Which do you prefer, Roberta or Lucy?
I’ll answer to either :). But usually when I’m talking about the Key West books, I call myself Lucy. I haven’t minded the name change (which was requested by the new publisher,) because Lucille Burdette was my grandmother’s name—she died rather young so I like the idea of carrying her torch.
While we’re on the subject, how do you feel about author branding?
Well, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by author branding, but I think the publishers are interested in
When you practiced psychology did you have a particular focus?
I had a practice in psychotherapy, most often working with adults, occasionally teens and couples. I was trained in longer-term psychotherapy, so I worked with people who were depressed or unhappy. We tried to figure out what kinds of things in their family history might be resonating with issues or relationships in the present. All of this turned out to be very useful in writing novels too!
Please give our readers a short description of Murder with Ganache.
MWG is a cozy mystery starring Hayley Snow, a food critic who lives on a houseboat in Key West. Her extended family is descending on the island like a Category 3 hurricane for her best friend's wedding. When her stepbrother disappears into the spring break party scene, she must put the baking of cupcakes and other wedding chores on hold in order to search for her brother. The book features Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding drama, but in the end it's about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come.
Family relationships, especially in mixed families, predominate Murder with Ganache. Do you agree with Leo Tolstoy’s assessment. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
I wouldn’t agree that all happy families are alike. (Excuse me Mr. Tolstoy.) Each has its quirks and secrets and ways of coping that could cause trouble when the system is stressed. So I’d say all families are different—though there may be common problems. And as Hayley finds out with her own stepfamily, some loyalties developed since birth are stronger than others.
Main character, Hayley Snow takes on the problems of her entire family. Does Hayley have personal
Hayley is still young—mid-twenties—so she’s feeling her way in the world. She’s very connected to her mother, but working to figure out who she is, separate from family. That’s not so easy when they all arrive on an island that’s only 2 by 4 miles!
Which came first—Key West or the series?
My husband and I drove up and down both sides of Florida about seven years ago, looking for a place to escape winter. I already liked the state, having spent four years in Gainesville for graduate school, and lots of time visiting relatives in Tallahassee and Fort Myers. Key West was our last stop--a sort of vacation from the trip, a respite from our search. We drove down the string of islands and bridges that leads to Key West, agreeing that we'd never live in a place so fragile, so isolated, so exposed.
But instead of listening to our practical voices, we fell in love. Of course, the island is totally gorgeous, dotted with tropical foliage and surrounded by turquoise water. But underneath its fashion-model looks, magical, whimsical, bizarro Key West has many layers, reaching from the richest of the rich at one end to a significant homeless population on the other. There are folks who were born and raised on the island and lots of others who come to party or who come because they don't quite fit into a traditional lifestyle but find they feel comfortable here. There's a thriving artistic scene, great food, and a fabulous literary history.
So when I was thinking about pitching a new series, Key West chose me. Naturally my other books were set someplace—golf courses for Cassie Burdette's series and Southern Connecticut for the advice column mysteries. But Key West doesn't lay back as scenery--the island insists on becoming a major character.
Has Hayley met Mr. Right?