FEATURED AUTHOR: TERRY AMBROSE
ABOUT THE BOOK
All ten-year-old Alexandra Atwood wants for Christmas is to get her dad and the B&B’s cook Marquetta under the mistletoe. After all, how can they get married if they don’t kiss first?
When murder strikes in Seaside Cove, bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Atwood is asked to help find the killer. But this will not be an easy case to crack. Not only did the killer contaminate the crime scene, but there are suspects all over town. And they all received the same Christmas sweater from the victim.
Alex hears rumors about the murder and decides that since she’s on Christmas break, she has time for a little multitasking. She launches her own investigation even as she continues her efforts to get her dad and Marquetta together.
Just when Rick thinks he’s identified all the suspects, he discovers a new one—his estranged wife. With the days until Christmas ticking down, Rick feels pressured from all sides. He needs to solve the case. He needs to send his wife back to New York. But the one thing he doesn’t need is for his daughter to be one step ahead of him and the cops.
Title: The Killer Christmas Sweater Club
Author: Terry Ambrose
Genre: Cozy mystery
Series: Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries, book 3
Publisher: Satori (November 8, 2018)
Page count: 275 pages
On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours
INTERVIEW WITH TERRY AMBROSE
Q: Terry, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
A: Last year in December, I was doing a presentation at a local mystery reader’s club. Many of the people showing up were wearing Christmas sweaters. At the time, I quipped, "What a great idea for a mystery." They all thought it was funny, so I filed the idea away. When it came time to launch the book, The Killer Christmas Sweater Club felt like the best suited title.
Q: I love it! Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
A: The Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series is about Rick and Alexandra Atwood, a father and daughter who move from New York to the small town of Seaside Cove after Rick inherits the B&B from his grandfather. Seaside Cove is located on the California coast, which is littered with shipwrecks. In this series, the wreck that is drawing in strangers is the San Manuel, a fictional 400-year-old Spanish galleon with a very rich cargo just waiting to be plundered. The books do not need to be read in order, but there are character-development arcs that span from book-to-book.
Q: Where’s home for you?
A: For now, home is North San Diego County. When I was a kid, we moved about every two years, so for me to stay in one place feels unusual.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Southern California at a time when the freeways were wide open, but the air was continually fouled by smog. There were days when we could, quite literally, watch the smog bank roll in.
Q: Have you been in any natural disasters?
A: I’ve been through two major earthquakes—the first was the 1978 Goleta earthquake that shook Santa Barbara; the second was the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake which hit the San Francisco Bay Area. In both cases, we were fortunate to not suffer any severe damage or injuries.
Q: How did you meet your wife?
A: I met my spouse while I was dating her roommate. It wasn’t until months after I’d broken up with her roommate that we crossed paths while I was skip tracing for the County of Santa Barbara.
Q: What’s one of your favorite quotes?
A: While driving down the freeway in Santa Barbara one day, I saw a license plate frame that read, “This is not a rehearsal.” That phrase really struck home for me. I even had my own license plate frame made up at one point.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: If I had my choice of locations, I would probably move to the island of Kauai. Even though it’s grown tremendously over the years, I still love it there.
Q: How did you create the plot for this book?
A: My plots begin with the characters. In this case, I had the idea for the use of Christmas sweaters as a clue but needed a way to integrate that into the plot. I also had a character in mind to be killed off.
Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
A: The victim was inspired by a real person. There’s a description in the book about him given by Marquetta, who says, “He’s a peculiar man, a slow man, the kind who will spend extra time at a traffic light when it turns green just to be sure no traffic is coming.” That description popped into my head after I’d spent an inordinate amount of time waiting in line at the business where he worked.
Q: Is your book based on real events?
A: The Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series is inspired to some degree by current-day events in the treasure hunting industry and by real shipwrecks, including the San Jose in Cartegena.
Q: What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
A: I get really annoyed by writers who spend an inordinate amount of time providing backstory in what can only be termed an “info dump.” This pet peeve stems from my days of coming home from lunch to find my wife watching her favorite soap opera and hearing characters say things like, “Do you remember when you were here yesterday and we talked about your cousin Fred who married Edna, the girl with all those tattoos, and they went off to Vegas…”
I try to follow two rules when I provide backstory: 1) do it in increments, and 2) do it naturally. I just wish more writers would try a little harder to not make their backstory so obvious.
Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your work?
A: If an award can be considered a compliment, then it would be winning the 2014 San Diego Book Awards for Best Action/Thriller. If an award isn’t really considered a compliment, it would be the Kirkus Review in which they said, "Ambrose touches on high-finance malfeasance, adultery and drug dealing with the kind of snark that will remind readers of Elmore Leonard.”
Q: That is quite a compliment. What are you working on now?
A: The next book I’m working on has the working title, Shadows from the Past, and is the third (and probably final) installment in the License to Lie thriller series.
OTHER BOOKS BY TERRY AMBROSE
Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries
A Treasure to Die For
Clues in the Sand
Big Island Blues
Mystery of the Lei Palaoa
North Shore Nanny
A Damsel for Santa
The Scent of Waikiki
License to Lie Series
License to Lie
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terry has written more than a dozen books, several of which have been award finalists. In 2014, his thriller, Con Game, won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. His series' include the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries, the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mysteries, and the License to Lie thriller series.
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