Today Ginger Bolton is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Beyond a Reasonable Donut, the latest book in her Deputy Donut mysteries series.
Welcome, Ginger. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT is the fifth book in the Deputy Donut Mystery Series. Emily Westhill and Tom Westhill, the father of Emily’s late husband own Deputy Donut, a café in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. The café is named after Emily’s cat, who is usually called Dep. Tom has retired from being Fallingbrook’s police chief. Emily was once a 911 operator. Her two best friends since junior high are a police officer and an emergency medical technician. Other friends include another police officer, the fire chief and a detective. When there are crimes in the community, Deputy Donut is a good place to overhear rumors and pick up clues. . . .
In BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT, Fallingbrook is celebrating Friday the Thirteenth with a Faker’s Dozen Carnival. In addition to the usual fair foods, games, and rides, an entire tent is devoted to good luck and bad luck. No one expects bad luck, but Emily and Nina, who is helping her make and sell “corny” fritters at the festival, end up with more than their share of it. First, a bucket of powdered sugar goes missing, then a magician causes bills from their cash drawer to disappear. Later that night, Emily finds the mime who had appeared to be helping the magician in Nina’s loft. Nina is nowhere around, and the bucket of powdered sugar has magically reappeared. The mime has the worst luck of all. She apparently fell from Nina’s ladder while throwing handfuls of powdered sugar at the drying paint of the masterpiece that is to be the focus of Nina’s solo show at a prestigious art gallery. Despite Emily’s attempts to save the mime, the woman is suffocating with her head in the bucket of sugar. Nina shows up almost immediately. She’s angry about the damage to her painting, and other clues point to her as the mime’s attacker. Emily knows that Nina would never have done such a terrible thing. Can she prove it in time for Nina to attend the wedding of two of their friends and the opening of Nina’s art show?
The books in the Deputy Donut Mystery Series are, in order:
SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS
GOODBYE CRULLER WORLD
JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS
BOSTON SCREAM MURDER
BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT
DECK THE DONUTS (in stores October 26, 2021)
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
In the previous book, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER, it seems that Nina’s dreams of becoming an artist might be about to come true. But how well did we really know Nina, and what might she do if she encounters potholes in the road to success (or failure?)
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
Luck, both good and bad, and how people cope with whatever life throws at them underlies the story. The idea of focusing on luck came when I decided to set the story around a Friday the thirteenth festival.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
Each book has two sets of characters, the regulars and villains and victims of the current story.
In creating the regular cast, I try to come up with people who can work together to solve a murder in a way that will be entertaining to the reader and make the reader want to visit them in their setting again.
The suspects don’t usually appear in later books. To create them, I need to figure out a motive for murder. I have to give the victim and the villain(s) histories. They and all the other suspects need to seem like they could be real. A lot of their backstory never gets into the novel, but I know the characters fairly well before I start writing. They often write to me from their individual viewpoints, giving me their thoughts and feelings and their explanations and justifications for what they do.
I like my regular cast best. To me, they can become alarmingly real. For a split second, I might think I see them walking down the street or passing in a car or bus. Imaginary friends! (Villains can seem to alarmingly real, also, but we won’t think about that.)
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I hope that I bring Fallingbrook and Deputy Donut to life! I draw maps, and I picture each setting. And when I describe them, I try to involve more than sight and hearing. Luckily, there can be delicious fragrances in a coffee and donut shop….
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
My entire life has been a form of research. Readers of the Deputy Donut Mysteries will probably see my love of northern forests and lakes, and they’ll probably see the influence of gothic suspense novels in chases through the woods at night. Specific to this series, my research tends to be in the kitchen with a deep fryer. And flour and sugar on nearly every surface. And visits to coffee and donut shops are often required. Yes, definitely necessary . . .
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Those who like a touch of romance in their cozy mysteries won’t, I hope, be disappointed. Emily and her late husband’s detective partner, Brent, share a deep grief that keeps them apart. Emily doesn’t think she’s ready to date again. We don’t know for certain what Brent thinks about possibly dating Emily, but the astute reader probably began to figure it out beginning in the first book of the series. And many readers will want both Emily and Brent to find happiness, one way or another. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT might bring them a little closer. Might, I said . . .
Thank you for answering my questions, Ginger, and good luck with Beyond a Reasonable Donut, the latest book in the Deputy Donut mystery series.
The novel is available online at the following retailers:
About Ginger Bolton: Ginger writes the Deputy Donut mystery series—coffee, donuts, cops, danger, and one curious cat. The first four books in the series are SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS, GOODBYE CRULLER WORLD, JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS, and the latest, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER. JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS was chosen as the Woman’s World Best New Cozy Mystery of the week and was named as one of Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2019. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT will be on store shelves May 25, 2021. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, or generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts and coffee. As Janet Bolin, Ginger wrote the Threadville Mysteries—murder and mayhem in a village of crafty shops.