Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - A Sickness in the Soul:An Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mystery by William Savage

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt for you as well as a guest post. There's also a tour wide giveaway to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the stops on the tour for more excerpts, guest posts, interviews, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
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Title: A Sickness in the Soul
Series: An Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mystery
Author: William Savage
Publisher: Ridge & Bourne
Publication Date: September 2nd 2019
Genres: Mystery, Historical
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Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

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EXCERPT:
‘Most irregular!’ the coroner spluttered. ‘This is mere hearsay, doctor. I cannot admit it into evidence unless it is vouched for by the physician who you say was there at the time. Is that gentleman in the court?’

Silence.

‘Does anyone know where he may be found?’

The clerk to the court stepped forward — most reluctantly, Foxe thought. With much hesitation, he explained that, unfortunately, the man was not present at the inquest. Nor could his evidence be sought.

‘From what I have been told by those who encountered him that evening, sir, he was visiting from London. He said he intended to depart to return home on the first mail coach the following morning.’

‘God’s teeth!’ the coroner exploded. ‘Did anyone think to make a note of this man’s name or ask where he lived?’

Another silence.

‘Is Viscount Penngrove present?’

A tall man with a long, bony face stood up slowly. ‘I am here,’ he said. ‘I wish to God I were not.’

Whether this was an understandable comment about needing to attend an inquest on one of his sons, or an expression of disgust at being forced to sit, hugger-mugger, with tradesmen and other common people, was not entirely clear.

‘Is it true, your lordship,’ the coroner said, ‘as the medical examiner here has said, that this physician no one can name made a remark about the temperature of your son’s … body … and the extent of … um … stiffening?’

‘Something like that,’ Viscount Penngrove drawled.

‘Exactly as reported, my lord? Nothing else added and nothing omitted?’

‘Can’t recall. Rather upset by it all, as you might imagine.’

The coroner struggled bravely forward. ‘You did not ask for this physician’s name or his address?’

‘I am not in the habit of bothering myself with the personal details of tradespeople,’ came the viscount’s cold reply. ‘I passed what I could remember on to the fellow now on the stand. Up to him after that.’ He then sat down, making it clear he would entertain no further questioning.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. Throughout my life, I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk, England.

All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.

The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.

The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations near the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.

I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England, which you can find here.

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GUEST POST:
Ashmole Foxe: A Georgian Bookseller in Norwich, England
by William Savage
Those of you who have read my Ashmole Foxe series of historical mysteries will know that Mr Foxe is a bookseller in the city of Norwich during the 1760s. Nothing about him is inauthentic to the period, so far as I am able to ascertain, save for his tendency to spend a good deal of his time in solving murder mysteries. To prove the point, this post is all about actual booksellers in the city between 1701 and around 1790, with special emphasis on the Chase family, whose activities informed my imagination in creating Mr Ashmole Foxe.

By the start of the 18th century, the ‘middling sort’ — tenant farmers, tradesmen, shopkeepers and the new professionals — were becoming a sizeable group within the society of the time. All had increasing leisure and disposable wealth, which they looked to use in emulation of the gentry. Before this time, there had been few booksellers outside London and the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, but by 1701 several booksellers had set up in Norwich, generally combining their trade with that of printing. It was one of these bookseller/printers, a man called Goddard, who, in that same year, started the first newspaper outside London. He was soon followed by two others, so that, by 1707, there were three newspapers in the city, none of which was particularly successful.

Maybe it was an attempt to cut his costs which persuaded Mr Goddard, in 1710, to put his struggling newspaper in the hands of one of his apprentices, William Chase, a lad of barely 16 with only one year’s experience behind him. It should have been a disaster, but it was not. Indeed, another of the newspapers, the “Norwich Post”, was also being run by a teenage apprentice, Edward Cave, at around the same time.

William Chase set up on his own account as a bookseller in 1714, becoming a Freeman in 1716. At first he sold Goddard’s newspaper, then began his own, changing its name several times, until it settled down as the “Norwich Mercury” in 1720. Not only that, he branched out from bookselling into other kinds of publishing and printing, holding book auctions (alone and in conjunction with Goddard) and expanding his second-hand books business to the extent of buying and selling complete libraries. He was obviously both a clever businessman and a natural entrepreneur, soon becoming a wealthy and influential man as a result. When he died, in 1744, his wife, Margaret, continued to operate his businesses until his eldest son, another William, was able to take over.

