by Barb who’s recovering from knee replacement surgery
The last time D.E. Ireland (actually the writing team of Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) visited, it was to celebrate the launch of their first Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery–Wouldn’t It Be Deadly. That time we talked about their process of writing as a team, which blew most of us solo-writing Wickeds away. Now they’re back to celebrate the release of the second book in the series, Move Your Blooming Corpse, which happens to launch today! Welcome, D. E. (and Meg and Sharon).
Barb: We’re so honored to have you here on release day for Move Your Blooming Corpse! Do either of you have any release day rituals? I don’t mean responding to blog comments or obsessively checking Amazon rankings. I mean something you do to savor the accomplishment and enjoy the day.
Sharon: When I was writing for another house, I always framed my cover flats and treated myself to a crystal figurine representing my latest book. (For example, a small crystal cobra for a historical set in Egypt.) But Meg and I have been so busy writing both the DE Ireland series and our individual series that we’ve left little time to celebrate. I’m beginning to think we should buy ourselves a nice piece of jewelry on our release day. For now, dinner at a favorite restaurant is how I choose to mark the great day.
Meg: Dinner is nice, but I prefer visiting my favorite tea room to celebrate. Sharon used to live closer to that spot, but now she’s moved across the state. Last year, we did a “tea and book” event at Sweet Afton in Plymouth, with twenty some friends. And I also bought a lovely purple Kate Spade purse, and added a few British charms to my Pandora bracelet. This year, I’m still debating what to do or buy.
Barb: Hmm…I keep looking at my cover flats and thinking I should do something with them. Move Your Blooming Corpse takes place in the world of Edwardian horse racing. We know you love the era, but were either of you “horse” people before? Why did you decide on horse racing, and how did you research it?
Meg: My daughter is a natural horsewoman. Horses love her, she loves them. On the other hand, I prefer watching horses. When it comes to riding – no thanks. But the history of British horse racing and the suffragette who was trampled to death by the King’s horse in 1913 fascinated me. It seemed natural to dig deeper and incorporate the “real life” events and people into our fictional world.
Sharon: I love horses from afar. But whenever I’ve found myself riding one of them, I grow nervous. They’re just so big! My fear didn’t stop my best friend and me from creating a horseback riding club when we were in middle school, which was less about our love of riding than a way to get out of class. We chose horse racing as the main topic for Book Two because the scene in My Fair Lady when Eliza appears at Royal Ascot in that glorious white and black outfit was just so memorable. We had to find a way to expand upon it. And the more we researched the Edwardian racing world, the more we realized what a fascinating and colorful subject it was. Most of the suspects and victims in Move Your Blooming Corpse are based on real individuals from that time period.
Barb: What is the strangest thing you found out about horse racing in the Edwardian era during your research?
Sharon: Even the richest society women were discouraged from owning a racehorse. I found this strange since riding was such an important leisure activity for ladies of the Edwardian era. Luckily, some intrepid females were able to get around this prejudice. We based one of our characters on the Duchess of Montrose, who owned racehorses under the false name ‘Mr. Manton’. She married three times, but supposedly the only man allowed to enter her private bedroom was her horse trainer. And I quite enjoy the fact that she married her third husband when she was 70…and he was 24.
Meg: What I found strange was that fashion was as important as the race, just like now! Wealthy women wore a different outfit and hat each day, and tried to one-up each other. Take for example the “Black Ascot” of 1910, since King Edward VII died just before the racing event – but it wasn’t canceled since he was such a racing enthusiast. A facsimile of the costumes (black, white and gray) appear in the film My Fair Lady. Huge hats and feathers galore (dyed), gloves, parasols, elaborate gowns over the S-bend corset, which couldn’t have been all that comfortable for an all-day event.
Barb: What are you working on now, both as a team and individually?
Meg: As the D.E. Ireland writing team, we finished Book Three of the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins series and have brainstormed ideas for Books Four and Five. At the request of our agent, we are also putting together another mystery series proposal to collaborate on.
Sharon: Earlier this year I sold a cozy mystery series to Kensington that I’m writing under the name ‘Sharon Farrow’. The Berry Basket series is set in a beautiful resort town along the shores of Lake Michigan, very much like the village I currently live in. The first book in the series, Dying For Strawberries, will be released November 2016, with subsequent books to follow every nine months.
Meg: Sharon and I will be working on another collaboration once we get a proposal written. My agent has several proposals out for me with editors, one historical and one cozy. I’m working on a short story for a western romance anthology, A Mail Order Christmas Bride, plus a contemporary romance pet rescue Christmas novella, A Holly Jolly Christmas, under my name, Meg Mims.
This is only one stop on the MOVE YOUR BLOOMING CORPSE Mystery Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, CLICK HERE.
You can also read more about Eliza and Higgins in WOULDN’T IT BE DEADLY, the first book in the St. Martin’s Minotaur mystery series.
About the authors – D.E. Ireland is a team of award-winning authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta. Long time friends, they decided to collaborate on a mystery based on George Bernard Shaw’s wonderfully witty play, Pygmalion, using all his beloved characters, including Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, and Colonel Pickering. Sharon and Meg both live in Michigan, have patient husbands, brilliant daughters, and share a love of good books, tea and history. Their first book in the series, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, was a 2014 Agatha nominee for Best Historical Mystery.
For more information, check out their website.