Hi, y’all! I’m Belle, and I’m the organizer for this blog tour. I’m so excited to be introducing you to Murder at First Pitch by Nicole Asselin, and I hope y’all are just as excited. This book is a cozy mystery that will enrapture you from the first pages, and it’ll definitely be one to remember. I had a great time interviewing Nicole, and I hope you enjoy seeing all of her answers to my questions.
Make sure you follow all of our amazing and wonderful tour hosts and don’t miss out on a tour stop! The schedule is available below, for those interested in checking it out.
Murder at First Pitch
(Ballpark Mysteries #1)
by Nicole Asselin
Published by Pandamoon Publishing
Released on September 4th, 2019
ADULT FICTION—Mystery > Cozy Mystery
32-year-old Madeline Boucher’s Grandfather instilled a love in the Boston Red Sox into her from an early age and increased that love by purchasing a local Independent League Baseball team, the Abington Armadillos.
After losing her corporate job in Boston, Madeline realizes her best option is to join the family baseball business. As the new “Social Media Director” for the team, Madeline attends her first business function and witnesses an argument between her brother Ben, and a strange man.
A few days later when walking the ballpark during her early morning hours, she finds the body of a man beaten to death with a baseball bat in the Visitor’s Dugout. It was the man her brother was arguing with at the party. Madeline is concerned that her brother would be considered a suspect. Through the local Detectives and Davis – the head of security for the ballpark she learns the victim is Christopher Dailey, a local baseball scout and prior felon.
When her brother is arrested and taken to the police station, she realizes she needs to figure out who the real culprit is, so her brother doesn’t take the fall for something she knows he didn’t do.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Murder at First Pitch?
Hi everyone! I’m Nicole Asselin and Murder at First Pitch is my debut cozy mystery. I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and couldn’t wait to jump into the mystery writing pool! I joined up with Sisters in Crime (National and NE) and the group has been so supportive about my journey. I learned so much from other authors in the genre, and the group has been invaluable. I studied in English in my undergrad, but at the time it was more poetry focused (angsty teenager stuff). I’m currently a tech writer by day in the healthcare field and murder mystery author by night/weekends.
Murder at First Pitch is the story that I always wanted to write. I’m an avid baseball fan, and at least here in New England, a lot of people are out there who love both sports and mystery. I wanted to write a book for a person like me.
What surprised you the most during the writing process of your book?
This book was the book of my heart. My love of baseball, my inspiration from my Grandparents, I knew this was what I wanted to write. I was surprised how quickly the first draft came together. I also learned a little bit more about my writing style. I’m not a plotter by any means, so most of my writing tends to be written as I go. I learned that I could write a whole novel-length book like that! I had no idea.
Other than baseball, what is a connection you’ve implemented in Murder at First Pitch?
It is set in my current hometown of Abington, MA. Located just south of Boston, there is a definite character to the town and its inhabitants that I wanted to make sure I included. The main character of Madeline is also very similar to me. If I ever had to solve a murder, I hope I would handle it just as well as Madeline. Plus, it’s been a dream to work for a baseball team. And much like the character, I also have three cats.
What is something your publishing journey has taught you?
It’s hard y’all! I finished the first draft of the book back in 2017 and spent the next year querying it across agents. No takers. So, I took some time, re-worked some of the novel, and tried again. This time, I participated in #PitMad on Twitter where my publisher found me! I think learning that there is no “normal” way of publishing was eye-opening to me. I thought you had to get an agent, had to sell your book to the big 5, and live the life. There are so many other ways of getting your story into the world!
How did you get the idea for Murder at First Pitch?
I’m a huge Red Sox fan. Although this season hasn’t been great so far, I love the sport. My Grandfather got me hooked listening to games on the radio during summers spent at my grandparents in Connecticut. I went to a mystery reader conference, Malice Domestic, and was asked: “If you could write a mystery, what would you write?” The baseball theme came to me immediately. I knew I wanted to write a cozy that appealed to sports lovers like me. And so, Murder at First Pitch was born!
We know that you’ve got another Ballpark Mystery novel set to release for this year, but can we also expect anything outside of this series from you?
Book two of the Ballpark Mysteries will hopefully be out at the end of the year. I also have a super fun fairy tale library book that I’ve been working on a bunch. I’m a huge fantasy reader, so I’ve always wanted to write a book about other worlds. I’m hoping I can finish that one and get that out into the world at some point as well.
What is something you’ve found difficult upon writing during this time?
Creatively it’s been hard during this pandemic. I haven’t written as much as I would’ve liked. Partly because there have been no sports to inspire me (baseball especially). Being stuck at home (for work and safety), doesn’t exactly inspire. The first two books in the series were written at cafes and bookstores due to the distractions at home. Since we have been unable to go out at all, the distractions have taken over (hello Netflix!). Now going on month 5 of the pandemic, I’m starting to learn how to motivate myself while at home. The weather helps. Sitting on the deck and writing gets rid of some of that distraction problem.
Lastly, what do you hope readers gain upon reading your novel?
I hope readers first enjoy the story. It’s a slice of summer life (or at least summer life pre-pandemic) at a local ballpark. I hope that it can ease some of the pandemic stress out in the world. I also want to emphasize that women in sports are important! Usually considered a “mans” world, I wanted to open sports to everyone. Writing this book has put me in contact with so many women baseball writers. I hope it opens the door for more women to express their sports love! Go, Red Sox!
Nicole Asselin grew up a Navy Brat, and spent her formative high school years in the middle of Pennsylvania but always identified with her New England roots. Nicole’s family is originally from Connecticut, and her Grandpa Asselin introduced her into the Red Sox nation where she has been a member for her whole life and her Grandma Asselin introduced her to the world of mystery novels. Now those two loves are combined into her new Ballpark Mystery series.
Nicole graduated from Curry College in Milton Mass with a degree in English/Creative Writing, minoring in Dance in 2004. She also attended George Mason University and received a Master’s in Arts Management. She worked in the Government sector for over ten years before transitioning to Healthcare. Now working in just outside of Boston as a Technical Writer, she lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts with her three cats Julia, Jacques, and Madeline (no relation to the main character of her book).
Nicole is a current member of Sisters in Crime (National and New England) and the Mystery Writers of America. She sits on the Board of Directors for the NE branches of both groups as Social Media Liaison. MURDER AT FIRST PITCH is her debut cozy mystery from Pandamoon Publishing. Book two of the Ballpark Mystery series is scheduled for late in 2020.
Turn the Page Tours – Welcome Post
Up for grabs during this blog tour are three digital copies! This giveaway is open to US + INTL and will close on September 9th at 11:59 PM CST. Enter to win via the button below!