Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Rhys celebrates pub day for GOD REST YE ROYAL GENTLEMEN.

 RHYS BOWEN:  Hooray, hooray, today is publication day!

A week late but never mind, GOD REST YE ROYAL GENTLEMEN is finally in a bookstore near you or arriving on your Kindle or audio. I’ve just been doing a couple of weeks of podcasts, interviews, Zoom events with bookstores as well as signing boxes and boxes of books!

But now I’m excited that the book has been released into the wild in good time for the upcoming holidays. It’s the second Christmas book in this series and I’ve pulled out all the stops to make this the Olde English Christmas to remember (complete with a body or two, naturally). 

Georgie’s family is there is force, all the characters you love or hate. AND the royal family is also there, spending Christmas at Sandringham where something strange and creepy might be happening… enough said. You’ll have to read the book to find out why Georgie might be summoned to the queen. Oh and Queenie is in evidence. What possible disaster can she cause this time. (hint: it’s a big one)



So Jenn and Hank were gracious enough to interview me for various bookstores last week and now my Jungle Red sisters are out in force to pepper me with questions. 

HANK:  How much fun was it to remember your childhood holiday traditions while writing this book?Did any of the escapades come from real life?

RHYS: Hank, first thank you for the fabulous interview questions. I so much enjoyed our chat and you made it so relaxing and fun.

I have to confess that this book is a chance to relive the holidays of my childhood.  I remember it as a magical time, completely uncommercial, with lots of feasting and fun. My school madrigal group went carol singing in a posh neighborhood and we got invited in for mince pies and wassail bowl. The house was decorated with greenery. The feast ended with flaming Christmas pudding containing secret silver charms that foretold your future, and we played lots of silly games, including sardines (which is reverse hide and seek with everyone seeking the hidden person, then cramming in with him when he’s found until you are packed in like sardines!)

All of the above appear in the book.

HALLIE: Rhys, this is the fifteenth Royal Spyness series novel and yet it keeps feeling fresh. Each time out, you reveal something new about Lady Georgie. This time you’ve put her in a particularly ticklish situation, and I’m wondering if she surprised you as much as I suspect she’s going to surprise some of your readers? 

RHYS: Hallie, thank you. I’m glad you still find the series fresh. I try never to put Georgie in similar situations and more importantly, I want the reader to watch her grow. She’s obviously matured during 15 books, gained confidence since being married, and has become more than an accidental sleuth. I have to say that my characters continually surprise me. They do and say things I hadn’t expected and then my plots go off in directions I hadn’t planned. I’ve learned to go with the flow and just follow along.  If I’m surprised then you are surprised.


LUCY BURDETTE: I am a huge fan of this series and can’t wait for next week! Just reading the first chapter about the holiday houseparty that Georgie’s planning to throw makes me worry… I’m wondering whether these are the easiest books to write because you have the voice down so perfectly?

RHYS: IN a way they are easy to write because I do know the characters so well now. It is an ensemble cast and each time it’s like coming to a family reunion. It’s really one long life-story gradually unfolding. Georgie’s voice came to me perfectly in the first pages of Her Royal Spyness and she still dictates perfectly. The books are a joy to write because they are funny. I love to laugh and I’m always calling out to John to tell him what awful thing Queenie has just done, or Mummy has said.

JENN McKINLAY: Lady Georgie is my role model. I want to be her when I grow up! I love that this book is set against the holidays. Does writing about Christmas make you nostalgic for the holiday season across the pond or did you bring your traditions with you?

RHYS: Jenn--fabulous interview yesterday! It went so smoothly and everyone loved it.

And it makes me very nostalgic, Jenn, although it’s for a time and not a place. Christmas in England now has the same commericial hype as it does here. I’m nostalgic for a simpler time: walking through the snow to midnight mass,  smaller gifts, emphasis on family interactions. I have tried to recreate some of the traditions: my mum always baked sausage rolls and mince pies as our Christmas snacks and I do that. I serve Christmas pudding (although nobody likes it except John and me) We do play charades and other silly games.  One year we tried home made gifts (it wasn’t a great success).


