April 16th, 2024
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Investigating a conspiracy really wasn't on Nikki's very long to-do list.

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Secret Identity, Small Town Romance
Available 4.15.24

April's Affections and Intrigues: Love and Mystery Bloom

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Beth Hamer Miles | First Cousins and Best Friends Solving Hometown Murders in Birmingham

1--What is the title of your latest release?

‘BOUT TO DYE IN BIRMINGHAM, A Cousins Cozy Mystery- Book One

2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

Pair comedienne Leeann Morgan’s southern drawl with actor Leslie Jordan’s bowtie charm and you have Maggie and Francis, first cousins and best friends solving hometown murders in Birmingham, Alabama.

3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

I lived in Birmingham at the time and wanted to use its distinct Deep South flavor in a series featuring local areas. Also, with my job, I’d probably driven on every road in the county, which gave me so many story ideas.

4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

I may have taken “write what you know” a little too far in this case. I hang out with her all day, every day in my own head. I originally started writing this out of boredom during Covid, and I didn’t limit myself from worrying if it seemed too much like me because I never thought anyone else would read it.

5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Optimistic, loyal, and an over-thinker

6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

This book was only something I’d started writing to try out another genre and to try to find the joy in writing again. I’d worked for years on another book that my agent never sold even after multiple re-writes. After years of feeling disappointed and disconnected from my characters due to the changes I’d made in the manuscript, I wasn’t sure I even enjoyed writing anymore. During the Covid-19 shutdown, the comedians Leslie Jordan and Leeann Morgan were both popping up on social media and I remember thinking how fun it would be to see them in a show together. Just for a laugh, I decided to write something that would pair their comedy styles as my two main characters. That’s when I learned that I still like it.

7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I edit as I go, then again and again and again.  Without a deadline, I’d probably still be editing.

8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

I don’t have a favorite indulgence, but nothing’s better than the perfect food for the season that someone else makes for you. In this book, there’s warm, lemony chicken orzo soup served with crusty French bread on a crisp spring night and warm homemade cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven with a strong, hot cup of coffee for breakfast.  Food is for all the senses! I think it makes a cozy mystery even cozier.

9--Describe your writing space/office!

Oh, boy. Distractions are a problem for me. I need to be somewhere that won’t lead to procrastination, which means NOT where the laundry waits, where the dogs need petting, or where the fridge waits for someone to stare into its depths for a snack. I’ve even tried writing in a mostly empty bedroom, but I mentally started decorating it. That leaves the car or a booth at a restaurant as my best writing spots.

10--Who is an author you admire?

Anne George. She was a writer who lived in the Birmingham area in the eighties and nineties. Her style and tone were spot-on in the southern, funny mysteries she wrote. She was also the Poet Laureate of Alabama and a writer of beautiful literary fiction. Many of my home health patients in Birmingham still had her cozy mystery books on their shelves and mourned the loss of Anne and her stories. Am I trying to fill her southern cozy mystery shoes with a mystery series set in Birmingham? Maybe. Okay, probably yes.

11--Is there a book that changed your life?

I was an avid reader as a kid. At around age sixteen, I came across “Raney” by Clyde Edgerton, a writer in my home state of North Carolina. It featured characters that all could’ve been my family members. The dialogue and humor matched my inner narrator and BAM, the desire to be a writer was born.

12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

Having an agent and winning some contests gave me the illusion that I was on a direct road to traditional publication. When it didn’t happen after a long while, I stepped away from writing. After sorting myself a bit, I wrote and self-published “‘Bout to Dye in Birmingham.” Unfortunately, that’s when I learned that indie authors must also be savvy business owners, which can take as much time as writing. With that knowledge, I unpublished it and sold it without an agent to a small press, even though quite a few industry experts told me that no publisher would be interested in a book that was initially self-published. I’m ecstatic that Halliday Books is now re-publishing this one plus the next two in the series.

13--What’s your favorite genre to read?

I like any genre with characters I care about, believable dialogue, and a well-done humor.

14--What’s your favorite movie?

Movies with character-driven comedy are my favorites, like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and “The Heat.”

15--What is your favorite season?

More than a specific season, I love it when the seasons change. Out with the old décor, wardrobe, and food menus--in with the new!

16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Birthday pie for me. I’m a pie girl, unless it’s carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

Robert Galbraith’s (aka J.K. Rowling) detective series featuring CB Strike. I love the way it’s progressing! The audiobooks are well done, too.

18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

It depends on the season. Is it weird to like your food to go with the weather?

19--What do you do when you have free time?

It’s all about the thrill of the hunt for me, so shopping or thrifting are my favorite things to do. Maggie and Francis love a good yard sale and so do I.

20--What can readers expect from you next?

The next two books in the series are “Scared Sheetless in Birmingham,” which comes out in October 2024 and has a ghostly Halloween theme, and “Woofing it Down in Birmingham” coming out in the spring of 2025 with a deadly cooking theme. I’m hoping to publish a few more in this series after that. Maggie’s husband Sam is a fantastic cook, very much like my husband (go figure) so I may include a few of his recipes along the way. Also, expect more dogs! For some reason, I can never keep from putting in more dogs.


Cousins Cozy Mysteries #1

'Bout to Dye in Birmingham

From author Beth Hamer Miles comes a hilarious take on the worst year of your life...

It’s March 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama, but Maggie Baxter and her cousin Francis Pinkston are facing problems even bigger than the quarantine. While navigating her home health job, along with shutdowns, face masks, and toilet paper shortages, Maggie stumbles upon a dead man—snipped in the bud with his own set of monogrammed scissors!

It's a salon scheme gone south, and now, Maggie and Francis are in the midst of a murder investigation. Missing hair salon owners, disappearing patients, destructive raccoons...and why does everyone have purple hair? It’s a mystery fit for Shear-Lock Combs!

Can Maggie and Francis find a killer and survive 2020...or will this be their last bad hair day?


Mystery Cozy | Mystery Amateur Sleuth [Gemma Halliday Publishing, On Sale: March 12, 2024, e-Book, / eISBN: 9798215284827]

Buy 'BOUT TO DYE IN BIRMINGHAMKindle | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Beth Hamer Miles

Beth Hamer Miles

Beth Hamer Miles has been writing and working as a speech therapist for nearly three decades. Originally from North Carolina, she and her husband have made their home in Birmingham, Alabama for the last ten years. They've almost finished raising three fantastic offspring through the teenage years without developing any facial tics. She's the winner of the regional Hackney Literary Award in Alabama and the Katherine Paterson Award for Young Adult Literature.




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