Thursday, June 29, 2017

NBTM + #Giveaway: Riverside Lane by Ginger Black @GingerBlackInk @GoddessFish

Riverside Lane
by Ginger Black
GENRE:  Cozy Mystery


After arranging a house swap with a debonair antiques dealer, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in a quaint English village. Tempesta, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday – but the inhabitants of the village are unconvinced.

Yet, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the stranger in their midst, it gradually transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself, harboured by the local MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; the has-been former game show host; the respectable couple with the jailbird son; the hometown journalist, striving for a scoop that will rescue her from debt; and so on. The place is revealed as a labyrinth of deception masquerading as a picture-postcard hamlet; tension begins to mount in between the dinner parties and evenings at the pub, and soon culminates in an unexpected death.

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane’s residents slowly unravel. Tempesta, guarding his secrets with a vengeance, is suddenly threatened with exposure by the elderly religious zealot Ivy Midwinter, whose own past involved keeping professional confidences. When she challenges him in church, she learns that Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his privacy ...

Set against the exquisite backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a tautly paced page-turner that also gently satirises middle- class English manners: the upstanding denizens of the village watch and whisper behind a mask of English hauteur, whilst their own fragile lives come undone.


A dusky gauze veil lifted to reveal the soft pink light of dawn. The sun recast the Earth in a glorious patchwork of fields, and a cacophony of birdsong stirred the residents of Riverside Lane from their slumber. Cherry and magnolia trees formed a guard of honour over the lane, which lay tranquil, deserted and calm.

High above, skimming the rose-coloured clouds, a British Airways jet descended over the River Thames. Luca Tempesta checked his seatbelt and reached for his cigarettes, curling his fingers around them with the zeal of a junkie. He flipped the packet, prompting disapproving looks from a couple playing chess beside him, and thought about his meeting with the Russian academic. He had felt bound by reckless honour to visit his wife’s friend and mentor in Moscow, despite the risk. The man had deserved to know what happened to Natasha, but it gave Luca even more to hide.

The scent of freshly ground coffee permeated the cabin, reminding the American of his caffeine-addicted wife; he missed her clear, analytical mind and ability to rationalise situations. He thought of her final moments, and her terror as the net had closed in. She had paid the ultimate price for her loyalty. He stretched his legs into the aisle, seeking a comfortable position for his tall frame, and quashed a familiar feeling of dread that he knew served no purpose. It was imperative that he maintain a cool head; he could not afford the luxury of surrender. He turned his attention to a photo of Kingfisher House. Luca’s agency partner, Maria, had found the place through a movie-industry fixer who knew an Englishman in need of a roof over his head in California. 

Interview with Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum

What inspired you to write Riverside Lane?

 Julia: For me it was our beautiful village of Bray on the banks of the Thames, famous for the turncoat vicar of Bray in the middle ages and for having more Michelin star restaurants per square foot than anywhere else in the world. When you walk the dog along the towpath you can smell the scent of truffle oil drifting in the breeze from the Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck. 

 Gaynor: I’ve wanted to write a novel since childhood, but felt I lacked the life experience.  Approaching a milestone birthday was the catalyst to put pen to paper, I now feel I have the wisdom of years to write a cracking good novel! 

Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in the Riverside Lane series or what you have planned for the future? 

Julia: We have already plotted the sequel and are about a third of the way through writing it. It is another cozy mystery, again on the banks of the Thames but this time set in the picturesque village of Cookham, home to the artist Stanley Spencer and the inspiration for Wind in the Willows. 

Gaynor: ‘Always write about what you know’ is the sage advice offered to writers, therefore we are setting the next in our series of cozy mysteries in a nearby English village.  Don’t be fooled by the wisteria clad pubs, genteel church fete, and bunting fluttering in the breeze, as devotees of this kind of fiction will know, English villages are dangerous places to live! 

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Riverside Lane?