DEBS: Rhys, I would love your Christmas pudding!

RHYS: I'll mail you a slice if you like!

JULIA: I am so excited for this book!!! I love all the Lady Georgie novels, but I have a well-known soft spot for Christmas mysteries and romances. Speaking of which, now that Georgie has landed her Darcy (or was it vice versa?) how are you keeping the spirit of romance alive in the series? It can be hard to transition a will-they-won’t-they couple into matrimony without things getting a little less bubbly.

RHYS: Good question, Julia. Obviously I loved the will they/won’t they stories in the earlier books. That delicious romantic tension is so appealing but it can’t go on forever. Neither can Georgie not entirely trusting Darcy to be faithful. But I think readers are ready for the next chapter in their lives and we’ve had romantic episodes with Georgie’s friend Belinda, Georgie’s Mummy to keep a little spice going.

DEBS: Rhys, I think up until now THE TWELVE CLUES OF CHRISTMAS has been my favorite Georgie book--so clever and so funny--so I am especially looking forward to this one! I adore all the British Christmas traditions and we celebrate with some of them even here in Texas (it’s not Christmas without crackers!)

The Royal Spyness books have always had great covers, but this one knocks it out of the box. It is gorgeous!  Were you thrilled when you saw it? Did it go through more than one iteration?

RHYS: It is a lovely cover. My only concern is that the man behind Georgie looks a little too suave and elegant to be Darcy. I picture him a little wilder, don’t you? And hunkier.

Who else is ready for a simple, calm and nostalgic Christmas? Are there any questions you'd like to ask me?

52 comments:

  1. Happy Book Birthday!

    Stories set at Christmas always seem to have an extra dose of special magic, so I am particularly looking forward to this adventure with Georgie.

    I think Christmas always brings a bit of nostalgia, and reliving childhood holidays sounds simply perfect to me. Calm, simple, gentle . . . yes, perfection. But in all the celebrating, is there something that’s special to Georgie alone [like a decoration with special meaning that she always puts up herself or a special place that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if she didn’t go there]?

    And is Christmas pudding the same thing as plum pudding?

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    1. Yes. In England it’s always called Christmas pudding

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  2. Happy Pub Day. Rhys. I ordered this ages ago, and Julie will be completely delighted to find it on her Kindle today. She is quite the devotee of all your books but especially of Her Royal Spyness. And she asks about you frequently after the two of you closed down the bar at the last live-in-living-color-Bouchercon!

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    1. I remember it well! Tell her I’m fine and look forward to seeing her at the next one?

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  3. Congratulations, Rhys!

    I'm always ready for a simpler Christmas. This year neither son will be home (sob...), so it will be quiet. I'll be mailing homemade Christmas cookies to my boys, though.

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    1. We’ve had Christmases with no child home. It is hard. Last year John and I just had duck breast because there was no point in a Turkey.

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  4. We just made plans for Christmas yesterday! My middle daughter is bringing home The Boy for us all to meet in person (Zoom doesn't count). My oldest will host, and they have very specific rituals they insist on for Christmas. I just go with the flow.

    I'd like to know what Christmas pudding is, too. We both like fruitcake, and I make one that is very similar to Collin Street Bakery's, when I can find the ingredients.

    Rhys, so pleased for your 15th book in this series! Do you see any little Darcies in Georgie's future? All that honeymooning, you know.

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    1. Is The Boy a grandbaby? Or a new boyfriend? Curious minds!

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    2. He is the Boyfriend. They've been dating out in Oregon for the last 6 months, and she's head over heels. I should have clarified, sorry!

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    3. Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding. Lots of dried fruit with flour and suet and rum or brandy. Steamed gently. Very dense and flavorful

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    4. Yum! I loved English puddings. (big surprise, I know...)

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  5. Hooray, Hooray, I have a new Royal Spyness to read ! Thank tou Rhys and Congratulations !

