This month we welcome Victoria Thompson, author of the acclaimed Gaslight Mystery Series. Her latest Sarah Brant adventure is Murder in Morningside Heights (Gaslight Mysteries #19). Her twentieth novel in this series, Murder in the Bowery is due out in May 2017.
How did you become a writer?
I always enjoyed writing. As a child, I would write stories for fun or just make them up in my head. When my youngest child turned 3 and I finally had time to read again, I happened to get hooked on Westerns. I read every Western my library had, and I even started dreaming about the Old West. One night I had a dream that I couldn’t forget and that became the seed that grew into my first novel, an historical romance called Texas Treasure, which came out in 1985. I published 20 Historical Romances before changing to Historical Mysteries in 1999. The Gaslight Mystery series now has 19 books, and one more is already finished and I’m contracted to write at least two more.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love to read, of course, and spend time with my grandchildren. I also like to travel to places that have beaches.
What’s the best book you’ve recently read?
That’s a tough one! I have to name several, and since you’ve limited it to “recently,” that makes the choice possible! I’ve recently read some classics, Lady Susan by Jane Austen, which was delightful and I chose it because it was recently made into a movie. Also The Withdrawing Room by Charlotte MacLeod, because I hadn’t ever read her and this book was on BookBub. I adored it and am now reading through the whole series. MacLeod is a master! As for new books, Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin and The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters are both dark and suspenseful and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I also loved Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer, which is a hilarious romp. I have eclectic taste!
What is the most surprising thing that you learned in your research?
When I research, I often come across things that make me say, “Wow, I didn’t know that!” Those are the things I write about. Overall, the thing that has amazed me the most is how people are still dealing with the same issues today that people were dealing with 100 years ago. Women and minorities are still fighting for equality. Immigrants are still reviled and blamed for every ill the country experiences. People are still having a difficult time with relationships. And people are still killing each other for terrible reasons. It’s easy to find historically accurate topics that modern readers can understand, because they’re experiencing these issues themselves.
Have you received any interesting feedback or questions from readers?
I often receive fan mail from people who are deaf or who have a deaf family member. They really appreciate seeing deaf characters in my books and appreciate that I try very hard to depict them accurately. I’m not always successful, and they very kindly point out to me when I get it wrong, too.
Do you have a favorite library memory?
I’m a first-wave Baby Boomer, so my schools were always overcrowded. In my elementary school, they had to turn the beautiful library into a classroom, and they moved the books down to an ugly storage room in the basement. Even still, I remember library days vividly, when we got to spend an hour browsing through the shelves to choose books to check out. It was like having Christmas once a week.
How can fans keep up with you on social media?
This content originally appeared in the November edition of Adult Librarian News & Reviews.