Author Beverly Allen was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions today. And Beverly is giving away a copy of her new book BLOOM AND DOOM scheduled for release on April 1 and available now for pre-order!
As the co-owner of The Rose in
Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be.
Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the
groom turning up dead.
A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many
of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used
to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s
worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is
about to be broken.
Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the
most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the
bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of
anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the
groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for
business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey
decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble
resident pushing up daisies…
For a chance to win a signed copy of BLOOM AND DOOM, enter by using Rafflecopter at the end of the interview.
Note: One thing I didn't touch on with Beverly, (I was having a duh moment I believe) is something that fascinates me. In BLOOM AND DOOM she speaks of the language of flowers and gives the meaning of many. I've included a few examples throughout the interview and you'll find a link to Beverly's Pinterest where she has an extensive list.
On to the interview and giveaway!
or what inspired you to become an author?
BA: A lot
of times you talk to writers, and they say things like, “I wrote my first book
when I was three, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.”
Well, that’s not me. I sneaked in the back door.
a rather convoluted career history. I graduated from engineering school with a
diploma and a distaste for the job. The first things I wrote (except for
research papers and some pretty riveting grocery lists) were puppet shows and
Christmas programs when my husband was serving as the pastor of a small, country
church. When he left that position, I discovered I really missed the writing.
several months, I played around with fan fiction for Monk. (Remember the
TV show Monk? I was nutty for it.) I was pretty popular, too. I had fans
numbering in the literal dozens. I was reading Lee Goldberg’s blog (he wrote the
Monk tie-in novels at the time), and I saw this post ranting at fan
fiction. The gist was, “If you think you’re so good, why not try something
it’s not that I thought I was that good. But the idea of trying something
original both intrigued and terrified me. So I spent several years learning how
The blue rose is the symbol of mystery
did you come up with the idea for the Bridal Bouquet Shop
has some great cozies. But one thing I didn’t know at the time was that not all
of the ideas for their popular cozy series originate with the authors. Sometimes
the clever people at Berkley come up with ideas for series they think their
readers would like, and then look for the right writer.
thrilled when my agent said she’d thought I’d be a good match for this
opportunity. And I was delighted when the folks at Berkley read my proposal and
Lesser Celandine - Joys to come
appeals to you about writing Cozy mysteries?
BA: I’m an
avid cozy reader. I started with Nancy Drew, moved on to Agatha Christie, and
then stopped for a long time. The modern cozy wasn’t really as popular way back
then (early 80s)--or at least as easy for me to find. The mysteries I came
across in bookstores and libraries were darker.
was a junior in high school, two of my classmates were murdered. And for the
longest time, the last thing I wanted to read was a gritty, graphic murder
mystery. They’re still not my cup of tea. So I read biographies and
across more modern cozies years later. And they helped me through a difficult
time, when my mother was ill and eventually died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.)
They’re a great form of escape--leaving a world that’s often cruel and hard.
There are quirky characters to meet, an often idyllic small town setting to romp
around it, and a challenging puzzle to solve.
course, developing the mystery is a challenge I enjoy, but I guess you could say
the thing that appeals to me is providing some relief to others who need the
escape of a good read. It would please me greatly to know that my book helped
someone else through a tough time.
Ginger Blossom - Strength
are some of your favorite authors?
sure to leave some off. Oddly enough, I tend to read historicals and write
contemporaries. I’m very fond of Rhys Bowen and Laurie King--in particular her
Mary Russell series. And Victoria Thompson and Alan Bradley. In contemporaries,
I think Laura Levine’s books are some of the funniest out there. And I’m quite
fond of Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, Julie Hyzy, and Lilian Jackson Braun.
Still love the Monk books, both Lee Goldberg’s and Hy Conrad’s. So many more.
And even more in my TBR list.
Pheasant's Eye - Can't forget you, remembrance
you have any other series in the works?
of. I have a series I’d started--in fact the one that drew the interest from my
agent. It needs some work, so when I have a break from the Bridal Bouquet Shop
books, I’d like to invest a little time on it. I won’t say too much about it,
except that it’s sort of a culinary cozy.
