Thursday, January 27, 2011

Welcome Hannah Dennison!

Posted By Kate

I'm thrilled to welcome mystery author Hannah Dennison to the Lair today! Hannah and I are book tour buddies and we have so much fun together, it's almost criminal! She's the author of the delightfully clever Vicky Hill mysteries and her latest book in the series, Thieves!, is out this month. Please welcome Hannah!


When Kate invited me to blog on Romance Bandits, I was thrilled. It’s not often I get the opportunity to write about romance, love and—hurrah—never sex. However my initial euphoria soon evaporated. Why would voracious readers of Romance be interested in a British author who writes quirky “cozy” mysteries and her twenty-three year old feisty heroine who is still pure and unsullied?

By definition, a “cozy mystery” is set in a small town with a recurring cast of characters. There is no graphic violence or naughty words—although I did get away with “Bollocks!” exclaimed Pete! in my first book, A Vicky Hill Exclusive! Steamy sex is strictly prohibited and should any cozy characters attempt to get past first base, he or she must be stopped at the crucial moment. Techniques for this can range from an unexpected tsunami—rare in Devon, England where my books are set—to an urgent phone call that personally, I’ve always felt a bit lame.

The Vicky Hill Mysteries are set in the fictional world of Gipping-on-Plym and chronicle the adventures of aspiring investigative reporter Vicky Hill at the Gipping Gazette. Vicky’s experiences are based on my own stint as an obituary writer for a small West Country newspaper in my early twenties. Unlike Vicky’s parents, mine are not criminals wanted by Interpol nor have I ever been involved in a murder case. But as for the rest—we’re remarkably similar. Like Vicky Hill, I was a late starter in the love department as well as a hopeless romantic.

Naturally, I blame it on my mother. As a former member of the Camp Sunshine Nudist Colony, she was determined that no daughter of hers would ever have any sexual hang-ups. She actively encouraged me to “get it over with.” You could say I rebelled. The more I was encouraged to “lie back and think of England” and “it gets better in your forties,” the more I was determined to prove her wrong. My grand seduction would be unbelievably special. I knew what I wanted. A full moon and starry sky featured quite strongly, as did Dom Perignon champagne, Charbonnel and Walker chocolates and Pratesi sheets. I would look like a supermodel and the man in question would be a cross between Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy and Johnny Depp as Roux in Chocolat.

Unfortunately, reality stepped in and that special moment when I “became a woman” passed all too quickly in a haze of Bacardi and coke with a welder called Keith. My mother was right.

It would seem that Vicky Hill’s real chances of finding her Mr. Right in a small town awash with middle-aged farmers is a bit bleak too. True, she has admirers—the plump paramedic whose kisses may be electric but leave her face covered in a rash. The hedge jumping fanatic whose passion for potent local cider far outweigh his passion for Vicky. A handsome naval officer who turns out to be a miser with unusually strong ties to his aging aunt’s apron strings. And sadly, there’s Detective Sergeant Probes—a man Vicky quite fancies, but with her family background, how could she ever be happy with a policeman?

So it’s hardly surprising that when a band of gypsies show up in Gipping-on-Plym with their lovely horses and beautifully painted wagons, Vicky is swept off her feet. The fact that one bears an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp seems to seal her fate. Will he be the lucky man?

It’s not only Vicky’s heart that’s set aflutter. In Thieves! we discover that romance isn’t just for the young at heart. The reappearance of an old flame threatens to upset the newfound happiness of Barbara, one of Vicky’s favorite co-workers, sending the entire town into a flurry of speculation and gossip. Even a spate of silver thefts and the discovery of a dead body seem to take a backseat to scandal.

Cozy mysteries may tackle murder and mayhem but the underlying universal need for love and romance are always there.

What would you advise Vicky’s friend Barbara, the age sixty-plus receptionist? Should she close the door on the past or give him a second chance? And what about Vicky? Should she pursue her love for the policeman and risk her father’s disapproval?

