Friday, November 15, 2013

Great Escapes Book Tours Interview & Review: Joyce & Jim Lavene - Murderous Matrimomy

What is it like writing as a team?

For us, it’s like working with your best friend each day. Not that it’s always easy and nothing bad ever happens, but we have a very good time working together. We have fun, and we get things done!

What is your favorite thing about working together? 

It’s the lattes. Jim is the best barista in the world! Also, we don’t have to sit at a table alone signing copies of books when we go to stores and libraries.

What made you set a cozy series in a Renaissance Faire?

We LOVE the Ren Faire! We were introduced to it with free tickets from a friend and have always enjoyed it. That same friend took us ‘backstage’ to some of the crazy things that happen when a bunch of funny people live together for a while pretending to be characters from another time or place. Their lives make our Ren Faire books  look tame.

Why do you think series are so popular in all genres of novels?

We think it’s because people love characters. They like them in a story and then like to follow them later and see what happens to them. At least that’s what WE like about reading series.

Who is your favorite character from the Renaissance Faire series?

That is hard to say. We love Jessie, of course, because she’s so normal. We also love Chase because, well, he’s Chase Manhattan! We also love Daisy, who makes the swords, and the new character, Madame Lucinda, who may or may not have a pet dragon.

What is next for you?

Wen just finished the first book, ONE WITCH IS NOT ENOUGH, in our new witches series which will be out December 2014. The second book in our Volunteer firefighter series, PLAYING WITH FIRE, featuring our resident fire chief ghost, will be out January 2014. And our new food truck series starts with DEATH ON EAT STREET, in April 2014.

Thanks for having us here!

Murderous Matrimony
(Renaissance Faire Mystery)
6th Book In Series
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Available For Pre-Order Soon
Synopsis:In less than two short weeks, Jessie Morton will marry Chase Manhattan at Renaissance Faire Village and Marketplace. But so much can go wrong in that short time. A man is murdered in Jessie’s new Arts and Crafts Museum and her assistant is being scrutinized for the deed. Chase’s brother and parents have arrived and are still against their marriage. Wanda’s ghost is busy making Jessie’s life miserable. The Ren Faire wedding of her dreams may never take place. Can Jessie talk Chase into eloping before it’s too late?

Review: Murderous Matrimony is the 6th book in the Renaissance Faire Mystery series. Once again, I jump into a series that is really established. Since I've read many of books Joyce and Jim have written, I wasn't worried about that.

I jumped right into this series and instantly felt like the characters were old friends. I loved the two lead characters, Jessie and her soon to be husband, Chase. They are a wonderful pairing, and I liked that Chase doesn't totally discourage her from trying to find out who killed David and then Bob. She goes with her instincts when it comes to her friend's innocence. I loved her loyalty.

The best part about the mystery is that when it is solved, the reader (at least I was) will be totally surprised. Yes, you get hints at who is involved, but the actually murderer is really a surprise.

But this book is more than just a murder mystery. There's some paranormal elements, one of them is the blue ghost Wanda, whose rather ornery? obnoxious? antics will leave you laughing until you cry. She really makes the book!

If you are a fan of Renaissance Festivals, you will have to love this book. It really feels like you are getting a inside look at how these festivals work and the kind of people that work for them. All I needed was to have an appearance by Cast In Bronze with the wonderful carillon and it would be like being at the Pittsburgh Renfest.

Oh and let's not forget Chase and Jessie's wedding. It was so wonderful, and I let out a squee of delight when they read the inscriptions on their wedding bands.

This is definitely a series not to be missed.

Rating:  5 flowers

j&j 2
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Visit them at
Twitter: @authorjlavene
Amazon :
Purchase Links:
A Book Excerpt 
Before I could call out again, the principle wonder of Madame Lucinda’s tent walked immediately in front of me in a challenging stance.
“Nice dragon.”
I know. There was no way the dragon, the size of a large terrier, was real. Believe me I had investigated every other possibility.
It wasn’t a puppet. It wasn’t a holographic image. It wasn’t a person in a costume, like Fred the Red Dragon. I checked out all those ideas.
The green dragon had yellow eyes that were fastened on me. Its mouth showed rows of sharp teeth. I’d seen it spit fire before. Though it seemed impossible, even here at the Renaissance Faire, I was pretty sure the dragon was real. I don’t know how it was possible, but I had no other answer for it.
When I’d mentioned it to other residents of the Village, they were all fine with the idea that there was a dragon inside the purple and gold tent. No one even seemed to question how a real dragon could be there.
Of course, residents of the Village are not always the most logical, practical people in the world. Let’s face it, we live in a fantasy land where visitors from outside come to be immersed in another time and place. We’re encouraging people to use their imaginations.
My imagination was having a hard time wrapping itself around this very real dragon confronting me like a guard dog. I feinted one way, and he followed me. I was definitely in his sights.
“Oh. It’s you, Jessie.” Madame Lucinda suddenly appeared in the quiet darkness of the tent. “I’m sorry about Buttercup. She doesn’t like surprises, or unannounced visitors, for that matter.”
“Buttercup? It’s a girl dragon?”
Madame Lucinda laughed daintily as though my ignorance was amusing. She was a deeply stooped older woman who always wore a long purple robe. She had a hard time walking. I thought maybe she was crippled, or in some way injured, since she hid herself in here, even after the Village was closed each day.
She moved her long, gray hair away from her face as she sat down carefully in her chair behind the tiny table with the glowing glass ball on it. “Actually, in their fight to survive, dragons have learned to be flexible in their gender. Buttercup is a female right now. She may be a male someday. She’s not old enough to mate as yet. We’ll see when the time comes.”
I moved quickly as Buttercup jumped up on a shelf where she usually perched above Madame Lucinda. I took the chair opposite the fortune teller at the table.
“Are you telling me Buttercup is a real dragon?” I said it with all the authority of a master’s degree in medieval history could bring. “Because you know dragons were only mythology. They weren’t even like dinosaurs. At least existed and went extinct.”
I just wanted to hear her say it. I don’t know why since I probably wouldn’t believe it.
“Mythology is hard to define,” she said in a gruff voice. “One person’s mythology is another person’s truth.”
I looked up at the dragon that made a kind of purring noise on the shelf above us. “That doesn’t really answer my question.”


Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...

I really enjoyed this book, too! Thanks for the interview; I always love hearing from authors about their process and what they're working on next.

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