Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get Gaslight-ed!

HANK: Today we welcome a newbie to Jungle Red. Well, hardly a newbie author, but a newbie visitor! Victoria Thompson is the Agatha and Edgar® nominated author of the Gaslight Mystery Series.  And we do mean SERIES. There are seventeen Gaslight books now! And, TA DAH! She’s just been named the Guest of Honor for next year’s Malice Domestic!

Her latest is Murder on Amsterdam Avenue, and she wants your opinion on a very important topic. (And she’s giving away her newest to one lucky commenter!)

HANK: For those just joining Gaslight--tell us about it a bit! Where'd the initial idea come from?

VICTORIA: Oddly enough, the idea was generated by Berkley.  They did that a lot in the early days at Berkley Prime Crime.  My agent called me one day to tell me she’d just had lunch with a Prime Crime editor who was looking for someone to write a series set in turn-of-the-century New York  City where the heroine was a midwife.  My agent thought of me, since I’d recently written a book set in that time period and I had been putting mystery subplots in my historical romances for a while.  

They sent me their ideas for the series.  I liked some of them and threw out a few others.  Then I realized that my midwife, Sarah, would need a male cohort, preferably someone who would logically be solving murder mysteries, so I created Police Detective Frank Malloy. Berkley had suggested that Sarah be a poor relation of a rich family, but I made her the rebellious daughter of a rich family, which would give her entre into all levels of society.

HANK: So-- does it feel as if you're spending much of your time in the past?  You must have to think about reality in such a different way...

VICTORIA:  It’s funny, I’ve tried writing contemporary fiction.  I’ve had several really cool ideas and even started the books and finished one, but I just couldn’t love writing them the way I do my historicals.

 Last night I was watching Call the Midwife, a series set in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Afterwards, one of the cast members said in an interview that she’d been in many historical shows, but she’d grown up in the 1950’s and it was weird acting in a “historical” era she knew all about first-hand, so she guessed she was historical!  I also grew up in that era, so maybe I’m a historical person, too.

I know I feel more comfortable with the language and the manners of the past.  I also love discovering over and over that people are still the same after a hundred years.  Our technology is different, but we’re still concerned with the same things:  finding Mr. Right, spirituality, assimilating immigrants, the media’s role in criminal prosecution, stalking, the proper way to help the poor, and the theme I return to again and again, women’s role in society. I really enjoy reminding readers that we really haven’t made much progress in any of these areas, in spite of the efforts of many well-meaning people.

HANK: Before you started writing the Gaslight Series, you published 20 historical romances. Whoa.  Was it hard making the transition from romance to mystery?


VICTORIA:  Not as hard as I thought it would be, except for one thing. I had created two wonderful protagonists for the Gaslight series, Frank Malloy and Sarah Brandt.  They were about as opposite as two people living in New York City in that time period could be, so naturally they were the perfect protagonists for a romance novel.  They should have spent the entire first book overcoming everything that kept then apart, fallen in love, and lived happily ever after.

HANK :  And why didn’t they?

VICTORIA:  Because everyone told me (and told me!) that mystery readers don’t like romance in their mysteries.  My editor and my agent and other mystery writers all warned me.  This is why I put so many barriers between Frank and Sarah. They could never get together, so I made it impossible for them to get together.

Then a strange thing happened. I started getting fan letters.  They would say something nice about the book and oh, by the way, when are Frank and Sarah going to get together?”  Everyone wanted to know about a romance between Frank and Sarah.  So obviously, mystery readers don’t mind a little romance in their mysteries at all!  And after fifteen years of keeping them apart, the fans were getting angry!  

So I knew something had to happen. The problem was that I’d put up so many barriers between them, I couldn’t figure out how to get them married without ruining the series.  Fortunately, one of my writer friends, who had never read a single one of the books, came up with the perfect solution, which I won’t mention in case somebody hasn’t read that book yet.

HANK: Is it a spoiler to ask if they finally get married in this book?

VICTORIA:  I don’t think so. They’ve been engaged for two books now, so it’s certainly time!  Of course they solve a mystery first and it’s a dandy, but then they finally do tie the knot.

HANK: Uh-oh. Is this the end of the series?