I’ll be giving away a copy of Thieves! (Berkley Prime Crime January 2011) along with a souvenir postbox tin of English toffees to a random reader comment.


71 comments:

Danielle Gorman said...

I think she should pursue her love. It's not everyday that love comes around.

Cath's Chatter said...

I'm sorry but your comment......"Unfortunately, reality stepped in and that special moment when I “became a woman” passed all too quickly in a haze of Bacardi and coke with a welder called Keith"...literally had me in tears, of laughter!!!!!
I also had an idea of 'the night' in my head and it in no way, shape or form lived up to it..lol!!!!
I say if love comes along at any age GO FOR IT ♥
Book sounds great too=]

Laurie Faelan said...

LOL. Hannah, this book sounds delightful! I think they both should go for the gold. Barbara at 60 has another chance for love and she needs a HEA. As for Vicky, it would be fun to see some love battles with the policeman that lasts at least a few books.

Fun post! I love Kate's books and am always on the lookout for new-to-me mystery authors. I'll be sure to check yours out.

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Danielle - yes, I'm still awake on the west coast - I tend to agree with you on that score!

Hannah Dennison said...

Cath ... I forgot to add that poor Keith had hands the size of hams - I wonder if there is any woman out there whose "night" was just as she had imagined (or hoped) it could be.

Hannah Dennison said...

Laurie - Thanks for your enthusiasm - I don't need much encouragement to engineer a love affair between Vicky and her policeman - forbidden love is much more exciting. And as for love at a certain age? I'm all for it too!

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Hannah. Barbara should do what makes her most happy. I hope Vicky chooses love with the policeman.

PinkPeony said...

Bonsoir Hannah et Kate!

I'm loving the names! Sergeant Probes? Gipping-on-Plym? :)

As for Barbara... true love rarely knocks once. Go for the gipper. No pun intended!

Congrats on the GR, Danielle!

Sheree said...

Well, if Barbara isn't seeing anyone, why not? As long as the man is a good guy, she should at least date him.

As for Vicki herself, given the dearth of prospects, if she is truly attracted to Probes and he, her, she should date him. Of course, given that this is a small town, if the relationship doesn't work out, I hope they will still have a good working relationship.

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome Hannah from a fellow Brit (and one born in Devon at that!) - waving to you from Cambridge. Actually, a small village that probably has a lot in common with G-o-P, just outside Cambridge!

Your Vicky Hill books sound fab! I've been getting into cozies since our own wonderful Kate burst onto the scene, but have always been a fan. I've tried to prevent myself from launching into another genre phase (which ties in with yesterday's blog!) because my groaning TBR mountain can't cope, but I can't help sneaking them in. I look forward to meeting Vicky and the other characters in Gipping-on-Plym!

Hmm my advice to both women is that life is too short to hang about worrying about what people think. (Sadly, I'm one of those 'do as I say and not as I do' people *g*) Take a chance. Enjoy yourself and if something good comes of it - great. If not, at least you tried!

SiNn said...

awesome post and honestly your never to old to persue what makes you happy so id tell both ladies follow your hearts risk it all cause you never know when its over and when you have to call it quits and risking disapprovale for love well if ur father didnt aprove then his loss so follow threw and live your life so ur happy

Maureen said...

I enjoy reading about second chance romances of older characters so Barbara should definitely go for it.

Gillian Layne said...

What a delight! Of course they should go for their chance at romance; if it crashes down around them, they can always commensurate with good friends, wine, and chocolate. It's a win-win!

I dearly love cozies. The covers are simply the best, and I'm always surprised by the endings, as I'm not very good at figuring out mysteries. :)

Kirsten said...

Barbara should go for it! everyone deserves a second chance.

Vicki should follow her heart and not mind so much what her father would say.

I did as my father wanted and broke up with a guy I was mad for. Regretted it immensley and many years later still wonder what if...

Deena said...

Oh, if only I could do my first time over again... It certainly wouldn't be with "him"! lol I'm of a mind that the first time is like a benchmark. And there's only improvement allowed! Hannah, your story sounds delightful and definitely one that I could "cozy" up with on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa. :)

TerriOsburn said...

