Poker Chips and Poison Silvermoon Retirement Village Cozy Book 1 by Rodney Strong Genre: Cozy Mystery
If old age doesn't get her..the murderer will.
97 year old Alice Atkinson should be comfortably living out her days at the Silvermoon Retirement Village. But she's bored. A lifetime of living in the grey area between right and wrong means that winning money off her friends at poker just isn't satisfying.
Then her friend is murdered, and she's the only one who thinks it's foul play. And even she has her doubts.
With the help of Vanessa her newly appointed and occasionally reluctant sidekick, Alice is determined to find out the truth. One thing is for sure, Alice is going to need to dust off some old skills to come through this in one piece.
Grab your copy of Poker Chips and Poison now to see how age means nothing when it comes to investigating murder.
Hip Flask and Hanging Silvermoon Retirement Village Cozy Book 2
Beat your ghosts or become one yourself
97 year old Alice Atkinson has many ghosts in her past, but she never expected to see this one walk past her in the street.
She doesn't have much time to think about the past though as her friend Teresa asks her for help. She thinks someone is breaking into her apartment and soon Alice and her trusty young companion Vanessa are on the case.
Tracking down the culprit might be exactly what Alice needs to stop thinking about the events of London in 1969, but soon the two events overlap more than she would like, and once again she finds herself in danger.
Alice hasn't made it this far in life by avoiding a fight. She's not about to start now.
Grab your copy of Hip- Flask and Hanging, the second book in the Silvermoon Retirement Village. This laugh out loud cozy mystery series will have you looking at your grandmother in an all new light.
Knitting Needles and Knives Silvermoon Retirement Village Cozy Book 3
Knitting needles and knives, both can kill you.
Alice Atkinson is laid up after an ill advised attempt to prove age is just a number. When her friend Owen asks for her help with his wayward granddaughter, Alice finds herself drawn into thievery and murder. Soon she's facing off with crooked cops and mobsters, but they pale in comparison to the teenager determined to lie to her at every chance.
Alice is going to need all her considerable wits to sift through the clues, find a murderer, and keep her loved ones safe.
Knitting Needles and Knives is the third book in the Silvermoon Retirement Village series of humorous cozies. Grab your copy now.
Rodney Strong quit a 9-5 job in 2016 to finally pursue his life long dream of becoming a writer (he still has the very first play he wrote at age 6). He lives in Porirua, New Zealand, with his wife, two children, and two cats (plus a 3rd cat that is trying desperately to be adopted). When he's not writing he attempts to stay away from chocolate, runs (sometimes), reads, and enjoys spending time with his young children (who contribute a lot to the running and craving for chocolate).
He always has a couple of projects on the go, but for now is focusing on his series of cozy mysteries.
One of his cats likes to help with the process by sitting on the laptop, while the other likes nesting on his shoulders (which was cute when he was a kitten, but now the cat is 9 years old, is less so).
Rodney is a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors, and chairs his neighborhood residents group.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hi, I’m Rodney Strong, a 51 year old author from Wellington, New Zealand, where I live with my wife, two children and two cats. They’re a handful, the cats more often than the kids. I’ve always written, I still have the first plays I wrote when I was 7 or 8 years old. Over the years I drifted in and out of writing, before deciding in 2016 that I had done enough practice and needed to give it a proper go. My cats are very supportive of my writing, often sitting on my writing desk and preventing me from using the mouse.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
It didn’t happen as much as I did it, but when I was younger I travelled to London to work in the Regent’s Park zoo and got to see some amazing sights, like a baby giraffe just two hours old, and feed three baby chimpanzees. They were like little kids, if you told one of them off, the others would come running over and hug them. Sometimes if you weren’t careful when you walked into their room one of them would jump on you from above the door. They thought it was a great joke. It was tough being on the other side of the world, but I still have fond memories of that time.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
A terrible one.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read, or go for a walk, but mostly the read thing as when I walk I’m thinking about writing.
How to find time to write as a parent?
Luckily my two are 9 and about to turn 11, so they can get themselves ready in the morning. I’ll write for half an hour before getting them to school, then write until they come home from school, at which time I switch from writer to chauffer. During the Covid-19 lockdown last year they both made signs for my home office door saying if it was closed I wasn’t to be disturbed. It was super sweet, and would have been even more so if they actually paid any attention to their own words.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I can definitely imagine the Silvermoon Retirement Series being made into television movies. They’re set in a retirement home so all one location, and there are some really interesting, quirky type characters.
What inspired you to write this book?
The main character of Alice appeared in the first book of my paranormal cozy mystery series in a very brief cameo. A couple of books later when I was looking for someone to act as the foil to the main protagonist in that series, Alice came to mind and she had a bigger part. I enjoyed writing for her so much that I decided to give her, her own series.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ll keep writing Alice as long as possible, but I backed myself into a corner a little by making her 97 years old, so there’s a natural end at some point for the series. She’s a very popular character though so I’m going to have to try and work out a way to extend her life. Perhaps she’ll be the first 110 year old sleuth.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
I was really lucky to have both my grandmothers live to very old age, one even cracked the 100 mark. They were both independent, strong willed women, and were the basis for Alice. Alice spent a lifetime as a con artist with a strong code of ethics. She never took more than she needed and she always made sure she never left a victim penniless. Because of her experience she isn’t your normal retirement village resident and has a bit of superiority complex. It takes her a while to realise that just because her friends have different experiences it doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable ones.
Vanessa is a twenty two year old employee of the Silvermoon Retirement Village. Her job is as a concierge, to help residents get things, and be the face of the village for visitors. Alice sees a lot of potential in Vanessa and is determined to nudge her away from a desk job. It’s also useful for Alice to have a younger side kick who can do all the running around for her.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Maggie Smith would make a wonderful Alice. Tough but caring.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
My characters definitely hijack the story. In fact that’s how Alice got her own series, because she demanded to be written about more. I tend to start a book with a general idea of plot and then see where the characters take me. Often it’s in an unexpected direction but I like it that way, because it makes the characters more real. They’re reacting to a situation rather than me making then react to it.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
My first book, published in 2016 is called Troy’s Possibilities. It’s a completely different genre to the cozy mysteries, but it’s also set in Wellington. The two main characters in that book were Troy and Elissa and they make a cameo in all of my other books, either as a re-occurring character or a one off. You’d have to read that book to understand the context but it’s like a little in-joke for me to have them pop up in different places.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I definitely have music playing in the background. It helps me get into a rhythm. Also because I work at home and am alone for most of the day it stops the silence from getting too oppressive. I find if I’m writing a sad scene then having sad music in the background helps me with the emotions of what I’m writing.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I usually have two on the go at once. My goal is to write 1,000 words per day per manuscript, so as soon as I hit my target for one I’ll switch to the other. It helps keep my writing fresh by switching from one set of characters to another.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I tried early on writing in pen then transcribing it to the computer but, one my handwriting was way to slow and messy for my brain, and two I found the repetition annoying, so now I draft everything on the computer. My very first manuscript when I was a teenager was on the typewriter and I still remember using tipex to white out all the mistakes. It was such a painful process.
Describe your writing style.
I like to think I have an easily accessible writing style. I tend to insert humor into my writing which works nicely for the cozy mystery genre but also helps in my more serious work as it adds a touch of realism.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My books tend to range between 50,000 to 80,000 words. The shorter books will take about two months to write a first draft and around three months for the longer books. Different times of the year are less productive than others though. The big school holidays in New Zealand are in January so that tends to be much slower in output.
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