BS: I’m a notorious plant-killer. I have some plastic succulent plants on my patio—but even they struggle to survive. I LOVE the smell of lavender and always have a bottle of lavender essential oils on hand. In researching lavender for my Cold Cream Murders series I came across a hardy variety called Grosso. Known for its fragrance it’s the most widely grown lavender in France. I may try Grosso in the spring. Maybe it will survive my black thumb.
Olive Peroni, the protagonist in my series, inherited a secret recipe for magical beauty cream from her grandmother. It requires honey from Soprano bees. These rare Italian bees buzzed from my imagination.
Kathy: Digby, the owner of the lavender field, is also a beekeeper. I'm so glad you talk about the importance of bees and increase awareness on the subject. Have you ever considered keeping bees yourself?
BS: I would love to keep bees but I live in an apartment complex. My neighbors are very nice but I think beehives outside my patio would test the limits of their neighborliness. Actually, that would make a good subplot.
Most people aren’t aware that bees are important to our survival. Bees pollinate seventy of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90% of the world’s nutrition. Scientists know that worldwide bee colonies are collapsing because of pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, air pollution, global warming, and more. We really must save the bees.
Readers, please leave a comment to qualify for my drawing. I am giving away two Save the Bees sweatshirts at the end of my book tour.
Kathy: Every book in your Cold Cream Murder Mystery series includes a recipe for a homemade beauty product. How did you get interested in making your own products? Do you have a favorite item you make often?
BS: I became interested in making my own products when I started to read the labels on the skin and hair products I was using. When I researched the ingredients in many store-bought goods, I decided it would be safer to make my own. When Olive and Lizzy teamed up in Glossy Lips, it seemed like they would be the perfect gals to share my simple recipes.
I guess my favorite item—a holdover from my teen years—is my egg facial. I usually slather it on once a week. It’s easy and works wonders. No one believes I’m 102 years old.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
BS: Drew is the keyword. Nancy Drew. I have always loved cozies. I’d don’t like to read about violence or cruelty. I’d rather dwell in St. Mary Mead or Cabot’s Cove.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
BS: Yes, I do.
Besides my Victorian cozy series Florence Nightingale, I also write Jane Austen light-hearted variations both Contemporary and Regency. I also write Wendy Darlin Capers, magical comedies and fairytale based novels. I have over forty books on Amazon and about twenty-five on Audible. My books are always clean and wholesome—never dark and gritty.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
BS: The Cold Cream Murders: Cozies—Glossy Lips, Smokey Eyes, Soap on a Rope, Sun Scream, Lavender Toes and Grams’ Christmas Baby. Florida based madcap comedy mysteries.
Florence Nightingale series: Cozies—The Giggling Corpse, The Killer Corset, and The Cheeky Coroner. I hope to add to this lovely series in 2020.
Wendy Darlin Capers feature a klutzy female Indiana Jones who joins her handsome but absent-minded archaeologist leading man in seeking and returning stolen antiquities. The zany adventures include: Wendy and the Lost Boys, London Broil, Cairo Caper, Miami Mummies, and Vulgarian Vamp.
Mister Darcy series: Nine contemporary adventures that take place in London. Darcy is a secret member of the modern day Knights Templar. Billionaire Darcy endures Lizzy’s help on his adventures and is always glad he did.
Regency standalones: all feature Darcy and Elizabeth. My Fair Lizzy, Darcy, Lizzy, and Emma, Serendipity, The Gallant Vicar, The Gallant Vicar Returns, and Darcy, Lizzy, and Lady Susan.
The Witches of Longbourn: A screwball Regency romp. Darcy accidentally turns the Prince Regent into a frog. It takes three books to save the English monarchy. Darcy’s Royal Dilemma, Lizzy’s Love Apprentice, Darcy’s Magical Message.
Standalone fairy tale riffs: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Zo White and the Seven Morphs, Cold Case Morphs.