Ranunculus - You are radiant with charms
are three things you would like your readers to know about
BA: 1. I
know there’s a lot of debate right now about what content and language is
acceptable in a cozy. My personal feeling is that many readers are drawn to
cozies as an escape from the rougher parts of life, so readers aren’t going to
find strong language, grit, or darker elements in my
pretty easy-going, but not generally an extrovert. I HATE mingling. If you see
me at a party, rescue me and engage me in conversation. I enjoy talking with
people. But at parties where people are standing around in groups, I have the
hardest time introducing myself and talking. I feel like I’m butting in.
have extremely poor facial recognition skills and name recall. Please don’t be
hurt if I can’t come up with your name. It’s a family trait, and it’s only
getting worse with age. I have to keep a list of my book characters, or I forget
them, too. But don’t worry. It’s not senility. Grandma is still going strong at
90. She has a mind like a steel trap. She just rattles off five or six names
before she settles on the right one. And she’s been doing that for as long as I
Balloon Flower - Unchanging love, honesty, and obedience.
LKBR: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
BA: No, I
think you’ve plumbed the depths of my soul. ;)
Pansy (heartsease) - Thoughts, think of me; you occupy my thoughts
Thank you, Beverly for letting me "plumb".
Want to learn ever more about Beverly? You can find her....
Have you ever been to a book signing? They're so much fun! You get to meet a favorite author. Talk to them and ask questions. Interact face to face.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like from the author's point of view? Well, read on. Author Laura Bradford is going to give you a glimpse.
The Breath of Air, Reader-Style
By Laura Bradford
The life of a writer can be rather isolating at times. We spend a large amount of each day holed up in front of a computer, creating worlds and characters. While there’s no doubt most of us do it because we love it, it can get a little lonely. There are no co-workers to meet up with for lunch, no water cooler to hang around while talking about last night’s episode of whatever hot show is on at the moment, and not a lot to talk about with our spouse at the end of the day beyond “I wrote.”
So when a book comes out and we get a chance to come out from behind our computers and meet the people who are glad “I wrote,” it’s exciting.
Needless to say, the promise of meeting some of my readers at one of my favorite independent bookstores on Friday night was something I looked forward to all week.
Before I knew it, I was walking into Aaron’s Bookstore in Lititz, Pennsylvania to find a signing table all ready for me along with a lot of copies of my latest book, SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS, and a candle.
The candle was just in case the power (that had gone off nearly town-wide an hour earlier) didn’t return by the time the signing started…but it did.
I don’t think I was sitting for more than two minutes when the first of many customers came through the door looking, specifically, for me. Some were new faces—people who’d read about my appearance in the Sunday book section and wanted to stop by for a copy. Some were faces I’ve met at previous signings at the store—people who’d given my series a chance the first time around and enjoyed it so much they’ve come back for each subsequent book. Some were faces I’ve met on Facebook—people who found me on the social media site because of my books and have become my friends.
As a writer, we always wonder if what we write is good enough, if readers will like it, if reviewers will like it, if the publisher will be happy, et cetera. We second guess ourselves and our ability at times. But when people seek us out, when they carve out time on a Friday night just to come out and meet us because they love the stories we tell and the worlds we’ve created, it doesn’t get much better than that.
I love to write, I always have.
But I also love the people who have chosen to take this journey with me. They make it more special and more fulfilling. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Laura Bradford is the best-selling author of The Amish Mysteries. SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS, the third book in the series, released this month. To learn more about Laura, The Amish Mysteries, or the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries she writes under her pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com. Or “like” her author page on Facebook.
DEATH ON EAT STREET by J. J. Cook Book 1 in A
Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery series Release date: April 1, 2014
Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but
first, she'll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side
When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work,
Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her
fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above
water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown
and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.
Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her
specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls
After a promising start, things start to go downhill
faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash
register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for
taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling
restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the
frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of
them get burned.
I have wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover of
it online. Add the fact that it's written by J. J. Cook, a.k.a. Joyce and Jim Lavene, and I just knew it was going to be great. I was right!
The action starts off very soon into the book and just keeps going.
You'll find that just when you think you have something figured out, you're
thrown a curve and have to rethink everything. the mystery just keeps growing
until the surprising reveal.
Zoe Chase is a very likeable lead character. She did what we have all
dreamed of doing. Quit her unsatisfying job to follow her dream. While reading
this story, told by Zoe herself, I was so drawn into it that I felt as though I
was living it myself. My favorite parts were the ones when Zoe and friends were
working in the food truck. As for those friends, the supporting cast of
characters were very different in many ways than I have read in other cozies.
That only strengthened their appeal. They added a fresh flavor that kept me
And speaking of flavor, you are going to be so hungry for biscuits
while ready this! It's a good thing there is a recipe for biscuit bowls
included, along with some of their mouth watering fillings!
DEATH ON EAT STREET is the perfect book to kick start the Biscuit Bowl
Food Truck Mystery series. It has insured this will be a series that will
continue for many years to come!