by Grace Topping
Each spring, fans
Hope, Faith & a Corpse
What the Book is About
Hope had made Stanley’s acquaintance
Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley’s murder. With Bogie’s four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name…even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.
Welcome, Laura, to Writers Who Kill.
Hope, Faith & a Corpse features Hope Taylor, the new pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. What prompted you to make the main character of this book a priest?
I belong to a neighborhood Episcopal church, where we have had two wonderful women
Mystery writers are encouraged to have
It certainly can. I’ve attended many churches over the course of my life, and some have provided their fair share of petty squabbles between members of the congregation, particularly in the planning of social events and who’s in charge. But then, every workplace has conflicts. I also interviewed a couple of women priests who shared their stories of resistance to women clergy from some parishioners when they first started out. And not just from men.
Hope is a recent widow. What prompted her to become a priest, totally changing her life?
Hope actually got “the (spiritual) call” to be a priest while she was still married, and her older husband was proud and supportive of his wife’s career change from teacher to priest. Sadly, he passed away before he could see her become the associate pastor of Faith Chapel. Hope likes helping people; it’s in her nature, so ministering to others was a perfect fit.
Murder Most Sweet, the first book in your Bookish Baker Mysteries, was recently nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. What has that experience been like?
Unbelievable, incredible, and amazing! I still can’t believe my first cozy has been nominated for an Agatha. I wasn’t even sure I could write a mystery since I’m a
Please tell us about your Bookish Baker Mysteries?
Teddie St. John, my main character (and bookish baker) is a breast cancer survivor who chose to go flat after her second mastectomy and to follow her lifelong dream of becoming an author. She now writes cozy mysteries and lives in a small Wisconsin town where she loves to bake for her family and friends. I created these mysteries as an homage to growing up in Racine, Wisconsin, home to fabulous Danish pastries, including delectable, mouth-watering kringle, the official state pastry. Teddie becomes an accidental sleuth in Murder Most
How has it been writing two separate mystery series, especially so close together?
Confusing. My husband still doesn’t know which book is which. And exhausting. I was still working full-time when I wrote both books. Happily, I took early retirement to focus exclusively on my writing. As for keeping the two books straight, I finally had to create a list of characters and events for each book so I wouldn’t confuse the two.
Before writing this book, you wrote chick lit. What is the difference between chick lit and romance?
Humor and designer clothes. Chick lit is usually fun, sassy, and snarky, and told in
Why the switch to mysteries?
After my last
Which do you find more challenging to write, mystery or
Mystery. But it’s also a whole lot more fun to write.
Please tell us about your nonfiction book, Thanks for the Mammogram.
As a longtime breast cancer survivor, years ago I wrote about my journey through breast cancer and how my faith and sense of humor helped me through that difficult time. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Thanks for the Mammogram initially released in 2000, and I received many letters from women going through breast cancer who said how much my little pink book had helped encourage them and gave them hope. Last fall, my publisher came out with a revised version where I brought readers up to date, including sharing the Bye, Bye Booby party I held the night before my second mastectomy. At that party, one of my girlfriends brought me “Nipples of Venus” cupcakes—white frosted cupcakes with a cherry on top. My publisher recreated that event on the fun cover.
Do you plan to write more Faith Chapel mysteries? If so, what’s next for Hope Taylor?
I hope to, but I’m not contracted for any more books (yet.) Fingers crossed. I have a few ideas brewing but am not ready to share them. I can tell you this, however… someone’s going to die.
What’s next in your Bookish Baker series?
My second Bookish Baker Mystery, Deadly Delights, a Midwestern small-town take on The Great British Baking Show, releases June 8. Teddie competes in the local baking contest, but the morning after the first event, head judge Les Morris (the town lecher who hit on every woman in sight) is found dead, face-down in a coconut-cream pie, with Teddie’s distinctive embossed rolling pin nearby—covered in Les’s blood. With the help of her Three Musketeers pals, Char and Sharon, Teddie must concoct a recipe to clear her name.
I’m thrilled that Deadly Delights has been getting some great advance reviews:
"[An] entertaining sequel...Lively characters complement the twisty plot."
"Deadly Delights moves along at warp speed...[Walker’s] writing and story development
—New York Journal of Books
Thank you, Laura.
For additional information about Laura Jensen Walker and her books, follow her at www.laurajensenwalker.com
It's nice to see a protagonist who is not physically "perfect" and who has to deal with the difficulties of being a cancer survivor. Those of us who have loved ones who have suffered from breast cancer, or have done so ourselves, appreciate a character who encompasses this in her life without it being the entire focus.
Congratulations on your new series!
What a writing career you've had, Laura, and what a wonderful interview. I hope I get the chance to meet up with you at an in-person conference sometime. You delve into so many interesting topics and I'd love to hear more. Good luck with the new series, and yes, please, in all your spare time write another Faith Chapel Mystery.
Thanks, KM. I appreciate your comment! As a longtime breast cancer survivor who also chose to go flat after my second mastectomy, I wanted to see someone like me (and so many others who've gone through breast cancer) in a cozy mystery. I also wanted to show that breasts don't define a woman. Teddie, like me, doesn't let her lack of breasts stop her from anything (including catching the eye of a visiting bestselling author.)
Thanks, Margaret! I had so much fun writing Hope.
Molly, thank you. I hope to meet you too (and Grace, and Connie, and so many off my other mystery-writing pals I only know online. I'm going to Left Coast Crime next spring in Albuquerque and also plan to go to Malice Domestic, so if you're attending either of those conferences, let's definitely meet up! (You'll be happy to know I've started playing around with some ideas for another Faith Chapel mystery.)
Wonderful interview! Big congratulations on your Agatha nomination, Laura! Faith sounds like a character readers will like to spend time with. Best wishes for you and for the series going forward.
Thanks, Shari! I'm thrilled to bits by the Agatha nom! And here's hoping my publisher decides to continue my Faith Chapel series. Fingers crossed!
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