VICTORIA:  Not at all!  In fact, the next book is already written, and I’m contracted for at least two more after that (that’s me signing the contract in the picture!). Frank and Sarah will keep solving mysteries as along as readers keep buying the books. 

HANK: What's the secret to your series longevity?

VICTORIA:  An excellent question! 

I actually teach mystery writing in the Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction, and I cover this very topic.  I always tell my students that readers will pick up your book because they want a good mystery, but they’ll keep coming back to your series time and again because they care about your protagonists.  

I learned this secret from fans themselves.

They write me letters, saying how much they loved this or that about a particular book, but they always ended by asking when Frank and Sarah would get together.  That was when I realized they really cared about Frank and Sarah as people, so I have tried to make their personal journeys as interesting as the mysteries they solve. So far so good!  I just hope they’ll be equally as interesting now that they’re married.

HANK:  My books don't have to be read in order, even though they star the same two main characters.  Do you have to read the Gaslight books in order?

VICTORIA: Not at all, and many readers who have discovered the series recently tell me they read them out of order. I was very careful not to give anything away about past cases, so you don’t have to worry about spoilers.  Frank and Sarah’s relationship does grow and change through the course of the series, of course.  They don’t like each other much in the first book, and in the new one, they get married!  I’d call that progress.  

  You can read the Gaslight Series in order or not, depending on how important it is for you to see the growth and character development of the protagonists.

HANK:  So Reds, some people feel as if they MUST read a series in order, no matter what the author says. How about you?   And a copy of Victoria’s new mystery to one lucky commenter!

***********************************************
Victoria Thompson writes the Agatha and Edgar® Nominated Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City featuring midwife Sarah Brandt.  The 17th book in the series is MURDER ON AMSTERDAM AVENUE.  She also contributed to the award winning MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University MFA program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Central PA with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. She is a member of Sisters in Crime.  You can find her at www.victoriathompson.com.
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue
Frank and Sarah put their family business on hold to investigate the death of an old family friend.  As they unravel secrets that reach back to the War Between the States, they also discover that they are in the company of a very present danger…”



77 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Congratulations, Victoria; how exciting to be named Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic!

I'm one of those readers who is glad that Sarah and Frank have gotten together. As for reading series stories in order . . . well, yes, I like them much better in order because I really do like seeing how the characters grow and change over the course of the series.

Grandma Cootie said...

I am one of those readers who has to start at the beginning. Don't want to miss one word between characters. Even though the books may be written so they can stand on their own, I enjoy watching the characters grow and the subtle references to things that happened in previous books. This series was recommended to me by one of my favorite authors of another series. Almost at the top of my TBR stack but I have a lot of catching up to do!

Congrats on this release, and Guest of Honor for Malice - woo hoo.

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks for sharing these behind-the-scenes bits, Victoria. I love this series, although I have a few to catch up on. One of my biggest treats is to read straight through a series, following the characters' development - a treat I don't often have time for, unfortunately.

How exciting to be named Guest of Honor, too. See you next year!

Karen B said...

I like to start at the beginning but that's pretty hard to do when you find a great series way past its' first book. Better, then, to start there, follow, and pick up previous books as you can. To only read straight through I'd miss many terrific authors/books/series.

Congrats, Victoria!

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Congrats Victoria on the new book and the Malice honor! It's good to hear the books can be read out of order as you have such a wonderfully long series:).

Would love to hear more about why the contemporary mystery didn't feel right...

Granann said...

I browse the recent fiction section of my library always on the lookout for new interesting books. If something catches my eye and happens to be book number x of a series I've never read, I'll grab it. If I like it, then I'll go back and find the rest of the books and read them in order.

Hallie Ephron said...

I think it's true that mystery readers don't want a whole lot of schmaltzy romance mucking up their mysteries, but they DO like, really like some especially when you' got characters as compelling as Sarah and Frank. Congrats on the GoH nod for Malice!

I rarely read series in order, and tough I don't write a series I appreciate the challenge. I rewrote and rewrote the story PHOTOPLAY, the prequel to the novel NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, trying to craft it in a way that it didn't matter if you read it before or after the novel. It was tricky.

Hallie Ephron said...

