Kathy: In GUILTY AS CHARRED Sherry Oliveri is organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event. Do you have favorite Independence Days activities?
DD: Every year we host a family picnic. Rain or shine I grill. We always intend to go to the town fireworks and never make it, as we are having too much fun in the backyard!
Kathy: Are specific foods involved?
DD: Ranch steak bruschetta, beeffulo burgers with goat cheese, Cuban chicken thighs and seasonal grilled veggies are my specialties. I have a vegan daughter so we attempt a homemade veggie burger of each year also.
Kathy: Sherry and the murder victim worked in the community vegetable garden. Have you ever worked in a community garden?
DD: I adore my work at the Bridgeport community garden. That was my inspiration for the addition of the garden in my book. I’ve been volunteering for three years. I garden at home and love to share my knowledge with the groups of underserved school children we bring to the garden. Many of the children are from foster homes or are displaced for various reasons and the visit to the garden is a bright light in their world. After a day at the garden, they leave encouraged and enriched, as do I.
Kathy: Sherry has won the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest and I understand you compete in cooking contests too. Aside from the competition, what makes creating a contest recipe different than cooking for your family?
DD: When I create a recipe for a contest I am using a specific product or ingredient that must be showcased. I often begin the concept with a tried and true family favorite, so I am comfortable putting my spin on the recipe. The recipe will have an unusual twist that may have been inspired by travel or experimenting, but from there I go in directions the family may not always agree with. I always do a search online and in cookbooks to make sure the recipe hasn’t already been invented. If it has, I can go in a different direction, which makes for a challenge I embrace. My family (children, mostly), prefer less fussy foods which I appreciate, so often I only test partial segments of contest recipes on them for simplicity’s sake. They are none the wiser!
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
DD: I adore fast reads, puzzling mysteries, quirky characters and settings in interesting places. I was a fan of the TV show Murder, She Wrote so it was a natural transition to move to cozy reads. Once I read one I was hooked, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at writing one.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
DD: I won a writing contest with a poem titled, Ode To Pork Passion! For that I won a trip to New Orleans and an Emeril Lagasse Grill. I won one other writing contest with a poem, (can’t remember the name) – food related, of course. Beyond that, I’ve written a children’s book for fun and a million recipes, of course!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
DD: Competition can bring out the best and worst in people. Mix in the intense heat of the cook-off kitchen and home cooks who take their hobby to the next level and you have the ingredients for intrigue and mayhem.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
DD: My favorite character is Sherry. She has snippets of me in her DNA, for sure, and is growing and evolving with each book. I am having so much fun presenting her with challenges, some she conquers, others she learns from by slowly managing to the best of her abilities. She is sensitive, caring, goofy and far from perfect. She loves to compete and it transforms her into her best self when she does.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
DD: Over-twenty years competing as a cooking competitor is my inspiration.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
DD: I felt strongly I had an interesting hobby and endless mystery possibilities to share with readers. I set a goal to write a book, format a sales pitch to draw attention and see where that would take my project. I got lucky and found an agent and publisher within a few months.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
DD: William Shakespeare, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Agatha Christie
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
DD: ON HER MAJESTY'S FRIGHTFULLY SECRET SERVICE by Rhys Bown
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
DD: I hook rugs, needlepoint, play on a tennis team, garden, jar my own produce, make my own pickles and I share all of those in my books.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
DD: Mango chutney, kimchi, spicy vegan mayo, black beans
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
DD: I am currently writing my fourth book in my cooking competition series, EAT, DRINK AND BE WARY, and am contracted for a fifth upcoming.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
DD: My favorite thing is the actual writing, knowing someone is waiting for what I produce. I love the editing process where I shape the words over and over to get the result I hope will entertain the reader.
Guilty as Charred (A Cook-Off Mystery) by Devon Delaney
About the Book
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .
Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.
Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .
Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!
About the Author
Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester, recent empty nester, and lifelong resident of the Northeast. She has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years, including a full kitchen of major appliances, top cash prizes, and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the Grand Prize in a national writing contest for her “foodie” poem “Ode to Pork Passion.”
Check out Devon’s website at: www.devonpdelaney.com and find her on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/devonpdelaney/
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