Posts Tagged ‘Trial by Twelve’

Today, Heather Day Gilbert is my interviewee. Welcome, Heather.

JANICE: Heather, who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

HEATHER: My parents played a huge role, from encouraging my reading at an early age to embracing my poetry writing as a young girl/teen. They always celebrated my writing successes, as did my grandparents. Then I married my husband, and while he understood I wasn’t ready to take on writing as a career when my three children were young (at one point they were age three and under, all in diapers!), he totally supported me when I blocked off a month to write my first book for NaNoWriMo, then when I decided to pursue the author dream. Having a strong support system is so critical to writing. Nowadays, post-publication, I’m also bolstered by my readers and my critique partner. I am truly blessed!

JANICE: What do you consider to be some of the best methods of promoting your work?

HEATHER: To date, I’ve tried nearly every promo method available (Facebook and Goodreads ads, giveaways, giving books to reviewers, you name it). By far, the most effective way to move large quantities of books has been:

1) going permafree (permanently free) with my first mystery across vendor platforms

2) paying for Bookbub ads. Going permafree, coupled with a Bookbub ad, doubled my monthly income.

JANICE: What are your favorite / most effective social media?

HEATHER: I just started up on Instagram, and that is quite a fun and easy platform. I’m also fond of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and each one really has its own uses and reaches a slightly different audience. I remember having so many people repinning my Viking pins before I published my first Viking historical—that’s how I knew there was a reader audience hungry for that niche.

JANICE: We know that writers need to read, so what are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

HEATHER: I’m reading The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron and I’m really enjoying the historical element of the story. As you know, my Viking novels are also based on real people, so I appreciate the amount of research that goes into these things! And I have kind of reverted to enjoying print books, but by far, I read more books on my Kindle—I use my library’s Overdrive system (no overdue fines! YAY!), and I do a lot of early-reading for my author friends.

JANICE: Tell us a little about yourself. What are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?

HEATHER: I found out pretty fast that I was kind of unique because I still enjoy playing video games. Of course, now my son can beat me at any game I play, but I love it as a way of blowing off steam and just unplugging from my thoughts and worries! I also love flower gardening, but haven’t been able to do it as much this year due to some significant family changes.

JANICE: Do have any advice for beginning writers?

HEATHER: My best advice would be to be your own biggest fan. I know that sounds lame, but if you want to get your book published (either with a publisher or indie publishing), you have to believe in your book more than anyone else. More than an agent, more than your early readers…enough to know this book is worth getting out there. If you believe that, you will be willing to invest in and sacrifice for that book. And trust me, it’ll be an investment—of time, of edits, of marketing efforts, and the list goes on. You have to be utterly committed to the idea that this book is worth getting out into the world. And then you don’t stop until it is.

JANICE: Thanks, Heather, for taking time with us today. Blessings as you continue in your writing career.


HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational storytelling runs in her blood. You can find Heather’s Viking historicals and West Virginia mystery/suspense novels here. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

You can find Heather online here:

Website: http://heatherdaygilbert.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert

Twitter: @heatherdgilbert

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherdgilbert/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232683.Heather_Day_Gilbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heatherdaygilbert/

E-Mail: heatherdaygilbert@gmail.com



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41m1l-bX5hL._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_Tess works part time as a receptionist for Dani at the Crystal Mountain Spa near Buckneck, West Virginia (pop. 1000). When Dani decides to build an outdoor pool, excavation unearths female human skeletons, some old, some recent. Detective Tucker, an old acquaintance of Tess’s mother-in-law, arrives to solve the crime and Tess helps by keeping track of who and what goes on inside the Spa. She soon realizes she is in danger herself as more women are murdered.

We gather from snippets of backstory that Tess has recently been involved in helping to solve a previous murder case. Now she has a husband and toddler and is happier than she’s ever been. Will she risk her new life to help Detective Tucker or stay safe as Thomas prefers?

Apparently, Tess has dealt with her unhappy childhood (her mother is in prison on drug-related charges) with the help of her relatively newfound faith in God, and the solid support of the Spencer family.

Tess regularly visits her old friend, Miranda, in the nursing home, and keeps up with her best friend, Charlotte, Miranda’s daughter. But there is an undercurrent of danger at the nursing home too.

The story is written in the present tense, which makes it up-close and personal. It begins in medias res. The reader must pay attention to put all the initial pieces together, and it’s an interesting game. Trial by Twelve can be a stand alone novel, but it’s even more fascinating when you have read the first Murder in the Mountains book, Miranda Warning.

What caught my attention right off is the book’s format. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from a letter written by an unnamed man to his child, who is apparently in foster care. He speaks of his love, and promises to collect his child when he/she turns sixteen. Then they can hunt together. The bits of letter reveal an increasingly unhinged and dangerous man who eventually admits that he’s not made to be a father.

The author, Heather Day Gilbert, manages to throw suspicion on many of the characters in the book, leaving Tess more vulnerable than ever, and the reader wildly turning pages / tapping the screen. Great cliff-hanger chapter endings.

I read the ending of this novel last night before I went to sleep. It was tension-filled, answered the necessary questions, but kept me awake long after I had turned off the Kindle. I think that’s cause for another star in the ratings.


Besides the Murder in the Mountains books, Gilbert has written a historical fiction called God’s Daughter (A Vikings of the New World Saga Book 1), and Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. CLICK HERE.



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