accounting and finance and now writes full-time. Born and raised in Michigan, she and her husband split their time between Michigan and Arizona. Visit her at www.DiFreeman.com.

Buy link:  https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/37607

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/DianneFreemanAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Difreeman001

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/diannefreemanwrites/




52 Thoughts

  1. Oh, I know so many eccentric characters who could easily play a supporting role in cozy mysteries. I guess I’m just lucky. 😜. A Lady’s Guide sounds like a delightful read. Thanks for a chance to win a copy

  2. My sister could have been the main character of a cozy mystery. She was very outgoing and inquisitive – some may call it nosy- and people would tell her things. Thanks for the chance!

  3. My husband is a constant source of mystery, intrigue and comedy … he def should have been in the movies or theater …I’d love to win a copy of this book.. it’s sounds like the qualities of my husband that I mentioned!! Thank you!!

    1. Mystery, intrigue, and comedy sound like the makings of an awesome marriage! My husband always keeps me laughing and I love it!

  4. Welcome, Dianne! The premise sounds delightful, and yes, of course we all dip into those we know and meet for our conglomerate characters.

  5. Off the top of my head I think my husband would be a good character. He works in computer forensics, but he has some quirky habits, both annoying and endearing 😊, as well as hobbies, that would make him fit well as a book character – somewhat of a variation of the absent-minded professor!

    I’ve been wanting to read this book every since I first learned about it as an Agatha nominee! Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. My good friend Tobias would be a great character in a book. He’s full of personality and a wacky older gentleman who is not afraid to speak his mind. He’d be great for giving advice and helping the main character see things more clearly. Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. It may be sappy to say, but I think hubby and I would be great characters in a book. Let me explain. See I’m the one that seems to always be getting into some of the strangest situations (some harrowing and others just down right hilarious – if they were happening to anyone but me that is). I might add i’m more than a bit clumsy too. Let’s just say ladders, steps and anything I can fall from or tumble over seem to jump out and attack me on a somewhat regular basis – more so the older I get it seems. With all this, I seem to be able to see the big picture and figure things out probably from my vivid imagination or being able to see things from a non-normal way of thinking. Hubby on the other hand is the logical one with more patience than a buzzard waiting for the lion to get his fill. Never in a rush and the one to think things out – too long for my get ‘r” done brain. On the other hand he’s the most compassionate and giving person I know. He’s always there with a helping hand, a kind word of encouragement and loves deeply his family and friends. He’s like he camera he loves to have with it at all times. He takes a photos of what’s happening, waits to see how it turns out and then sees what he can do to adjust the image for the best possible outcome. Did I also say he’s the most romantic guy I know and give thanks daily that I get to spend the rest of life with him!

    Think we would be great in a cozy mystery series as a team sort of balancing out the yin and yang making for a fun read with excitement, laughter and working together to solve the crimes. 🙂

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder”! Can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  8. I run a murder mystery company, and all my characters are based on or inspired by my friends! I recently created a visual novel/video game, and several of them made appearances! I guess you could say my life is filled with fascinating characters! Thanks for your books, Dianne!

  9. Hi, Dianne! Yes, I know very well about taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that from the people around me to make a character.

    I think my dad could be a character – the slightly grumpy old man who knows the oddest bits of trivia. 🙂

  10. I can’t think of one person, more like bits and pieces of people’s personalities. The book sounds wonderful!

  11. I’m such a huge fan of this series! So much in fact, that I’ve sent my copies on to my friend in Omaha, NE becasue I feel like she should read them too! It’s like a fun Downton Abbey episode….with more murder! I”m here for it. Congrats!

  12. I love this series so much, Dianne! I turned a neighbor of mine from Bedford, Massachusetts into a character — with his permission — Angelo DiNapoli feeds Sarah’s stomach and soul.

    1. Thank you! That’s so cool about your neighbor. If I did that, I’d be afraid the real person would start demanding a better role or more page time!

  13. Hi Dianne,
    My mother would be a great character. Her life was full of secrets and some we found out after her passing five years ago.
    It would have to be a mystery. Her role would be the character holding all the other characters secrets and some of her own! Have a great day!

  14. I love borrowing from real people for my characters. Congratulations on the new book, Diane! Glad you visited the blog today.

  15. I know a few people who would make good book characters. I’m not sure they would agree though, especially the ones who would be included more for comic relief!

    1. They probably wouldn’t recognize themselves. Some of my funniest lines came from my husband, though he swears he never said them!

  16. I’m not sure I know anyone who should be a character in a book. I guess my brain just isn’t wired that way right now. I’m sure if I started thinking characters, it would be.

    1. Hi Mark. Most of the time I don’t realize someone has inspired a character until I read the story. It’s not always a conscious decision.

  17. Well, certainly not me, she said indignantly. Anyway, before reading this post I would have been looking for a larger-than-life person I know to be a character in a book, but now I realize everybody – including ourselves – has some trait that would weave into a character’s personality very well. Interesting post and thanks for the giveaway.

  18. My aunt would make a great character in a story. She’d be the funny best friend of the main character.

  19. My youngest daughter in her 30s would make a good character in a book. She is very secretive about her life and would be interesting to find out her secrets.

  20. My youngest daughter in her 30s would make a good character in a book. She is very secretive about her life and would be interesting to find out her secrets.

  21. I know several people that should be in a book. My mother – historical, humor, mystery, you name it. My brother – humor, well both brothers would fit that. I have a friend that would be great in mystery or rom-com. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  22. I can’t really think of anyone that would make a good character in a book. Would really like to read “A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder”. Sounds like a great book

  23. From the stories I’ve heard of her, my English great-grandmother once sat at the dinner table during a WW II bombing raid rather than not finish her meal. She sounds like a wonderfully tough old woman.

  24. i know other authors have done it but I love mysteries on crocheting. Most of them are on knitting which is fine if you can do it. I love Crochet!! I am trying to build a business of making crochet items for people. I think a book based on a woman opeining her first shop for crocheters (and knitters) with yarn and crochet items stocked in her shop and along comes a mystery. Just an idea but most of the books are written for knitters and we crocheters really need a series for us.

  25. Loved your first book, Diane, and can’t wait to read Gossip! As for characters, I’m briefly living at an assisted-living facility surrounded by fascinating men and women who would be great models for any elder, sage, mentor, loving grandparent, and so on. I’m loving this opportunity. Oh, and my new hip is healing well! All the best 🙂 –C. T. Collier

Comments are closed.