I'm so pleased to welcome Daryl Wood Gerber back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Fudging the Books, the fourth in her Cookbook Nook Mystery series will be released next week!
Kathy: Pirates come to town in Fudging the Books. Are you a fan of pirates and pirate movies?
DWG: Yes, there’s something about pirates…they’re big, brassy, fun. I know, in real life, pirates are BAD! Really bad. But in movies and books (I’ve enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean series and old-style movies with pirates), they seem to fulfill a fantasy about the wild life, going to sea, and being free. Let me share an excerpt when Jenna and Bailey are climbing a rock wall. Note: FUDGING THE BOOKS does not involve “real pirates.” Pirate Week is a fun romp in Crystal Cove where folks dress up like pirates, climb rock walls, go whale watching, and take in Pirates of Penzance or hunt for missing gold doubloons.
Here’s the excerpt (remember that Jenna used to be an advertising executive):
Halfway up the climbing wall, Bailey glanced at the costumed crowd below and said to me, “Why do you think people romanticize pirates?”
I told her about a commercial campaign we did at Taylor & Squibb. It was for Habañero Spice, a product from the Caribbean, and involved a horde of Johnny Depp look-alike pirates. “My boss said people glamorized pirates because pirates lived by their own rules. People forget about the violence pirates did and still do.”
Here’s another excerpt, an inner thought for Jenna:
I recalled asking my aunt why Pirate Week was such a big lure, because pirates were notoriously not nice people. She said the intent of Pirate Week wasn’t for one minute to suggest that real, honest-to-goodness pirates were in any way, shape, or form worth emulating, but the image of swaggering pirateness was fun and exciting and, in her words, harmless. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies were a success because being a pirate looked like a blast.
Kathy: Who is your favorite swashbuckler?
DWG: Errol Flynn. I mean, I like Johnny Depp, but Errol Flynn had a swagger that was something to behold. Handsome as all get out. Those dimples. Yipes! And as Robin Hood? Wow. Yes, definitely my favorite.
Kathy: I love fudge and generally make it every Christmas to give as gifts. Are you a fudge fan? Do you have a favorite fudge flavor?
DWG: I love fudge. I used to make See’s fudge and give it as gifts at Christmas, too. Talk about butter and sugar and deliciousness! Oh, yum! As far as my tastes, I’m a purist. I like dark chocolate fudge. I will eat other styles. I like salted caramel fudge—a lot—but I truly love dark fudge, no nuts.
Kathy: You already had a successful series out when you began to publish the Cookbook Nook Mystery series. Is it easier to produce a second series, once you have the idea behind it?
DWG: It’s easier to write, period, when you have the idea and you know the characters, the setting, and the plot. I like to work with structure. I’m not a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I plot things out. Yes, I might diverge from my original idea (consider it a road map and short day trips are okay), but I like knowing where I’m going. It was NOT easier trying to sell myself as Daryl Wood Gerber to fans of Avery Aames. It has taken a long time to teach people that Daryl and Avery are one and the same. Why did I have a pseudonym? Because my publisher came up with the idea of the Cheese Shop Mysteries and hired me to write them. I was, as yet, unpublished, and jumped at the chance.
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Jenna Hart?
DWG: In the 5th book, which will come out August 2016, Jenna is in for some big surprises. She will still be in charge of The Cookbook Nook and the Nook Café, and she will still be learning how to cook, but there are some eye-openers for her! Can’t share more than that. Love? Yes, maybe, okay, yes. Definitely love. But more!
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
DWG: Krista Davis had arranged for a number of authors to do a book signing at a culinary bookshop in Occoqwan, Virginia the day before the Malice Domestic Conference. At the time, I was only writing as Avery Aames. The moment I arrived at the village where the shop was located, I fell in love. When I walked into the store, I was bowled over. I wanted to buy/own everything in the store. Cookbooks, fictional books that involved food, salt- and pepper-shakers, potholders, aprons, foodie puzzles. It was a foodie/culinary mystery lover’s paradise, and I knew I had to write about it. I went home and crafted three chapters and a bible for the series and sent them off to my agent, who loved what I wrote and pitched the series to my editor. She, too, is a foodie, and got it right away. Sadly, the store is now closed, but its memory lives on in The Cookbook Nook.
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
DWG: I have a new Cheese Shop Mystery coming out in February 2016, FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE. It’s a fun story where a group of cheese experts gather at an inn in Providence. I think Dame Agatha would approve of the storyline. There’s also the 5th in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series coming out in August 2016. The title has yet to be determined, but a Wild West Extravaganza is coming to town, and the book will feature barbecue and grilled foods. Yum! I like the titles A SIZZLING TALE and GRILLING THE SUBJECT. We’ll see if the publisher likes either. They usually enjoy my titles. After that, there is a lot in the works for me. My agent is trying to sell a new mystery series as well as a suspense novel.
Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California. As Avery Aames, she also writes the Cheese Shop Mysteries, set in quaint Providence, Ohio. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote”. She is married, loves to cook, and has a darling, frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky. Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.
Daryl has offered to giveaway a book to one of the commenters. Your choice of the first three Cookbook Nook Mysteries: FINAL SENTENCE or INHERIT THE WORD or STIRRING THE PLOT. Please leave your comment, as well as an e-mail address, on this post no later than 11:59 pm Sunday, August 2, 2015.
Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber
The Fourth Bookshop Nook Mystery
It's February and chocolate and pirates have descended on Crystal Cove,
California. Jenna Hart is coating the Cookbook Nook in chocolate by featuring
chocolate themed cookbooks, displays, and tasty, chocolatey treats to
eat! Friend, candymaker, and cook book author Coco gives
a talk and book signing replete with her own entourage, her vibrant
editor, an unpleasant copyeditor, and dashing photographer. There are
some interesting undercurrents going on, undercurrents that soon become deadly.
In this, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, Gerber gives us a variety of suspects, most quite unlikeable. There's the persnickety copyeditor who seems to be horning in on everything, the victim's brother who seems almost buffoonish yet malicious at the same time, the fitness nag, and the, well, dashing Dash. And although it seems impossible, could the friend Jenna and Bailey are protecting actually be guilty?
Motives, both seen and unseen, drive the story and the characters. While Bailey's character went down in my estimation due to her ignorance and attitude towards cats, I found a new character to admire in Hershey; a cat who knows what he wants and how to get it! Fudging the Books combines pirates, chocolate, friendship, and food into a fun mystery that also shows us, like Hershey, it's fine to be independent, but good to be there for others when trouble appears.