This book sounds absolutely charming. And I have to agree with the others, Barbara should definitely give the old flame another chance. There is no age limit on love, after all. :)

Avery Aames said...

Hannah, I love your books, and I'm cheering for Hannah to go for it. He looks like Johnny Depp? What's not to love and a little edgy to boot. Yum! As for Barbara, why not? Live one day at a time, treasuring each.

~Avery

AveryAames.com
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

Louisa Cornell said...

Hannah, I'm with Cath's Chatter! I nearly spat my Earl Gray all over my laptop when I read that! Is there a woman alive who had an idea of "that night" that ever lived up to the hype?

I love cozies! And cozies set in England are my absolute favorite. I lived in the little village of Kelsale for three years as a child so anything that brings those memories to light is a must read for me.

And I have a soft spot in my life for the Gypsies of England.

Both of these ladies should go for it! Life is short and a chance at true love is not to be sneezed at no matter what your age!

Can't wait to read your book! And I am SO coveting the toffee tin. It reminds me of those I collected when I was a child.

Hannah Dennison said...

Good morning from California -
Ladies ... your comments are terrific! I'm so relieved you enjoyed the post and enjoy cozies too! Thank you for helping Vicky and Barbara navigate the treacherous waters of love. I truly believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Age is irrelevant!
I wonder how many of us have not followed our hearts because of family disapproval --leaving a trail of "what if's". I know I did! My mum at 81 still insists that those "what if's" are best left in a rosy glow of possibility but I'm not so sure! And now it's so easy to track people down ...

Hannah Dennison said...

Anna - hello fellow Brit -- Vicky Hill hits the shelves next year in the UK so I'll be doing a little tour. Yes, I have a lot to thank Kate for - introducing me to Romance Bandits being just the start!

petite said...

What a wonderful post. Thieves sounds compelling. Barbara should pursue her love. Vicky and her policeman should continue.

traveler said...

true love should win. I hope that Barbara follows this path. Your book is a winner. love the locale.

Kate Carlisle said...

Good morning Banditas! Or should I say "Cheerio!" Or should I not? Hmm. Hannah? Help? :-)


Danielle, congrats on nabbing that Wascally Wooster!


LOL Cath, I was on the floor with that line, too! So funny, but yet so true!!

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Hannah! Your series sounds so fabulous, I'm thinking it'll be the perfect reward for when I finish my proposal *g*

I'm a big believer in second chances so I say Barbara should go for it! And as a romance writer, I definitely think Vicky should be with her policeman. Love Conquers All - at least in our books :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Laurie, thank you! I'm so happy you're enjoying my books. :-)

And I like your comment about Vicky and the policeman battling it out together. I love it when opposites truly do attract.


Oh Hannah, I'm picturing poor dear Keith the welder with his big, clumsy hands. And I'm laughing! Sorry, Keith. I'm not laughing AT you. Not exactly... ;-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Jane! Thanks for stopping in to visit with Hannah!


Pink, I'm a little slow. I honestly didn't get the double entendre of Sergeant Probes's name until you mentioned him. Now I can't stop giggling!


Hi Sheree! The small town issue is a big one, isn't it? What if it doesn't work out? Then everyone will know and they'll be watching very carefully each time the two of you are in the same vicinity. That might almost drive someone to murder. Hmm... :-)

MsHellion said...

Second chance! I always vote for the second chance!!

See, I always love the premises of a lot of cozy mysteries, but the lack of any base running always turns me off. I know a lot of readers "skip those scenes" as they say primly and piously, but I don't. I'll read it twice. The only time I've ever skipped a scene is because it just wasn't well written to begin with. Bring on the base running! *sighs*

So while Thieves sounds EXACTLY like something I'd want to devour, if I can make out wildly with the Roux lookalike, where's the fun? *LOL*

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Anna! I'm so happy I could introduce you to your fellow Brit, Hannah! Now you two can talk about hedge jumping and Morris dancing and all those other interesting sports that take place in Devon. :-)


Good morning, SiNn! Your advice to the ladies to follow one's heart is lovely.