William Chase II
As the son of a Freeman bookseller, William was able to become a free man himself in 1749, at which time he assumed full responsibility for the family business. Indeed, he developed the business into one of the largest in the city and certainly the largest bookseller.

While bookselling, printing and publishing remained at the core of Chase’s business, he later branched out into other areas. He sold paper and stationery, patent medicines and even tea, coffee and chocolate. Since this was Norwich (famous for canaries), his advertisements also mentioned: “Canary seed for birds, as good and as cheap as any.” He continued to buy and sell second-hand books, as his father had done, and let his bookshop act as a kind of library, allowing customers to borrow books at a set charge per week. He never set up a formal circulating library, as Ashmole Foxe’s partner, Mrs Crombie, does in my books, but all the rest was there.

In time, Chase dropped the sales of groceries and the like, but added music, popular prints and caricatures, and lottery tickets to the range of goods on offer. As well as casual printing, he printed books, maps and other ephemera, plus the first Norwich Directory. He expanded the book auction business, holding auctions in other Norfolk towns and began to deal in property and auctions for other goods, including china and even livestock. None of these extra services were unique to the Chase family. What was unusual was the sheer range and scale of what William Chase II was able to offer.

By the time he died in 1781, William was a rich man with a wide range of interests in the city, serving on the Common Council for many years and as Guardian of the Poor several times. His interest in these roles seems not to have been especially political; it was probably due to the business benefits that could accrue from being involved with the City Corporation and the contracts it awarded. He made sure to secure work from the Diocese of Norwich and the established church generally. Such ‘highbrow’ official printing, was balanced by the publication of details of forthcoming trials, followed by accounts of the verdicts and subsequent executions at the gaol, including supposed ‘dying speeches’ and confessions on the scaffold.

After his death, the business continued under his heir, yet another William, but never attain to the same heights, though various descendants of the original two Williams continued to play significant roles in bookselling and printing well into the 19th century.

The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries in order:
1. The Fabric of Murder
2. Dark Threads of Vengeance
3. This Parody of Death
4. Bad Blood Will Out
5. Black as She’s Painted
6. A Sickness in the Soul
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GIVEAWAY:
One randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment each day at a participating stop on the tour. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

213 comments:

  1. One of the best historical series I've ever read with excellent twists to hold your interest throughout.

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  2. Which character from the book do you most relate to?

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    1. Hard to say. I suppose I feel most at home writing about Foxe himself, but I’m not at all like him in reality. I was born over a shop in a small city and spent the first 10 years of my life there, so the routines and demands of running a retail outlet are quite familiar to me. Like Mrs Crombie, my grandfather was a shopkeeper trying to make a good living selling mundane things, so she’s also a character I can easily realte to.

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  3. Question - where do you get your ideas for your stories.

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    1. Hard to say, Darlene. Mostly they simply pop into my head as a result of reading or doing something else.

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  4. Great excerpt! I can't wait to read it!

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    1. I truly hope it gives you great enjoyment, Judy.

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  5. thanks this sounds like an exciting book

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  6. Wow sounds like a great book. How much research did you have to do?

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  7. Sounds like a great book. I really love Historical Mysteries.

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  8. You are new to me as an author....I'm going to enjoy reading this...and thanks for the give away.

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  9. Love discovering new authors and books. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Great time period you've chosen for your book.

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  11. Im so excited to try this. I love finding new books to read.

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  12. A really interesting cover! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  13. I found a new author to read. So excited!

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    1. I hope you get great pleasure from my books. It’s why I write them.

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  14. Thanks for the opportunity to win! Can't wait to read this.

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  15. Love the cover and the time period.. have to buy after the holidays!

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  16. Very accurate depiction of those times. No wonder the American revolution occurred, give the British arrogance.

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  17. I enjoyed the excerpt. I love historical fiction stories.

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  18. Who is your favorite author still currently writing?

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    Replies
    1. I can’t say I really have a particular favourite. A lot of the time, I read Golden Age fiction.

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  19. how long was this book in your brain?

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  20. Enjoyed! reading about this book, looking forward to reading more.
    @tisonlyme143

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  21. ashmole foxe series. cracking me up
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  22. This sounds like a very interesting book.

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  23. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover!

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  24. Thanks. I design all the covers myself. I hope you enjoy the book too.

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  25. The cover is neat! Thanks for the chance.

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  26. Thanks for the history lesson!!

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  27. What's your favourite horror movie?

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  28. thanks good luck with the book tour

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  29. What was your favourite Disney movie?

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  30. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

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  31. I love Historical fiction- it's more interesting, in my opinion.

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  32. What's your favourite Disney movie?

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  33. I can’t say I like Disney much. Sorry.

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  34. What's your favourite breakfast food?

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  35. My husband & I are both wanting to read this book! That rarely happens!!

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  36. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

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  37. I am intrigued by the title and cover. Must read!

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  38. What questions do you want to be asked for the future of this giveaway..?

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  39. Where did you go on your favourite adventure?

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  40. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

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  41. Do you ever feel confused about life?

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  42. If you had one question to ask someone, what would you ask them?

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  43. This sounds like a good series.

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  44. Where do you wanna go on Christmas vacation?

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  45. Here's to a super weekend!

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  46. What's your plans for Thanksgiving?

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  47. What do you do when you're in pain?

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  48. Happy, happy Saturday!

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  49. Why do you think folks can't just get along?

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  50. Happy Football Sunday!

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  51. Happy Tuesday to all!

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  52. Hope everyone is have a festive week!

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  53. Do you or your characters have an accent?

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  54. When you sat down to write, did you know how the story would play out?

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  55. Happy Happy weekend!

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  56. Hope everyone has an amazing week!

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  57. Did you like Unsolved Mysteries as a kid?

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  58. Happy Tuesday!

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  59. Has your approach to writing changed since writing and releasing your first book?

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  60. What are your historical interests?

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  61. Happy, happy Monday!

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  62. Here's to an amazing Tuesday!

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  63. If you could meet someone in history who would it be?

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  64. Happy Thursday!

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  65. Thanks for letting us enter to win.

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  66. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

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  67. Here's to a wonderful weekend!

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  68. Happy Saturday!

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  69. What are your plans for the holiday?

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  70. Merry Christmas Eve!

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  71. Merry Christmas Day !

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  72. Thanks for the giveaway! The Ashmole Foxe series of historical mysteries looks interesting.

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  73. Hope everyone is having a super Thursday!

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  74. How do you feel about medical marijuana?

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  75. Here's to FRIYAY!

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  76. I hope that everyone is having a great weekend!

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  77. What did you do as an occupation before becoming a writer?

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  78. Ever felt homesick? How do you deal with it?

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  79. Happy Sunday Funday!

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  80. Here's to an AMAZING week!

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  81. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  82. Happy New Year's Eve!

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  83. Ever feel good about something bad happening to someone else?

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  84. Happy 2020!

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  85. Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions?

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  86. What are your goals for 2020?

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  87. What's your favourite Christmas carol?

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  88. Here's to a wonderful weekend!

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  89. Who do you think will win the Superbowl?

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  90. What author do you most like to read?

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  91. Imagine you just started a rock band; what would you call it?

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  92. How many books do you read in a year?

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  93. Happy Sunday Funday!

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  94. Here's to an amazing week!

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  95. What author do you most admire?

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  96. Hope everyone is having a terrific Tuesday!

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  97. Do you like the weather where you live?

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  98. Is everyone having an awesome Wednesday? Thanks for the opportunity to win

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  99. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  100. What do you do first thing in the morning?

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  101. Here's to a wonderful day!

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  102. Hope you all had a great day! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  103. What was the longest time you ever waited on hold?

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  104. Here's tp a great evening! Thanks for the opportunity to win

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  105. Mysteries are my favorite genre. This one sounds great!

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  106. Mysteries are an awesome genre! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  107. Here's to an amazing week!

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  108. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

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  109. How many books do you read in a week?

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  110. What is your plan for the new year?

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  111. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

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  112. What was your favourite class in school?

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  113. What season do you like best?

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  114. Sounds like an interesting book.

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  115. Do you write more in bad weather or sunshine?

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  116. Sounds like an awesome book! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  117. Let's have an amazing weekend!

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  118. I love mysteries set in historical England, so I look forward to reading this one. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to the author on the release of the book.

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  119. Cheers to Super Saturday!

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  120. What was something which surprised you about your book?

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  121. What's the longest you've ever stayed up?

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  122. Do you relax on the weekends?

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  123. My daughter would enjoy this book

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  124. What's your favorite season? Mine is summer.

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  125. Happy Sunday Funday!

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  126. How have you given to charity in the last year?

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  127. This sounds really interesting! I can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing! ❤

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  128. sounds like a fun one

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  129. Here's to a great week!

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