Today, I have author Dieter Moitzi in the interview chair. He’s here to talk about his latest release Till Death Do Us Part, book one in the Poireaut & Di Angeli series, a m/m contemporary romance.
1. Hi, Dieter. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Dieter: Well, I’m less interesting than my characters, I’m afraid. I always describe myself as your average dude, forty-and-then-some years old. I was born in a small Austrian village in the early 70s and moved to Paris, France, in the 90s. I’ve been happily sharing the last twelve years with my boyfriend and intend to spend many more with him—as many as he would have me. I’m working as a graphic designer, which as jobs go has its ups and downs (the major up being a salary).
In my spare time I love to read (a lot) and write reviews in English—currently for Rainbow Book Reviews—and in French for my own book review website. I also love to cook, and above all, I love to travel whenever job and bank account allow it. Oh, and of course, I write, in all my three languages, English, German, and French.
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page and noticed you are drawn to murder mysteries. Why write in this genre?
Dieter: To be honest, initially I simply wanted to write. And then the murder mystery genre has chosen me rather than the other way around, or so it seems to me now. Some years back—too many that I care to remember—I was on holidays in Greece, and one morning, I was sitting on my hotel balcony and staring down at the blue rectangle of the swimming pool, which was empty. And suddenly I was wondering, what would I do if I saw a corpse floating around in the undisturbed, beautifully turquoise water (yes, I’m strange like that). I started spinning a yarn in my head throughout my two-week vacation, and that’s when Damien Drechsler, Nikos, and the primal idea for my first novel The Stuffed Coffin were basically born. Which was a holiday romance with a murder mystery twist. But I’ve got ideas for a YA gay fantasy series, which hopefully I’ll get around to writing one of these days, and as a reader I also love other genres (fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, romance).
3. Your latest series is Poireaut & Di Angeli. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this series?
Dieter: It’s an idea we had together, my boyfriend Seb and I. My first novel had just won the French Best Gay Crime Novel Award, and Seb said he’d love to write a four-handed novel with me. We brainstormed and outlined some ideas, namely the two main characters, one French, the other Italian, but couldn’t find the right moment to kick off the actual writing process. But you could say we invented Raphaël and Stefano together, albeit with other names.
4. Can you share your writing process through Till Death Do Us Part? Did the plot come first or the characters?
Dieter: As I said, the characters came first. We wanted a slightly older, professionally successful but more or less loveless, more or less closeted guy from Venice, Italy, and an openly gay, carefree, young Parisian guy with artistic tendencies. In our original idea they were meant to meet in Venice, a town both Seb and I love, but from the start something bothered me with this idea. I now know I wanted the two men to have their first encounter on neutral ground, neither in Venice nor in Paris.
Anyway, our ideas ran dry, and the project died the quiet death of oblivion. I even started working on the second Damien-Drechsler-book when suddenly, a new idea jumped at me: Why not set the first Poireaut & Di-Angeli-novel in Egypt? Having ventured on a Nile-cruise in 2018 would have helped trigger off that idea, I guess. As soon as I had had that thought, the first three chapters flowed out of my fingers all by themselves more or less, and once the process was started, I knew I had to see it through till the end.
5. How much research goes into your novels since your books take place in various countries? And do you require a lot of outlining since you lean toward murder mysteries?
Dieter: I guess one writes best about things one knows. The setting for my first novel was easy to find—I’d been going to the same small Greek village for holidays four or five years in a row, so I knew the smells, the sights, the people almost by heart. Loving the place helped a lot, too. Of course, my knowledge of the Greek language merely allows me to buy food, drinks, and cigarettes, so I had to research some words and phrases to lend the dialogues more local colour. Apart from that, the rest was observation and memories, I gather.
Now, my 2018 cruise on the Nile was another story altogether. When I started writing Till Death Do Us Part, I could rely on photos and memories of our trip in order to get the physical descriptions right. But the historical details? They are so rich—fancy, several thousands of years!—that I’m sure even Egyptologists sometimes get their dynasties and Pharaohs mixed up. Therefore, I had to rely on the guidebooks I had bought before our trip. I cross-checked place names on online maps, and of course, let’s be honest: what would a writer do without Wikipedia? Not only to check data, but also names. It may sound trivial, but those old Egyptian Pharaohs don’t necessarily have the same names in English, French, or German, the three languages in which I publish my novels.
As for outlining a plot, that was one of the reasons my boyfriend and I didn’t get very far with our four-handed project. He needs to outline, to program, to plan; I however just go with the flow. First there’s a vague plot-idea, then I start writing, and then, the characters take me from chapter to chapter, sometimes forcing me to delete whole passages, sometimes begging me to add others… Organized chaos, you could call it. But I know from the start “whodunnit”, which helps finishing a murder mystery novel.
6. Let’s talk about the main characters for Till Death Do Us Part. What do you love most about Raphaël Poireaut and what makes you want to shake him?