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  6. Hooray is right, Rhys! So happy for you--love Georgie and another Christmas book is perfect for the lead up to the fall and winter holiday season. I'm always curious to see what an author does after the will-they-or-won't-they games end. Some people do stay married for years and years--there must still be a bit of spice sprinkled through their relationships!

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  7. Rhys, congratulations on your new Georgie book. She is one of my absolute favorite characters, ever! The thing I love most about her is her honesty. When she explains how something happened, it sounds totally authentic. The cover is gorgeous, but I too picture Darcy a little broader and taller, more Errol Flynn than David Niven with wilder, curlier hair.

    The Audible version is here already, but I won't listen until I've read the book, which is also on the way. I'm re-listening to the last two books right now. It's like having a friend in the kitchen telling me a story while I cook and bake.

    Christmas themed books are great. I love hearing about people's traditions and seeing reunions and joyful gatherings, which always abound in Christmas stories. The acts of kindness that are often referred to as "Christmas Spirit" lift Christmas cozies to another level. Like Debs, The Twelve Clues of Christmas is one of my favorites. It is the first book where Darcy is there for the whole book and promises Georgie that he'll marry her. (sigh)

    I think that you have kept the magic between them even though the chase is over. Do you think about how to maintain that spark between them when you sit down to write? Is it more difficult to do now that they are married?

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    1. So far they are still newly weds. We’ll see how the spark holds up after ten years!

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  8. I am so looking forward to reading this one, Rhys, as I thoroughly enjoyed the other Christmas books. I love reading about all the English Christmas traditions and adding Georgie and the gang makes those all the more interesting!

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  9. My Kindle pre-order has just dropped into my device and I can't wait to plunge in! My family doesn't have many British Christmas traditions that we observe other than crackers but I love reading about Christmas and/or winter somewhere in the UK.

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  10. Congratulations, Rhys!

    Our Christmases have gotten simpler as the kids have gotten older. Less about things, more about being together. This year, I'm really hoping The Girl brings her long-time boyfriend around so her father and brother can meet him. They've been together at least two years. I think it's about time.

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    1. The Christmas Visit is a big deal, and a sign that Things Are Serious.

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  11. Congratulations on your Christmas release! Do you make your own pudding and Christmas cake (fruitcake)?

    We'll have three kids, two spouses, and our first grandchild for Christmas, my thirty year old folding toddler fence encircling the tree for a crawling baby and our two ornament-eating standard poodles. I'll find our box of beloved children's books (including Each Peach, Pear, Plum, and Peepo) for the kids to enjoy reading to the baby.

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    1. My kids LOVED Each Peach, Pear, Plum! Blessings on a first grandbaby (I'm still waiting...).

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    2. I’ve never made my own although I do have the recipes. You can buy such good ready made ones. But my mother made really good Christmas fruitcakes and iced them with a snow scene and figures

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    3. Each Peach Pear Plum! That brings back some memories. I saved our copy for the eventual grandkids.

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  12. Happy book birthday, Rhys! So happy that I have a new Georgie to read for Christmas. Christmas books are my favorite.

    Debs, Christmas crackers are a must at my house, too. Back in my single days whether or not a prospective boyfriend would wear his crown told me whether he'd be on the candidate as a keeper list.

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    1. Good test. You do look really silly, I agree. And whether he can play charades!

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    2. That's a good test, Kait! And I must say that both my hubby and my son-in-law wear them well! :-)

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  13. Yea! Hooray! I make mincemeat turnovers, with puff pastry, just for me. A whole pie lasts to long for one person. (Okay, let's be honest, I just eat the pie too fast so I only make a couple turnovers at a time.) Do you make your own filling? I did, once, it took all day. If you use store bought, do you have a favorite brand and do you spike yours with brandy? I use a combination of rum and brandy if I can find it. Is Queenie cooking?

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    1. I only use Crosse and Blackwell with rum. It tasted authentic. And I make small enough mince pies to be eaten in a couple of bites

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    2. Are mince pies similar to pecan pies?

