Guest Chick: Abby Vandiver

The Chicks are thrilled to welcome bestselling author Abby Vandiver today! She has written a variety of series, including the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mysteries, Normal Junction Cozy Mysteries, Tiny House Mysteries, Romaine Wilder Mysteries, and the Ice Cream Parlor Mysteries. Her latest book, A Deadly Inside Scoop, is available now under the name Abby Collette.

For the Good of the Story!

Cozy mysteries are fun. No two ways about it. Humorous. Relaxing. Engaging. A whodunit that allows the reader to vicariously solve a murder. Cozies are a tried and true recipe for happy hours of reading—even though each story contains murder!

There’s a formula to cozy mysteries, and if you’re a writer or reader of them, you can probably recite it top of your head to anyone that asks. Amateur sleuth. Small town. Little if any violence, but a murder is of course, necessary. Even the book cover for a cozy is easy to spot (usually an illustration as opposed to a photo). And cozies are a booming business, ever since Miss Christie popularized them nearly a hundred years ago. They are a go to choice by readers who are looking for a light read. So, with mysteries, the second most popular genre, it’s a sure fire bet that readers are going to encounter similar themes in practically any book they pick up. Yep. It’s true. Finding one book where the mystery is unique is nearly impossible.

So there are a few things I try to do to keep the mystery fun and fresh for my readers.

First, I do a lot of research. And the facts I find out about my setting, plot and for the demise of character most times make it into my book. There’s always a little fact mixed in with my fiction. Understanding what I write and being knowledgeable enough to write correctly about the city they’re in or the manner of death for poor victim, is important not only to me, but to my readers. It makes my stories more believable and that much more real.

But can you just imagine what my computer’s browser history must look like? I’ve queried things like:

What are quick acting poisons? How long does it take for antifreeze to kill a person? How long does it take for a person to die from a stab wound? How to get away with murder?

Oh my!

I have truly worried what would happen if for some reason a branch of law enforcement had to search my computer. What would they think? How long would it take for them to “invite” me down to the station for a conversation?

How much trouble would I be in?

I often go to the library and write. I don’t think they can trace my searches back to me from there, can they?

But it’s necessary for the enjoyment of my readers . . .

But all my searching to get my whodunit right would be for naught if I didn’t piece together a solid puzzle for them to solve. That’s the second thing I like to do to make for a good story: keep my readers guessing. But setting up clues for the readers to follow along with my amateur sleuth isn’t an easy thing to do. And certainly not something I just can’t put into a search engine to figure out. (Although to make sure the clues are viable, I do still rely on my Google searches.)

I have to craft logical clues, distracting red herrings, and false leads, but the clues have to be fair—you can’t have the murderer popping in at the last minute out of nowhere. The steps along the way have to be reasonable and cogent. Sometimes I have to approach it like I often do to solve a difficult math problem—I work backwards from the answer and figure out how it was done. The cozy mystery has to make sense because the thrill of it is contingent on the roll out of the mystery.

In my new cozy mystery, A Deadly Inside Scoop, I did a lot of hard research and gathering of clues to try to keep the story novel and rousing for my readers. You see, the book is about ice cream, so, yep you guessed it, I had to eat a lot of it to make sure I got it right. It was a necessary sacrifice.

But I think I got it right . . .

I’ve been told that when you read my new book, you’ll want to have some ice cream close by!

Abby will give away an audiobook or a signed copy of a paperback, winners choice, of A Deadly Inside Scoop. The winner will be picked randomly from commenters to the post. Good luck!

WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and internationally best selling author, Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, has always enjoyed writing, combining that with her gift for telling stories and love of mystery, she became an author.

Abby’s an hybrid author. Her debut novel, In the Beginning and its sequels, Irrefutable Proof and Incarnate are fact mixed with fiction, mystery/sci-fi novels not written as action packed or fast paced, but as “what-if” alternative history stories. After those books were published, Abby switched to writing cozy mysteries. Finding much success, she has three series so far, Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery, Normal Junction Cozy Mystery and Tiny House Mysteries, all self-published. In 2017, she contracted with Henery Press for a 3-book deal to pen the series Romaine Wilder Mysteries. Her new #ownvoice cozy mystery series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery by Berkley Penguin will debut in May 2020. The first book in the series is A Deadly Inside Scoop. Abby is represented by Rachel M. Brooks at Bookends Literary Agency.

