Today New York Times Bestselling Author Laura Childs is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Egg Shooters, her latest novel in the Cackleberry Club Mystery series.
Welcome, Laura. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your new novel EGG SHOOTERS. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series as well.
When Suzanne Dietz drops by the hospital to drop off a thermos of chili for her fiancé, Dr. Sam Hazelet, she runs smack dab into a pharmacy robbery. As a guard is brutally gunned down and a friend wounded, Suzanne heaves her thermos at the gunman, splattering him with hot chili. Now Suzanne becomes part and parcel of the drama – working to solve the robbery, seek out the killer, and save the reputation of a nurse accused of being a conspirator. Juggling multiple suspects, a busy restaurant, tea parties, and catered dinners, Suzanne maintains her good humor (yes, this book is funny) and keeps her romance with the good doctor sizzling. Egg Shooters is book nine in my Cackleberry Club Mystery series featuring this intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. In the tradition of all my previous cozy mysteries, I guarantee that Egg Shooters will not disappoint when it comes to heart-warming humor, a breathless pace, and homespun recipes!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
The shooting – a surprise assault – was easy, it’s happening all around us. Also, I love the idea of three female entrepreneurs – Suzanne, Toni, and Petra – running a small town diner called the Cackleberry Club Café. Mornings they whip up egg strata and slumbering volcanoes for their customers, then work a double shift as amateur sleuths. My characters and storyline prove that these women are funny, resourceful, and talented. They don’t necessarily want to run a Fortune 500 company but they do want to do something that is entrepreneurial, creative, and nurturing.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
Most definitely the theme is female friendship – and smart women dropped into difficult circumstances.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favorites? Is so, why are you partial to them?
My characters are much like a bunch of people in a crowded elevator. They’re mumbling, talking, and jostling to get out. The ones that talk the loudest end up being my main characters. They’re the ones with big personalities who either commit a crime or step up to solve a mystery and save the day.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Creating a “sense of place” is one of the most critical things an author can inject in a book. Place can be homey and loving such as the case with the Cackleberry Club, or desolate and forbidding. Place sets the tone and mood. Often times, place can be the thing your characters are struggling to find, to get to. Think of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial or The Wizard of Oz – the overlying theme being “I want to go home, I need to find my place.”
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
To be honest, I don’t do a lot of research. Most of the time, I start with an idea or premise – an unexpected murder – or an underdog type who desperately needs help. Then I toss my main character into the chaos, add a few nasty suspects, and let her sort things out. It’s the sorting out that’s the fun part for me to write!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Halfway between a cozy and a thriller (a thrillzy!) Egg Shooters offers an exciting read with tea, knitting, cake decorating, a dash of spirituality, and good sleuthing with three women who are over forty and proud of it. You’ll also flip over Cackleberry Club recipes like cherry pie muffins and drunken pecan chicken!
Thanks for answering my questions, Laura, and good luck with Egg Shooters, the latest book in theCackleberry Club Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Laura Childs: Laura is the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. All have been on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists. Recently, Book Riot named her mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In herprevious life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, and has a Chinese Shar-Pei named Lotus.