Tuesday, August 1, 2017

RHYS CELEBRATES LAUNCH DAY!

JENN MCKINLAY: One of my very first “I’m an author now” memories is walking into the Poisoned Pen for one of my first signings and having PK (the unflappable Patrick King) tell me that Rhys Bowen was visiting and was going to moderate the book talk. Rhys Bowen! I was so undone, I almost turned around and ran home. I’m very glad I didn’t. Rhys was, well, Rhys. She was charming and lovely, funny and gracious. And now I’m celebrating the release of her latest fabulous A Royal Spyness mystery On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service. Congratulations, Rhys!

I am a lover of series – the longer running the better! Since Rhys has managed to weave her Lady Georgie magic for eleven books, I have to ask, how do you do it, Rhys? How do you keep your series fresh and how long do you think the series will go? (Please say forever).

RHYS BOWEN: Dear Jenn. Thank you for hosting me today. And I'm so glad I spend part of the year in Phoenix and we get to see each other. I'm sure we know each other's spiel by heart now!  How do I keep a series fresh? Well, I guess I have to enjoy visiting those characters. This series has been pure joy to me from the first words I wrote for Her Royal Spyness back in 2007. I still sit and chuckle as I write and call out to John , "Hey, listen to what Fig just said!"  I figure if they can make me chuckle then my readers will do the same. So I have no plan to quit any time soon (in fact I'm just signing new contract)

LUCY BURDETTE: Rhys, I really loved visiting Ireland with Georgie and Darcy in CROWNED AND DANGEROUS.  And now I see that we will have the pleasure of visiting Italy this time out in ON HER MAJESTY'S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE. My question is do you plan the books around places that you happen to visit, or do you go  visit the places that will be in the books? (I know you do some research by accident, as I will always remember your story about stumbling into a funeral unexpectedly and thinking that this would be exactly the kind of thing that Georgie would do!)

RHYS: Some of the books have been planned around a place. I definitely wanted to write Naughty in Nice and went there to do research. But this one was purely serendipitous. When I start a new book I look at the real events that happened around the time I'm setting my story. And I saw that in spring 1935 there was a big international conference in Stresa, Italy. Britain, France and Italy met to discuss how to combat the Nazi threat. And I thought, "this is interesting because Mussolini was a huge fan of Hitler." And then I thought "I bet there were other negotiations going on behind the scenes." And I'd always wanted to make Georgie do some real spying to live up to her name.

And the next step of serendipity was that I was asked to teach a writing workshop in Tuscany. (I'm repeating it next year for anyone interested!) So I'd already be in Italy. So I headed north to Stresa and spent a wonderful time doing my research there--research which involved going to lots of villas and gardens, steamers up the lake, and of course wine!

INGRID THOFT: I know it’s like choosing your favorite child, but do you have a favorite character in this particular book or the series in general?  Has this always been the case or has your affection for that character grown over time?  What about a character you don’t like?  Do your readers' feelings on this subject align with your own?

RHYS: I'm very fond of Ceorgie's old Cockney grandfather, mainly because I based him on my father, who came from very humble beginnings to become a research engineer. He was a lovely, gentle man like Georgie's grandfather. And I love writing characters I don't like--Fig, Mrs. Simpson. I make them as bitchy as I dare. In Mrs. Simpson's case I try to use things she actually said.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I know you'll tell us more about this story (and cannot wait to read it!) --but I am constantly delighted by your enthusiasm and your innovation. You are constantly raising the bar on yourself..and succeeding, again and again. You're endlessly goodnatured and flexible. How did you get this life philosophy? And I wonder if Georgie could come to Boston--so you could research here!

RHYS: Darling Hank: you don't see me when I have a deadline looming and the bath backs up! But I'm lucky enough to live in two beautiful places, to travel, to have great friends and wonderful family, also to be able to write what I want to. So I should be content and enjoy life. I have certainly come through many stressful periods in life (husband laid off and 3 kids in college!)  Also a stressful spring this year with John's health looking bleak. So now I savor the good times

HALLIE EPHRON: Rhys, in this new book Georgie does some more spying, so I'm wondering what kind of research you did and whether there was a historical figure whose experiences you may have used?

RHYS: Hallie, as with everything Georgie does the spying is almost a disaster and puts her in danger! I did read a lot about MI5 when I was writing In Farleigh Field so I know about how real spies operated at that time.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys, I cannot wait to read Georgie's latest adventure!!! I'd love to know about Georgie's genesis. What first gave you the idea for the character and the series? Did you just hear Georgie's voice in your head?

RHYS: Hi Debs! Georgie started  out as a challenge. My then publisher said they couldn't really break me out until I wrote a big, dark stand-alone. I thought about it and couldn't see myself with serial killers, child molesters. So I asked myself what was the most improbable heroine I could think of. How about if she was royal? And penniless? I started writing in Georgie's voice and she was right there, immediately, talking to me. She dictated, I wrote. I still find it easy to be in her head.

In this new book Georgie is planning to go to Italy to be with her friend Belinda who is having a baby and alone. When Queen Mary hears this she gives Georgie another assignment and sends her to a posh house party. But once there it is clear that darker things are happening and Georgie finds herself in the middle of them.  I can SAY NO MORE or I'd have to kill you!

