Today Jaymie Leighton Müller is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about A Calculated Whisk, the latest novel in the Vintage Kitchen mystery series.
Welcome, Jaymie. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
I’m Jaymie Leighton Müller, part of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries; I collect vintage kitchen stuff, write a vintage recipe cooking column and volunteer at the local historic house as the kitchen expert! A Calculated Whisk is #10 in the series. I honestly don’t know how it happens, but I appear to have a knack for tripping over dead bodies. Once that happens, well… I have to know who killed them. I care deeply about my community and these kinds of disruptions are painful to all of us. This time, it almost feels like my fault; you see, the victim was on her way to see me, to tell me… well, if I knew what she was going to tell me, I’d know who killed her, right? But I will figure it out.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
She thinks she’s in control, but once a horrible thing happens, it’s my way of figuring things out that moves the investigation along. In this case I was involved from the beginning even before the murder, and if I wasn’t the way I am – inquisitive, emotional, unwilling to let my community suffer – Victoria wouldn’t have anything to write. I know how these things work; one of my college friends is Melody Heath, a romance and suspense writer, and she’s moaned in my ear about how her characters think they know everything and want it all their way. I tell her to just set them free… let them do what they’ll do.
How did you evolve as the main character?
In the beginning I was suffering through a very bad breakup, the kind that has you staying up late to cry and driving past your lost love’s new girlfriend’s house in the middle of the night. Joel dumped me right before Christmas a few years ago. It was painful, but growth comes with pain. From there I dated a millionaire, yearned for a hunky detective who looked like he was right out of a romance novel (my not-so-secret addiction) and then found the love of my life, a junk store owning Christmas tree farmer. And Joel’s now-ex (Heidi Lockland) is one of my best friends. Go figure. And I now solve murder mysteries. I’ve come a long way.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
My hubby, Jakob and my adorable step-daughter Jocie are two; I love them both unreservedly. Having a daughter is a new experience for me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. But there’s also Val Nibley, my best friend and partner in crime, and Mrs. Stubbs, the irascible and occasionally crotchety nonagenarian who often has valuable tips and knows everything about the past in Queensville, Michigan. Val knows everyone and everything, and she’s the thoughtful counterpoint to my occasional impulsiveness. Mrs. S is just… she’s wonderful. She keeps me grounded and gives me pointers. She reads and thinks about crime a lot, and both women are great to bounce theories off of.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Home… and that’s why it’s so awful. When murder happens close to you, everything changes in the blink of an eye. I need to figure it all out so I can feel safe again, and look at the dark forest across from our home without the shadow of fear darkening it. I need to figure this out, or it will haunt me. And I need to figure it out to bring peace to a family that is suffering.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
This is a hard one for me; someone I was just getting to know lost their life while on their way to talk to me. I feel… responsible. But I promise, we’ll figure it out in the end. With the help of my friends and my community, we will root out the evil (and murder is evil, no mistake about that) and find justice for the victims and their loved ones. Is there more than one victim? I’m not sure yet; maybe. But I’ll figure that out, too. Come with me and follow my journey.
Thank you for answering my questions, Jaymie, and good luck to you and your author, Victoria Hamilton, with A Calculated Whisk, the latest book in the Vintage Kitchen mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Victoria Hamilton: Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym of nationally bestselling romance author Donna Lea Simpson. Victoria is the bestselling author of three mystery series, the Lady Anne Addison Mysteries, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, and the Merry Muffin Mysteries. She also writes a Regency-set historical mystery series, starting with A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder.