Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Q&A Plus Giveaway with Barbara Venkataraman

As part of Mystery and Thriller Week 2017, I’m thrilled to welcome Barbara Venkataraman to my blog for a Q&A plus a giveaway.


Barbara is the author of both the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series & the Quirky Essays for Quirky People Series, and you can find out more about her over at her website:

Information about the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series can be found below, along with details of the giveaway, but I’ll start by handing you over to Barbara for the Q&A.

  1. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure!  I’m a family law attorney and mediator, just like my protagonist, Jamie Quinn, but unlike Jamie, I never find myself in the middle of a murder investigation.  She leads a much more exciting life than I do!

  1. And a little bit about your novels?

My Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series is set in Hollywood, Florida and features reluctant family law attorney, Jamie Quinn, her BFF and fellow attorney, Grace Anderson, her tree-hugger boyfriend, Kip Simons, and her former client, Duke Broussard, a womanizing, hard-partying P.I.  The first book in the series, Death by Didgeridoo, was chosen as an Indie Book of the Day.  The fourth book, Engaged in Danger is currently a short-listed semi-finalist in the Chanticleer M & M Mystery Novel Writing Competition.

  1. Who do you think would enjoy the Jamie Quinn mysteries – who would you recommend them to?

Being cozy mysteries, my books have no sex or violence.  Well, there’s violence, but it’s off-screen, so I would say they are general audience.  Now, most of my readers are women, but that’s because women buy more books than men (it’s a fact!) and most fans of cozy mysteries are women.  To my surprise and delight, the men who have read my books seem to like them too!

  1. Are you working on anything new right now?

I’m glad you asked that! I am working on Book 5 of the Jamie Quinn Series, Jeopardy in July.  It is quite possible that I will finish it in the next month.  Fingers crossed!  Actually, I’d better uncross my fingers if I expect to get any typing done.  Lol!

  1. How do you tend to write – with careful planning, or just seeing where the story goes?

Excellent question!  I always start with a title and a blurb of the story.  Then, I do research on whatever topics are relevant to that story line.  I always know how the book will start and how it will end.  The middle, however, is an organic process, that changes as it goes.  Sometimes, I only know what’s going to happen in the next chapter, but not the one after that.  Somehow, I always figure it out.  Whew!

  1. How long does it usually take you to write a novel?

They are all different.  Each book in the series has been longer than the one before it with more characters and twists, so each book takes longer than the one before.  Also, I’m still working as a lawyer, so I can’t devote all my time to writing, sigh!  The fourth book took me a year; this fifth one is a year and a half.

  1. What kind of research do you do for your novels, and do you do it all in advance?

I mostly do the research in advance, but sometimes I need to do more along the way.  For example, Peril in the Park is set in Broward County, Florida in a number of parks, so I had to research all of the parks and pick the ones that would fit best into the story.

  1. What sort of novels do you like to read, and who are your favourite authors?

I love books that have humor and heart.  I loved The Time Traveller’s Wife. I recently read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry–loved it!  I also loved The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  1. Of your own novels, do you have a favourite? Or is that like asking someone to pick which of their children is their favourite?

Well, I love my first book Death by Didgeridoo because that’s where I met Jamie and found her voice.  I love the second book, The Case of the Killer Divorce because it let me meet Jamie’s boyfriend and her father.  I loved the third book Peril in the Park because there was more action going on and my first true villain!  I love the fourth book, Engaged in Danger because it was so darn hard to write, but I did it!  I currently hate my fifth book because it’s making my brain frazzle, but when it’s done, I will love it too!

  1. What are the three best pieces of advice that you’ve ever been given? (Not necessarily writing specific)

Don’t give up, just keep trying.  Willpower conquers all!

No often means “not right now”.  Timing is important.

Be nice!  It’s easy to judge people, but you never know what’s going on in their life.

