Winnie Archer is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Bread Over Troubled Water, her latest novel in the Bread Shop Mystery series.
Welcome, Winnie. 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.
Bread Over Troubled Water is book #8 in the Bread Shop Mystery series. In this installment, Ivy Culpepper and Miguel Baptista are planning their engagement party in a lovely park with an ocean view. Olaya Solis, owner of the artisan bread shop, Yeast of Eden, is planning a bread wall—along with a special bread for Ivy.
And, of course, there’s a dead body!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
The plot ideas started with the engagement party, so I knew the location. I hadn’t yet written a victim who was a regular Yeast of Eden customer, so that was another nugget of an idea. My experience as a teacher informed some of the investigation. From there, it all came together!
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The relationships between women—mother’s and daughters, surrogate aunts and grandmothers, sisters, aunts and nieces—is a recurring theme in all my books. As with any mystery, justice is a theme. And family—both the one you are born with and the one you choose—is threaded throughout this book and the series.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
As I mentioned, I love the female relationships I get to explore in my various series. Some of my favorites are the septuagenarian and octogenarian sidekicks! In this series, Penelope Branford is always ready, willing, and able to help Ivy. Her 80-something years don’t stop her.
And in my Pippin Lane Hawthorne Book Magic series, Hattie Juniper Pickle has become a fan favorite. She’s so fun to write and such a hoot that she now has a spin-off series! (A Pickle of a Murder: http://bit.ly/3AVOyOm )
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Description showing (versus telling)—meaning using active verbs, sensory language, and vivid scene-building—are key. My scenes often play like movies in my head, so I slow it down to capture as much detail as I can, then I weave that into scenes in bits and pieces so it doesn’t bog down the narrative.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Usually my research happens as I write. I come across something I need to learn more about, and so I do. In this series, that research often centers around baking. In another of my series—the Pippin Lane Hawthorne mysteries—I did a ton of research throughout each book because I tied in so much Irish history and lore, as well as regional history like the Lost Colonists of Roanoke, for example.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
This series is so fun to write. If you haven’t started it yet, Kneaded to Death and Crust No One are currently on sale for $1.99 each. Thank you Kensington! I hope you get hooked and read them all 🙂
Thanks for answering my questions, Winnie, and good luck with Bread Over Troubled Water, the latest book in Bread Shop Mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Winnie and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook and Instagram pages.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
Kensington – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound
About Winnie Archer: Winnie is the nationally bestselling author of the Bread Shop Mystery series, as well as the Lola Cruz Mysteries and the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series written as Melissa Bourbon. A former middle school English teacher, lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and the youngest of their five children.