Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Victoria Benchley. She is the author of the Duncan Dewar Mysteries.
Mystery, Suspense, Romance
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Victoria Benchley lives with her husband of over twenty years and their two children on the West Coast of the United States. She grew up reading the classics and counts Dickens and the Bronte Sisters as her favorite authors. After a career in corporate America spanning public accounting, cash management, and real estate investments, at national and international firms, she chose to become a stay-at-home mom and full time taxi cab driver for her children. She is a Christian and enjoys quilting, cooking, and traveling (road trips included!), as well as reading and writing. Come football season, she can be found most Sunday afternoons enjoying an NFL game.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your short story: A Crime at the Bakery. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
My next book is a full-length Duncan Dewar Mystery, set in Spain. Duncan is offered a lucrative case that could jump start his new company. At first, it appears to be the typical industrial accident he used to investigate. Further review makes him wonder. I’m hoping this book will be ready for release in July.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
My followers on Twitter have helped immensely in getting the word out about my books. I’ve found Twitter to be a supportive environment overall.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I’ve yet to do any personal appearances.
My Facebook page,
is the best place to keep track of what I’m up to.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I have a hands-on approach to my covers, providing the designer with the tartan backgrounds (yes, every background is a Scottish tartan), frames, and picture inside the frame. My cover designer does a great job of bringing it all together with fonts and color washes.
You have a book trailer for The Snail Man. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer?
I went with a recommendation for the producer of my book trailer. I’m not sure of its impact on book sales/exposure. I provided the producer with photos that reflected the contents of The Snail Man and a plot summary. She did the rest.
You have written a short story called A Crime at the Bakery. Can you tell us if it had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?
I find writing a short story very challenging. A Crime At the Bakery was written to further develop some of my characters in the fictional village of Taye, Scotland. Also, I wanted the readers to know things were happening back in Scotland while Duncan was investigating a case in Spain. A Crime At the Bakery also gave folks something to read in the series while awaiting the next full length novel.
Besides the IAN, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I am now a member of ASMSG as well as IAN. Both groups, along with the helpful people I’ve met on Facebook and Twitter, have provided guidance in publishing and promoting books. There’s so much for an Indie author to learn. It’s very overwhelming at first. In fact, I still find it overwhelming at times. So, I’m very grateful for the knowledge these groups and individuals have shared with me.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
Ah, the double-edged sword of giveaways! I promoted my first book, The Snail Man, with a giveaway when it first came out. Giving your book away for free can really garner a lot of attention. However, not all of that attention is positive. Whenever folks can get your book free of charge, you will attract some people who are only looking for books to slam in reviews. So, the author must decide if the positive aspects of the exposure are worth the negative. Many authors feel a free book is only a good idea if it is the first in a series that is already available to readers.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I do have a small, but growing reader list. I place a note at the end of my books, explaining how to sign up for my list. Reader lists are a great way to let your fans know when your next book is released or if you are offering any special deals on your books. It is also a nice way to connect with those who enjoy your writing.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
When someone compliments me on one of my books, I try to ask them to leave a review. I basically rely on my reading audience to supply reviews.
Author's Book List
A Crime at the Bakery
- Duncan Dewar Mysteries
While Duncan Dewar is away on a case, something strange is going on in Taye. Special Constable Donald Merriwether is called to investigate a crime at the village bakery. The prime suspect is his nemesis and former girlfriend, Abigail Neward. Events unfold unexpectedly in this short story featuring villagers from Taye. Don't worry, even though Duncan is not featured in this book, he will return soon!
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The Merlon Murders II
- Duncan Dewar Mysteries Book 2
The Merlon Murders II (part two of a two part mystery):
Tracking down a killer could be deadly for hot shot insurance investigator Duncan Dewar. Someone or something just tried to push him from the battlement of Castle Taye. As Duncan falls deeper for Caroline, he discovers evidence that points to something sinister. Hoping to learn what really happened at the castle, Duncan travels from beautiful Scotland to London and back again, sampling local cuisine along the way. Will the evidence lead to an accident, conspiracy, or crime of passion? Can Duncan unravel the case and protect Caroline in the process? Who will be the next victim of the merlon murders?
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The Merlon Murders
- Duncan Dewar Mysteries Book 1
The Merlon Murders I (part one of a two part mystery):
When hot shot investigator and math genius Duncan Dewar decides to head a life insurance inquiry, he has no idea what he's soon to encounter. Hoping to learn more about his ancestry, Duncan is drawn to the village of Taye, Scotland, where his past and future are about to collide, altering the trajectory of his life forever. Was the laird of Castle Taye accidently crushed by a merlon from his own battlement, or are more sinister forces at work? Is the alluring widow and beneficiary of eleven million pounds to blame, or innocent? Is a ghost seeking vengeance against members of Clan MacNab for the slaughter of her loved one hundreds of years ago? Will Duncan be the next victim of the merlon murders? Follow Duncan on a culinary tour of breathtaking Scotland as he navigates through relationships with the villagers of Taye in his quest for answers. The Merlon Murders I is part one of a two part mystery.
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The Snail Man
- A Mystery Romantic Suspense Novel
The choice between a stalker and the ideal man should be easy for Kathryn, if she can tell the difference.
Kathryn has just been stood up for a blind date with the man of her dreams. Will she retreat to the world of grief and loneliness she usually inhabits, or pair up with the mysterious Art who reminds her so much of her deceased husband? Will the worldly Roger sweep her off her feet? This haunting, cozy murder mystery novel will keep the reader in suspense until the end. The Snail Man is a clean read with a charming cast of quirky characters.
The Snail Man
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