And just wondering, Victoria, I know you don't draw the covers, too, but was there ever a house like the one on the cover on Amsterdam Avenue??

Denise Ann said...

I am in a mystery book club, and we have learned that when we choose the first in a series (which seemed logical), we are often disappointed. A writer grows as he or she writes, so we now choose a later book -- once you are hooked on the characters, etc. you are thirsty for all the books, and will LOVE #1 even if it is a little less "developed" as a piece of writing.
These sound great!!

Kristopher said...

I prefer to read a series in order, but when you discover a new author like Victoria who already has a ton of books, sometimes that is not possible.

I started Victoria's series in the middle and had no problem picking up on things.

Congrats on the Malice Domestic honor. Well deserved.

Susanne said...

Congrats, Victoria. And to your question - must one read a series in order? Well, my answer is yes and no. More yes than no. I often stumble new mystery and spy thriller series smack dab somewhere in the middle - and most writers are clever enough to give some past history of their characters. But if the writer was really good at introducing their character and makes me want to understand them better through their former exploits, I will go back and start at the beginning and read in order. If I recall with this series, I started very near the beginning so I did not have to backtrack much. And I am a few books behind - summer might be a great time for me to catch up.

Karen in Ohio said...

I've been meaning to read this series, ever since a friend recommended it. Good to know how many there are, so I know where to start.

My personal preference is to begin with Book 1 in a series, but so often I find a book, or am given one, that is mid-series, and I get hooked on the characters. Then I have to read from the beginning. This used to be difficult, especially with long-running series, but e-books have made finding older, midlist and backlist, books a much less taxing problem. In fact, it's one of my favorite things about e-reading, finding books that would have been long out of print.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

This is so fascinating! I am intrigued by Denise Ann's book club's discovery about NOT starting with the first--and really thinking about that.

Do I suggest people start with THE OTHER WOMAN? Nope=-I ask them what kinds of books they like, and guide them to choose by the story. If they love the story, I figure they can go back or forward and read more about the characters they've come to love (I hope) in a story they were pre-intrigued about.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

And I have NO trouble starting in the middle of a series. I actually like it.

I mean--if you met me at lunch, you wouldn't say--oh, I can't talk to you, because I didn't know you yesterday. We learn about each other backward and forward at the tame time, right? So it could work that way with books, too.

Mary Sutton said...

What is this with the "mystery readers don't like romance" thing? I mean, I'm sure those people exist and as Hallie says, I'm sure they don't like schmaltzy romance, but when you have two characters. I was at an event (in fact when Deb came to Pittsburgh for her latest) when a grizzled old guy marched up to my friend and demanded to know when her two characters were going to get together! Not what she (or I) expected from him.

As for series in order, it depends. Yes, I might pick up the latest if it looks good and then go back. But I won't read much out of order (maybe that one book) because I also prefer to see the character development over the course of the series.

Seton Hill - my neck of the woods!

Tasha Alexander said...

Great interview - Hank and Victoria are a fabulous combo!

Congratulations, Victoria - you will be a fantastic Guest of Honor!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey, Tasha! (You have the most glam life--hope you'll come visit as a guest blogger soon Cannot wait to hear about your latest book. And love to all.)

ANd yeah, how can you have a male and female main character--and have no sparks at all? Of any kind? Even if they are just working it out, or are just friends or..whatever. There's something. They're humans!

Edith Maxwell said...

Oh, I meant to add how much I also love living in the past (1888 in my case). You have to think hard about how long it took to get somewhere on foot, by horse, or by train. There are no pesky digital devices to worry about. And it's so fun to discover what was new then, what wasn't, and what wasn't even conceived of.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

WINNERS!

Of the ARC of WHAT YOU SEE is Margie Bunting

Of WOOF is VWright

HURRAY!!

Email me at h ryan at whdh dot com with your address--and how you want the book signed.

YAY!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, good point, Edith.

Vicki, have you ever ALMOST used a word or device that you realize--uh oh. That didn't exist! How do you make sure?

Victoria Thompson said...

Re: the cover pictures. All of the scenes on all my covers are real places (or used to be real places!) in NYC. The building on Amsterdam Ave.'s cover is actually the Asylum that is mentioned in the book. It was an enormous building and absolutely gorgeous.

