Friday, November 18, 2016

Let's Visit Callie's Kitchen

I'm happy to welcome Jenny Kales to the blog today. Jenny pens the Callie's Kitchen Mystery series. SPICED AND ICED, the second book in the series, will be released December 5 but you can pre-order it now. ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is the first book if you are new to the series and want to catch up!

Kathy: Callie Costas is the Greek-American proprietor of Callie's Kitchen. I love Greek food! What's your favorite Greek dish?

JK: Great question. I love so many of them, but spanakopita, the spinach feta cheese pie is my favorite. It's so delicious.

Kathy: Do you enjoy cooking yourself or do you prefer eating someone else's efforts?

JK: I love to cook. I probably prefer it because I am one of those "food is love" people. I truly enjoy cooking and baking good food for my friends and family. Now, my husband is a great cook so when he cooks, that's very welcome.

Kathy: Callie sees a cooking contest as a possible answer to financial woes. Do you watch cooking contests either on TV or in person?

JK: I love Chopped, The Great British Bake-Off, and Cupcake Wars. I used to watch Top Chef religiously.

Kathy: Setting plays such an important part of books, especially cozy mysteries. What makes Crystal Bay, Wisconsin the perfect setting for your series?

JK: My fictional waterfront town is perfect for a cozy mystery because it is a naturally beautiful setting that readers will hopefully enjoy visiting-- but it also can have a dark side and that creates a lot of opportunity for mystery. A large body of water, small shops, tourists, competitive business owners, city types and more rural folks converging in one place -- for me the opportunities are endless for mysteries.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JK: I love to figure out the mysteries themselves and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the colorful characters that populate cozy mysteries. My first cozy was probably Dianne Mott Davidson's DYING FOR CHOCOLATE. I picked that one up in the 90s and was thrilled with the combination of mysteries and recipes. And here I am today...:)

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JK: I've written non-fiction (essays, a non-fiction book, articles) extensively as a freelancer.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JK: My Callie's Kitchen Mystery series follows the adventures of  Greek-American food business owner Calliope "Callie" Costas -- entrepreneur, single mom and now, amateur sleuth. She's juggling family demands, work complications and personal relationships -- all while trying to keep her business afloat -- and solve murders. She's got a lot on her plate -- literally.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

JK: I obviously  love Callie, my main character because she is loving, feisty and smart. But I have a real soft spot for her father. George. I think he's a complicated and heart-warming figure that many people may be able to identify with.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

JK: The setting is inspired by Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a beautiful waterfront town that hosts many tourists. The Greek-American inspiration and food come from the Midwestern Greek-American family that I married into.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JK: I considered the traditional publishing route but kept being told by agents that the cozy market was in bad shape. However, those that I shared my book with really liked it. I decided to self-publish, a decision that I never thought I would make, but I'm very glad that I did.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

JK: I would invite: Dianne Mott Davidson, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, (my favorite suspense author) and cozy mystery writer Linda Reilly because we've only met online and she's been a huge supporter of mine.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JK: I'm always reading a bunch of stuff at once. I'm currently reading Ann Purser's TERROR ON TUESDAY, a cozy mystery set in a small English village along with ALL THE GOOD PARTS, a women's fiction book by my friend and neighbor Loretta Nyhan. And, I'm starting VOYAGER, the third book in the Outlander series.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

JK: I love to read, cook & bake. I also love vintage shopping, hearing retro bands and hanging out my husband and daughters.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

JK: Butter, eggs, sugar, flour! Can you tell that I love to bake?

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

JK: I'm getting ready to release book 2 in my Callie's Kitchen Mysteries. It's called SPICED AND ICED and it's set at Christmastime. SPICED AND ICED will be up for pre-order at the beginning of November. Book 3 is in the planning stages. I also have a new book -- more of a traditional  mystery with cozy elements -- that I'm working on. 

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

JK: When you get lost in the world of your setting and characters, it's just magical. But now that I've published, the second thing is interacting with readers and bloggers. It's wonderful to know that you have been able to entertain discerning cozy mystery readers!


SPICED AND ICED is the latest addition to Callie's Kitchen. Here's a link:

For more information about Jennifer Kales check out the following links:


  1. Great interview. Thanks for acquainting me with Jenny Kales and her Callie's Kitchen Mysteries series.

  2. Thank you for having me on your blog! The interview was a lot of fun. I hope your readers enjoy my new series!

  3. I enjoyed your interview. I'm going to have to put Spiced and Iced on my TBR list.

  4. Fun interview, Jenny! Spiced and Iced is on my holiday TBR list too.