Welcome Wednesday guests for November:
11/05 Maya Corrigan's Five-Ingredient Mystery, By Cook or By Crook.
11/12 Death by Blue Water, a scuba-diving adventure-mystery by scuba-diving author, Kait Carson.
11/19 Susan Van Kirk--Three Can Keep A Secret.
11/26 Tagged for Death, a garage sale mystery by Sherry Harris.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.

Don't miss this month's release of Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays on October 7th, in which WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances") have short stories.

KM Rockwood's
short stories will appear in two anthologies released in October. They are: "The Lure of the Owl" in Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Stories, to be released as a ebook, and "Aunt Olga and the Werewolf" will be included in the third Creatures, Crimes and Creativity anthology release by Intrigue Publishing. at their conference in October.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Interview with Author Avery Aames

Avery Aames is the author of The Long Quiche Goodbye, the first in A Cheese Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. The Long Quiche Goodbye debuted July 6 and has already hit national bestseller mass market paperback lists -- #7 for Barnes and Noble and #13 for Bookscan.

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?

AA: I think that so many people are trying to buy locally and support America’s own productivity. Though Charlotte sells and serves cheeses from around the world, I like that Charlotte is actively trying to draw from her local farms. Tourists appreciate that and Providence is a haven for tourists.

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.

3 comments:

Ramona said...

Avery, it sounds like you had great fun researching and writing Charlotte's cheesy adventures. (Sorry, couldn't resist!) Thanks for sharing your insights about cozies and characterization here at WWK.

kd easley said...

Glad to see you here Avery.
Congrats.

E. B. Davis said...

The Long Quiche Goodbye is a good read. I enjoyed doing my research for the interview. Thanks Avery, and we'll have the second half of the interview next week on Welcome Wednesday!