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    3. Mincemeat is a combination of dried fruits, rum, sugar. This is put in a pastry crust and baked. I make the small ones for snacks.

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  14. My copy is on its way and I can barely wait for it! Love Georgie, Darcy, and all the gang. It will be fun to watch the domestication of Darcy. I can't remember if Georgie's mum's romance with the German has tanked yet. I seem to remember some trouble in that arena.

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  15. RHYS,

    Hope that I am not too late commenting here. Happy Publication Day / Happy Book Birthday!

    My order is on the way and I look forward to reading your new book. I love Lady Georgie and she reminds me of real people I have known. My Mom says that her friend Belinda reminds her of her Aunt who married five times. Her husbands included a Belgian Count and they had to scurry to get out of Europe when it looked like Germany was going to start a war (1939).

    Christmas is my favorite season. I have so many wonderful memories. I remember visiting my grandfather in southern California. On my first trip to visit my grandfather, I remember taking the train from Berkeley to LA with my parents. That service no longer exists. I remember the sweets. Growing up, it was a tradition to see the Nutcracker Ballet. We always had Christmas trees. Though I never knew that Christmas was also a religious thing until I was in college, despite my year at Catholic school. I remember getting books for Christmas gifts. I often got clothes, though I was more interested in toys. LOL. When I was a young child, most of the people in my family had been born at the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Another family tradition was going to the Dickens Faire in San Francisco.

    Yes, there is a question or maybe two questions that I wanted to ask you.

    When you married John, did you discover that your family traditions were similar to John's family traditions at Christmas or were they different?

    Do the British Royal family celebrate Christmas like other British families or do they have different traditions?

    Diana

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    1. They still have their traditions. They open gifts on Christmas Eve, in the German tradition. They walk to the little church on the Sandringham Estate at 10 am on Christmas morning and the queen gives her speech at 3 pm to the Commonwealth. And lots of Christmas trees (used to be with real candles)

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  16. It was like Christmas morning at my house today, because your book arrived on my Kindle! I love Georgie and her family and friends, and it’s always a treat to read a book about them.

    DebRo

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  17. Hooray, Rhys!! My copy arrived in this mornings post!! It is just as beautiful in person. But I do agree that Darcy is a bit too neat! I'm tempted to indulge in the audio version as well--such fun to listen to the characters! Congratulations, dahling!

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  18. So happy this book is finally out. Trying to decide if I want to read it right away or save it 'til December, to get in the mood...

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    1. It is too early for me to get in the holiday spirit. We haven't done Halloween yet! More spooky books to read first!

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  19. STANDING OVATION! You know I adore this book, and I think the picture of Darcy is charming. YAY!!!

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    1. Thank you for your wonderful interview. A great way to launch the book

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  20. I am so excited to have a Lady Georgie Christmas book to read! And, Murder by the Book got me my copy by today. Yay! I have to say that as much as I can't wait to read it, I'm wondering if keeping it for December would be a wonderful treat. So, Happy Book Birthday, Rhys! Get ready for a lot of love from your readers.

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  21. Congratulations, Rhys! Another wonderful book for us to enjoy. It’s been a long time since 1997s EVANS ABOVE, hasn’t it? I’m looking forward to this one, but won’t read it until near Christmas. It seems odd to be talking about Christmas more than seventy days beforehand.

    Aging changes Christmas. Here, it’s just my wife and me, and we don’t entertain any more since the pandemic. With no family we’re just a mid-Seventies couple with a couple with a couple of cats. Not exciting, and really not much reason to do much extra for the holidays. We didn’t bother with a tree last year, just too much work. So the holidays just drift past, and suddenly it’s a new year. Your new book will brighten late December, so thank you.

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  22. Congratulations, Rhys! I absolutely adored this mystery - as you know. Such a wonderful holiday read. Everyone should go buy it RIGHT NOW!

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  23. One thing I love about the Georgies is just what you said, Rhys. She grows, and the series and situations are always fresh. Yet the books are full of our friends whom we can't wait to visit again!

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