Victoria Thompson said...

Thanks for all the good wishes about being named Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic 2016. Hank didn't mention that she will be the Toastmaster, which is really exciting! Can't wait to see her in action!

Victoria Thompson said...

Re: Using anachronism. Funny you should mention it, Hank. In one book, I needed a bunch of people to all be in the same place at the end for the final scene, and I kept thinking how easy it would be if they just had cell phones. I have more trouble with modern phrases, which tend to sneak in from time to time. Thank heaven for copy editors!

Victoria Thompson said...

RE: Book #1 not being as good as later books. Denise Ann makes a good point. Writing is just like any other skill: the more you do it, the better you get! Sometimes Book #1 isn't an author's first book, though. For me, Murder on Astor Place was my 21st book, so I'd like to think I knew what I was doing. Of course, I know Frank and Sarah much better now, so I'm sure the relationship has gotten richer as the series went on.

PlumGaga said...

This is one series I have read out of order, and I've enjoyed going back and filling in missing links. Because not all authors are as careful about their references to past cases, I generally prefer to read in order.

storytellermary said...

Ah, history does have a way of creeping up. I was taken aback when I realized my high school students were studying the Vietnam War in history class and when a student brought an 8-track to school for a presentation on historical technology. I'm thoroughly enjoying _Amsterdam_ . . . and glad Sarah and Frank and children and mother are getting together so well. The difficulties made it all that much richer and more precious, and what a team of detectives they are building!
I have sometimes started a series out of order, but if I continue it, I'll consult the KDL What's Next, paste the titles into my "books read" Pages document, and read in order. Otherwise, I feel like Slaughterhouse Five, time-slipping around. I had to find a couple out-of-print books that were missing from our library, but I'm up to date now and loving every bit!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Welcome, Victoria — and hearty congratulations of being named Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic. Brava!

Susan said...

I began reading Victoria's books years ago and then stopped for some reason. Who knows? So when I was at Malice 27, I picked one up, bought it, and now am halfway through it. It's making me decide to go back and pick up where I left off--if I can figure out where that is. I like to start with Book One, but I've always been a history enthusiast, and we like context. Congrats, Victoria, on your Malice honor, and I hope to see you there next year.

Gabi Eagon said...

Congratulations Victoria! I love this series and I think I've read most of them. Not always in order but I also like to see how the characters develop. I never thought I would like a historical novel, but after the first one I was hooked. Love to read about early New York, and all the issues people had to deal with especially women. Thank you for this great series and all your research.

Marianne Snygg said...

I read Murray Hill first. I love Ms. Thompson's character development so much, I decided to read them all, from the beginning to the end in order.

I would love to take Ms. Thompson's writing classes at Seton.

Victoria Thompson said...

I know lots of people think they wouldn't like a historical novel. I think that's because of the way we teach history in the US. We make it as boring as possible and force people to memorize dates. I promise if you read my series, you'll only hear about the fun parts of history and you won't have to remember a single date!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Such fun to read these..

and I wonder, Victoria, how you feel hearing from these fans who share the world you created with you? You know?It didn't exist until your imagination came up with it--and now, we all know what's going on, and we care, and we wonder…

It's pretty amazing.

Mark Baker said...

I like to read a series in order if at all possible. Whether or not the mystery is spoiled, it's easy to follow character growth and developments in their personal lives that way. Out of order? It can be almost impossible.

Jackie Jones said...

I seem to find great mysteries to read when there has been a few or many books in the series already written, so I may read the newest one and if the characters and story line intrigue me, then I must go back to find out how the main character(s) came about. I want to get to know them, watch them grow as people. I find it difficult trying to understand or sympathize with a character if I don't know how they got to this point. I started Louise Penny's books recently and needed to go back to the beginning to find out about all these great characters. I do appreciate the writers that write a little background info throughout each of the books to help the reader. Linda Fairstein does this well. She will also give info on what may have happened in the book before the one you are reading. Hallie and Hank, your books are ones that a reader can start anywhere, but I would hope the reader goes back to read all of your books!
Jackie Jones

Kimberly Bristol said...

