Welcome to the #NoContact Book Tour! While we all stay inside and stay safe, books have become even more important. But book events and conferences, alas, are canceled. So today I am thrilled to welcome Victoria Zackheim, whose Private Investigations: Mystery Writers on the Secrets, Riddles, and Wonders In Their Lives is out this week. No, I’m not in it. But there are so many great writers who contributed, I know I want to read it!

Tell us about your book!

PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS: Mystery Writers on the Secrets, Riddles, and Wonders in Their Lives

is an anthology of bestselling mystery writers who “abandon the cloak of fiction” and write about the secrets in their own lives. What have they experienced? How did they cope? What are the enigmas, mysteries, thoughts that keep them up at night? Jeffery Deaver writes about how he almost abandoned writing…imagine! Caroline Leavitt recounts when she lost her voice and doctors couldn’t find a cure; Martin Limón travels back to his military stint in Korea to grapple with the crimes of war, while Anne Perry ponders the magical powers of stories conjured from writers’ imaginations. From haunted houses to spiritual journeys to peeping Toms…and the experiences of living through war and family secrets…these writers open their lives to us and remind us that we’re all private investigators, when it comes to our own real-world dramas.

What would you have been doing now to promote it? Where would you have been speaking? What bookstores would you have visited?

As with all of my books, readings were scheduled at bookstores, an exciting appearance (with many of the contributing authors) at Bouchercon 2020…all cancelled. We were going to read at Book Passage in Corte Madera https://www.bookpassage.com/   The virus struck before other readings/events could be finalized. Alas.

But…generous and loving support has come from bloggers (like you!), so perhaps someone out there will learn about the book.

Are you working on anything now? Is your process or routine different?

I’m working on several projects. First, my online course in the UCLA Extension Writers Program is in its third week, and my students are very enthusiastic. I think we’re all happy to have that human contact, even if it’s online and “distanced”…  I’m about to open the file sent by my editor and begin what I hope are the final edits of my novel. I’m also completing a screenplay with a Texas-based writer, so little changes there. What seems to be interrupting my process is my struggle with all the emotions we’re experiencing: worry, fear, frustration, hope, loss of hope, anger. It’s the unknown that I find difficult. 

Do you think your writing will be changed by this crisis?

I don’t think so, but the energy that gets me writing/editing/teaching has certainly been affected. Will we ever return to “normal”? Or will “normal” be redefined forever? I can’t say. I wish I knew

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we’re free to be social again?

That’s the easiest question you’ve asked! I’m going to hug my grandchildren and cover them with kisses. I haven’t been closer than ten feet to anyone for four weeks. A visitor stops at the bottom step and I’m standing inside the house…no touching, no closeness. Brutal. Bring on the hugs!