I'd like to welcome author Lucy Burdette to Cozy Up With Kathy. Lucy writes the Key West Food Critic Mysteries. The 3rd book in the series, Topped Chef, will be released this Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
Kathy: Setting is important in so many different ways in a series. What made you choose Key West?
LB: Of course, the island is totally gorgeous, dotted with tropical foliage and surrounded by turquoise water. But underneath its fashion-model looks, magical, whimsical, bizarro Key West has many layers, reaching from the richest of the rich at one end to a significant homeless population on the other. There are folks who were born and raised on the island and lots of others who come to party or who come because they don't quite fit into a traditional lifestyle but find they feel comfortable here. There's a thriving artistic scene, great food, and a fabulous literary history.
So when I was thinking about pitching a new series, I have to say Key West chose me.
Kathy: Do you create your own recipes for the books?
LB: Some of the recipes are things that I've been cooking for years, while others I work on specifically for the book. For example, in TOPPED CHEF, one of the TV show contestants makes lime cupcakes with lime cream cheese frosting. I knew I had to include those in the book, so I fooled around with recipes until I found the right ingredients.
Kathy: You blog at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. How would you describe yourself as a cook and how did you "get into" cooking?
LB: I'm a down-home cook. Nothing too fancy, but cooked with fresh ingredients (often from our garden) and with love! My motto is eat everything in moderation--so I don't shy away butter and cheese and sugar, but not too much at once. I taught myself to cook with cookbooks like THE JOY OF COOKING and MOOSEWOOD and THE SILVER PALATE--and always by watching my good friends who are great cooks.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
LB: I've always read mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins. One of my favorite cozy writers is Diane Mott Davidson, who writes a series featuring a caterer. You can imagine how thrilled I was when she wrote this blurb for AN APPETITE FOR MURDER: "What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food--a winning combination!" DMD
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
LB: In the first book, AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, aspiring food critic Hayley Snow, a transplant from New Jersey, is invited to town by a man she barely knows. By the time that relationship sours, Hayley's fallen head over heels for the island--she'll do anything to stay. Would that include murder? The cops, of course, believe it might. The second book in the series takes place at a food writers conference--DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. And in TOPPED CHEF, Hayley is asked to serve as a judge in a cooking contest that's set up in the format of reality TV.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LB: Of course I love my main character, Hayley Snow. And so enjoy writing the Key West characters, including her houseboat roommate, Miss Gloria. But if I had to choose one, it would be Evinrude the cat. He is based on two cats I've known and loved, Jack and Yoda. Jack was a gray tiger, a true champion of a cat, affectionate, talkative, and handsome. And he bridged my two marriages, traveling from one life to another with great dignity.
And our neighbor next door had an amazing cat named Yoda, who often wandered over to visit. I volunteered for babysitting duty as often as possible. When he developed an aversion to my neighbor's pugs, she reluctantly transferred his title to me. He's lying on the bed helping me write this!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LB: I just finished a coming-of-age novel called BUTTER by Anne Panning. It's about a young girl's struggles with her family's problems. The father owns a creamery, hence the title. Sad but lovely. Now I'm reading something light and romantic and set in Paris: FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman. And looking forward to TRICKSTER'S POINT by Wm Kent Kreuger and KNEADING TO DIE, first in a new cozy series by Liz Mugavero.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
LB: Butter, eggs, cheese, onions. Hmmm, sounds like we're going to have an omelet for supper!
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
LB: Yes, I'm delighted to say I've just signed a contract for two more Key West books. MURDER WITH GANACHE will be published in February 2014.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
LB: There are so many wonderful moments--it's hard to choose! Here are a few: Seeing the artwork for a new cover...hearing from readers...talking to readers and booksellers and librarians...finishing a page or a chapter or a book and feeling happy about how it came out...
There's really nothing I'd rather be doing! Thanks for asking me to visit your blog today.
This interview is participating in The Fantastic 4 Cozy Mystery Book Tour Giveaway. Visit the Cozy Mystery Book Tour Page where you can learn how you may just win a Kindle Touch, cozy mystery books, gift cards, and more!