Indie Author: Yes
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Publication Date: 04.18.2024

Cozy Mystery
Culinary Mystery
Animal Mystery

Page Count: 219 Pages

A murdered opera singer, a cruise ship full of secrets, and a retired housekeeper dragged into the mess.

Hoping for a peaceful retirement after years of dedicated service, sixty-something Gemma Becker embarks on her first cruise. Too bad no one told her murder was on the itinerary.

When a despicable diva is found dead in her cabin, Gemma reluctantly teams up with the last person she ever expected to make friends with, Viv, a retired showgirl with enough charm and sass to fill the ocean.

With her furry first mate Buddy helping sniff out the clues, the unlikely duo set a course for justice…with gourmet dishes, hilarious antics, and bonding moments along the way.

But as they navigate through a crew of quirky characters, they realize everyone has secrets hidden below the surface.

Check out this Behind the Writing interview with the author!

Tell us about the background for the theme, what inspired it or why you wanted to write in this setting, or with play with these tropes?

When I retired British head housekeeper Mrs. Gemma Becker from my Maid Ivy Cozy Mystery series, she became a serial cruiser. Hello! Spin-off series!

Are any of your characters based on real people you know?

Every staff member is inspired by my father’s side of the family. All my siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins are baked into this cozy cake. It’s particularly poignant as my father, who is bravely navigating stage four cancer, inspired the handsome Captain.

Tell us about character traits that were fun or hard for you to include in the book.

I gave straight-laced, stern Gemma the best friend she never wanted, but always needed: her polar opposite, Viv, a retired showgirl who is everything Gemma isn’t. It’s like Golden Girls go cruising buddy cop style as this unlikely duo become the best of friends while solving a murder mystery together (with their doggies helping too!)

What playlist did you listen to while creating this book?

Writing: total silence. Other aspects that require less mental focus: I’m a podcast girl. Royal gossip is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Were there any alternate endings you considered?

I had a merry band of characters planned. Viv became such a bright star that I knew the series would be perfect as a buddy-copy unlikely duo series.

Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book?

Viv. 100%. She was initially meant to simply irk Gemma..not become her best friend. I love how their dogs had an inverse relationship ARC as Gemma’s extroverted Cocker Tzu Buddy finally wins over Viv’s cranky Chihuahua Fernando.

Which of the side characters would you love to explore more, or turn into a main character in another series?

Viv could hold an entire series on her own. I could see her in her hey-dey circa 1980’s in Vegas, recently divorced from her good-for-nothing first husband, making her way in the city of lights, using all her charm and sass to solve mysteries.

What special knowledge or research was required to write this book?

Cruise ship research! I’ve only been on one cruise years ago and I wasn’t researching then. I’ll have to talk my hubby into a cruise for research purposes now…

What’s the strangest thing you had to do to create this story?

Ask ChatGPT specific questions about how to get away with murder.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

To dare to live again after love and loss. To step outside their comfort zone and try something new. To dress their dogs in outrageously silly and adorable outfits.

Was there something major that happened in your personal life while writing this?

The day Murder She Sang was released (and got my first Orange Sticker on Amazon! Woot Woo!) I had a tearful phone call with my dad. His next step is a care home. So it’s the beginning of the end.

Hazel Smith is the pen name for an introverted homeschool mom who lives in small-town Canada. Faith, family and food bring joy, hope and occasional drama to her life. In between taking care of her family & home, her free time is spent creating cozy mysteries on the porch with her laptop or in her favorite wingback chair whilst nursing the baby and typing with one finger.

She is the author of the deliciously addictive Maid Ivy Cozy Mystery Books, set in London England. Grab a cuppa and the first book in the series, Mystery Maid, on Amazon now.

Follow her on Facebook!

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