My guest today is Gilian Baker, author of the forthcoming cozy mystery, Blogging is Murder:
1. Hi, Gilian, and thanks so much for joining me today. Your new release, Blogging is Murder, is set in Wyoming. Would you talk a little about your choice of setting, and tell us a bit about how you incorporate Wyoming’s “personality” into your work?
Thanks for inviting me, Rosie! Well, Jade, my protagonist, told me she lived in Wyoming. LOL. As a mountain-loving girl myself, I understood. I tried to change the setting to Colorado, but she wasn’t having any of it.
It took me awhile to figure out the best location within Wyoming, though. It needed to be near a mountain range, but also near a university, since Jade was a college professor before becoming a blogger. And there are very few universities in Wyoming, let me tell you. She ended up in the fictitious town of Aspen Falls near the Medicine Bow Mountains.
I added in the flavor of Wyoming in a few ways, including having the Blackwell family eat a lot of venison. Wyoming is a huge hunting state, and venison is frequently on the menu. I also used idioms that are popular to the area. For example, Wyomingites call lunch, “dinner” and dinner, “supper.” Because it’s one of the least populated states, there’s a lot of space between towns. It’s nothing for Wyomingites to drive 45 minutes to the next burg, like Jade does when she’s interviewing suspects.
2. Your protagonist, Jade Blackwell, is a former English professor who turns to blogging and ghostwriting as a new career. Was Jade inspired by your own experiences? How are you like her? How do you differ?
Yes, Jade and I are both former English professors who forged new careers as online writers. Jade’s character was definitely born out of my experiences. When I started the book, I was still teaching and struggling to get my blog off the ground. It was a frustrating and overwhelmingly-busy time in my life. I needed a creative catharsis, and thus Blogging is Murder was born. If your readers would like to know more about how Jade and I are alike, they can read my blog post on it here: GilianBaker.com.
3. Your story involves a hacker who is disrupting Jade’s friend’s business. Can you talk a little about the research you needed to do to create that character? Are you naturally tech-y yourself?
Heck no, I’m not tech savvy naturally, though I’ve had to learn a lot as a blogger and online entrepreneur. It’s a struggle though, and I outsource as much many techy tasks as I can.
I did a lot of research on cyber-security for the book. I also researched the laws surrounding cyber-stalking and bullying to find out what the hacker, Connie, could get by with. And I researched stuff like how easy is it to hack into a website and social media accounts (it’s easy). I updated my security for sure, just like Jade does when her friend Liz ends up dealing with cyber-theft. I plan on blogging about this topic on my site in the future because it’s something people ignore until it’s too late.
4. Are you busy working on another adventure for Jade? How about a one-sentence teaser describing the story?
I absolutely am! Though I’m not revealing the title yet, I’m hard at work on the second book in the Jade Blackwell Mystery series. Okay, here’s the one-sentence teaser:
In an attempt to regain a better work-life balance, Jade finds solace in the new local pottery studio …until her teacher is murdered and her daughter’s old boyfriend is suspected of the crime.
If readers want to follow Jade on her first sleuthing adventure, they can get a copy of Blogging is Murder which includes a special link to a free download of the first chapter of the second book.
Gilian Baker is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding “blogger” and “ghostwriter” to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good, to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries or discussing literary theory with her daughter. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines.
About the book:
Jade Blackwell lives in a log home in the quaint village of Aspen Falls in mountainous south-eastern Wyoming, with her husband, Christian and daughter Penelope (Ellie). She left her life as a tenured college English professor at the University of Wyoming four years ago, sick of the bureaucracy, mounds of essays to grade and apathetic students. She turns to blogging and ghostwriting as her new career. Jade’s promising career as a blogger halts abruptly when she learns of a hacker who is controlling her friend and fellow blogger Liz Collin’s business remotely. When the hacker is found dead in her home, Liz is thrown in jail.
Determined to help her friend regain her life and livelihood, Jade teams up with Liz’s reluctant lawyer, Gabriel Langdon, to get Liz off the hook and out of jail. What she learns will break the case wide open, while unraveling her faith in humanity and the safety she feels living in the Rocky Mountain hamlet she calls home.
An exciting thrill ride from the first page, to the last. Read Gilian Baker’s Blogging is Murder, the first book in the Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series!
Contact Gilian Baker directly at mailto:Gilianbakerauthor@gmail.com