I'm pleased to welcome Nancy Coco to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Nancy pens the Candy Coated Mystery series. Oh Say Can You Fudge is the third book in the series and was just released April 28th.
Kathy: You write your Candy Coated Mystery series under the name Nancy Coco. I must ask-is Coco used to remind readers of cocoa, and consequently chocolate and fudge?
NC: Yes, actually the pen name was created for that purpose and we thought it was a cute reminder. It's always good to have fun with everything you do. Don't you think?
Kathy: Setting is so important, especially in a cozy series. How did Mackinac Island come to be the location of the Candy Coated Mystery series?
NC: I grew up in Michigan and we traveled over the Mackinaw bridge to vacation in the upper peninsula in the summers. My mom knew the area very well and I thought it would be the perfect setting for a cozy series. I contacted The Island Book store and was surprised that they didn't have a series set there. So we ran a contest with their readers on what the protagonist of the series should do and Fudge maker was number one. That was how the series was born.
Kathy: I love fudge. I make my own at Christmas time, but happily buy it from other locations through the year, especially those unique flavors. Do you have a favorite fudge flavor? Is there one you always have to have or do you prefer variety?
NC: I love fudge, too! Oh I could never pick a favorite fudge flavor. Every time I go into a candy store and see a new flavor I have to try it. I get a lot of my recipe ideas from people. They tell me, "I'd love to try a fudge with pepper in it or key lime" and so I create a fudge. The 21 and over fudges came from a request for fudge made with Captain Morgan rum. The recipe with the best reaction from my taste testers was the pecan pie recipe in Oh Say Can You Fudge- people were fighting over the crumbs.
Kathy: Oh Say Can You Fudge is set around the Fourth of July. Although I don't really celebrate Independence Day now, when I was a kid the 4th of July was a big deal. I remember picnics, parades, and fireworks. Do you celebrate this holiday? Have those celebrations changed since you were young?
NC: Yes, I love the holiday. Picnics and fireworks. When we were young we'd get to stay up late to watch the fireworks and to play with sparklers. My own children loved the screaming chicken fireworks that I wrote about in the book. It's a fun time.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
NC: I loved "Murder She Wrote" and was always an avid fan of traditional mysteries. I had the pleasure of studying mysteries for my Master's program and I learned a lot from great cozy authors like Victoria Thompson who writes the Gaslight series.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
NC: Yes, I wrote a couple of sweet historical romance series that are still available on Amazon.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
NC: Oh, gosh, Okay - I write the Kensington Candy-Coated series as Nancy Coco. It's a fun series set on the Island Time forgot - where there are no cars allowed and people walk, bike or take a horse drawn taxi around the island. Then I write the Gluten-free Baker's Treat mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. This fun series is set in OilTop, KS. The protagonist is running a gluten free bakery in the middle of wheat country, managing her huge, nosey family and trying to rebuild her life after her divorce. My favorite character in that series is Toni's Grandma Ruth based not so loosely on my own Grandma Ruth. I also write a third series- the Perfect Proposal series for Berkley Prime Crime. In this series, Pepper Pomeroy runs a proposal planning business and finds that sometimes love is complicated by murder.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
NC: No- no favorites. I love them all. They are family to me.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
NC: My mother inspired the Candy coated series. The gluten-free series was inspired by my own diagnoses of celiac disease and the trouble I had finding good gluten free baked goods and Julie Hyzy inspired the Perfect Proposal series.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
NC: The most magical thing about writing is sharing it with readers. Something happens when I pull a story out of my mind and you recreate it in yours. There's a connection and a magic in the process that I adore.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
NC: I would be honored to meet: Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Atwood and Laura Ingalls Wilder What are you currently reading? I follow drusbookmusing.com - she lists all the newest cozies and I try to read them all.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
NC: I love to bake and make candy and read and paint and hike and I have a sock making kit, but I've not opened it yet.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
NC: butter, eggs, honey and cocoa.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
NC: Yes, I'm working on book four in the Candy coated series, book three in the Perfect Proposal series and book one in a brand new series to be announced.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
NC: Sharing the stories in my head. :D
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