Julia: We have an eclectic cast of characters from a fading game show host and his young model wife to a religious zealot and her adored tortoise! The plot is based around a house swap and we have a handsome, mysterious American with an intriguing secret arrive in a very English community and we had a lot of fun portraying the stereotypical English character and perplexing our American visitor.
 We missed them all when we finished the book.

Gaynor: Luca Tempesta is the hapless American detective who makes the mistake of thinking he can ‘hide-out’ in an English village.  Little does he know that the small, village is a hotbed of intrigue, lies and deceit that can match his own.  We had George Clooney in mind when we wrote this character!

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favourite author and why?

 Julia: Difficult, can I have two? If so, my contemporary favourite would be William Boyd. I have adored all his books but his latest, Sweet Caress, is probably my favourite. But I’m not sure even he can knock Jane Austen off her pedestal.  

Gaynor: This question is like asking what’s your favourite song, it depends on the time in your life, where you are at that moment in time, your mood……. If I had to choose right now, it would be Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the beauty of his language, Emily Bronte for the power of her story telling (written with so much passion despite never marrying living all her life on the windswept Yorkshire Moor) and Roald Dhal because his Revolting Rhymes makes me laugh. 

Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets? 

Julia: I am tortoise mad and have four of those but I have an English bulldog, Rumpole, named after John Mortimer’s wonderful character in Rumpole of the Bailey. Rumpole is an honorary member of the Ginger Black partnership. Here he is giving you a hi-five! 

Gaynor: I adore dogs and been blessed with many dear canine friends in my life. People say cats are clever and dogs are dumb but I don’t agree.  Over the last two thousand years our fluffy friends have found a weakness in the human’s brain – we’re slaves to sentiment.  Dogs look at us with those big chocolate button eyes and paw us in adoration, and we are putty in their hands!  

Rumpole (Julia’s dog is my current favourite) He is king of the road, refusing to walk on the pavements and sauntering down the lane holding up the traffic, he also has a very endearing way of cosying up to me on the sofa so he can steal my cup of tea when I’m not looking.  He photobombs our publicity shots.  Interestingly, our most successful campaign to-date is one in which he appears, he should be the face of Ginger Black!

If you could time-travel would you travel to the future or the past? Where would you like to go and why would you like to visit this particular time-period? 

Julia: The past. I would go to Somerset, where I was bought up. It is a beautiful part of the world where life is less frenzied than the big cities. I think I would go there in the sixties – a simpler time when the countryside was less polluted with pylons and buildings and importantly the pace and pressures of life were not so great. It would have been fun to be around all the hoo ha when Lady Chatterley’s Lover was eventually published after its forty-year ban, to be one of the first to read To Kill a Mockingbird and one of my favourite short story collections, Roald Dahl’s Kiss Kiss.

Gaynor:  I’m a big history enthusiast, and like nothing more than to use my ‘third eye’ to imagine what life would be like in the past and future.  However, right now watching the sun stream through my window, I would travel to San Francisco and The Summer of Love. 1967 was an optimistic and heady time with lots of cool clothes and music.  It’s easy to dismiss the peace and love message as corny and passé, but it was a time of valuing people over material goods (an attitude we could all do to adopt now).  I’d whiz over to the Monterey music festival and ‘tune in, tune on and drop out’ with Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and the Mamas & the Papas!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ginger Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.


Julia left Somerset for London at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol & Kleenex. After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders & hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.

Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for private clients and visits secondary schools & prisons representing two national charities in providing emotional support to pupils & inmates. A keen kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Nicolas and their four children.


Gaynor has worked as a national newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.

Gaynor's great loves include sitting in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.

Buy Link:

$10 Amazon/BN GC

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Great excerpt & interview! :)

Bernie Wallace said...

What is your favorite series of books? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the great interview.

Bea LaRocca said...

Congrats on the tour and Thanks so much for sharing the excerpt and Interview!

Ally Swanson said...

Hope you had a fabulous holiday weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!