Friday, August 4, 2023

Venus Rising by Tammy D. Walker

 Wild Women Authors features author Tammy Walker and Venus Rising, a cozy mystery set on a luxury cruise liner and published by the Wild Rose Press. With Tammy is ship librarian Amy Morrison who will go first.   

Welcome, Amy. Thank you for joining us. Let’s start with you telling us about Venus Rising.  I serve as the ship’s librarian aboard The Cullinan Diamond, a luxury British ocean liner.  As we sail from London to New York City, with the assistance of other staff members, I unravel the mystery of a sixty-year old painting, a memoir by the artist the publisher won't allow anyone to read, and the whereabouts of the artist after she goes missing. 

What made you choose to become a librarian? I was one of those English majors who, honestly, didn't have a great plan for life after college.  Well, I knew that whatever I did would involve books, and I'd hoped it would involve travel. Also, in college, I was known as a matchmaker.  Not between potential romantic partners, though.  Between people and a good book.  I'd read widely enough that I could figure out the right book for someone at the right time.

          So maybe it shouldn't be surprising when a professor asked me if I'd ever considered being a librarian.  Aside from being a book matchmaker, I was pretty well suited for the job given my love of research as well as my organizational and computer skills. As for travel, well, that happened mostly via books.  Until I got my job aboard the luxury ocean liner, The Cullinan Diamond.  It's really the best of both worlds for me!

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with your chosen career or do something different? I definitely would have been a librarian again.  It's given me the chance to work with books and with a lot of amazing people, both back in my hometown of Dawville, Texas, and aboard the cruise ship. 

          If I could change anything about my career, I would have taken more risks.  Don't get me wrong--I wouldn't change my twenty years at the Dawville Public Library for anything.  But I would have done more to bring in the adventure I'd craved.  I would have held more events for our patrons, maybe bringing in more big-name authors.  I don't know how well the sort of chic galas I host aboard ship would have worked in tiny Dawville, but I think I might have had fun finding out.  And, more importantly, our library patrons might have enjoyed them, too!

What is your biggest fear? It is that I've taken the safe route too often.  For instance, I stayed in a marriage too long, hoping my husband would finally see me for who I am, not for who he thought I was. When I started my job as librarian aboard The Cullinan Diamond, I was afraid that I couldn't handle the glitz and glamour hosting author galas on ship required.  Finding friends in Penelope and Richard, the retired professors lecturing aboard ship, Gemma, the art curator, and Kevin in IT, helped me not only solve a mystery, but also solving the puzzle of who I can be.  I've taken the safe route so many times.  Good friends help you take the good risks in life.  And often, those good risks help you discover that you're capable of so much more than you thought.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I've read and loved so many characters over the years, but I think my absolute favorite has to be Jo March from Little Women.  I remember reading the book first when I was in junior high and getting swept up in the world that Louise May Alcott created. It wasn't until I reread the book in college that I realized how Jo's choices demonstrated her integrity in spite of the difficulties she faced.  I think Jo March knew deeply who she was and what she valued, and that's admirable.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? It came from my sister Stacey, who lives on a farm in Dawville with her family.  When I was first going through a divorce, she reminded me about how our parents, who owned a small farm equipment repair shop in town, always found the good in something that seemed broken.  Even if something can't be fixed, you can find some part that you can use to repair something else.  Or make something new from. 

          Okay, so, maybe that's not the most comforting thing to hear when your two-decade marriage is breaking up, but I needed to hear it.  Stacey reminded me that even though my marriage had broken up, I myself was still fine.  I wasn't broken.  I needed to hear that to move on and embrace the adventure that I had no idea was coming.

 Thank you for your candor, Amy. Now we’d like to chat with Tammy.

Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? I've always been a fan of British mysteries on PBS, so watching shows as far ranging as Midsomer Murders, Lewis/Endeavour, Father Brown, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, and so many others gave me a good grounding in mystery structure.  I've always been drawn to characters such as Hetty Wainthropp, Miss Marple, and the women in The Bletchley Circle--they definitely shaped how I saw the potential of these sleuths.

          In the last decade, I've read more mysteries, too.  Agatha Christie, of course, but also Louise Penny, whose Three Pines taught me so much about how to craft community.  Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series gave me so much to think about with regard to characterization.  I learned more about cozies in particular by reading books by M. C. Beaton, Joanne Fluke, Dorothy Cannell, and dozens of others!

          I'm also a poet, so I think a lot about language as I'm writing and revising my mysteries.  I was delighted to find out that Cecil Day-Lewis, who was poet laureate of TK, also wrote detective novels.  I haven't tracked down his Nigel Strangeways mysteries from the 1930s-1960s yet, but they're on my list.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? Venus Rising was definitely a pandemic book.  My family and I were staying home, of course, so we watched a lot of travel videos.  I saw these amazing libraries on board cruise ships--every detail was gorgeous, and the shelves held these beautiful leather-bound volumes. 

          I'd also been reading more mysteries during the pandemic.  So, while watching yet another cruise ship tour video, I thought, "I'd really love to read a mystery about a cruise ship librarian."  And then I thought, "I''d really love to write a mystery about a cruise ship librarian." And thus, Venus Rising began.

The original concept didn't change much, but I did realize that I'd need to both read more cozies and get a better feel for genre conventions before I got too deep into the draft.  My other books are poetry collections, so it was a bit of a jump in genre.  I've been a long-time reader (and viewer) of mysteries, though, so not a huge leap!

Tell us a bit about your publisher. Working with The Wild Rose Press has been wonderful! I found them while searching online for small presses accepting manuscripts, and I liked their range of books: a good mix of mysteries, romance, and fantasy among others. The submission process was quite similar to other presses I've submitted to, and the turnaround time from query to publication was a little over a year. 

What are you reading right now? I travel through fiction, so I love to read regional British mysteries of various kinds (along with a lot of poetry!).  As far as fiction goes, I just finished A Dirty Death by Rebecca Tope, and I enjoyed the mystery as well as being immersed in farm life.  Right now, I have just started reading Postman's Knock by J. F. Straker.  And since I read poetry at the same time, I just read Naming the Ghost by Emily Hockaday, and I'm about to start Climacteric by Jo Bratten.

What's next for you in terms of an upcoming release or current project? My current project is a novella set in small town north central Texas.  Two cousins reunite when they inherit their grandmother's boutique, and they realize that they don't know as much as they thought they did about their grandmother--or each other!

I'm also working on a follow-up novel to Venus Rising.  Amy Morrison and her friends aboard The Cullinan Diamond are dazzled by a poet who boards the ship in Miami.  When Lucia, valet and poetry lover, tells Amy that she thinks something is odd about the poet's reading, Amy works to solve the mystery of the poet's identity before he disembarks in Buenos Aires to claim a multi-million-dollar prize. 

          In this follow-up novel, Amy explores more of her adventurous side as well as her feelings toward Kevin, the IT manager aboard ship, and her ex-husband Neil, who has begun to send her cryptic emails.  They're off to Argentina, so, of course, Amy learns to tango!

 To learn more about Tammy D. Walker and the stories she creates, go to:




To purchase Venus Rising, go to:







1 comment:

  1. I, too, always felt like I was a member of the March family. I think I was inspired to write by Jo. Your book sounds like an interesting read. Best wishes!