Hi Maureen! I really like the idea of a second chance at love, too. It would be fun to gather a list of books where that theme is used as a romantic subplot.

Jennifer said...

Hannah, love your description of that "special event" in your life!

I'm a fan of second chance romance and think Barbara should live her dreams!

Maureen Child said...

Oh, vickie, go for the cop! I was raised by one and can testify that they're pretty fabulous. Besides, what are the chances your internationally wanted felon father will slip back into England and find out??

A welder named Keith?? LOL

Virginia said...

I think she should follow her heart that is the only thing to do. Your book sound fabulous and I would love to read it. I am a sucker for old love.

Chicken Herder from Westville said...

Hannah you are delightful and I bet your books are delightful too!! I can't wait to start reading one.

Kate Carlisle said...

Gillian, I love cozy covers, too (naturally!). Hannah's covers are always so vivid and charming!

And wine and chocolate and good friends all go a long way toward soothing a broken heart. :-)


Ah, Kirsten! Do we all have someone from our past we consider "the one that got away?" I'm occasionally tempted to find out what happened to mine, but then ... no. My imagination is so much more interesting than reality probably would be. LOL

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Hannah -

Welcome to the lair. Thieves! sounds like great fun. I love the quirky set of characters. Plus, based on the blog, I just love your voice (grin) - Hey, if you get tired of Kate, you can just shift your seat at the booksignings over my way (grin).

As for questions - always follow the heart, even if it leads to an occasional wielder.

Deb said...

I think she should give him another chance. Like the old song says, "Love is lovelier the second time around..." So, perhaps, this is true!

I know my uncle really liked a girl when he was in his early 20s, but my grandmother had a preconceived idea about her and he never pursued the relationship. Too bad because she really, to this day, is still a lovely woman.

Hannah Dennison said...

Kate - I often wonder what happened to Ham-handed Keith. He also drove a bright orange Ford Cortina with fluffy dice dangling from the rearview mirror. I wonder if he ever thinks of me?

Um - and the comments about the small town? Did you ever all wonder why I moved to California?

Hannah Dennison said...

MsHellion - I have to agree with your comment about "base running" - I love that phrase. Is there a British equivalent? Snogging and rumpy-pumpy sound so unromantic.

It looks like Probes is the favorite. I'm getting quite flustered about it all and will have to appeal to my new "Bandistas" to help me with writing that crucial scene ...

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh, Deena, wouldn't it be nice to get a do-over? I might go with the same cute guy, but I certainly wouldn't have it happen at the beach in a sleeping bag. Ah, youth. LOL

Did I say that out loud? Snork!


Hi Terri! Hannah's books are so charming. I truly love all the quirky characters who inhabit Gipping-on-Plym. I hope everyone who picks up a copy of her latest will enjoy it. :-)

Hannah Dennison said...

I have a second chance romance story - I swear it will be quick. At a recent book signing, a woman in her late seventies told me that her childhood sweetheart whom she had not seen since for 45 years had tracked her down. Both had been married with children (happily) and now both were widowed ... they reunited and had just got married! Don't you love that?

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Danielle, congrats on the chook!

Kate, what fun guests you bring us. Hannah, I giggled into my English breakfast all the way through your post. How hilarious - especially the welder named Keith! Keith will be so happy he's been immortalised in print now!

Actually I'm on a bit of a cozy mystery kick at the moment. I blame that Carlisle woman, she started the rot with her wonderful booky books. I'll have to check out your stories. I'm knee deep in Daisy Dalrymples as we speak! They've got a lovely continuing romance in them although it's not exactly hot and steamy. Somehow I don't mind because they're so charming!

Minna said...

Vicky should definitely go for it!

