Friday, July 27, 2012

ParaCozyMysMo - Nancy Atherton - Aunt Dimity

Please welcome Nancy Atherton to The Qwillery! Nancy writes the Aunt Dimity mysteries. Aunt Dimity & the Village Witch, the 17th Aunt Dimity novel, was published on April 26, 2012.

TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Nancy:  I write by the light of the full moon with a pheasant quill dipped in lavender ink while wearing a turban and a silk kimono embroidered with peacocks. Well, no, I don't, but the thing is, what may seem like a quirk to you is business as usual to me, so from my side of the picture, I have no writing quirks.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers?

Nancy:  Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Sayers, Georgette Heyer, Beverley Nichols, and P.D. James rank among the top ten. I also read a lot of non-fiction---diaries, journals, and memoirs as well as books on architecture, gardening, history, and a wide variety of other subjects. British historian Lyn MacDonald's WWI books are among my very favorites.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Nancy:  I couldn't figure out what a "panster" was until it dawned on me that you meant "pantster." I'm a pantster, definitely a pantster.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Nancy:  I find it challenging to keep up with ordinary household tasks when I'm working on a book. Paying bills, buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, clearing the gutters, responding to email, answering the phone . . . those sorts of things are very easy to forget because, when I'm writing, I'm in another world. The only part of my life I don't neglect is my kittens and that's because Chloe and Emma will not allow me to neglect them.

TQAunt Dimity & the Village Witch (April 26, 2012) is your 17th Aunt Dimity novel. What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?

Nancy:  I didn't set out to write mysteries with a fantasy element. I just wrote the book that wanted to be written. I had no preconceived notions about the type of book it would be. Both the mystery and the fantasy elements entered my first book of their own accord, without any planning on my part. Pantster, not plotter.

TQ:  Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?

Nancy:  I make things up, but it doesn't feel as if I do. It feels as if I'm recording the stories my characters tell me.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Aunt Dimity series? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research?

Nancy:  I don't do very much intentional research for the Aunt Dimity series, but I do a great deal of unintentional research. In other words, I don't hunt for specific facts. I keep my mind wide open and absorb as much as I can about everything. Everything I absorb finds its way into my books eventually. The only specific fact I've ever researched was the color of a Pathfinder badge (in AUNT DIMITY'S CHRISTMAS). Since it was a WWII badge, the only photographs I could find of it were in black and white and I couldn't find a book in which its color was mentioned. I presented my inquiry to an archivist at the Imperial War Museum in London, but he said it would take three months to answer it. Feeling more than a little dispirited, I wandered from his desk into an exhibit and lo and behold, there was a Pathfinder badge gleaming dully at me from a display case. My question was answered instantly. For future reference, a Pathfinder badge is gilt---a sort of dirty gold. (Did you hear that, Mr. Archivist?)

TQ:  Tell us something about Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch, the most recent Aunt Dimity novel, that is not in the book description.

Nancy:  VILLAGE WITCH presents an excellent argument for learning Latin.

TQ:  In the the series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Nancy:  All of my characters have been a joy to write. They're a very pleasant and cooperative bunch.

TQ:  Which character in the Aunt Dimity series has surprised you the most?

Nancy:  Julian Bright, in AUNT DIMITY'S CHRISTMAS, probably surprised me more than any other character. I didn't know Julian would be in the book until Lori saw him at the hospital, but he turned out to be an extremely major (and majorly wonderful) character. Surprise!

TQ:  What's next?

Nancy:  I rarely talk about the book I'm currently writing for a couple of reasons. I don't want to spoil surprises for readers, of course, but I also know the book will change in unforeseen ways as I write it, so anything I say about it now may very well be null and void by the time I finish it. Two facts should stand the test of time, though. The next book will be published in April 2013 and its title is: AUNT DIMITY AND THE LOST PRINCE.

On a personal note, I'd like my readers to know that the recent wildfires in Colorado Springs left me, my kittens, my house, and my neighborhood unscathed. I'd also like to ask everyone to spare a thought for all firefighters. They are so far beyond heroic that the word has not yet been invented to describe them.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nancy:  Thanks very much for inviting me to participate and for asking such interesting questions. I had a lovely time answering them.

Aunt Dimity

Aunt Dimity & the Village Witch
Aunt Dimity 17
Viking Adult, April 16, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 240 pages

Nancy Atherton's seventeenth cozy mystery featuring the beloved Aunt Dimity-the original paranormal detective

When Amelia Thistle moves to Finch, her new neighbors welcome her with open arms-and inquiring minds. Among them is Lori Shepherd, who isn't fooled by Amelia's unassuming persona. Amelia is, in fact, a world-famous artist with a rabid and eager-to-stalk fan base.

In order to keep peace in Finch, Lori must help Amelia conceal her identity. Amelia, meanwhile, sets about working on the riddle that brought her to town in the first place. A fragment of a family diary hints that one of Amelia's ancestors might have been Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch. Following the clue, Lori hunts through Finch's darkest and most secret corners, all the while dodging nosy neighbors and Amelia's frantic fans. With Aunt Dimity's otherworldly help, Lori inches closer to the true story of Mistress Meg-and Amelia.

Returning to the charming world of Finch, Nancy Atherton's latest novel is sure to delight faithful Aunt Dimity readers, Anglophiles, and cozy mystery fans.

Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree
Aunt Dimity 16
Penguin, February 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

The gentle spirit's sixteenth adventure is a New York Times bestseller and as "cozy and charming as a cup of Earl Grey" (

After a dizzying time Down Under, Lori Shepherd returns to Finch and finds that her wealthy father-in-law, William Willis, Sr., has just purchased a splendid ten-acre estate nearby. While William fends off local ladies intent on romance, Lori oversees the painstaking restoration of a peculiar painting found during renovations. It's nothing Lori can't handle-until moving furniture, strange sounds, and the theft of the painting prompt her to call on Aunt Dimity for help uncovering the estate's shadowy past.

Aunt Dimity Down Under
Aunt Dimity 15
Penguin, January 25, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

Lori Shepherd travels to New Zealand in Aunt Dimity's fifteenth charming adventure.

Mystery readers everywhere continue to be won over by Nancy Atherton's popular cozy series. In the latest installment, Lori Shepherd is bereft when she learns that her beloved neighbors, Ruth and Louise Pym, may be dying. Summoning her to their sickroom, the elderly sisters have a favor to ask: Will Lori find their long-lost brother, Aubrey, before death claims them? Despite her misgivings, Lori sets out for distant New Zealand-where Aubrey fled after being cast out of the family in disgrace. With the help of a charming kiwi bird and her otherworldly friend, Aunt Dimity, Lori tries to heal a family broken by deceit.

More Aunt Dimity
(Paperback Covers)

Introducing Aunt Dimity, Paranormal Detective includes the 1st two Aunt Dimity mystery novels - Aunt Dimity's Death and Aunt Dimity and the Duke.

About Nancy

Nancy Atherton lives and works in Colorado Springs with her two cats, Chloe and Emma. When she's not writing, she likes to hike, travel, and enjoy good meals with good friends.

Nancy's Links

Website - Aunt Dimity's World

The Giveaways

There is a giveaway of Aunt Dimity & The Family Tree (Aunt Dimity 16) with this interview. You can also enter to win the Grand Prize by using the Rafflecopter. The comment you leave to enter to win Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree may also be used to enter to win the Grand Prize. Both Giveaways are open internationally.

To Enter to Win a Copy of Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Aunt Dimity & The Family Tree (Aunt Dimity 16) by Nancy Atherton. The novel is provided by The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite dessert?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.  You must also leave a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will not be counted.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

To Enter to Win the Grand Prize

How:  Fill out the Rafflecopter

Terms and Conditions

1) There will be one winner of the Grand Prize.

2) The Grand Prize is separate from any giveaway associated with individual author visits during Paranormal Cozy Mystery Month.

3) You must leave a way to contact you with your comment. If you do not leave a way to contact you, your entry will not be counted.

4) The Grand Prize Giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

5) Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

6) Giveaway Terms and Condition are subject to change at any time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Love the covers. They draw your eye.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. This is a new-to-me series that I'd love to read. Nice interview! I'm glad to hear that Nancy and her kittens were not harmed by those terrible fires in Colorado.

    My favorite dessert is tiramisu. Yum!


  3. I think I stopped reading this series around book 5, so I'd love the chance to catch up again. Aunt Dimity and the Duke is my favorite of them all!

    My favorite dessert is anything chocolate.


  4. I've heard about this series but have never given it a try. Might be nice to find an established series with so many books already in print to enjoy.

    My favorite dessert is anything chocolate. Really, there aren't many desserts I DON'T like. Gimme fruit, frozen stuff, cakes, pies, tarts, name it, I'll eat it.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  5. My favorite desert is pecan pie. I don't have it very often---just to keep it very special.

  6. My favorite dessert is tuxedo cake.

  7. I love the Dimity books. They are such fun fast reads. I especially enjoy how Nancy describes the scenery.

  8. Congrats on you new release! I'm glad that you and yours are safe.

    My favorite dessert is tiramisu, or most desserts that have chocolate.

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. Y'know, I read a couple Dimity books a while back, was trying to read them in order (from the library), and waited & waited & waited for a book to be returned so I could read it next... and got sidetracked to other books/series. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to start up again! :)

    Also, favorite dessert? Really? Why don't you ask me my favorite niece or nephew or sister?? Narrow it down, baby! Favorite ice cream TODAY? Thrifty Pecan Praline. Favorite pie TODAY? Dutch Apple Pie ala mode. Favorite cake TODAY? Death by Chocolate.


  10. What a wonderfully prolific series, where to start :) I love a long running series and am looking forward to meeting Aunt Dimity. For desert I love cake, especially if it has too sugary gooey icing, and a piping hot cup of fresh ground coffee!

  11. Key Lime Pie and Pecan Pie! Can't pick just one.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  12. I like chocolate cake. The more icing the better. It never fails to make my taste buds smile.

  13. My favorite dessert is Port Wine Trifle.


  14. I like cheesecake.


  15. favorite dessert is cheesecake......plain cheesecake.......

  16. My favorite dessert are Tiramisu and donnuts :)

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  17. My favorite dessert is the tasty creme brulee and
    a warm fresh blueberry pie is heavenly.
    Thanks for the review, as the is a new-to-me series,
    I am sure to mark Nancy Atherton website. thanks for the link.
    dayleb at telus dot net

  18. Chocolate - without competition! :)

    xlacrimax at gmail com

  19. My favorite desert it Cherry cheese cake. Thanks


  20. My favourite is raspberry cheesecake.


  21. I love love love your books. I have been reading them over 20 years. I am not normally a mystery fan. ( Others leave me with a scared feeling) But I have loved the coziness of these books from the moment I picked the first one up. Who wouldnt with dessert recipes, a beloved stuffed friend,a guardian angel and a cup of tea. Thank you for your wonderful books. My favorite is the very first one Aunt Dimitys Death and also the one when the twins were born.

    As for dessert I like many kinds especially anything with ice cream. But I think my favorite is Blueberry pie.