Although she writes mostly mystery, Abby has co-written a historical/women’s fiction novel with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne under the pen name Kathryn Longino, and a Kindle World, historical/sci-fi fiction book, Countdown to Atlantis. That book was inspired by the A.G. Riddle’s book, The Atlantis Gene.

Abby, a former lawyer and college professor, has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.

Abby’s got many more books to come, so stay tuned!

45 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Abby Vandiver

  1. Congratulations, Abby, on your new series. Based on all of your research, what was your favorite ice cream, and which one would you never try again?

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love the balance of humor and tragedy in cozies. Research is an absolute must… even through all the silliness the story must ring true. Congratulations on the new release!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Abby, I read your great post first thing this morning and now I want ice cream for breakfast. (Not kidding. I have Neopolitan in the freezer right now.) Your new series sounds equally delicious—congrats! Love the cover, too.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. When I was growing up, the only ice cream we ever had in our home was Neopolitan. To this day, I can’t look at a container of Neopolitan ice cream. Now, vanilla on its own, chocolate on its own, but never strawberry.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Leslie, Neapolitan worked for us because I’d scoop out strawberry, my sister liked chocolate, and my mom ate vanilla! Only my dad took a bit of each.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Hi Lisa. I see absolutely nothing wrong with having ice cream for breakfast. Lol. Glad you like the cover, I do too. It’s fun and different for a cozy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha ha, Abby! I often wonder what people would think about my search history too. Hopefully they would be too distracted by all the ice cream references in yours to notice the sinister stuff. And now, like everyone else here, I want ice cream!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Maybe we all need stickers for our computers that say, “It’s okay: I’m a mystery writer!”

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Abby–the new series sounds absolutely delicious! And I so love that cover!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Thank you so much for visiting us, Abby! Love the puzzle aspects of mysteries so much…and “math problem” is a terrific comparison.

    And how brilliant that your research involves ice cream! Heavenly.

    Congratulations on your new release–can’t wait to read.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Abby, I “suffered” through hours of coffee bars researching my barista protagonist for My Fair Latte, so I understand your research sacrifice for ice cream! Congrats on the new series — and thanks for visiting with us today!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I want to read that short story!! Thank you, Ellen. Happy to visit. Great place to be. Having so much fun with all the comments.


  8. Welcome, Abby, and thank you so much for joining us! I’m so excited to dig into your delicious new series. It looks and sounds amazing! And if you ever need help with this kind of research, I’ll be ready with my spoon. 🙂

    Congratulations on your many successes and the new series!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I might just need help on the next one Kathleen. I will email you and your spoon and let you know. Lol. Happy to be here and thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Esme. Well, the second story is all written and I’ve got a cover, so fingers crossed it won’t be long!


  9. Hi, Abby – first, congratulations on your new book! It sounds delicious. Thanks to my mother-in-law, I discovered Butter Pecan which wasn’t something I’d ever have imagined liking when I was young (and a chocoholic at an early age). So, I also want to know if you have a favorite flavor.

    Second, congratulations on your many personal accomplishments. You’ve achieved so much professionally and academically that I’m delighted you’re bringing those insights to the world of cozy mysteries. (Hmmmm, reminds me of a few of the Chicks on the Case!). I appreciate how the research and author’s life experiences make the stories so much richer for us readers. I’m looking forward to your new book.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Ruth. Butter pecan was my mother’s favorite and it brings back such good memories with her. Thank you for sharing that. I am a chocolate fan, but I eat butter pecan often and think of her.

      And thank you for the congratulations. I love doing research. I look up everything, just part of my nature (and I guess being a lawyer).

      My new book is Game of Cones. And I can’t wait either!


  10. Hi Abby! I love ice cream and a good mystery too! Hope you got to try Magnum Bars during your research..they are the best ice cream bars ever!!!! Would love to read your cozy creamy mystery so please count me in!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Kathy. I don’t think I’ve heard of Magnum Bars, but of course I’m going now to look that up and see if I can order some online!

      Thank you!


  11. Thank you Chicks on the Case for hosting me and my book on your blog. I smiled all the way through reading and responding to the comments. This has been fun. My apologies for not getting here to chat it up sooner!

    We’ll have a winner soon and I’ll be back to announce. Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I got a copy of this book from Barnes and Noble. I’m going to buy another one for a friend’s belated birthday present. I love the cover.


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