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Monday 27 June 2016

ℚ Homicide in the House: Washington Whodunit [2] - Colleen J. Shogan

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Homicide in the House (, Camel Press, 222 pages), a Cozy Mystery, book two of Washington Whodunit series.

"Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery." --"Publishers Weekly," April 18, 2016

4 Stars: "The gang is together again in this exceptional murder mystery as Kit, her friend Meg, boyfriend Doug and rescue dog Clarence collectively work to solve the crime. Each distinctive personality shines as they bring the case to a close. Be prepared for another adventure." --RT Magazine

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Colleen Shogan; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Homicide in the House?

"In 2013, the United States federal government shut down for sixteen days when Congress and the President could agree on a budget deal. Even though most federal employees were furloughed, I went to work most days during the shutdown. I thought Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill in particular assumed a dismal eeriness during the shutdown. Hallways were empty, cafeterias were shuttered, and offices were largely deserted. I had finished my first book, Stabbing in the Senate, and I was starting to think about a sequel. What better premise for a murder than a government shutdown? Tensions are high and the place is a ghost town. It’s a perfect setting for a crime novel. My experiences during those sixteen days became the basis for Homicide in the House."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Before I worked at the Library of Congress, I was a staffer in the United States Senate. I also worked for the Congressional Research Service, which provides objective policy analysis to all Members of Congress. All in all, for almost ten years, I interacted regularly with politicians and staff on Capitol Hill. I know the personalities, what makes them tick, and how they behave. My experiences are woven throughout my books, even though the characters are entirely fictional."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Homicide in the House - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love the cover for Homicide in the House. My publisher employs a cover designer who does a terrific job. When my editor sent me the first draft of the cover, I was immediately pleased. Homicide in the House takes place in the dead of winter, so the snowy scene is perfect. I also love the expression on the sleuth’s face."
Why should we read Homicide in the House and the Washington Whodunit series; what sets it apart from the rest?
"My series is unique because it’s a realistic depiction of what it’s like to live and work in Washington, D.C. It’s not a supremely political book and it certainly doesn’t preach a particular brand of politics. That being said, I think a lot of people are curious about how the government of the United States works and they like to consume good stories about it. That’s the appeal of “House of Cards,” “Scandal,” and “Veep.” My books are like Margaret Truman crossed with “Madam Secretary.” I also try to throw some laughter in there. Politics these days requires humor. "
Can you tell us something quirky about Homicide in the House, its story and characters?
"My main character Kit Marshall, her best friend Meg, and her other sidekicks like patronizing local restaurants and bars, especially when they interrogate suspects. I frequent all the places I feature in my books – they are actual restaurants or watering holes in Washington, D.C. Before I write a scene, I make sure I got there for a meal or a drink. I make sure I absorb every last detail and take notes on my iPhone. I like to make the reader feel as though they are sitting there with Kit and Meg, sipping a glass of Pinot and solving the case alongside them."
Who would you recommend Homicide in the House to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"There’s no warnings or disclaimers. My book has no gratuitous violence (except the murder), bad language, or sex scenes. In that sense, it’s true to the “cozy mystery” genre. Anyone who likes reading amateur sleuth mysteries should enjoy the Washington Whodunit series, especially those who are curious about Washington, D.C."
If you could / wished to turn Homicide in the House and the Washington Whodunit series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I really think the Washington Whodunit characters would be terrific on Hallmark. They’re doing a great job these days with amateur sleuth mystery movies. I eat them up like candy on Halloween. Aubrey Plaza might be good for Kit Marshall. Or even Jennifer Love Hewitt. For Meg, maybe Sarah Michelle Gellar or Kristin Bell? James Franco must play Doug, Kit’s boyfriend who teaches at Georgetown. He simply must! James Franco, are you reading this?"
What is your writing process?
"I have a full time job at the Library of Congress that keeps me pretty busy on a daily basis. So I write in the evenings and on the weekends. I start writing after I have a well-developed outline, but sometimes I deviate from the plan. For example, for Homicide in the House, I changed the killer when I was two-thirds finished with the manuscript."
What is in store next?
"I’m currently writing the third book in the series. This installment is set at the Cosmos Club, which is a high society membership society in Washington, D.C. Kit goes there for a history conference with Doug and his parents. Let’s just say for now that murders abound, and Kit is faced with having to figure out whodunit before Doug’s father gets arrested for the crimes. The investigation takes her all over Washington, particularly to cultural institutions, such as the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Absolutely! Here’s a photo of my dog Conan. He’s a beagle mutt who we adopted from a rescue almost five years ago. He’s also the inspiration for Clarence, the dog who plays a part in all my mysteries. He’s on the front cover of all the books – as an icon in the lower right-hand corner!"
Great picture! Hello Conan!!!

Homicide in the House
Available NOW!

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CJ said...

Your dog is adorable!! Thank you for sharing the interview with us! :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing - great picture, Conan is a cutie :)

Nikolina said...

Happy to be a part of this tour, thank you for sharing!

Colleen Shogan said...

Thanks for reading. Conan says thank you, too!!