Enigma - Beyond the Invisible
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh1BJUL0P7M

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Avery! I'm so with you -- if he looks like Johnny Depp, what are you waiting for, Vicky?? ;-)


Louisa, I'm always having to watch my Earl Gray around Hannah. I never know when she'll say something that will cause instant spewage! And isn't that toffee tin darling? Hannah brought it back from England, especially for our giveaway today!

Kate Carlisle said...

Petite, I'm so glad you enjoyed Hannah's post. She's just as charming and funny in person, too. We've gone on numerous book signings together and invariably someone in the crowd will ask her about Vicky's virginal state. Hannah's answers leave everyone in tears. Of laughter, I mean. LOL

Hi traveler. I love those photos of the West Country. Makes me want to go there right now. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

*Snogging and rumpy-pumpy*

OMG! I'm on the floor laughing!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Beth! Vicky should definitely follow your advice to go for it with her policeman friend. Who would know better than the author of the absolute best policeman/lover stories on the market! :-)


LOL MsHellion - I love your "base running" comments! I know Vicky would love to go base running if only it was her choice to make. It's all Hannah's fault, really. She is a cruel master!


Hi Jennifer! Second chances at love are a great theme in romances and I would love to seem them in mysteries, too.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Maureen! So good to see you here today! Great advice about dating a cop, and you should know. :-) And very good point about Vicky's father. How often will she see him, after all? Might as well grab for the gusto!


Hello, Virginia! You're not alone. I'd say we're all suckers for love and romance here in the Lair. :-)


Welcome, Chicken Herder! Hannah's books are so full of fun, I hope you love them!

Kate Carlisle said...

Donna, you're so funny! I'd better watch out or you'll steal Hannah away!

But this all is very interesting, because Hannah and I were recently discussing Lori Foster's Get Together and Hannah said she would love to visit Ohio and attend the party some day. So you just might find her sitting next to you one of these days, after all! :-)

catslady said...

I'm in the "go for it" crowd. Life is too short and it's the things you don't do that you usually regret at the end of your life. I've not read too many cozies but this sounds like a very enjoyable read!

Helen said...

Well done Danielle what are your plans for him today enjoy

Hannah

Loved the post and I love the sound of this series. I gotta say I think Barbara should go for it and take a second chance life is too short not to enjoy it and as for Vicky go with the policeman it should be a great adventure to a HEA

Thanks Kate for inviting Hannah along to meet us today

Have Fun
Helen

Kate Carlisle said...

Greetings, Deb! Ah, I've always loved that song. My parents used to play it at parties. The Frank Sinatra version, naturally. :-)


Hello, Ms. Anna! Wasn't Hannah's post funny? She keeps me laughing on the road, too. And I'm not going to let her forget dear old Keith. I think I'll bring him up at our next book signing. :-)

I haven't started the Daisy Dalrymple series but I will, thanks to your recommendation. So now I can blame you for something. Yeah!

Kate Carlisle said...

Bonjour, Minna! Great to see you here today!


Hi catslady, your advice is lovely! Regret is such a sad emotion, isn't it? Your words make me want to go have an adventure right now. :-)


Hello, Helen! I'm so glad you enjoyed Hannah's post today. She's got such a delightful sense of humor, I knew she would tickle all of our funny bones!

Jacqueline Vick said...

My favorite line of your post? "Lie back and think of England." OMG, you slay me. As for Barbara's dilemma, I'm afraid I can't comment. I've read the book, and loved every minute of it.

Hannah Dennison said...

Deena - I've been mulling over your comment about doing your "first time over." I absolutely agree. Loved the comment too about being a benchmark! In Keith's case, sadly, there was no improvement. I don't think I saw him again... (clearly, I hadn't thrilled him either).

Avery - my husband got a bit miffed when he read my post ... he offered to dress as Jack Sparrow.

Hannah Dennison said...

Lunchtime for me at the office and at last a chance to catch up with my new best friends! I LOVE reading all your comments.

As Beth said, Love Conquers All -and I agree. It looks like Vicky is going to follow her heart ... and besides, why should she pay the price for her father's crimes?

Donna, thanks for the warm welcome - I believe Kate will tire of me first ...