So happy to see Victoria here at Jungle Red. She's one of my favorite writers! I love the Gaslight series. Those of you who are fans of Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series will especially like this one, too.

I often start a series out of order just because I happen to pick that book up at the library as it piques my interest. But once I've read one book in a series out of order, I usually go back and start from the beginning.

I think most mystery readers don't mind a bit of romance in it as long as it doesn't take over the book. It has been fun to see the progression of Sarah and Frank's relationship. Looking forward to seeing them married--it's waiting for me at the library. :) I had forgotten that Victoria had written several historical romances. Now I want to read those!

Deborah Crombie said...

Hi Victoria! I haven't read your books. How is this possible? I will remedy asap. I love historical mysteries, and New York, and your time period, AND a good romance between believable characters. Count me as a future fan.

As for "start from the beginning", I'm usually happy to dive into an unfamiliar series, then if I really like I will go back and read earlier books. When people ask me if they have to read my books in order, I say, "Depends on how important it is to YOU to read in order."

Oh, and love your covers! Gorgeous art work!

Victoria Thompson said...

Hank, it's always a thrill to hear from readers for whom Frank and Sarah's world is as real as the one we live in. When they give me advice on how to handle Frank and Sarah's problems, I know they're really hooked!

Libby Dodd said...

Sometimes I "fall" into a series midway. Assuming the book engages me, I will then go back to the beginning to read all of it.

JKW said...

Congrats on Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic. I will have to begin reading this series. I read books taking place in the 1800s and think how every long ago it was and no technology. However, I grew up in the 1950s and think how very long ago and very little technology. . . and today technology is mind boggling. I look forward to reading from the beginning. I enjoy seeing characters grow and change. Blessings, Janet

knye said...

I love this series and will be reading Murder on Amsterdam Avenue ASAP. I discovered the series after it started and caught up by reading out of order. Ideally I like reading a series in order but sometimes that is not possible. I am just happy to stay caught up.

Susan said...

These books sound really good -- and I am one who usually thinks I won't like historical novels. (Though Jacqueline Winspear has certainly taught me differently!)

Like so many others have said, I am willing to sample a new book that is the middle of a series, but if I liked it, I am then likely to try to go back and pick it up from the beginning. Watching the characters develop is one of the main things I like about reading series.

And as to mystery readers not liking romance, what a lot of hooey! There are so many great series where a romance is central to the characters....Duncan and Gemma in Deb's books, of course, and Dwight and Deborah in Margaret Maron's, Tai and Trey in Tina Whittle's...... I think the success of all those series pretty much tells the story.

Anonymous said...

I'm a read 'em in order kinda guy, because I particularly like to see the development of relationships over the course of a series. So since Victoria is yet another author whom I've missed so far (along with B.F Goodrich), I've just verified that my library has Murder on Astor Place.

Jim in Durham

Deb Romano said...

I find that I MUST read series books in order; otherwise, I really don't understand the characters as much as I would like to. When people ask me to recommend authors who have written series, I insist that they must read the books from the beginning. (And really, this gets people buying more books!)

Kathy Chatfield said...

Congratulations to a wonderful writer. I love your books and can hardly wait for the newest one. I'm glad you found a way for Frank and Sarah to get together. I prefer books where I really get to care about the characters, and because of that, I love to read them in order. I've become a fan of Fantastic Fiction website, because it not only lists the authors, but their series in order. I find new authors by the authors recommendation at the bottom of each page. Thanks for many hours of ignore the world - I'm reading, pleasure.

Tammy said...

Congratulations on the new release, Victoria! And what great timing for me. I'm halfway through a re-read of your series, and now I have a carrot dangling in front of me in the new book!

I love Sarah and Frank, but I have to tell you, I also love how Sarah's parents evolve (especially her mother). Kudos on creating such flawed but warm characters and keeping them interesting.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Jim in Durham, you are such a SCAMP!! I am laughing out loud. xoxo

Victoria Thompson said...

