Kathy: Alene Baron runs the Whipped and Sipped Cafe. Would you ever want to own a cafe?
GPG: No, but I have this dream of working one day a week in the kitchen of a café, or in a bakery. I’d taste everything, but I’d also learn tricks of the trade! They probably wouldn’t approve of how often I’d need to rest.
Kathy: Alene creates vegan dishes for the cafe. Do you enjoy cooking? Do you create recipes, vegan or otherwise?
GPG: I love cooking and baking – my favorite thing is noodling around the kitchen, creating something out of nothing. And I’ve been creating recipes since I first learned my grandmother’s recipes – she liked doing things the same way every time, but I liked shaking things up. Not all my creations have been stellar successes – my children enjoy remembering some of the more horrendous failed experiments.
Kathy: In Smothered, Alene's disliked business neighbor is murdered. Have you ever had issues with a neighbor?
GPG: Absolutely! My first year of grad school in Boston, I lived with a roommate in a second floor apartment. One day, we got robbed, and they took all my grandmother’s jewelry (mostly costume – but special to me!) plus my opal ring. When the police asked the neighbors if they saw anything, this woman on the first floor explained that she’d seen two men break the front door lock, run up the stairs and bash my door open, then run back down about 10 minutes later. The policeman asked her why she hadn’t called them immediately. She answered that she didn’t want to get involved! I had bad dreams about that woman for years.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
GPG: I adored reading them! The first book in the Whipped and Sipped series took me nearly three years. It was way harder than I thought it would be!
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
GPG: When I was a working musician, I used to write songs, and when I was battling cancer, I wrote a blog for friends and family called, “Shut your Piehole” (because everyone kept giving me silly advice, and also, I love pie). Nowadays, when I’m not working on the third book in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series, I write essays and short stories with hopes that one day they will also get published.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
GPG: The Whipped and Sipped Mystery series is based on an imaginary Chicago café, the kind I used to love spending time in before the pandemic. I loved meeting friends, trying different pastries, talking about our families, the books we are reading, news of the day, etc. I wanted to create a café where everyone felt welcome and comfortable, where the food is completely healthful (unlike most places) and where people are passionate about what they do. The pastry chef is vegan because she is passionate about animals.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
GAH- that’s like asking me if I have a favorite child (of course my girls will tell you that their younger brother is the favorite). I love all my characters, even cranky Edith, who like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, always thinks the worse possible scenario is going to happen.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
GPG: Yes, if reading about a hundred cozy mysteries and wanting to try my hand at writing something completely different can be counted as an inspiration…..
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
GPG: I’d dreamed for years about being a published author, and have written several really terrible, winding, overblown novels that were either completely destroyed or live on in some long-gone computer hard drive. This time, I found an editor who was like a writing teacher to me. I learned how to drive straight ahead instead of meandering onto side roads and countless dead ends. This time, I focused on the arc of the story, slowly revealing what happened, throwing red herrings along the way, and hopefully, reaching a satisfying conclusion.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
GPG: I LOVE this question – and answer it differently each time it is asked. This time I’m thinking of a dinner with a favorite group of mystery authors: Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Georgette Heyer, and Arthur Conan Doyle (but we’d need a 6th person to even out the table, and would feel compelled to include Dashiell Hammet.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
GPG: I’m enjoying the mysteries of Attica Locke (contemporary – really well-written), and as host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, I interview authors of literary fiction. This month I’ve loved every book and enjoyed talking to authors: Yxta Maya Murray, Catherine Chung, CP Lesley, and Jon Seely.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
GPG: I do yoga and ballet, love taking walks and hiking, I cook or bake nearly every day, play piano (I’m a big Chopin fan) and guitar, and read.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
GPG: Oranges, Apples, Mustard, Oat Milk
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
GPG: YES! I started writing the third book in the series, and I think it’s going to be called CRUSHED: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
GPG: I love sitting at my desk and letting my inagination run wild, and when readers contact me to say they never figured out who did it!
Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery by G. P. Gottlieb
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Publisher: D. X. Varos, Ltd. (February 16, 2021)
Paperback: 258 pages
Alene Baron doesn’t go looking for mysteries, they find her. When the highly disliked owner of a business neighboring the Whipped and Sipped Cafe turns up dead, the list of potential suspects is pretty long, including all of the members of his quarrelsome family. Missing wills, convenient accidents, and enough red herring to feed the lunch crowd spice up this tantalizing tale. As always, while pondering the evidence, Alene also comes up with creative vegan dishes to serve her customers and share with you.
About G. P. Gottlieb
G.P. Gottlieb has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator, but she’s happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries. Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery and Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery take place in the spring and summer of 2019 and a third book in the series will center on a murder that occurs during the city of Chicago’s lockdown in May 2020. G.P. Gottlieb has always experimented in the kitchen and created her delicious vegan cookies and cakes in direct opposition to what she learned in courses at Chicago’s French Pastry School. She is host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in a Chicago high-rise that is strikingly similar to the building portrayed in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/authorgottlieb
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