So thank you everyone for joining me today for the launch of ON HER MAJESTY'S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE. I start with a launch party tonight at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. If you're anywhere near I have baby cheesecakes from the best cheesecake shop in the world. And champagne.
Then I'm hitting the road for Houston, Ann Arbor, Scottsdale, Orange County and Pasadena before I return to the Bay Area for more events. It's all on my website, www.rhysbowen.com

53 comments:

  1. Happy Book Birthday, Rhys!

    After reading your comments, I’m more anxious than ever to read all about Georgie’s latest adventure . . . .

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  2. Congratulations, Rhys! And I very much hope John's health is looking up. I guess you showed that publisher - breaking out with a funny, cozy caper series instead of the big dark standalone.

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    1. John's health is improving, Edith. Thank you!

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    2. Happy to hear that John's health is improving. I remember when John and Dominic hosted the launch party last year.

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  3. Happy book birthday, Rhys! I've already ordered it- sometimes entertaining and light-hearted is just what is needed, right?

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  4. Congratulations Rhys, I love Georgie's stories and I'm looking forward to read this one

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  5. Congratulations, Rhys! I am a little like Jenn, in that I do like series, but I also tend to get bored with series books very quickly. Not so for any of your series (or for that matter, those of any of the Reds). You always give your characters lots of interesting adventures. Can't wait to catch up with the new Georgie book!

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    1. The trick for me, Mary, is whether the characters evolve in a series. We all grow and change in response to the experiences we have, so when characters spend book after book attracted to each other, or hating their job, or stuck in some other life crisis, but nobody makes a move, or gives up and moves on, I'm the one who gets bored and does the moving on.

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    2. I agree, Gigi. Keeping characters static is just not true to life, and that's when I give up reading.

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  6. So looking forward to finding out out what Georgie will get up to next. But right now what I want to know is if you have ever received any feedback from the royals or near royals? I'm sure they must be reading and enjoying as much as we are!

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    1. I've been tempted to send them to Kate. I'm sure she'd enjoy them, but I haven't heard whether any if the royals read them

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  7. Happy Book Birthday Rhys. ON HER MAJESTY'S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE Just moved to the top of my TBR pile, will be starting it this week. I presume Georgie is up to her usual? I'm still recommending IN FARLEIGH FIELD to people by the way.

    I have a question for you and all the Reds. What is this about hitting the left coast so hard during tours and neglecting much of the eastern US, western NY in particular?

    If you prick us, do we not read/bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

    Just curious. xox

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    1. I think it's because I live in CA so most of the flights are short and inexpensive. Also it's hard to find enough bookstores to visit on the East Coast these days that can guarantee a good audience and actually want a writer like me who is not a mega star

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    2. Ann, you can ask your local bookstore to contact the publishers and invite Rhys? That was how I met Rhys the first time. I asked my local bookstore to invite Penny Warner and several mystery novelists. I think I saw Rhys' name on a blurb and asked my bookstore if they could invite her too. It was a panel of mystery novelists at my bookstore.

      Diana

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    3. Oh I think you are mega! Still and all, even Louise Penny, certainly an easterner and definitely a mega, is doing all but two or her appearances on the west coast. Wonder if it is because there are more people there who read and buy books.

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  8. Happy book birthday, Rhys!

    Mary/Liz

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  9. Rhys,I'd like to know if that's when your publisher became your 'then publisher'-- right after you'd giggled your way through the first Lady Georgie book? So glad you had the spunk to write what you wanted instead of what your publisher dictated! Life needs a little froth of champagne bubbles!

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    1. It went out to bids and I got a new publisher with who, I've been so happy. They've always loved Georgie!

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  10. Congratulations, and happy Book Launch Day, Rhys! I think Georgie is very clever, both "in person" and as an idea for a character, although I do sometimes wonder if Queen Mary secretly daydreams of speaking sadly and graciously at Georgie's funeral, sometime very, very soon. What an excellent way to look generous and supportive while getting rid of a potentially embarrassing relative . . .

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  11. It's already on my Kindle, Rhys, and I'm looking forward to seeing you this Thursday at Aunt Agatha's bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI!

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    1. Cathy, it's being held at the downtown library, not the bookstore because there's not enough space!

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    2. What a great problem to have, Ryhs!

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  12. Happy book launch day! I was lucky enough to win a pre-pub on Goodreads. I posted a mini-review on Facebook, and about 6 of my friends said they'll check out the series. Hooray!

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    1. Great! I just started reading and will post a review ASAP!

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  13. Yeah, nothing says "big, dark standalone" like Lady Georgie. :^)

    I am always happy to gobble up the next Lady Georgie (yay! It's time!) because she never gets stale. She progresses, and so does her relationship with Darcy, without all those horrible "misunderstandings" that some authors manufacture to keep their lovers apart. (And I think I can safely assume that unlike a few others, you'll never keep the relationship fresh by dumping or killing off the love interest so your protag can start over with a shiny new man.

