“She disappeared. I remember seeing her picture in the paper day
after day. Such a pretty young woman. They searched for her everywhere.
I heard they found some bones partly buried in the riverbank
a while back and confirmed they were hers.”
The Diva Serves High Tea (Page 123)
I must admit few cozies make me feel cozy. Krista Davis’s Diva series does. I’m sitting in my beach chair, sweating. I pick up her book, begin to read, and become enveloped by the coolness of fall nights, the taste of spiced cupcakes with caramel icing, the belly-warmth of bourbon sauce and hot cider with rum, the smell of wood fires, the crunch of leaves under foot and the sound of a panting dog by my side.
The Diva Serves High Tea was released earlier this month. What does tea have to do with it? Tea is a worldwide industry, spawning dishware and silver services. More than a beverage—it’s history and culture, part art, science, and protocol, a meal of delicious and beautiful pastries—and it could be death. Just ask Sophie and Natasha.
Welcome back to WWK, Krista. E. B. Davis
The Diva Serves High Tea was set in the fall and released in June. The Diva Wraps It Up was set at Christmas and was also released in June. I have to admit your fictional season seems all the more cozy out of season. Does Berkley do that on purpose? Is there a psychology used in timing book releases?
Berkley set up the Domestic Diva Mysteries to release every year in June. They think it’s better to have them release at the same time every year so that readers know when to expect them.
Because your books contain a lot of good meals, there are many poisons and toxins you can use to kill. Had you always wanted to kill someone with Botulism? Was there a specific reason your chose Botulism? Have you ever tried Botox?
I have never tried Botox. I chose botulism poisoning because it’s unusual and would normally be dismissed as an accident. But it would be so easy for an ordinary person to use botulism to poison someone. Some poisons are hard to come by but botulism is homemade. Anyone could easily create it or find it when opening a jar. And if you happened to be caught, the perfect defense would be to claim that you had no idea the food was tainted, because that’s usually the case.
I had forgotten that Nina’s husband was a forensic pathologist. Have you ever used him in a plot?
Not yet. He’s always working out of town. But he may still make an appearance sometime.
“I didn’t know what to say. Natasha had coveted my life for a long time
but I had dismissed her feelings. I hadn’t realized how long she had seen me
as the recipient of all that she didn’t have.”
In the quote above (admittedly I may be on a rant):
· Has Sophie really been dismissive? Without insulting Natasha, what could Sophie have said or done to make Natasha’s life better?
I don’t think anyone except Natasha’s father could have made her life better. We all carry burdens of some kind. Natasha tries to be perfect and succeeds on one level. Anyone looking at her would see a beautiful woman, impeccably dressed. She has all the trappings (nice house, great job) other people covet. But the truth is that she is driven to be perfect by deep wounds from her childhood.
Sophie hasn’t been dismissive, but she doesn’t dwell on or give much thought to Natasha’s underlying insecurities. We all have a lot going on, and I think it’s even more difficult to consider the internal insecurities of someone who tends to create havoc in our lives.
· Why do people become jealous and resentful of someone when they don’t make the same choices or decisions resulting in different outcomes?
I’m not a shrink, but as a child, Natasha saw Sophie with the family that she wanted. Now that they’re adults, when Natasha sees Sophie succeeding at something, Natasha wants it, too. Natasha thinks big, but doesn’t think things through.
· Is Sophie responsible for Natasha’s feelings?
Only in the sense that we don’t like to see other people be unhappy. Sophie has compassion for Natasha, especially after Natasha’s outburst.
· Sophie works hard to maintain her values and her standard of living. Is there something she must apologize for?
No, of course not.
Have you ever made hash browns on a Panini press?
Yes! And they’re great!
At the beginning of each chapter, you have a letter asking advice of either Sophie or Natasha. Is this the first time you’ve had the writer ask the same question of both of them? Did you do it before and I missed it? Sophie’s and Natasha’s answers are hysterically opposite.
I do it at least once in most of the books. Or sometimes two people involved in an argument write to Sophie, each with a different perspective on the same problem. Some readers write to me and ask if I know that I made a mistake and used the same question twice. But I enjoy showing the difference between Natasha and Sophie, and it’s usually good for a chuckle or two. In addition, there often isn’t one way to do something. It’s okay to do things your own way.
What is a halberd and why does Bernie have one?
Bernie is British. His eccentric mother has been married more times than Elizabeth Taylor and lives in various exotic locales abroad. She bought a halberd (supposedly antique) and shipped it to him. We’ve all seen halberds in movies. They’re medieval weapons that consist of a long pole with an ax blade and a spear. They’re probably very practical in hand-to-hand fighting.
Why did Nina allow Hunter/Ed to take Peanut?
Because I like a happy ending for everyone. Nina often fosters animals and finds homes for them. Hunter/Ed and Peanut were a perfect match.
When the musicians bail on Natasha, Sophie writes her a script to say on the phone to make amends and get them back on the job. Okay—Sophie feels sorry for her, but Natasha never “gets” it. Are they really friends?
One of the true tests of friendship is accepting a person as she is, warts and all. Sophie feared that the event was in trouble but didn’t want to take over. Handing Natasha a script was an easy way to let Natasha resolve the problem so Sophie wouldn’t have to do it herself. Yes, they are friends.
Berkley seems to be shelving cozies. What types of mysteries will they publish?
I’m glad you asked this question, Elaine. I think there is a mistaken impression that cozies are disappearing. Cozies are still popular and selling well. Under new management, Berkley is following a different business model that favors big books and fewer midlist books. They will continue to publish cozies in addition to other types of mysteries. However they plan to publish fewer cozies than in recent years.
Which is your favorite—dark or milk chocolate, Krista?
I know I should love dark chocolate, but I confess that I prefer milk chocolate. I hang my head in shame.