I'm pleased to welcome Joy Ann Ribar to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Joy Ann writes the Deep Lakes Mystery series. Deep Green Envy is the third book in the series and was released last month.
Kathy: In addition to being a baker Frankie Champagne is also a vintner. I'm lucky to live in the middle of three distinct viticultural areas. I love New York Traminettes, which isn't surprising as Gewürztraminers are a favorite of mine, along with champagne (or sparkling wine). What's your favorite wine?
JAR: There are so many enjoyable wines on the market, but I love a velvety rich red blend that I can pair with a steak or lasagne. A juicy jammy one is Scarlet Fumé from the Wollersheim family in Wisconsin. As far as Wisconsin vintages from a single grape variety, the Sabrevois from Vines and Rushes is luscious. I can’t discriminate though, so I have to give a shout out to the LaCrescent white wine from Four Daughters vineyard in Minnesota, which is a perfect balance of sweet and acidic and never disappoints.
Kathy: Are you a baker as well? What's your favorite thing to make? Or eat?
JAR: I’ve been baking since I was about 8 years old, the direct result of me following my mother around the kitchen from the time I could walk. She’s an avid baker and passed along her knowledge and passion to me. Cookies are my favorite because of the variety and techniques involved, and of course, the tradition of making them for the holidays and giving away big platters full! I used to bake and sell decorated cakes for any number of occasions, which was rewarding and fun. Learning to make icing flowers and trims was the best part.
Kathy: In Deep Green Envy Frankie encounters some rare stones. I love crystals. Do you happen to collect or admire them yourself?
JAR: I do love crystals and have a few hanging in my windows to catch the sun and make rainbows for my kitty to chase around! I’ve been a rock hunter and collector since I was a kid. There’s something delightful about treasure hunting through a pile of stones on the beach. Now my grandkids and I share the joy of discovering agates, sea glass and quartz crystals when we’re rock-hounding the lake shore.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
JAR: I grew up reading the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden before graduating to more sophisticated mysteries. I love being able to travel to places away from home that most mysteries offer, and it’s exciting to look for clues throughout the book, examine possible suspects, and see if your conclusions yield the right solution. Cozies are particularly enticing because of their idyllic small town settings and characters who feel like friends.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
JAR: I write short stories with an aura of mystery, fantasy and science fiction. I also write non-fiction essays. Two of my short pieces are published in Creative Wisconsin Anthology of 2020 and 2021.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
JAR: The Deep Lakes Mystery Series features Frankie Champagne - baker, vintner and Bubble & Bake shop owner with her business partner/ best friend, Carmen Martinez. Frankie’s side line is a sleuthing regional reporter for Point Press, giving her the opportunity to stick her nose into crimes in the small tourist town of Deep Lakes, Wisconsin. Of course, her investigations curl the toes of her life-long pal Sheriff Alonzo Goodman, especially since she enlists the help of her romantic partner, Coroner Garrett Iverson. Each book in the series is set in a different season which allows me to focus on the natural beauty of Wisconsin in its four distinct seasons.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
JAR: Well, choosing a favorite is like picking a favorite child. My main character, Frankie, is continuously evolving as she gains experience solving crimes while keeping two enterprises afloat. Fiercely independent, she realizes the importance of enlisting the help of her friends and beau throughout the trials and celebrations of everyday life. I love being able to surround Frankie with other characters that provide levity, humor and life lessons for her own personal growth, such as Carmen who is straightforward and helps Frankie stay grounded. Frankie’s mother and daughter make life complicated and her Aunt Cece and Carmen’s Tia Pepita provide comedy and wisdom at the same time.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
JAR: My inspiration for the series comes from the strong women in my family who have taught me the importance of resilience in the face of adversity, the importance of family and friendships, and the importance of laughter as a soothing remedy to most thorny situations. As a homegrown Wisconsinite, I am always inspired by the kind people in my area, the beauty of nature, and the quirky events and pastimes that claim the spotlight in our state (Lumberjack championships, Packer tailgate parties, Great Wisconsin Cheese Trail, Supper Clubs featuring fish frys and Old Fashioneds --- the state cocktail, and more).
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
JAR: I write for an audience and it’s rewarding to share my work with readers. I’m an English teacher and my heart thrives on discussions I have with my students about literature and writing. I want them to see that all kinds of writing matters and inspire them to find their writing voices, too.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
JAR: Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Annie Dillard, and Sandra Cisneros
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
JAR: I’ve just begun These Tangled Vines by Julianne MacLean set in the vineyards of Tuscany.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
JAR: Besides everything I’ve mentioned already, I’m an avid birder with a life list, and because I love traveling, the top spots on my bucket list include Big Bend National Park in Texas, which is home to scads of bird species, and Costa Rica to see multiple varieties of hummingbirds. I also love to do research on any topic I choose to write about in my books: especially wine production and grape cultivation. And, I love hiking.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
JAR: butter, cinnamon, cooking wine, oat milk creamer
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
JAR: Yes and Yes. I will continue writing the Deep Lakes series as long as the story line is worthy. I have three more books outlined and have begun writing Deep Dire Harvest, the next book taking place in Autumn. I would like to write a new mystery series and am kicking ideas around my brain right now to come up with something inviting for readers. So if readers have ideas for setting, main character and
situation, please feel free to send them to me.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
JAR: The best part for me is being able to live in another world where I can partake in running a bakery and winery and pal around with my characters, listen in on their conversations, and think about how I can help them share their stories.
Deep Green Envy (Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series) by Joy Ann Ribar
About Deep Green Envy
Setting - Wisconsin 3rd in Series
Publisher: Ten16 Press (September 21, 2021)
Paperback: 344 pages Digital Print length: 226 pages
Summer in Deep Lakes sprouts a homegrown murder on the O'Connor farm. Frankie Champagne's hunt for clues lands her deep in sheep doo-doo, especially after rare stones surface in unexpected places. Crime-solving is no picnic for the baker/vintner as she hops from farm to field to bakery, trying to keep up with the tourist season and track a killer, too.
About Joy Ann Ribar
Joy Ann Ribar lives in central Wisconsin with her business partner-husband, John. She writes the Deep Lakes Mystery Series, starring baker/vinter and all-around spitfire, Frankie Champagne. Joy’s writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons and local flavors, which she hopes to promote for all to enjoy.
Joy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Midwest Independent Booksellers, and Wisconsin Writers Association. She enjoys researching viticulture at area wineries, birding, hiking, and chatting with readers. Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge! Joy is a little proud to have two bestsellers with Orange Hat Publishing: Deep Dark Secrets (2019) and Deep Bitter Roots (2020), under the Ten16 Press imprint of Orange Hat.Author Links