LKBR: Hi, Daryl Wood Gerber, it’s great to have you with us.
DWG: Thank you for having me!
LKBR: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
DWG: I’ve been writing for a long time. My first book was published in 2010. Since that time, I’ve written over 25 books, and I’m having a blast creating stories. When I’m not writing, I like to bake, read, and golf. I have a goldendoodle named Sparky who likes to take me on walks. J
LKBR: Please tell us about your new book.
DWG: A HINT OF MISCHIEF is the 3rd Fairy Garden Mystery.
Courtney has thrown a few
fairy garden parties—for kids. But if a local socialite is willing to dip into
her trust fund for an old sorority sister’s fortieth birthday bash, Courtney
will be there with bells on. To make the job even more appealing, a famous
actress, Farrah Lawson, is flying in for the occasion, and there’s nothing like
a celebrity cameo to raise a business’s profile.
Now Courtney has less than two weeks to paint a mural, hang up tinkling windchimes, plan party games, and conjure up all the details. While she works her magic, the hostess and her girlfriends head off for an indulgent spa day—which leads to a fateful facial for Farrah, followed by her mysterious death. Could the kindhearted eyebrow waxer who Farrah berated in public really be the killer, as the police suspect? Courtney thinks otherwise, and with the help of her imaginative sleuth fairy, sets out to dig up the truth behind this puzzling murder . . .
LKBR: Do you remember where you were/what you were doing when the idea of this book/series came to you?
DWG: Yep. It was right before Covid hit. I was at a writing conference talking to a woman who does audio recordings for books. She told me about her daughter’s fairy garden party. When I went home, I did a deep dive on Pinterest looking for images of fairy garden parties. There were some fabulous ones, but all were for children! While viewing them, I decided to write about an adult fairy garden party. Now, a little bit of kismet, the woman who gave me the idea—Sandra Murphy—is doing the audio recordings for the Fairy Garden Mysteries.
LKBR: How did you go about submitting your first idea for a book? Was that first book published?
DWG: I researched which agents were accepting submissions for mysteries, and I wrote query letters. A LOT of query letters. And I received a lot of rejections. I was getting responses that said, “I enjoy your writing or the story or style, but I can’t sell this book. Do you have another?” So it went into a drawer. My second book also went into a drawer. So did my third. A few years later, when I was about ready to give up, I lucked out and met an agent who liked my work. She, like the others, couldn’t sell what I’d written, but we worked together coming up with ideas, and then out of the blue, she offered me the opportunity to audition for a work-for-hire cozy mystery at Berkley Prime Crime. I got the job and started writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries under the pseudonym Avery Aames. The first book launched my career. It won the Agatha Award for best first novel. A couple years later, after proving myself, I pitched The Cookbook Nook Mysteries to my editor and was granted another contract, this time written under my own name, Daryl Wood Gerber.
LKBR: Is writing your fulltime job? What’s your writing schedule like?
DWG: Yes. I’m lucky enough to write fulltime. I’m at my desk by 9 a.m. I play a word game or two, and then I dive in. I have a schedule every day listing what I want to accomplish—how many pages I’ll write, or whether I need to work on my outline. I’m usually done around 4 p.m. I walk my dog Sparky then. Some days, I go longer (to 5 or 6 or 7 p.m.), particularly when I’m in final editing mode and the book is due! I have PR responsibilities to promote my writing, as well, on social media and for blogs. Last week, I was writing chapters for the 12th Cookbook Nook and doing PR for A HINT OF MISCHIEF. It’s non-stop.
LKBR: No matter where you are, do you write down ideas when inspiration strikes?
DWG: I record them on my cell phone. Then I transcribe them and put them into a file on my computer. I have notes for every book, every series. And I have a “new ideas” file, too. I never know which idea will be the one that really captures my imagination, so I don’t throw any of them out.
LKBR: Do you write your book(s) from beginning to end or do you do you write scenes out of order then pull them together?
DWG: I have been known to write scenes out of order. I don’t like getting stuck, so if there’s a scene that just isn’t working, I might write in my manuscript FIX THIS SCENE, then skip it and move on. I’ve written the last scene first, too, only because I know where I want the book to go, like a road map, so I get it down on paper. As long as there is a complete book when I edit, I don’t care how it comes together in the process. I do work with a basic outline. That really helps me. I tweak the outline as I write the manuscript, but just having a guide keeps me on track.
LKBR: Have you ever killed off a series’ regular character (if you have a series)? If yes, was it hard for you to do? What were your reader’s reactions to it?
DWG: I have not. My publisher ended a series, and that bothered readers, but I personally did not kill any regulars.
LKBR: Where do you do most of your writing?
DWG: I do most of it in my office. I do final editing in my dining room with pages spread everywhere on the dining table. If I’m out and about doing errands, I often take along my computer. I can write scenes at a coffee shop, in my car, and elsewhere. I try not to let any environment limit my creativity.
LKBR: What are three things always within reach when you’re writing?
DWG: Water, my cell phone, my computer.
LKBR: Please describe yourself in one sentence.
DWG: I’m an energetic, positive, upbeat person who loves to tell stories, encourage others, and laugh.
LKBR: Do you have a message for your readers?
DWG: If you have a dream, believe you can achieve it.
LKBR: Thank you so much, Daryl, for spending time with us today. Can’t wait to chat with you again!
Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Fairy Garden Mysteries, Cookbook Nook Mysteries, and French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Daryl loves to cook, fairy garden, and read. She has a frisky Goldendoodle who keeps her in line. And she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hitch-hike around Ireland alone. You can learn more on her website: httsp://darylwoodgerber.com