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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Krista Davis Interview by E. B. Davis

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.

On February 27th, Kensington will release Color Me Murder, Krista Davis’s new Pen & Ink series. This is Krista’s third series. I loved her Diva and Paws and Claws series, but there was something about this series that really touched me. I went to AU and GWU so I’ve spent many fun hours in Georgetown in D. C., the setting of this series. Although it brought back memories—that wasn’t the attraction—it was the main character, Florrie Fox (even if her mother ticked me off).

Florrie creates coloring books for adults and children. Her acuity and sensibility combined with her artistic talent makes her a smart person with good moral grounds. Her artistic eye for detail, which she uses to recreate scenes and people while on the case, allows her to put the pieces of the mystery together. And although she doesn’t cook or bake for a living, she manages to feed friends and family with her quick recipes, listed in the back pages.

Welcome back to WWK, Krista.                                                                                                         E. B. Davis _________________________________________________________________________________
If not for his dreaded nephew, would Professor Maxwell have offered his carriage house apartment to Florrie anyway?

Probably not. He was in no rush to rent it until his loathsome nephew wanted it. Professor Maxwell’s butler would have been opposed to having almost anyone live there.

You characterized Florrie as “retiring.” Would you elaborate on that aspect of her personality?

Florrie loves to read and draw. She’s perfectly happy to stay home and bake or settle in with a good mystery.  Her mother and sister thrive on being surrounded by people. But Florrie isn’t interested in sports or noisy bars. She’s not antisocial, she’s just very content to do things by herself.

Mr. DuBois, Professor Maxwell’s older butler, is my favorite secondary character. Even though he’s not a cat person, why doesn’t Florrie abide by his request to keep Peaches in her quarters?

Oh, but I think she does. Peaches is only allowed in the private walled garden behind the carriage house. And that’s only when Florrie is with her. Peaches isn’t permitted to roam the mansion or its grounds.

Professor Maxwell and his second wife, mystery writer Jacquie Liebhaber, had a daughter who was abducted and never returned. Would Florrie be about the same age as the missing daughter?

Florrie would be closer to the age of their granddaughter if they had one. Florrie’s mother recalls the drama around the missing child when she was young. Still, they see things in Florrie that they would have liked to see in their own daughter.

Why does Florrie collect clocks? What is an atomic clock?

Florrie is a stickler for being on time. She hates to be late. Since she’s always checking the time, she began to admire interesting clocks and now she collects them. Atomic clocks are among the most accurate. They will actually reset themselves to correct the time if they are even a tiny bit off!

One of Florrie’s mother’s friends keeps trying to set her son, Norman, up with Florrie. Florrie thinks Norman is boring. Here’s how Florrie described him:

“In a world of colored pencils, Norman was walrus pink. In fact, he was shaped somewhat like a walrus now that I thought about it.” (Kindle Loc. 218)

What color would Florrie characterize herself as? What color would her mother be?

LOL! Florrie would say she is flora green or leaf green. A soft gentle color that has presence but blends into the background. Her mother would be hibiscus fuchsia, a color so vibrant that it’s hard to ignore.

At the murder scene, a prohibition hidey-hole at the Professor’s bookstore that Florrie manages, everyone keeps jumping into the hole—even the police. Weren’t they all contaminating the crime scene?

Only two people jumped in. Florrie had to find the courage to jump in to help and comfort someone who was injured. Eric jumped in, too. Since he’s a police officer, one would hope he used good judgment about the crime scene.  The first thing he did was get Florrie out of there!

Even though Florrie is living in the Professor’s carriage house, everyone seems to think she’s “shacked up” with him. I can understand the police perhaps assuming that, but why would her co-worker and sister think that—they know her, and the Professor is at least twenty years older than she is?

I think it speaks to their character, and what they might do. That’s certainly true of her co-worker, Helen.

First Old Towne Alexandria and now Georgetown. What attracts you to these neighborhoods, and how did you conceive this series? This is your first artist MC.

The idea of a mystery with a cover that could be colored was the brainchild of my editor Wendy McCurdy. This was a little out of my normal comfort zone, but it was a lot of fun!

Honestly, I considered placing this series in a small college town. But the more I considered plots, the more I liked it being in Georgetown because of the diverse population. The mix of academics and international diplomats seemed to lend itself to a lot of interesting plots. I do love Old Town and Georgetown, not just for their charm, but because they are so walkable. There aren’t many car chases!

What’s next for Florrie (and I hope Eric, too!)?

Everyone in the Hues, Brews, and Clues coloring club is excited when a member discovers a copy of one of the oldest known adult coloring books. But when she’s killed and the book is stolen, Florrie finds herself sketching clues about another murder!


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congratulations on your new series! My daughters love adult coloring books--great premise!

Warren Bull said...

What an interesting mix of arts.

Shari Randall said...

What a brilliant idea for a series! I can't wait to get my copy. Thank you for stopping by WWK, Krista!

Debra said...

Congratulations on your new series. I'm looking forward to it!

Jim Jackson said...

Krista -- congratulations on your newest series. Color me delighted for you.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Congratulations on your new series, Krista. I loved your first series and read everyone of them. I'll have to try this series, too.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for sharing so much information with us! This sounds like a timely series. One of the members of my writing critique group is working on an adult coloring book.

Interestingly, I've seen "adult" coloring pages used for years as therapy and a calming recreational activity (in fact, I just threw away a whole pile of ones left over from my special education teaching job.)