Behind the Scenes of a Locked Room Mystery

by | A Writer Writes, Behind the Scenes, James Lalonde Insiders

Hello, Book Lovers!


Guess who forgot to create an official blog post for her new book that was published to all major ebook retailers on the 10th of April, 2023? Well, I did create a mini news update, but that’s it.


Honestly, I feel like a new parent who just realised they didn’t announce the birth of their third child. So, ridden with guilt, I’m creating this post to atone for my sins.


To celebrate the release of my locked room mystery which was creatively titled, The Locked Room, I thought I would share a little of the behind-the-scenes or the making of this novella that, as a reader, you never get to see unless I take you along with me.


But first, before I forget, here are the links to the online ebook retailers.


Below is a list of where you can buy the 5×8 paperback or the large print paperback edition.


5×8 Paperback


Large Print Paperback


Or alternatively, you can order paperback or large print editions at your local bookstore by sharing these ISBNs with your favourite bookstore or local library.


  • ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-916609-02-0
  • ISBN (Large Print): 978-1-916609-03-7


The Locked Room: A James Lalonde Novella

Original price was: £2.49.Current price is: £0.00.

The Locked Room is a prequel novella to the James Lalonde Amateur Sleuth Mysteries series. It can be read as a part of the series or as a stand-alone story.

What Prompted the Writing of the Locked Room?

The Locked Room was the result of a lockdown purchase I made in 2021. While some were making babies, I was buying courses by Dean Wesley Smith, and in particular, a course on Writing Locked Room Mysteries. At the end of that course, Dean shared a writing prompt which, as you can guess, was to write a locked room mystery featuring a cat with less than five thousand words. As I reached the twenty-five percent mark in the first draft, I remembered the cat writing prompt. Because of my cat allergies, I took advantage of the wish fulfilment element of writing, and thus Michelangelo was created.


Longer than Intended

It’ll come as no surprise to you that I couldn’t stick to the word limit, and the short story took on a life of its own and became the novella you just read. I hope you had as much fun reading this story as I had writing it—this novella was the most enjoyable hundred and sixteen hours of writing I’ve had in quite a long time. But I suspect it only took you a few short hours to enjoy it.


But this story is also important to me because it’s full of nostalgic moments that I look back on with fondness or with great fear.


Is Clovervale Hall and Clovervale Village
 a Real Place?

Those of you who are anglophiles will be disappointed to learn that Clovervale Hall and its surrounding village are not real. But the manor house is heavily inspired by Polebrook Hall, situated on the south side of Northamptonshire in the charming village with the same name. This is where I got the idea of naming the estate after the village. And Polebrook Hall, which is a private residence, does, upon first look, give off the impression that certain parts of the house were made in a different time period than others. The sad point I’m trying to make is that the estate is private and, at the time of publishing, is not open to the public and is also not found in Oxfordshire. I’m sorry, but I took quite a bit of creative licence in this novella.


A Trip Down Memory Lane

Perhaps it’s my age showing, but I took a few trips down memory lane in The Locked Room. Those who know me will not be surprised by the appearance of the iMac G3 with the matching transparent monitor, keyboard and circular mouse. In my early twenties, this was the very first Apple Mac I used, and since then, I was in love. To this day, I’m still an avid Apple fan, much to the dismay of my Android-loving Husband, although he does have a MacBook.

A Fear of Heights

The year my husband and I got engaged, we went on a trip to Italy. This is pre-pandemic, back when travelling with fun and free of swabs—those were the days. My husband and I went to the Vatican for the first time and booked tickets to tour Saint Peter’s Basilica. As we booked the tickets, I kid you not; my husband told me there were only one hundred steps to the top of the dome—infamous last words. We exited the lift and then ascended the stairs towards the dome. After climbing a few hundred steps towards the dome, I saw a sign I would never forget. The sign said I was halfway to the top, and there were over one hundred and fifty steps. At that time, I also realised that the creepy stairs I had just climbed were, the way down.


Let’s just say I was terrified. Eventually, we reached the top, and I couldn’t even look out at the horizon. I was officially afraid of heights. And what about my husband, you ask? He had the time of his life wandering around the top of the dome admiring the view. Meanwhile, I was psyching myself up for the way down. To add a sense of depth and realism to James, I gave him this same fear, but instead, he passed out in his experience.


I know; I’m a monster.

My Favourite Board Game

While we’re on the topic of trips down memory lane and nostalgia, in this novella, I included a reference to a board game—the Winter Edition of Carcassonne. This game is, in fact, a real game, but it is a limited edition and is out of circulation. If you’re curious about the game, I’ve included photos of the game on my Instagram and the behind-the-scenes blog post over on my website that relates to this book.


Thanks for reading this behind-the-scenes sneak peek at The Locked Room.


Happy reading, book lovers!

Amelia xx

Amelia D. Hay

Amelia D. Hay

I’m Amelia. I write amateur sleuth mystery novels under the pen name A. D. Hay and I’m the author of The Candidate, The Locked Room, The Lawn, Suspicion and Duplicity. I’m also the host of the Mystery Novel Nerd Podcast and The Authorpreneur Podcast™️. Right now, I’m writing the first novella in a cozy mystery series, and writing the third book in the James Lalonde Mystery Series. When I’m not writing, hosting my podcasts or coaching aspiring authors, I love to travel around Europe with my Husband, drink tea, and eat pizza.

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