    And of course, it's always intriquing to know Georgie is living through all that history. We still have the King's Death, David's ascension to the throne, more of that American Woman, the Abdication. And, uh, yeah WWII.

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  14. Rhys, happy book birthday! Look forward to reading the new Lady Georgie book. Jenn's comment reminded me of the first time I met you. I went to the Black Oaks bookstore a long time ago when you were on a panel with Penny Warner and several other mystery novelists. I remember picking up your Constable Evans book and loved the book! I always enjoy reading all of your series. Wishing you a wonderful launch party at Book Passage tonight!

    Diana

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    1. Thank you, Diana... and for suggesting me to a bookstore all those years ago!
      Rhys

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  15. Congratulations on launch day. I wanted to share two things. One is that the other day as I went into my wonderful library, one whole shelving unit right in front was devoted to Rhys's work! Clearly, you have a fan at the Old Worthington Library. (I have to admit, after reading Jungle Reds for so long, it felt like a personal thrill to see that display.)

    The other thing I wanted to share is that prior to In Farleigh Field, I had never read any of your work. I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, so I had just thought it wasn't my taste. But In Farleigh Field captured my imagination so I tried it, and enjoyed it very much. So now I'm sure I will turn my attention to your series at some point.

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    1. Susan--the Old Worthington Library! Many, many happy hours spent wandering the shelves there!

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  16. I just finished this book last night, and it is fabulous! So glad to hear you signed a contract for more books. Best news of the day.

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    1. Thank you, Mark. See you at Vromans?

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    2. I'd love to, but I will probably be working too late that night. :(

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  17. A new contract??? YAY! I am so invested in Georgie and Darcy - I can't wait!

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    1. Yay! A new contract!! Happy that the Lady Georgie adventures will continue. I was sad that the Constable Evans series ended.

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  18. Congratulations!!! I love the history and landscape weaving into your stories.

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  19. I am sooooo happy there's a new Georgie/Darcy book out! I love all the backstory and historic details in each story. Perhaps we'll meet at Murder by the Book in Houston (if there's parking.)

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  20. Rhys, I just read that the Queen enjoys four cocktails a day--a gin and vermouth on ice before lunch, a glass of wine with lunch, and glass of good champagne with dinner. Oh, and sometimes a G&T with lunch, which would make the occasional four. No wonder she's still going strong at ninety-one!!! (From Food & Wine) This tickled me and made me think of Georgie and her royals.

    My copy of OHMFSC is out for delivery! I have been dying to read this book ever since you told us the title. Georgie does live in interesting times, and I'm so glad you've signed a new contract!

    Happy pub day and big hugs! (Wish you were coming to Dallas, especially as we have a lovely new independent bookstore now.)

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    1. I wish too. I'll tell them about the new bookstore. maybe next time!

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  21. I feel like one of the Fairies at Sleeping Beauty's Christening, because you have been so generous sharing the progress of OHMFSS with Jungle Reds. The book is on order for me. I am immersed in Molly's world; now I have a super reason to take on Georgie. Best wishes with the mini cheese cakes. I also vote for y'all to come to some Right Coast book stores.

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  22. Downloaded today. I can't wait to get away from my desk so I can start reading. Congratulations from Wyoming!

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  23. Congratulations, Rhys! I can't wait to read your latest! Here's to a smooth tour!

    Debs, I read the article about the Queen's cocktails, too. I feel like such a lightweight in comparison!

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  24. Happy book birthday, Rhys! It's on my Nook, ready to betin when I finish slogging through our book club choice this month. Georgie is way more fun.

    But I have read the dedication, which was especially meaningful to me, as one of the Minerva Muses! Our group needs to get busy!

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  25. Huzzah! My copy is waiting at the library!!!
    Libby Dodd

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  26. Oh, Rhys, I am so thrilled to have another Georgie book to read! Happy Book Birthday! When I attended my first Bouchercon in Albany in 2013, there were several series that I tried to read to be prepared to meet the authors. But, of course, you had to have three series to challenge me. Hahaha! I read the Molly Murphy series first and had started on Lady Georgie by the time that Bouchercon rolled around. I quickly finished catching up with Georgie after that, and started on Evan. The wit and humor in the Lady Georgie series is what I have come to look forward to with each new book. That it makes you laugh out loud is such a kinship for your readers to have. On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service is on its way to me now, but I don't think it will arrive until tomorrow. I will definitely be posting a review on my blog.

    And, I hope that your dear John is doing much better now. Sometimes you meet a person and just know that the person is a special one in our world. When you and John came to the dinner I threw together at the Raleigh Bouchercon, John was the toast of his end of table, and indeed made a wonderful impression on all in attendance. Of course, your no slouch in the impression area yourself, Rhys, and as much for your amazing writing talent, it is that, as Hank put it so well, "You're endlessly goodnatured and flexible."

    So happy that you've signed a new contract and we have so much more great reading to anticipate. Have a lovely day today!

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  27. Hurray Rhys!
    A new Georgie book is a reminder to me to keep the floor around my chair adequately padded when I read it so I won't get hurt when I fall off the chair laughing!

    DebRo

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