The Adventures of a Love Investigator: The true story of my adventures traveling the country interviewing men about women. Genre: Bad idea that got out of hand.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
BS: I guess my favorite would be Grams Dingler in my Cold Cream Murders series. She’s become very real to me. I can see her dressing in her 1960s outfits and brandishing her brass candlestick as she pursues evildoers.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
BS: My life experiences have inspired all my series. Each major mistake I made I filed in my memory palace for use in my “someday” novels. I was three years old when I ran away from home the first time. I spent most of my pre-kindergarten years in the hall closet convinced I could turn into a black panther. I continued to experience my childhood until by age 18 I was delivering babies in Brazil with the Peace Corps. And that was just my formative years. I have lots of material for lots more books.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
BS: I decided to learn what men really think about women. I traveled the country personally interviewing guys for what I thought would be a one-year expedition into their minds and hearts. Six years later I was still listening to men. After 527 interviews, I called it quits. It was then I realized I had to share some of what I learned so I published The Adventures of a Love Investigator. That book worked out nicely and so I continued to take my crazy adventures and turn them into comedy mysteries.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
BS: Neil Gaiman, Oscar Wilde, John Cleese, and Jude Law. I don’t think Jude has published anything but it’s my party!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
BS: Re-reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I enjoyed it so much the first time I treated myself to reading it again. Also, I’m reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
BS: I sew, knit, and crochet. Until I fractured my spine, I used to enjoy hot air ballooning, falconry, and attending cat shows.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
BS: This is embarrassing but here goes: Haagen Dazs Butter Pecan ice cream. Hellman’s mayonnaise. French Market coffee with chicory, and Belgian Mini Cream Puffs. For the last six months, I have been seriously addicted to those mini cream puffs. They just pop in my mouth and squish down all creamy and sweet. I believe I need an intervention.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
BS: Right now I’m working on Book 6 in the Cold Cream Murders. The working title is Makeover Murders. I’m also plotting another adventure for Florence Nightingale and Poppy.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
BS: Making people laugh. I enjoy knowing I have taken readers on a happiness journey.
Lavender Toes (A Cold Cream Murder Mystery) by Barbara Silkstone
About Lavender Toes
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series
Independently Published (December 1, 2019)
Paperback: 174 pages
Someone dear to Olive is found dead—toes up and barefooted—in Digby’s Bees lavender field. Olive and Lizzy team up with WonderDog to find the killer. Digby’s hives are home to the wondrous Soprano bees. The little buzzers are the source of the secret ingredient that powers their Nonna’s Cold Cream—a fountain of youth in a jar.
Finding the killer becomes more of a challenge as the gals protect Digby’s bees from a determined land developer who wants the beekeeper’s farm. The clock ticks as saving the honeybees becomes every bit as important as finding the cousin-killer.
While Olive and Lizzy buzz about, Grams, nonagenarian ace reporter for the Silverfish Gazette, takes on the story of a diamond heist in nearby Sarasota. Can the gals protect Grams from another near catastrophe or can the feisty lady handle it alone?
Help the Cold Cream gals solve the mystery of the Lavender Toes while once again bailing Grams out of trouble. And what about those bees?
Every book comes with a recipe for a homemade beauty product.
About Barbara Silkstone
Barbara Silkstone's most current series is COLD CREAM MURDERS ~ GLOSSY LIPS, SMOKEY EYES ~SOAP ON A ROPE. Coming this fall Book 5 in the series: LAVENDER TOES. This series will have at least 6 books when complete. The adventures take place in the imaginary burg of Starfish Cove, Florida ~ a place near and dear to Silkstone's hometown of Redington Beach on the Gulf of Mexico just north of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Silkstone is the best-selling author of both Regency Pride and Prejudice variations, including the popular the MISTER DARCY SERIES OF COMEDIC MYSTERIES ~ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE contemporary variations. All her books are light-hearted adventures based on Jane Austen's timeless tales of love denied and love discovered. "Feel good" tales to warm your heart.
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-Silkstone-Author-156097004489447/
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