Dieter: I love his carefree ways, his wry humour, his loving heart, and his aunt, lol. Oh, and sporting a shaved head myself, I simply fell in love with his half-long, blond curls! On the other hand, he has trust- and self-trust-issues, the reasons for which the readers can already guess in this book, but which they will understand better in the next instalments of the series. Sometimes he waits too long before talking things over, and that makes me want to shake him a lot. I wouldn’t, however, because… uh, I’m afraid I’m a bit like that, too.
7. The same for Stefano di Angeli. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Dieter: Stefano is more down-to-earth, I gather, so he’s the perfect shoulder to lean on. Despite his self-assured exterior, he’s rather insecure, however, which makes him doubt himself and other people. Trust-issues again, but for other reasons. There weren’t too many things that made me want to shake him in this book, but since I already know where the next instalments are heading, I guess I’ll outright hate him at one moment in book 2 or 3.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write for Till Death Do Us Part and why?
Dieter: The haggle-scene in the souk of Aswan between a secondary character, Caroline, and an Egyptian vendor, because… been there, done that, as a mightily amused observer, just like Raphaël and Stefano. The whole souk-scene, by the way, was great fun to write and is based upon my personal experiences as an onlooker. For the record, I wouldn’t know how to haggle if my life depended on it; more often than not, I leave the haggling to my French friends, many of whom love it, so Raphaëls inaptitude of getting the best price is really based on myself.
9. What makes the Poireaut & Di Angeli series different from other murder mystery romances?
Dieter: Tough question. I’m not sure I have an answer. The first comments of French readers underlined an A. Christie-esque atmosphere (which made me blush, I felt so honoured) with a gay and witty twist. But there are several other M/M murder mystery writers that come immediately to mind who I deem better than me in that department, so… I guess that’s a question rather the readers should answer.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Till Death Do Us Part, what would you tell them?
Dieter: I’d say, “You like exotic settings? You like romance? You like a light, non-violent plot, some witty banter, and a nice, cozy romance? Then grab a copy.”
11. You can only recommend one of your novels to a reader, which would you choose from the books you’ve written so far, and why?
Dieter: Till Death Do Us Part because I’m rather satisfied with it. I should explain that I always find something to criticize about my writing, so “quite satisfied” is an achievement for me!
12. Which novel is your personal favourite to write, and why?
Dieter: The next one, because for the moment, it only exists in my head, and to bring my ideas to life, so to say, is simply wonderful.
13. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Dieter: The sort of liberty I sometimes feel when tackling a scene or a description. And to make my characters come alive.
14. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Dieter: You’ll probably laugh: it takes so darn long!
15. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
The Lord of the Ring-trilogy, simply because the book itself is amongst my all-time favourites.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
Two books in fact: Frank W. Butterfield’s “The Savage Son” (I’ve loved this M/M series since reading the first book) and John Scalzi’s “The Consuming Fire”, a sci-fi space opera.
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
Argh, difficult question again. I’d say The Cure because their moody-broody teenage angst songs and atmospheric music accompanied my own moody-broody teenage angst years.
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Hozier feat. Mavis Staples, “Nina Cried Power”
16. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Dieter: Just that I want to thank you for having me, I really enjoyed your questions
Title: Till Death Do Us Part
Series: Poireaut & Di Angeli
Author: Dieter Moitzi
Cover Artist: Dieter Moitzi
Genre/s: Cosy Murder Mystery
Trope/s: M/M romance, enemies to lovers, slow-burn, HFN, holidays
Themes: Painful past, Egypt, cosy, slow romance, holidays
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: approx. 101,750 words/approx. 305 pages
Come on board the Queen of Egypt and discover this new murder mystery full of witty dialogs, funny situations, and blooming love!
Blurb: When Auntie Agathe invites Raphaël Poireaut, a young Parisian bartender, on a Nile cruise, he isn’t really thrilled. To stare at old stones together with a bunch of old codgers—why, thanks for the gift. Unsurprisingly the trip starts off badly enough. Not only does Raphaël have an unnerving confrontation with a handsome but standoffish and haughty Italian guy, but he has barely stepped on board the cruise ship when he stumbles upon a tourist… who has been stabbed to death.
The young Venetian Stefano di Angeli agrees to spend his vacation in Egypt with his best friend Grazia. He hasn’t had holidays for six years. But his first encounter with a young, angel-faced, curly-haired Frenchie brings back painful memories. Besides, what could be worse to start a Nile cruise than to discover a murder has been committed on board? Cazzo—fate seems to bear him a grudge!
While the Egyptian police led by Colonel Al-Qaïb are investigating the murder, Raphaël and Stefano find themselves swept away by the events… and by the blooming feelings that inexorably draw them closer. Will they manage to sort out the truth from the lies and find the murderer? Will they be able to resist this mutual attraction that seems to overwhelm them against their wills?
Already short-listed for the French Gay Book Award 2020!
A new, funny and light adventure by the author of “The Stuffed Coffin”, the French version of which has won the French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019.
