Kathy: I love reading books that are set in familiar locations. I was excited to see the Comfort Food Mysteries are set in Upstate New York (I live in Western New York). What made you decide to set your mystery here?
CW: We’re neighbors, Kathy!! I’ve lived in Central NY (near Syracuse) forever! I love the Northern area, specifically the little towns along Lake Ontario, and thought that a retro diner would be perfect in a little harbor town.
Kathy: I admit my love of diners. I especially love those that have a retro look with lots of chrome and/or kitsch.Is your Silver Bullet Diner based on a real life diner, a compilation of diners, or is it your dream diner?
CW: I love them, too. The Silver Bullet Diner is totally a compilation of diners that I’ve been to. I just love diners and specifically gravitate to them over any other kind of eateries.
Kathy: Comfort food is such a...well, comfort. What is your favorite comfort food? Do you prepare it for yourself? Or do you find it at a local diner? Can you find it on the menu at the Silver Bullet Diner?
CW: My comfort food is mac and cheese. And Polish dishes that my grandmothers and mother always prepared, especially for the holidays. Oh, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. And let’s not forget desserts! My comfort dessert is apple pie. I cook and bake and love entertaining. But I’m basically a meat and potatoes, diner food cook. All the cooking shows and recipes with strange ingredients (that no one can ever find) under the guise of “gourmet food”, is just not the way the average person eats. My diner has daily specials-all of which I’d order myself.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CW: A friend of mine was writing them, and she shared her work with me in our writer’s meetings at the local library. I’ll admit that I never heard the term “cozy mystery” before last year until she said it! Then I went to Barnes and Noble and Amazon and bought zillions of them and fell in love with cozies. I knew that I just had to write them.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CW: Yes. I write romances for Harlequin Special Edition. I’ll have nine romances out with them in 2014.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CW: DO OR DINER is my very first cozy mystery and the first book in my “COMFORT FOOD MYSTERIES”. The second book in this series, A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER, will be out in April of 2014.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CW: Trixie Matkowski has to be my favorite character, mostly because she’s a lot like me! She’s a foodie and has a great love of family, tradition and heritage like I do.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CW: Nothing specific -just an immediate attraction to the genre and the desire to write my own cozy mystery.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CW: Gee, I don’t know. If I enjoyed writing it, I just hoped others would enjoy reading it.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CW: Hmmm…Jane Austen, Robert Parker, Nora Roberts, and Tina Fey
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CW: SEA GLASS by Anita Shreve because right now I’m at the beach! But up next is BUTTER SAFE THAN SORRY by Tamar Myers and three stacks of more cozies.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CW: I love watching bull riding and attending the events in person. I follow the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Circuit (www.pbrnow.com) with my husband, Jim. I know, it’s kind of strange for a New Yorker, but we just love it! You should see us when we get dressed in our “cowboy duds.”
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CW: Ice cream, potato chips, cookies, chocolate. Aren’t these the four food groups?
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CW: I definitely want to continue this series, which is the FIRST comfort food series published by Penguin Obsidian books. I’d totally love to continue with Trixie’s adventures as long as people like reading them.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CW: I absolutely adore readers who have read my books and like them. It’s so heartwarming to hear readers say that they laughed and/or cried. The best is when they say that they couldn’t put it down. Yes!
BEST WISHES AND HAPPY READING! Christine Wenger
You can read more about Christine Wenger at these sites:www.christinewenger.com