Please welcome our new blogger Margaret S. Hamilton to WWK. Look for Margaret's posts on the third Saturday of each month (and sometimes scattered throughout the month).
If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our September interviews feature: Judy Penz Sheluk on 9/7, Lesley Diehl on 9/14, Julianne Holmes on 9/21, and Vicki Fee on 9/28.
Saturday Guest Bloggers: Lea Wait 9/3, Jacqueline Vick 9/10, and our Saturday Bloggers--9/17 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/24 Kait Carson.
Warren Bull has two short stories, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Eulogy" in the Darkhouse anthology titled Black Coffee. Available--Now! Warren's short story collection No Happy Endings is also available at Amazon in paper or Amazon for Kindle.
KM Rockwood's Abductions and Lies, the 6th in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, will be released in April. "Last Laugh," a short story in the anthology Black Coffee is available on Amazon. "Tarnished Hope," a short story in Murder Most Conventional, sponsored by Malice Domestic, April 29, at the conference. "Frozen Assets," a short story in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, release date May 14th (an anthology compiled by Chessie Chapter of SINC)
Gloria Alden released the seventh book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series, Blood Red Poinsettias, which is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
An Interview with Author Avery Aames
Avery likes to read, cook, garden, and do amateur photography. You may visit Avery at http://averyaames.com/. She also blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for foodies who love mysteries, as well as at Killer Characters, a blog overtaken by cozy authors’ characters.
You can purchase The Long Quiche Goodbye at Avery’s bookseller page: http://www.averyaames.com/book1_sellers.html. And look for a sneak preview of Lost and Fondue, book two in the series, which may be found at the end of The Long Quiche Goodbye.
EBD: Your book, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a cozy mystery. Are there elements of the cozy genre that are fixed, “must haves,” in the publishing industry?
AA: Cozies come in a lot of shapes and colors lately. Some are slow-paced, others are fast-paced. Some are located in small towns while others are in major cities. I think the one constant is that usually the killer knows the victim, and justice is always served. In my cozies, I want my protagonist to have a personal reason to get involved.
EBD: The “white space” of dialogue seems to be favored on the best seller lists. You balance descriptive narrative so well against dialogue. Is there a secret to that balance, and are the requirements of narrative and dialogue different in cozies, as opposed to other genres?
AA: In thrillers, pace is very important. They have shorter sentences, less description. In a cozy, an author is defining an entire setting, a town, a community of people. But the cozy can’t be all about description. As in a thriller, it still must be driven by character and story. The difference between a thriller and cozy (according to Lee Child, so my friend Jamie Freveletti says) is that in a thriller, you have Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall ready to fall off. The protagonist has to keep HD from falling. In a cozy, Humpty has already hit the ground and gone splat. The protagonist has to figure out who would want HD dead and why.
EBD: The Cheese Shop and Providence, Ohio are described so vividly I “saw” it in my mind’s eye. Were the shop and the town based on real models?
AA: No. The shop is a compilation of a lot of shops I visited. And Providence…it, too, is a compilation, of the little town I grew up in, in California, as well as towns I saw while I roamed Ohio doing research. The rolling hills of Holmes County are real. The farms in the area are widespread. I drank in the scenery and tried to put that on the page.
EBD: The name Providence is so similar to Provence I wondered if it was deliberate because it surely induced associations in my mind, and the redecorated archways and colors of the shop were indicative of that area of the world. Was that the reason you chose the name of the town?
AA: Actually, the publisher wanted the town of Providence. I don’t believe Providence was chosen because of Provence. However, isn’t it lovely? It suggests hope and kindness and fate. When I checked the name online, I discovered that there was a Providence, Ohio. It turned into a ghost town. --No, there are no paranormal plans for this series. :}
EBD: The main character, Charlotte Bessette, is a mixture of American and old world sensibilities since she was raised by her French born grandparents. Do you think our way of life here in the States has lost a connection to nature, to our senses, and to each other?
AA: I think people are working very hard to bring back their ties to the past, to nature. Community is something I strive for in the series, because I do feel that ties to our family and towns are important. “Family first” is one of my favorite sayings. [It ranks right up there with “Say Cheese!”] I have a very extended family including my natural son, my stepchildren and my nephew. All of their families are growing as well. We can all help and love and support. I try to reflect that in Charlotte’s world. She care about her grandparents, her cousin, his nieces, her friends (who are like sisters), and her friends’ families.
EBD: Do you have French heritage and speak the language? Are your own grandparents role models for Charlotte’s grandparents?
AA: I am not French. I don’t speak the language, though I’m trying to learn. I did play a Frenchwoman on stage and sang in French. Writing about a cheese shop demanded the French heritage. So much of cheese history is based in France, though there are cheeses now from around the world, across America. Because this is a work-for-hire series (meaning the publisher came up with the initial idea and hired me to write it), I was give not only the character of Charlotte, but the basic characters of Charlotte’s grandparents. However, they took a life of their own when I started to write. They are full-fledged “real” characters in my mind. I adore them.
EBD: I always enjoy animals and pets in books, like Charlotte’s cat Rags. Do you have a cat of your own?
AA: I had cats growing up. Inky was my first. I now have a dog, a beautiful mutt I found at the shelter. Max. My hairdresser and I talked about our pets and she had a Ragdoll cat. I was enthralled and learned all I could about her cat, then added Rags to the story. A pet humanizes a protagonist. A cat demands attention in the most unique ways.
EBD: Unlike other cozies, the main character’s history doesn’t affect the plot of the book. In fact, only a few references reveal her personal backstory. Will her history come into play in future books?
AA: I like to weave a little backstory into each book. Her history will come into play in future books. Wait and see.
EBD: You write Charlotte’s twin nieces with great authenticity. Will they play a greater role in future books?
AA: Thank you. I adore the nieces. They play a constant role in the books. They are like her children without being hers. She takes care of them, cooks for them, worries about them like a mother. They play a unique role in every book.
EBD: Although many cheeses in the shop are imported, you’ve emphasized buying locally made cheeses. Is this part of the movement back to locally grown and eaten foods, or are some cheeses actually better without transport time and handling?
EBD: Before asking Ms. Aames questions, I read The Long Quiche Goodbye and can recommend it for those last few vacation reading days. Curl up with this cozy, drink a glass of wine and try a new cheese, but use a plastic flute if you read it on the beach.
Catch the second half of this interview next week, August 18th.