Yes, Jim Durham, B.F. Goodrich is on my TBR pile, too! And Tammy, thanks for mentioning Sarah's parents. I originally had no plans for them at all in the series, but Mrs. Decker insisted on helping Sarah with a case and she turned out to be absolutely hilarious. I think you'll really enjoy the next book. It's a special Christmas book, Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue (out in Nov)
. While Frank and Sarah are on their honeymoon, Maeve and Gino handle a case with help from both of Sarah's parents. Mr. Decker turns out to be pretty amazing, too!

Michelle F. said...

I don't read in order. Sometimes I like to read the latest one in a series, just because it's new and I like to get the latest book from the library before someone else grabs it. I don't read many in a series in one year. I mix it up. I hate it when they say you have to read the first book before the second. No, you don't or it would all be one book. Now they even split up movies into two parts, such as the last novels in Harry Potter and Twilight, etc. You may start to watch something on T.V. that's interesting even though you missed the beginning. It can make you think more.

I am currently reading Murder on Bank Street and I have quite a few books in the series. I like historical mysteries and cozies.

I don't think history is taught in a boring way. I remember my American History teacher in high school tried to make things interesting, such as telling us the coincidences between Presidents Kennedy and Lincoln. Kennedy was riding in a Lincoln when he was killed, etc. Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel makes history interesting. They have other similar series. History is better than math class!

Regarding a bit of romance, I think most mystery readers like it. I've heard people mention that online, and just yesterday saw a mystery writer asking about that. Seems there's always a romance in the Berkley Prime Crime paperbacks.

I'm fine reading mysteries without the romance.

Laura said...

Congratulations on being named Guest of Honor for Malice Domestic.

I prefer reading the series in order,so that I can witness the development of the characters. I love watching them evolve from being barely civil to each other, to falling in love.
Looking forward Murder on Amsterdam Avenue..

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Loving these comments--and such fun to see some new faces. Welcome! There's always something--or someones--new around here--and that is terrific.

And you should know the Jungle Reds had a pretty funny game show at Malice Domestic, where we had to rapid-fire answers to questions--with as many examples as we could in 20 seconds. Team Hank and Lucy were given "Authors who use initials"--and at some point I said BF Goodrich.

I mean--the pressure!

ANd hey, he must have written SOMETHING!

Amy Nichols said...

"Murder on Astor Place" is the first book in the series, and a perfect introduction to Sarah and Frank. I love the historical details of each book and I have loved getting to know each of the characters. Thanks for sharing your interview, Victoria! And I anxiously await the next book in the series!

Maureen C said...

So glad to learn more about you and the story behind the gaslight series. I always feel transported back in history when I read your books and enjoy the adventure! Thanks!!

Pat D said...

Well, hooray! Another historical mystery series I can add to my teetering TBR pile. I've often picked up a book that looks promising and read it, then discovered it is part of a series. I usually read the books in order since I enjoy how the characters and their relationships develop. Love, love, love historical fiction.

Jody said...

I like to read series in order, but so often I seem to stumble across no. 2 or 3 in a series & read it. Then I have to go back to the beginning.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes agreed--If I start in the middle and like it--THEN I go to book one. I don't skip around.

Except, you know, I skipped around with Sue Grafton, read then no order at all. Didn't matter. Far as I know, at least….

Marlene Taska said...

I have so enjoyed your Gaslight Mystery Series! I like to read historical fiction (and sometimes historical non-fiction. Thanks for giving me hours of reading enjoyment! By the way, I like to read a series in order. Happy Writing!

Mary Pat said...

I do love this series. I think I first discovered them at the library. I don't mind starting a series in the middle. If I like the story and the characters I will always seek out all the others in the series and try to read them in order. I do love series no matter the genre since it is so interesting to see how the characters change and evolve and develop. And I am so glad Sarah and Frank finally married. It certainly took them long enough, sigh.

Kathy Reel said...

So happy to see you here, Victoria, as you are on my must read list in series for the gaslight series. I'm so looking forward to them, and I have the first one. I wasn't even aware that you weren't always a mystery writer. I love all the background material you gave us in this post.

I used to be an adamant stickler about reading a series in order, and I much prefer to do so. However, I have loosened up a bit and will now venture forth into the middle of a series if I get the opportunity to receive an ARC or want to read the book everyone is talking about. I'm finishing up Susan's Maggie Hope series today (until the next one), and I'm glad I read those in order, but I can see where it wouldn't hurt to read a later one and then go back and pick up what had already happened. Oh, and I must say that I am in love with the Maggie Hope character and her story.

