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Murder Ahoy! by Fiona Leitch - Book Tour

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Murder Ahoy!

Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world - the Big Apple.

She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up - as well as fake not-really-dead bodies - Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.

Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?

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Author Q&A
1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t give up! It’s not going to happen right now, but it WILL happen. Life will give you experience, which in turn means you’ll have plenty to write about. Grab every opportunity to travel and do new things that comes your way. Love without fear. Live for the moment. And maybe don’t eat those Spanish meatballs in the school canteen, nobody needs to have food poisoning for two weeks.

2. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
I loved going to our local library every week, not just because of the books, but because it was on a new estate (in Mitcham, South London where I grew up), and my dad had been one of the bricklayers who’d worked on it. So every time I walked into the library I’d think, ‘my dad built this!’

3. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Yes, if I could fit it in around being a Hollywood actress and a rock star.

4. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Beautiful, witty, deluded…

5. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I’m a fast writer - I’ve got so many ideas, I have to write fast! I hear about writers who spend several years on one book and it does my head in. What if you spent half your life writing one book and it wasn’t any good?? I have to write loads of books so the likelihood of at least one of them being reasonably good increases… It took me three months to write ‘Murder Ahoy!’, working around another day job, but I just finished the first book in a new cozy mystery series during lockdown, so I wasn’t working on anything else, and it took me 6 weeks to get to a draft my agent was happy to send on to my publisher. Mind you, my books do only average between 70-75,000 words; I ain’t writing ‘War and Peace’ here.
6. How do you select the names of your characters?With difficulty! Sometimes it’s actually really easy - the perfect name will just pop into my head. Sometimes when that happens I have to Google them to make sure I’m not using a real person’s name that I heard somewhere. Other times I’ll look up baby names that were popular in the time and country that the character was born in; sometimes I’ll pick one that means something about their character. I don’t know how writers named characters before Google was born…
7. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
I love so many movies! In no particular order…
Fantastic Mr Fox - I love Wes Anderson’s movies; I love the warmth, the wit and the whole aesthetic. This one is perfect.
Seven Psychopaths - Martin McDonagh writes the best dialogue, ever. I loved In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri too, but this one is the best.
Zootopia - I’m a sucker for a feel good movie, and this one is just that. Whenever I feel down I pop this animated nugget of loveliness on and it cheers me right up.
What We Do In The Shadows - I live in New Zealand, and Taika Waititi is a national treasure. I love all of his movies - they have a lot of warmth and heart in them - even when they’re about vampires or Hitler. The whole concept of this movie (a group of vampires sharing a house in modern day Wellington) is just so completely daft, it’s wonderful. It really sums up Kiwi humour; a bit silly, but not mean like some comedy.
Avengers Assemble - I love Marvel movies, they’re exciting, action packed and most importantly, they don’t take themselves too seriously. There are some really funny moments in this movie. The other reason I love this movie, if we’re being honest and I am, because we’re all friends here, is because of Tom Hiddleston. Loki may look like an overgrown emo but I don’t care.
8. What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life?I would LOVE to go for a night out with the Wyrd Sisters from the Terry Pratchett books. I think I’d end up dancing on a table with my knickers on my head, singing ‘The Hedgehog Song’ with Nanny Ogg. If the heroine of my books, Bella Tyson, could come along too, I think that would be a memorable night out…
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?Write. What’s holding you back? What’s the worst that could happen? You write something that’s not very good. Never mind, write something else, it’ll be better. And the next thing will be even better. You’ll only improve by DOING it. I know a lot of writers who spend so long (and so much money) reading books about writing, and doing courses on it, that they never get the time to actually sit and write something. Ignore the gurus - it’s your story, you write it the way you want to.
10. What book do you wish you had written?‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Oh man it’s good. It makes me ache with longing every time I read it (and I re-read it a lot). Gothic, dramatic and so romantic. Everything life should be (and normally isn’t).
Author Bio Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She's written for football and motoring magazines, DJ'ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called 'Sod Off'. After living in London and Cornwall she's finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.

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