Hannah Dennison said...

Deb - I am intrigued by your uncle's lost love. You say you know of her - is there a spark still between them?

Kate - I completely missed your comment about the beach in a sleeping bag! Would you care to elaborate?

Anna - I'm seriously considering tracking Keith down. I have no shame. I'm happy you discovered Kate's cozy talent. I am also a huge Carola Dunn fan.

Hannah Dennison said...

Beth ... Do you think if Keith, the welder, had donned a police uniform my experience might have been more enjoyable?

Hannah Dennison said...

Kate - Are you up for another road trip with me to Lori's Get Together? We can talk about sleeping bags and welders. As for your idea to bring Keith up at our book signings - I must dig out my diaries. I know I wrote about it in code ...

Catslady - I'm with you on life is too short. I love Edith Piaf's famous cry "Je ne regrette rien!"

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Hannah and Kate,

I say "Go for it, Barb and Vicki!"
The idea that love only comes
around once is not very realistic.
A loving heart can hold love for
many persons and many loving situations.

Kate, just wanted to let you know
I enjoyed Homicide In Hardcover
and I'm currently reading If Books
Could Kill. I love Brooklyn and
look forward to reading the rest
of this mystery.

Hannah, I know I will enjoy Vicki
and her story! It's time for a
bookstore run!

Hannah Dennison said...

Jackie (Jacqueline) -- I'm so glad you enjoyed Thieves! and yes ... mum's the word on Barbara!!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Jackie, great to see you over here!! Wasn't that a hilarious post by Hannah?


Hi Pat! I'm soooo glad you're enjoying Brooklyn's stories! And I know you'll have a good time with Hannah's books, too, if you get the chance. :-)


Hannah, we need to change the name of our book tour to the rumpy-pumpy sleeping bag tour! We'll rent an orange Cortina and take over the world! We'll need to bring a few of the cabana boys along with us to serve cocktails. Anyone else want to come along? Must bring your own sleeping bag. LOL

Hannah Dennison said...

Ha ha ha -- Kate ... you just crack me up!!! Excellent idea! I just LOVE the rumpy-pumpy sleeping bag tour! I daresay I can reel in a few naked British farmers (yes, seriously. I really can) to accompany the cabana boys. When can we start?

Leni said...

Vicky should go for it and have a go at a relationship with the policeman. And Barbara should give him a second chance. Both would make for good reading :)

Nancy said...

Danielle, congrats on the bird!

Hannah, welcome! I think Vicky should ignore her father, whose life this is not, and pursue her interest in the intriguing policeman!

Barbara also should go for it. Life's too short to pass up that chance, as I imagine she is increasingly aware.

I envy your having lived in the West Country. My father's family hailed from Devonshire, and it's beautiful area.

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Nancy - Where did your father's family come from in Devon? It's a small county! I bet I know it!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Becke Davis said...

Hi Hannah - great to see you here!

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Becke - Great that you stopped by!

I've had so much fun on Romance Bandits - you are all such a wonderful group of bandistas! I am now hooked!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Hannah! Your reference to the West Country piqued my interest (as my mother hails from Devon). Your bio is chock full of tidbits of a life lived well!

I'll be in touch with you via your website, matey!

Kim in Hawaii

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Kim -
Happy that you stopped by! Where in Devon? I'd love to know ... I shall look forward to hearing from you ...

Hannah Dennison said...

Wow! I've so enjoyed all your wonderful comments. I am looking forward to writing Vicky Hill's next adventure -- and Barbara's, too! You've all been very helpful.

The Winner .... Using this super cool random number generator (thanks Kate - I've never heard of it before) -- the winner of the yummy English toffees and a copy of Thieves! is JENNIFER.

Please email your address to hannah@hannahdennison.com
Thanks again Kate for inviting me!

Carol L. said...

Hi Hannah,
Your series sounds like something I want to read. As for the romance, I say Go for it . When it comes to love second chances are a must. :)And Johnny Depp, no hesitation at all. lol
Carol L
Lucky4750@aol.com