I’d like to welcome author Heather Redmond back to the Wickeds’ blog. Heather is here to tell us about a twist related to A Twist of Murder, the fifth book in her Dickens of a Crime Mystery series, which was released on October 25th.
Heather will give a signed copy of her third Dickens of a Crime novel, A Christmas Carol Murder, to one lucky commenter below.
Take it away, Heather!
The Dickens Mashup
I have been writing my A Dickens of a Crime series for a few years now. My first big change to the series was adding Kate Hogarth’s point of view in last year’s The Pickwick Murders, because I took my sleuth, Charles Dickens, out of the main part of the action for a while, for reasons.
One thing that has remained consistent through the first four books is taking inspiration from one title in Dickens’s literary canon for each of my titles. I’ve covered his A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and The Pickwick Papers, as you can tell from my own titles. I end up over-identifying so much that sometimes I confuse his original titles and my own!
When I came to book five in my series, I did my usual research. In this case, there was an online readalong of Dickens’s blessedly short novel, Hard Times. I thought it would be fun to join in, as it was led by a British professor. I plotted my novel around the themes and characters I learned about and started writing.
Until…disaster! The powers-that-be at my publisher decided they wanted an Oliver Twist-themed book from me next. What was I to do? They knew I was already working on the Hard Times book, but they thought I didn’t have to change much…it was mashup time! What is a mashup, you may ask? “A mashup is an act of combining (or mashing) two songs together at the same time. This will make an entirely new and different musical composition.” (www.openmicuk.co.uk)
As it so happens, this series had been driving toward an Oliver Twist book all along. I was featuring orphans, after all, including one named Ollie. Thank goodness! It wasn’t so hard to mash a novel about a school with no belief in the power of imagination in an industrial town, and a romp through the pre-Victorian underworld with a lucky orphan.
In my book, Charles Dickens is summoned to a boy’s school outside of London, where he discovers a man named Fagin Sikes has taken control. His belief in the power of a restricted diet causes three charity students to flee the premises. Before Charles can start his search for his young friends, a servant girl goes missing as well. There we go! A mashup of Hard Times and Oliver Twist, folded into a suspenseful mystery.
Readers, what two books do you think would combine well, in any genre? Answer below or just say “hi” by November 11th to be entered to win a signed copy of A Christmas Carol Murder, my third A Dickens of a Crime mystery. North American residents only.
About A Twist of Murder
The acclaimed historical mystery series A Dickens of a Crime continues with a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic Oliver Twist, filled with murder, mystery, and a young Dickens himself as the amateur sleuth. In other words, “Please, can we have some more!”Harrow on the Hill, March 1836: In a sense, orphans Ollie, John, and Arthur have always been treasure hunters. The mudlarks have gone from a hardscrabble life scavenging the banks of the Thames for bits and bobs to becoming students at a boarding school outside of London, thanks to the kind and generous intercession of Charles Dickens. But now they’re missing—as is, apparently, a treasure map.
When Charles arrives at the school, he’s hit with another twist—the servant girl who was allegedly in possession of the map has been strangled in the icehouse. Unbeknownst to them on their spirited adventure, his young friends may be in mortal danger. Now Charles and his fiancée Kate Hogarth, who has come to join him in the search for the runaways, must artfully dodge false leads and red herrings to find the boys and the map—before X marks the spot of their graves . . .
About Heather Redmond
Heather Redmond is the author of many novels, novellas, and short stories under three names. She writes the A Dickens of a Crime, the Journaling mysteries series, and next year will debut The Mary Shelley mysteries. Her novel, A Tale of Two Murders, received a coveted starred review from Kirkus and her Dickens series has been an online bestseller.