Virtual Book Tour: Erica Ruth Neubauer, MURDER AT THE MENA HOUSE

What is your book about? 

My book is about a young widow named Jane Wunderly who is traveling to Egypt in 1926. Jane wants to see the pyramids and the dig sites and her Aunt Millie just wants to escape prohibition. They’re staying at the Mena House Hotel, which is right next to the pyramids. Jane has a run-in with an unpleasant young socialite and that socialite ends up murdered, so Jane has to investigate the folks at the hotel to clear her name.

Can you tell us about your path to publication? 

I can! I wrote this in a stupidly short amount of time, and then I set it aside for nearly a year before I came back to it. Then I probably did eleven revisions on it—it was months and months and version upon version of revisions. I also hired a freelance editor to work with me, Zoe Quinton, and she was excellent. We went through a few rounds and when she said I was ready, I sent it out to agents. I probably got 40 or so rejections before a friend stepped in and emailed one of the agents on my list and told her that I was a friend. I ended up signing with her. I did some more revisions with her, and then she sent out the manuscript. I was lucky that this sold in the first round of submissions, and that was back in August of 2018. I’ve been waiting EVER SINCE to see this thing in real life.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention all the wonderful friends (and authors) who looked at early drafts of this novel and gave me both advice and encouragement. We wouldn’t be here today without those folks.

Where were you when you heard your book tour and/or launch party was cancelled and what did you do?

I think when I realized that it was over for me I was at Left Coast Crime and the convention was shut down while we were there. It was then I realized that I would have to cancel my launch and my tour. I was with a few friends and I drank a bunch of beer. And once I got home I allowed myself a few hours to be bummed out about it, but rallied and started brainstorming what I could do online instead. I mean, so many people have it worse than I do. And I’ll still get the chance to throw a big party when we’re allowed to come out of our hobbit holes.

Are you and your publisher doing anything special/ different instead of a book tour to promote your novel?  

I’m doing a lot more blog posts than I thought I would. And I also decided to do an online launch. I hate making videos of myself, but now that it’s all that we have, I’m doing a series of live videos on my author Facebook page with a few friends to have fun. I never would have considered doing that before.

On a lighter note, do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

Oh man, if I do, I don’t know about them! I find that even though I am like Garfield and hate mornings (what’s up childhood references?) I have to write pretty much first thing in the morning. With coffee. That’s one of the things I miss most right now—being able to walk to my local coffee shop and work.

Where can we buy your book?

Please consider buying from an indie book store right now! They need love. My local is Boswell Books in Milwaukee, and they are shipping. Just saying.

What was the hardest thing you had to cut from your book, your favorite Dead Darling? 

I don’t have any characters that I cut, but I had a lot of talk about how sweaty my main character was. Because look, it’s HOT there in Egypt. I spent a good portion of my research trip just sweating. I took most of that out though. I guess no one wants to read about pools of sweat.

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