Congratulations, Victoria, on your Malice honor. I'm hoping to get to next year's event.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I am so touched, seeing all of you, and hearing that you love this series so much. It's one of the things I do love about the Reds community!

MsMarge said...

I love these stories. I read my first one somewhere down the line (maybe 4th or 5th). Went right back to first one so I could catch up. Have read them in order since. Just finished Amsterdam Ave. Eagerly looking forward to the next one. Thank you for all the hours of pleasure I've had.

Tammy said...

Now I can't wait for the next book!

And speaking of Maeve and Gino ... that's a good pairing.

Jeffrey Marks said...

I usually read an author from first to last, but many of the authors I read are for critical essays about their work. Seeing their growth and progression from start to finish makes interesting reading.

Mary C. said...

I prefer reading a series in order but it's not always possible.

Love Sarah and Frank - on the list at the library for Murder On Amsterdam Avenue.

K said...

Love this series just discovered it and now I have my coworker reading too.

Sue Skinner said...

Congratulations, Victoria, on your selection as Guest of Honor. I believe it was Rhys Bowen who tipped me to your books, which I thoroughly enjoy. I'm so thankful Frank and Sarah didn't just immediately fall in love. The developing story - and power struggle - made it ever so much more interesting. I prefer to read series in order and have with this one. Watching the writer as well as the characters develop is part of the fun.

Mar (aka mar annabelle jacob) said...

Congratulations Victoria
I Love when main characters in mysteries have love interests - I like to see the "whole" person, so I really enjoy "Mystery Novels"
I think pulling the main characters personal lives in to the mystery makes it more appealing and enjoyable
I know there are some readers who really dislike that, which I don't get, I guess because I love it

I have not seen your books before but plan on Getting Murder on Amsterdam Avenue as I spent time in Amsterdam NY growing up :)

Congratulations again!!

Victoria Thompson said...

Thanks, everyone, for making my first visit to Jungle Red such a pleasure!

Chris said...

I prefer reading a series in order and usually do. Although I don't read a lot of historical mysteries, I LOVE this series. I recommended it to a friend who is a nurse/midwife at one of our local hospitals, and now she's hooked on it too.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Love you, Victoria! We'll pick a winner after midnight!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

And thank you, dear Reds readers, for a wonderful day! I read each of your comments with much delight!

Joshilyn Jackson said...

You have to read it in order or you will go to hell. That is in leviticus.

Deborah Crombie said...

Joshilyn Jackson, can we have that in writing? :-)

Victoria, a recommendation from Tammy Kaehler would have sold me if I hadn't been sold already!

B J English said...

One of two things about Victoria. Either she lived a life before or she should have been born 100 years earlier. She does the historical so well.

Now about reading a series in order. If the story is self contained, it doesn't matter. Some authors fill in points of interest in the following book so you could read out of order. But if the story is a true series where you need to know what happened before, then I want to read in order. So the author determines whether you read in sequence.

Bettyjo.English@gmail.com

B J English said...

One of two things about Victoria. Either she lived a life before or she should have been born 100 years earlier. She does the historical so well.

Now about reading a series in order. If the story is self contained, it doesn't matter. Some authors fill in points of interest in the following book so you could read out of order. But if the story is a true series where you need to know what happened before, then I want to read in order. So the author determines whether you read in sequence.

Bettyjo.English@gmail.com

Judy said...

Congratulations on being Guest of Honor at Malice Domestic!

I'm looking forward to reading your latest Gaslight Mystery. I started reading your books a few years ago when my mystery book club chose to read the first Gaslight story.

For me, the character development over time is most important so I have to read books in a series in order.

Marisa said...

I had never heard of this series before, but I just know I'm going to love it! NYC, the Gilded Age - two of my favorite subjects!

I've started many a series out of order, usually when somebody gives me a book or I think it looks interesting in the library but can't find #1. so I have no problem starting in the middle if circumstances dictate, but if I like that first book I read, then I go immediately to #1 and read them in order, ideally rereading my first book in its proper place.