Many thanks to Barbara for taking the time to answer my questions!  Here is a little more information about the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series:


Death by Didgeridoo (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #1)

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder.  It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late.  It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.


bv-2-the-case-of-the-killer-divorceThe Case of the Killer Divorce (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #2)

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother.  It’s business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect.  When she can’t untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client’s name.  And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.


Peril in the Park (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #3)

There’s big trouble in the park system.  Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks.  Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion?  The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired?  Or someone with a bigger ax to grind?  If Jamie can’t figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing!  With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.


Engaged in Danger (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #4)

Finally, life is good for reluctant family law attorney, Jamie Quinn–her father may get his visa soon, her boyfriend is the bomb, and her law practice is growing like crazy–but when she agrees to take on a high-profile divorce case, everything falls apart.  What looked like an opportunity to work with her friend Grace and make some serious bucks has turned into a deadly game, one that could destroy their friendship and tear their town apart.  Why couldn’t Jamie just leave well enough alone?

And now for the giveaway!  As part of Mystery and Thriller Week 2017, Barbara has very kindly offered to give away three digital copies of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection, which contains books 1, 2 and 3 of the series (Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce and Peril in the Park), as well as a preview of Engaged in Danger.


To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or retweet my pinned tweet (you can find me on Twitter @tiny_ickle_jo) by 16:00 GMT on 17 February.

Good luck!


Blog Tour: City of Drowned Souls by Chris Lloyd – Author Spotlight

Today I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Chris Lloyd’s latest novel, City of Drowned Souls, the eBook of which is published today.

City of Drowned Souls is the third novel in Lloyd’s Elisenda Domènech Investigations series, and follows on from City of Good Death and City of Buried Ghosts.


When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking

Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years.  The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case.  They simply must solve it.  Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins.  People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection?  Why is nobody giving a straight answer?  And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth?  With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

The stunning new instalment of the gripping Elisenda Domènech crime thrillers for readers of Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri.

About the Book:

About the Series

City of Good Death


An intense and brilliantly realised crime thriller set in the myth-soaked streets of Girona

A killer is targeting hate figures in the Catalan city of Girona – a loan shark, a corrupt priest, four thugs who have blighted the streets of the old quarter – leaving clues about his next victim through mysterious effigies left hung on a statue.  Each corpse is posed in a way whose meaning no one can fathom.  Which is precisely the point the murderer is trying to make.

Elisenda Domènech, the solitary and haunted head of the city’s newly-formed Serious Crime Unit, is determined to do all she can to stop the attacks.  She believes the attacker is drawing on the city’s legends to choose his targets, but her colleagues aren’t convinced and her investigation is blocked at every turn.

Battling against the increasing sympathy towards the killer displayed by the press, the public and even some of the police, she finds herself forced to question her own values.  But when the attacks start to include less deserving victims, the pressure is suddenly on Elisenda to stop him.  The question is: how?

About the Book:

City of Buried Ghosts


Be careful what you dig up…

Still recovering from the tragedy that hit her team, Elisenda takes on a new case.  Except it’s not new.  On an archaeological dig by the coast a body is uncovered, seemingly executed with a spike thrust through the base of the skull – an ancient tribal ritual.  It soon becomes clear that this body is neither ancient nor modern, but a mysterious corpse from the 1980s.

Assigned to the case along with her team, Elisenda soon uncovers a complex world of star archaeologists, jealousy and missing persons.  They find a dark trade in illicit antiquities, riddled with vicious professional rivalries.  And even though she’s staying close to the crime scene, Elisenda is also never far from enemies of her own within the police force.

Just as the case seems to become clear it is blown wide-open by another horrific murder.  Elisenda must fight her personal demons and office politics, whilst continuing to uncover plots and hatreds that were long buried.  How far will she go to solve the crime?  Is her place in the force secure? And can she rebuild her life?

The atmospheric second crime thriller featuring Catalan detective Elisenda Domènech, for readers of Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves

About the Book:

About the Author


Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it.  Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting.  He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order.  Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating.  He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.

He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona.  The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls, is published on 6 February 2017.



Make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour: