Thursday, July 5, 2018

Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann

Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann

Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Seventh Street Books
Paperback & eBook; 256 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Hiro Hattori, Book #6

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan's most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple's priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife--the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests--including Father Mateo--become unwilling members of the killer's grisly council of the dead.

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Praise for Trial on Mount Koya

“A page-turning and atmospheric historical mystery that beautifully melds fascinating Japanese history with a cleverly constructed mystery reminiscent of And Then There Were None—if the famous Agatha Christie mystery had been set in medieval Japan on a sacred mountaintop during a snowstorm.” —Gigi Pandian, USA Today–bestselling author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries

“Susan Spann is up front in saying that Trial on Mount Koya is an homage to Agatha Christie. Believe me, she does the great Dame Agatha proud. This excellent entry in Spann’s series of Hiro Hattori mysteries offers plenty of esoteric clues and red herrings that are fun to chase. Along the way, she even does Christie one better, giving readers a fascinating glimpse of life and religion in feudal Japan. This is a book sure to please Spann’s growing legion of fans as well as anyone who loves the work of Agatha Christie.” —William Kent Krueger, Edgar® Award–winning author of Sulfur Springs

About the Author

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

For more information, please visit Susan Spann's website. You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

Interview with Susan Spann

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
A little of both. I write from an outline, so my novels always start with a solid structure. Once I start writing, however, the characters tend to take over and the story takes on a life of its own. Almost every novel I’ve written includes a character I didn’t plan for or expect, who appeared as a surprise in the drafting process. Each of those characters ended up being instrumental to the story—in Trial on Mount Koya, it’s even a character who will reappear in future books—but I had no idea they even existed, much less that I needed them, during the outline phase.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
When a blizzard strikes a sacred mountain, and a killer begins murdering Buddhist priests and posing his victims as the Kings of Hell, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must stop the killer before he completes his grisly council of the dead.
If you like page-turning suspense, medieval Japan, or mysteries that involve a ticking clock, high stakes, and intricate mysteries, I think you’ll love Trial on Mount Koya.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Claws of the Cat, was the first novel in my Hiro Hattori/Shinobi mystery series, and my first published book, but I wrote four other manuscripts before I found my agent and signed my first publishing deal. They remain unpublished, and for the moment I think they’ll stay that way. They were great learning vehicles, but they’d need a lot of revision and editing to get them ready for publication, and I’m too busy writing Hiro and Father Mateo’s adventures (at least for now).
Pen or typewriter or computer?
Computer and Alphasmart Neo! I write the first draft of every novel on an Alphasmart Neo, which is basically a portable, lightweight keyboard with a screen that shows only four lines of text. It doesn’t connect to the Internet and it’s difficult to edit on, which minimizes distractions. Once I have a completed draft, I download it from the Neo to my MacBook, and do the rest of my editing on the computer, in MS Word.
Also, I don’t add chapter breaks in my novels until at least the fourth draft. Until then, it’s all a single, unbroken document.
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
First and most importantly: thank you for spending your valuable time sharing Hiro and Father Mateo’s adventures with me. I’m grateful to every reader, and every fan—you are the reason why I write these books and share these stories, and it means a lot to me that people enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing.

And second: If you like Japan, I hope you’ll stop by my blog ( where I’m sharing photos and stories from my ongoing extended research and mountain climbing trip in Japan. I’m spending the summer of 2018 climbing mountains all across Japan, in an attempt to climb all hundred of the Nihon Hyakumeizan (100 Famous Mountains of Japan)!

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 4
Interview at Donna's Book Blog

Thursday, July 5
Interview at T's Stuff
Feature at The Bookworm

Friday, July 6
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Sunday, July 8
Review at Carole Rae's Random Ramblings

Tuesday, July 10
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 11
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, July 12
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, July 13
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, July 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Tuesday, July 17
Guest Post at Writing the Renaissance

Wednesday, July 18
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, July 20
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, July 21
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, July 24
Feature at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, July 26
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 27
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, July 30
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, August 1
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, August 3
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, August 5
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 6
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 8
Review at Reading the Past


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Trial on Mount Koya! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Trial on Mount Koya

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