Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sense of Entitlement & Giveaway

Anna Loan-Wilsey visits today to tell us about her new book from Kensington Press, A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT. Comment below to be entered for a giveaway for a paper copy of the book. 

1893 Atlas of Newport- An example of part of the 1893 Atlas that I use to know what every street was called, where every building was, etc.  An invaluable tool for historic detail.  This particular shot actually shows the banks which figure prominently in the story.

Here is a description of A Sense of Entitlement:

Traveling secretary and dilettante detective Hattie Davish is bringing her talents to a small New England town whose wealthy residents have more secrets than they do money. . .

When Hattie Davish's job takes her to Newport, Rhode Island, she welcomes the opportunity for a semi-vacation, and perhaps even a summer romance. But her hopes for relaxation are dashed when she learns that members of the local labor unions are at odds with Newport's gentry. Amidst flaring tensions, an explosion rocks the wharf. In the ensuing turmoil, Mr. Harland Whitwell, one of Newport's most eminent citizens, is found stabbed to death, his hands clutching a strike pamphlet. All signs point to a vengeful union member bent on taking down the aristocracy, but Hattie starts digging and finds a few skeletons in the closets of the impeccable Whitwell mansion. As she strikes down the whispers spilling out of Newport's rumor mill, she'll uncover a truth more scandalous than anyone imagined--and a killer with a rapacious sense of entitlement. . .

Breakers- a photo I took of the famous Vanderbilt "Cottage" as seen from the Cliff Walk.  Although this was only in mid-construction during the story (wasn't finished until 1895), I "borrowed" some elements for my fictitious Rose Mont. 

Where did you get the idea for A Sense of Entitlement? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write?

When I was pitching the idea of a series to publishers, I had to come up with titles for three possible books.  One of them, “A Path Derailed” was to be based on a railroad “robber baron” type.  I was intrigued by the types of conflicts that would arise among such 19th century “American royalty” as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Astors, and Biltmores.   And then to throw Hattie among them was irresistible.   I placed the story in Newport, RI simply because it was the playground of the richest of the rich.  It also had the added benefit of having the very iconic Cliffwalk and “Cottages” that would help me transport the reader to this seaside resort.  The title changed as the focus of the book shifted from one railroad magnet to a whole class of society few of us can image.

Casino- a photo of the famous resort "club" from a 1895 book of Newport. I often use period photographs to get historical details.

What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels? 

Without a doubt the best thing that has happened to me as a result of my novels is getting to connect with my readers!  I love getting emails and Facebook messages from people from all over the world.  Some of those readers I’ve then met at conventions and continue to connect again and again. And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have someone ask you, “What are you doing?” when I’m on a research trip.  Whether it’s being the only person in the group of ticket holders waiting for the “Servants Only” tour of a Newport mansion or taking detailed pictures an antique gun display at a museum or pacing out how long it would take to get from the Green Street bridge to the Grant Statue in Galena’s Grant Park, I’ve been caught doing some odd things but some wonderfully curious people.  

Harborview- one of many harbor shots I took (and one which illustrates nicely why I'm a writer and not a photographer).  Again, the harbor and the yachts ever present are an important element in the book.

If your protagonist was actually a real person, would you be friends with them? Why or why not?

I would definitely be friends with Hattie.  She’s an intelligent, interesting, thoughtful, kind person.  We come from very different eras so I may be frustrated at times with her lack of feminist thinking or need to “not rock the boat,” but we have a great deal in common (Did someone say lists?) and I think we’d get along quite well. 

Forty Steps- another 1895 photograph of the 40 steps, a location that figures prominently in the story.  The current 40 Steps is made of stone and looks very different.  I found this photograph to be invaluable for historic accuracy.

Have you ever come close to missing a deadline?

Oh yes!  My first book took me almost five years to write partially because I didn’t have a deadline.  When I was given a year to write my second book, I had already completed all of the research and most of the first draft.  I was given a year to write this book as well.  However, this was the first book I had to complete a detailed outline for the entire book, complete all of the research, including a site visit, as well as write from start to finish.  I had never done that before.  So yes, it was touch and go there at the end!

CliffWalk View- a photo I took during my research visit to remind myself of what the view looks like from the "Cliff Walk," again a feature of Newport that reoccurs in the story.

If you could be any character in a book, who would you be and why?

For my personal life I would love to be Lizzie Bennett.  I’d get to be beautiful and intelligent, wear lovely Empire dresses, be a great dancer AND I’d get to go home with Mr. Darcy after the ball! For my professional life, I always wanted to be Jessica Fletcher, without the string of dead bodies.  When she’s not writing her next bestselling mystery in her quaint New England kitchen, she’s traveling the world, meeting fascinating people, all the while being treated like a VIP wherever she goes. 

RocksandAlgae- another photo I took of the slippery rocks and plant life at the bottom of the 40 Steps that Hattie visits on one of her "plant collecting" outings.

Hardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University-Commerce and most recently, Iowa State University, publishing in several scientific peer-reviewed journals. A Lack of Temperance, her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series, was the #1 bestselling historical mystery on She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. A Sense of Entitlement, the third in the series, is due out in June. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her inquisitive four year old, her old yellow dog and her very funny, very patient husband, where she is happily working on Hattie’s next adventure.

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  1. Wonderful post and giveaway. fascinating novel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. The historical information in Anna's post was fascinating. What a wonderful period to set the books. I'm hooked and want to read from the beginning.

  3. Any stories centered in New England are favorites of mine. I'll need to play catch up and read the first in this series. Thank you for the review and give-a-way!

  4. I love all the history you've researched for this book. Can't wait to read it and to get caught up with the earlier books in the series as I wait to win this one (fingers crossed!).

  5. looks like a great book. Would love to read and review this. Rhonda

  6. I'm commenting on The Mystery Playground blog today that is hosting Anna Loan-Wilsey and her book A Sense of Entitlement.
    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

  7. Our winner is Traveler! Congratulations. Look for an e-mail shortly.