Search this blog

Friday 18 December 2020

ℚ♫ A Murder Is Forever: Diamond District Mysteries [1] - Rob Bates

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with debut author, and Award-winning journalist,  to talk about A Murder Is Forever (, Camel Press, 183 pages), a Cosy Mystery, book one in the The Diamond District Mysteries series.

“I loved every minute of it. [The] plot is fascinating and filled with red herrings … I’m looking forward to future books in this series. A Murder is Forever is a marvelous and impressive debut novel; it’s most highly recommended.” – Readers’ Favorite

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Rob Bates; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in A Murder Is Forever , or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?
"Yes; this starts off with two fun (and non-obvious) songs about diamonds, reflecting the series’ theme.  Then we have a few songs about New York City, where the book is set.  I’ve also included two songs my mother liked; she was born in Belgium and the series’ heroine is named after her.  After that is one of the most Jewish songs I could find, which is worth hearing just for the list of names.

Most of the book was written pre-COVID-19, but I did some edits during quarantine, and the last two songs reflect that.  The first of is one of my favorite songs of all time, which I’ve included as a tribute to my family, who have helped me survive this crazy period.  And then we end with a reminder that as much as this pandemic has dragged on, it, too, will pass."
What was the inspiration for A Murder Is Forever?
"I have written about the diamond industry for different trade publications for nearly 30 years.  The diamond business is endlessly fascinating and has a lot of facets (pun intended).  It overlaps with politics, marketing, fashion, economics, science, so many areas of life.  I feel like I’m still learning about it, and I’ve been writing about it for decades.  I always thought the Diamond District would be a perfect setting for a mystery series.  There are so many stories to tell!

I wanted A Murder of Forever to shine a light on an industry that few truly understand.  You watch movies like Uncut Gems, you would think everyone in it is terrible.  And yes, that aspect exists, and the book is frank about some of the industry’s flaws.  But some of the nicest, warmest, smartest, most decent people I’ve ever met work in the diamond and jewelry business.  In the end, it’s an industry full of people just trying to make a living, like most businesses are.

There are some unique aspects to it, and I wanted to portray those, too.  It is very much a family business.  People tend to stay in it their whole life, even if they don’t expect to.  (I certainly didn’t.)  There are people in the diamond business that I met when I was 25, and I had hair and zits.  I am now, shall we say, a little older than 25.

The industry also has a large representation of certain groups, like Hasidic Jews and Indian Jains, that aren’t often represented in popular culture.  There’s a part of the book where the heroine is walking through an industry building and passes a warning from management, complaining too many people are praying in the halls, and it’s become a fire hazard.  That was a real sign!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"A lot of the quotes in the book are things people have actually said to me in the diamond industry.  I’ll let readers guess which ones those are.  The plot is very loosely inspired by real incidents and events, with a lot of fiction thrown in.

In the beginning of the book, the heroine is out of a job and short on money, and feels like working for her father’s diamond company is “going backwards.”  As I also had family in the business, that’s how I felt when I started working for an industry trade publication.  I’m now in my third decade of going backwards.  Considering I met my wife in the industry, I really can’t complain."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for A Murder Is Forever - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The publisher picked it, so I don’t know where it’s from, but they wanted something that said, “New York City.”  I like the fact that it’s bright and kind of light.  It matches the book—it has serious moments, but overall, it’s meant to be a fun read."
Why should we read A Murder Is Forever and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"This is an insider’s look at a unique and fascinating industry that few people understand.  A lot of people pass through the Diamond District, and wonder what really goes on there.  This is my attempt to lift the veil for outsiders.  So it’s meant to be fun but I tried to stick a decent amount of diamond info in there.

When I started writing it, I didn’t know what a “cozy” was, but I found my series matches all the criteria for one: it is built around a regular group of characters, it’s light-hearted, it has moments of humor, there’s not a lot of violence in it, and it’s built around an amateur detective.  There’s one difference: it’s set in a city, rather than a small town, like most cozies are.  But the 47th Street Diamond District is definitely a small, insular community.  Maybe that will be a new genre: the urban cozy."
Can you tell us something quirky about A Murder Is Forever, its story and characters?
"When I first suggested writing the book to an editor, he suggested the main character be female, as women are the target audience for mysteries.  That was not something I would have originally considered, and I had some trepidation about that.  So, I made sure that my wife signed off everything.  Which she did, mostly, though every now and then she’d write “hmmm…” on something.  I got rid of everything that had a “hmmm…”

The main character is named after my late mom, and her diamond-dealer father is named after my late grandfather, who was a diamond dealer.  But I just chose their names as an homage; they don’t necessarily reflect who they were."
Who would you recommend A Murder Is Forever to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend it to anyone who wants a fun page-turner, or wants to learn about a unique industry.  It’s not violent and is meant to be enjoyable, a distraction from the often-unpleasant news that fills up our days.  There’s one or two bad words, but most of them are in Yiddish.  You may miss them if you don’t check the glossary."
If you could / wished to turn A Murder Is Forever and the The Diamond District Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"If Hollywood comes calling, I’ll leave that up to them.  (My phone is open.)  I guess my dream director would be Alfred Hitchcock.  I hear he’s not available."
Oh, I don't know... with the advances in digital technology and virtual reality, you never know what could be possible. 😉

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I can write about more than diamonds and jewelry, though it may not appear that way.  I do hope to explore different genres and different subjects, as long as the publishing gods are amenable.  We’ll see.

I have done a decent amount of comedy writing, and one thing I enjoyed about writing a novel is I didn’t have to put a joke in every other line."
What is your writing process?
"I sit down at the computer, decide I’ll read something on the Internet for five minutes, end up reading for far more than that, then feel guilty, finally start writing, and end up going to sleep really late.

In other words, pretty standard."
LOL that's pretty much my writing style!  You are making me feel better!

What is in store next?

"I just handed in the manuscript for the second book in the Diamond District mystery series, called “Murder’s Not a Girl’s Best Friend.”  (I’m really happy with my first two titles, by the way, since they play on two of the industry’s best-know slogans.  I’m open to suggestions for a third.)

The second book covers some of the social issues the industry has dealt with.  That’s obviously a more serious subject than what I built my first book around, and it’s been a bit of a challenge to do that topic justice, while still keeping the tone light and fun.  But it’s still meant to be an enjoyable book.  It contains most of the characters from the first book, particularly Mimi and Max, and a few surprises."
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?
"I don’t know if this counts, but here’s a picture of my son, writing on the porch of our family home in New Jersey—where we’ve stayed on and off during COVID-19.  I sometimes like to write there, too.  He looks like he could be a budding author, though his writer parents he’ll do something that’s actually lucrative."
Yep, this definitely counts!  Love the picture, thank you for sharing it with us.  And our best wishes to your son for his writing; we look forward to hosting his work as well. 😉

We hope you are having a great tour!

Mimi Rosen, an unemployed journalist, makes ends meet answering phones at her father’s diamond business. When a dealer is murdered, she is determined to bring the killer to justice.

A Murder Is Forever
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads

1 comment:

CMash said...

How cute is his son!!!! It looks like there is going to be another author in that family!!!