A standalone novel.
The young guy hears my quiet steps, or he senses my gaze. He turns around.
Oh, hel-lo, man! My heart does a backwards flip. In my job I meet handsome guys aplenty. But this one is a class of his own. His face could be that of a male model, I kid you not. As if one of those unreal guys had stepped out of the glossy pages of Vogue Homme or GQ. Manly features, sensual mouth. Square chin, Roman nose, neatly trimmed designer stubble. His forehead is bare, his dense hair styled backwards and falling behind his left ear in a natural, lazy wave as if doing it spontaneously.
Alas, my immediate interest isn’t shared. On the contrary, he reacts as if suddenly facing a monster. He should be thankful the rail in his back prevents him from moving too far back and falling into the Nile.
Quite a boost for my self-esteem.
The handsome cretin pulls himself together at the last moment and scans me from head to toe. His cold gaze hovers over my naked chest, and he frowns, his eyebrows bushy but perfectly drawn. I notice that his whole body-language exudes barely concealed distance and aversion.
Despite his hostility, I murmur, “Hi”. Somewhat coolly perhaps, but still. I was raised like that. All right, I add “Asshole!” in my head, because, hello?
The young man answers with a nod. A black lock falls over his eyes, he puts it back in place. He seems to hesitate, then turns his back on me again.
Okay, asshole. Go ahead, continue your moody brooding, I don’t care. I don’t need no mens, even if they’re handsome as fuck.
HALF AN HOUR LATER, THE sun has started its race across the pristine sky for good; the heat has risen as well. The hipster slash asshole is still sulking in his corner when I sit on a shady deckchair. Our meeting was unpleasant, but he and the guy in pink belie my initial prognosis, and that’s a good start. We’re at least three on this boat to contemplate our sixties from below.
With the back of my hand, I wipe off the sweat trickling down my chest and soaking my chest hair. I realize I’m thirsty. There’s a bottle of water in the fridge in my cabin. Let’s go get it. You always need to stay hydrated, as Auntie would say. Granted, she means drinks, as in alcoholic beverages, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
The man in the pink tracksuit has apparently seen enough, too. When I get to the top of the stairs, he’s on the last step.
He’s waiting downstairs, holding the door for me.
“Thank you,” I say.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he remarks in an affable tone.
I look up in surprise. His beautifully low voice doesn’t match his puny physique and the mousey face. He makes an affected hand movement. “The landscape, I mean. The light.”
Automatically, I think, Oh. Family. “Very beautiful indeed,” I reply. “And ‘splendid things gleam in the dust’…”
Recognizing the Flaubert-quote, he laughs good-heartedly.
The swinging door closes behind us. Another door slams softly somewhere down the corridor. In the first cabin, I hear a woman say heatedly, “… I think he got it. He won’t bother you anymore, tweety.”
Tweety! Smirk. I really wouldn’t want to be pet-named tweety.
We pass other cabins; the vague noises of conversations, no more than murmurs, drifting out. I can hear showers running as well. The ship is waking up. A nice smell wafts through the corridor, a woody, leathery perfume for men that strikes me as familiar. The pink, mousey guy in front of me must have sprinkled himself with it.
A few doors before mine, the young man stops. “See you later,” he says.
“See you later,” I reply. When I pass behind him, I get a whiff a his pronounced citrus perfume, very fresh, very pungent. Oh. He’s not the source of the leathery perfume smell…
He turns the key and opens the door. “Mon chéri—are you awake?” he asks. The door closes behind him.
I was right. Mon chéri, not ma chérie. He is family. I’m not the only gay guy on this ship.
I walk to my door while rummaging in my shorts pockets. Let’s see… mobile… pencil… notepad… h-m. Where have I put my keys? Did I take them? Damn—don’t tell me I locked myself out…!
A YELL. “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”
I JUMP, turn around, gaze down the empty corridor. What was it? Who was it? Where was it? What am I supposed to do?
“MY GOD! MICHEL!”
A bad feeling bubbles up in my guts.
For a longer excerpt, please visit my author page: http://dietermoitzi.com/till-death-do-us-part
Born in the early 70s, I grew up in a little village in Austria. At the age of 18, I moved to Vienna to get my master’s degree in Political Sciences, French, and Spanish. Today, I’m living in Paris, France, with my boyfriend and work as a graphic designer.
In my spare time, I write, read, cook fancy recipes, take photos, and as often as I can, I travel (Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, the UK, and many more places). My literary tastes are eclectic, ranging from fantasy, murder mysteries, gay romances to dystopian novels, but I won’t say no to poetry or a history book either. I’m more a hoodie/jeans/sneakers kind of guy than a suit-and-tie chap.
So far, I’ve published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. My first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on January 6, 2019 and is also available in German and French. The French version has won the prestigious French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019 (Prix du roman policier – Prix du roman gay 2019). You can also find me on Rainbow Book Reviews, where I write book reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude (for French reviews, have a look at my review site livresgay.fr).