If you answered yes to any of the above mentioned questions then do I have the perfect cozy mystery series for you-The Domestic Diva Mysteries by Krista Davis. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme introduces us to Sophie Winston, an event planner who lives in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Recipes and decorating tips are included in each book. Krista stopped by the blog for an interview.
Kathy: What first drew you to the cozy mystery?
Nancy Drew! Agatha Christie! I've been reading cozies as long as I can remember.
Kathy: Do you write any other genres?
KD: Not at the moment. I like traditional mysteries and thrillers, but I don't see myself writing anything without a mystery in it.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
KD: Starting in 2013, I will have two series!
The Domestic Diva Mysteries take place in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and feature a domestic diva with an advice column.
The new series is set at the Sugar Maple Inn on fictional Wagtail Mountain where a Jack Russell Terrier named Trixie has a nose for trouble.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
KD: Gosh, which of my children do I like best? I like them all, even Natasha. Some of them grew on me. I never intended Humphrey to go past the first book. But he kept stumbling in, even when I hadn't planned on it. And I have to say that I love Francie. She's funny, sharp, can be biting, and sometimes she's a nut.
In my new series, one character is already stepping forward to be a much bigger player than I expected. Sometimes characters seem to take on a life of their own!
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
KD: I had submitted a different concept to my publisher and my editor asked if it would appeal to readers of Real Simple. I'd never heard of Real Simple so I dashed off to the drugstore to have a look. It dawned on me that it's sort of the anti-Martha magazine for people who want to have good food and lovely homes without quite as much fuss. Right there, in the drugstore aisle, the concept of two rival domestic divas with very different styles sprang into my head.
Kathy: Sophie and Natasha have had a rivalry since they were young. Did you have a similar rivalry growing up?
KD: No. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I'm not very competitive. I have been friends with people who had some of Natasha's traits. She doesn't think she's being mean. Natasha honestly thinks she's being helpful, and is completely stunned that others wouldn't perceive her comments that way. Of course, when the tables are turned, she's the first to be offended.
Kathy: Sophie always manages to whip up delicious meals for family and friends who pop by. Are you able to do the same?
KD: It's easier for Sophie. I'm not quite as capable as she is, but I do enjoy entertaining, and I love to have friends visit. I'm always trying out recipes on my friends and family for my books and Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. In the beginning, I think they were a little bit afraid to tell me if they didn't care for something, but now they're like restaurant critics!
Kathy: How do you come up with the recipes you share in your books?
KD: Some of them are based on family recipes. Others are recipes that I work on until I get them the way I want them. I thought my poor mother would never eat Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie again. I baked so many of them that we actually got to the point where we would split a teeny little piece to try, and then I'd give the rest of the pie to neighbors.
Kathy: When it comes to decorating your own home do you go all out, or do you keep your decorating fictional and not do much of anything in reality?
KD: I go all out for Christmas. Yes, I'm a Christmas nut. I decorate for Halloween and a little bit for Easter, and I switch out certain wreaths and items on the mantel with the seasons.
Kathy: Is your decorating style more like Sophie or Natasha?
KD: Definitely Sophie! Natasha goes wild.
Kathy: I must ask, is Natasha channeling Martha Stewart?
KD: I don't think she's channeling Martha. Natasha idolizes Martha and thinks she's the Martha of the South. But in her enthusiasm, Natasha often bungles things. Shh, don't tell her I said that. She thinks she's always right.
Kathy: Do you believe in ghosts?
KD: This is a tough question. For a very long time, I did not believe in them at all. Then I had a couple of strange experiences that were difficult to explain. When I look at the night sky and try to imagine that there is no end to space, a concept that I find very difficult, then I think there must be many, many things we don't understand or know about. By nature I'm a "show me" kind of person but I'm not sure that everything can be seen or quantified so I'm open to the idea.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
KD:It wasn't so much a decision as a quest. Just a few years ago, the only option for writers was to find a publisher. Berkley Prime Crime has been very good to me, and I'm delighted to be one of their authors.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
KD: This is such a difficult question. I have to say that I would invite all my wonderful writer friends. It would be a huge gathering, though. So I'll answer the question assuming that I can't invite them.
Agatha Christie would top the guest list. Dinner will be on a boat moored on the Nile, probably at Luxor. Cocktails, of course. Giant shrimp as an appetizer. Beef Wellington, asparagus, creamy mashed potatoes, and an exotic salad with mangos in it. Dessert would have to be champagne and triple chocolate mousse torte.
Oh, yes, the other guests. Mark Twain, because he's hilarious and fun. Dr. Seuss because he must be delightful. Lillian Jackson Braun because I loved Qwill, Koko, and Yum Yum.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
KD: SPICE 'N DEADLY by Gail Oust. It's not out yet, but it's a fun book with wonderfully warm witty characters. It takes place in the south. Piper, the protagonist, opens a spice shop to get back on her feet after a divorce, but a murder gets in the way of her plans.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
KD: I'm a huge lover of dogs and cats. While I haven't traveled much recently, I love to explore new places and visit other countries.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
KD: Julie's 100 calorie Fudgesicles (I'm addicted), red pepper and tomato soup, 0% milk, and the most gorgeous huge eggs from a local farm.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
KD: Oh my, yes! I'm very busy. THE DIVA FROSTS A CUPCAKE will be out on June 4th. I'm just starting work on the next book in that series, and I'm under contract for another as well, so the domestic divas will continue for a while.
We don't have a series name yet for the new mysteries. I'm calling them the Wagtail Mysteries, but that will probably be changed. The working title of the first book is THE TROUBLE WITH DOGS. It will be in bookstores this time next year, with a release date of December 3rd.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?.
KD: My favorite thing is having a job that I love. I get up in the morning, ready to roll, eager to jump back into my current manuscript. I still can't believe that I'm so lucky.
I'm so thankful that Krista was able to take time to answer my questions, especially during this busy holiday season. Perhaps my readers can now help her. Krista is having a Christmas cookie recipe contest. The winners will have their names and recipes published in the 2014 Domestic Diva Mystery! Preference will be given to family recipes that have been handed down. An impartial group of her family and friends will tasting and choosing the winners.
Please send your recipes to Krista at KristaDavis dot com. If there's a story behind the recipe, she would love to hear it. If the recipe is from a cookbook, please tell her the title and author. If the recipe is from a website, please include a link.
Want more Krista Davis? You can find her on the following websites: