I'm thrilled to welcome Laura Bradford to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Laura has started a new series which will be released June 7th. Éclair and Present Danger is the first in the Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series.
Kathy: You start a new series with Éclair and Present Danger. Why choose desserts as a theme?
LB: I think the concept of an emergency dessert squad sounds like fun. I know there are lots of times in life when a little goodie-boost has turned a few of my bad days around.
Kathy: You certainly came up with a unique delivery system! How did you come up with that idea?
LB: I was brainstorming creative bakery ideas with a former Girl Scout of mine and she mentioned a pull towards food trucks. The next thing I knew, I was picturing an ambulance and emergency desserts in my head. Once I did, I just knew it would make a perfect cozy mystery.
Kathy: Lovey is not such a loving cat, at least to Winnie. Is Lovey based on a real feline?
LB: No, not really. I just loved the idea of Winnie taking on this cat because of her love for her now deceased friend. And how she sticks with it even though the cat isn’t thrilled. We’ll see signs of the ice thawing though in future books.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
LB: I love the small town feel, the characters you come to know and love, and I love that justice always prevails in the end.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
LB: I have written a handful of romance novels, one of which won me my first writing award. And I’m working on a women’s fiction when time allows. I have lots of stories in me.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
LB: I’d be happy to!
Éclair and Present Danger kicks off my new Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries. The series’ name pretty much sums them up. There’s a great cast of characters I think my readers will fall in love with (I know I have). Silence of the Flans (Book # 2) will follow in March.
A Churn for the Worse, the 5th book in my Amish Mysteries, released in March. This series follows English gift shop owner, Claire Weatherly, and former Amish-turned-Police Detective, Jakob Fisher. Again, a series with characters readers can identify with on so many levels.
Needle and Dread, the 11th book in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is a series rooted in friendships. The women, who range in age from early twenties to eighty-something, have their squabbles but they always come together in the end.
Truth Death in Advertising, the 1st book in my Tobi Tobias Mysteries, will debut in February 2017 with Kensington’s Lyrical E-line. These books are first person humorous mysteries and are a wee bit more sassy that I usually write, but equally fun.
And, last but not least, I can’t forget my Jenkins & Burns Mysteries. Available in E-format only now, this is the series that saw me published for the first time and earned me an Agatha nomination for Best First Novel (Jury of One, 2005—now titled, Deadly Readings in its E-form)
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LB: I tend to have a favorite character (s) in each series. In the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, however, I have several. I love Winnie, my protagonist, because I like her spunk, her loyalty, and her creativeness. I love Renee (Winnie’s best friend) because she keeps Winnie on her toes. And I love Mr. Nelson (Winnie’s elderly downstairs neighbor) because he makes me laugh.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
LB: In terms of the Emergency Dessert Squad? My agent loved it. And we had offers from two publishing houses. So that made the decision easy.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
LB: Mary Higgins Clark
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LB: Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. I read these when I’m on the elliptical machine at the gym. Helps make the time go by.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
LB: Sure. I love to bake, play games, and travel.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
Chocolate of some sort (bonus points if it includes caramel)
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
LB: Here’s what’s coming up in 2017:
**Silence of the Flans (Book # 2 in the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries) will release in March 2017. Book # 3 will follow in January 2018.
**Three titles in my upcoming Tobi Tobias Mysteries will debut in 2017—February, July, and December.
**I will be releasing a 6th book in my Amish Mysteries in 2017.
**The 12th book in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey) will be out in June 2017.
Kathy: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
LB: When I started on this journey, my favorite part was the writing. Now, I have to say it’s the amazing people I’ve met because of my writing.
Éclair and Present Danger
The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.
With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.
To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim...
As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey, and the upcoming Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
For more information, visit: www.laurabradford.com or, for day to day stuff, you can find Laura on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/ and occasionally on Twitter @bradfordauthor
ÉCLAIR AND PRESENT DANGER By Laura Bradford
The First Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
Winnie Johnson's life has taken an unimaginable turn. She has one last
shot to save her bakery from closing due to the imposed rent hike, an
inheritance from her elderly friend Gertrude. Cash is not on the agenda
however, and instead Winnie leaves with a vintage ambulance and an
ornery cat named Lovey. Ornery to Winnie, that is, and friendly to
everyone else! Winnie's day gets even worse when she delivers a pie to a
widower neighbor only to find him dead. Someone smothered the elderly
man! Could it be the mother of the bratty girl who destroyed his
flowerbed? Or a son too eager for his own inheritance? While Winnie
ponders these questions and tries to reassure her neighbors she has an
epiphany. Her building may be lost, but her business isn't! Taking
advantage of the ambulance, she decides to create a mobile dessert
service. After all, when things are bad baked goods always make you feel
better. Winnie and her friends embrace their new theme coming up with
pithy dessert names such as Dump (him) Cake, Hot Flash Fudge Sundae, and
Don't-Be-Blue Berry Pie and the business starts to take off. But can
her emergency dessert service make it? Will she be able to reassure her
neighbors that they're safe? Will she discover who the murderer is? And,
most importantly, will she get Lovey to like her?
ÉCLAIR AND PRESENT DANGER is a fun start to a new series. The characters are down to earth with real appeal. I'd be pleased to be Winnie's friend, even though she pulled a totally stupid move when she realized who the killer really was! My favorite character, however, has to be Lovey. Her life has drastically changed as well and I can't help but smile at how she deals with it! I appreciate Bradford illustrating the importance of the elderly in this world, and the joy our elders can bring as well as the humor! There's a never let life get you down attitude, even when life does get you down. However bad it gets, you never know what lies around the corner-it could be better than you ever imagined.
While I did truly enjoy this book, one thing really nagged at me. When Winnie lost the bakery she continued to bake and sell her items via her new business. But she baked in her home. Something tells me the health department would take issue with that-unless the home was already certified, but that fact was never mentioned. Still in all, ÉCLAIR AND PRESENT DANGER was a delightful read which brought many a smile to my face.
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