Hello my Gentle Readers. Today we are going to catch up with Tracee De Hahn, who has a new mystery coming out on February 6th called “A Well-Timed Murder”. You can see my previous interview with her HERE. As usual my questions/comments will be BLUE and Tracee will be GREEN.
Welcome back, Tracee. It’s been almost a year since we talked last. How has your book, Swiss Vendetta been doing?
It’s doing well, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the various editions come out. I didn’t give them much – or any – thought so the arrival of each one felt like a delightful surprise. I confess that listening to the audiobook was a surreal experience. Cat Gould is an amazing narrator, but hearing my words coming from someone else was… unsettling? Maybe that’s the right word. I didn’t expect that at all. Although perhaps I should have, since one of my sister’s said she had a hard time reading the book since my name flung itself at her every time she turned a page! And a close friend from college said he could hear my voice in every word he read and it took him a few pages to not hear ‘me’ and hear the book instead. That’s how I felt with the audio version. Large print and now the paperback have rounded out my year. And there’s been a nice uptick in sales with the paperback out! Always a good feeling.
I can imagine that you’ve read those words so many times you had your own cadence that no one else would match. And now you’re back with a new book. Does this one pick up where the last left off or is it a complete standalone?
This is where I have flashbacks to days of nail-biting uncertainty. When you begin a series this is a big decision. I’m not saying that the time between books is set in stone, but most writers establish a tradition within their books. After the nail-biting was over, I chose to begin A Well-Timed Murder a few weeks after the end of Swiss Vendetta. The new book works as a stand-alone – however, if you read the first one, you would know why Agnes is limping, and why she is returning to work from medical leave. I want a returning reader (and perhaps a new to the series binge reader) to feel the continuity in Agnes’s life. I also want to develop the personal connections in her life – specifically with Julien Vallotton – and not pick them up months or a year later. Let’s see how Agnes and Julien handle the start of a relationship – maybe they don’t make it through book two! On the professional front, going forward I plan to have a case from Agnes’s former role in in financial crimes stay with her. The elusive criminal who will continue to cross paths with her current work.
Nail biting uncertainty. I like that imagery for the feeling I think all of us writers feel. For those who haven’t read your first book, can you give us a little spoiler-free short biography on Agnes?
Agnes is in her mid-30s, recently widowed (before the first book), with three sons. She was born in Switzerland to American parents, which gives her the advantage of seeing Swiss customs through the lens of both an insider and an outsider. This has influenced her desire to embrace all things Swiss and was partly what attracted her to her husband – his family’s perfect traditional Swiss chalet. Although the mother-in-law that came with the chalet was probably not exactly what she hoped for. Agnes was a successful member of the cantonal (state) police in the Financial Crimes division, but after her husband’s death decided a change of situation would ease her return to work. She started Book One new to the Violent Crimes division and let’s just say that it was quick immersion.
That had to be quite a shock going from more sophisticated criminals to the more brutal. How does Julien enter her life and where does he come from?