Today Mia Carina is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder, the latest novel in the Catering Hall mystery series.
Welcome, Mia. 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.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder is the third book in the Catering Hall Mysteries. In the book, I’m over-the-top busy with a full schedule of events at our family business, Belle View Banquet Hall, which my dad Ravello and I run as a legit business for the not-always-so-legit Boldano Family. Parties scheduled include an out-there Nativity-themed first birthday party and a Sweet Sixteen for a teen drama queen. But my personal life is even more challenging. My estranged mother is trying to worm her way back into my life, and my friend Jamie has discovered a shocking secret about his past. And then of course, there’s a murder or two. Happy holidays, huh?
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too? We work together but to be honest, the writer has me on a pretty short lease.
How did you evolve as the main character? I moved back to New York from Florida after being considered a person of interest in my cheating husband’s disappearance. A boat turned up with the body of his mystery in it, but no Adam. He was assumed lost at sea, so I was off the hook. But it left me with relationship PTSD. Zero interest in dating again. Jamie and I started thinking about it but we’re better off as friends. There’s a new guy working for us, Shane. And between us, I am totally crushing on him. Shhh! Don’t say anything!
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them? Have I mentioned Shane? I also getting a kick out of my coworker Cammie, who’s committed to coasting on the job. But Cammie working at ten percent is more than most people working at a hundred. And I love my nonna Elisabetta, who lives downstairs from me in our two-family house.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story? You mean physically or emotionally? Physically, it’s almost Christmas and Astoria is decked out in Extreme Christmas Decorations. The old ladies in the neighborhood are duking it for Best Decorated Block and the competition is intense, lol.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book? It’s funny! If you like reading about holiday parties, bodies showing up in outdoor décor, and an animatronic Tony Benne-Santa decoration that croons Christmas songs – this is the book for you.
Thank you for answering my questions, Mia, and good luck to you and your author, Maria DiRico, with It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder, the latest book in the Catering Hall mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Maria DiRico: Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father’s side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother’s family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She’s a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.