Today we're excited to talk with Wendy Lyn Watson, author of Scoop to Kill: A Mystery a La Mode.
FQ: Tallulah “Tally” Jones is quite a wacky, but totally lovable character. Most of us have met someone like her, but in your mind’s eye is she patterned after someone you’ve met? No names please!
Oh yes...she's sort of me. We don't have the same backstory or the same vocabulary, but our neuroses are basically identical. With all my other characters, I have to work to put myself in their heads, but I slip into Tally like a favorite sweatshirt.
FQ: Bree can belt out songs with aplomb at Bar None on karayoke night. Have you ever been daring enough to get up in front of an audience and sing?
Absolutely not! Trust me, no one wants to hear me sing. It's gruesome. If Tally is me as I really am, Bree is who I want to be. She's the daring side of my soul that rarely shows up in real life. Always has a zinger, flaunts what her mama gave her, sings her heart out...she's my hero!
FQ: Tally, Bree, and Alice ane the Ben and Jerry’s of Dalliance, Texas. If you were to place an order, what would you order? Favorite flavor? One scoop or two?
Definitely two scoops. A scoop of raspberry mascarpone and a scoop of coconut, with dark hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry. Hold the nuts.
FQ: We see that Tally has a cat named Sherbert who unfortunately had to have a “yarnectomy.” Is he any relation to Miss Marple in Lorna Barrett’s Booktown mysteries? Any relation to the hordes of felines in Leann Sweeney's, A Cats in Trouble mysteries?
No relation to Miss Marple, Merlot, Syrah, or Chablis...at least not genetic. I think animals play an important role in mysteries. We have to create such complex humans, capable of doing really bad things, and the pets we give our heroines are the antidote -- pure sweetness. Sherbet and his yarnectomy is, alas, ripped from the headlines of my life. Our youngest (and dorkiest) cat, Squeak-a-Doodle (aka Doodlebug) wolfed down a huge length of yarn when he was little. Took a good 10 years off my life.
FQ: We got a brief glimpse at Grandma Peachy, whom you claimed was as “healthy as a horse and ornery as a friend toad.” Will we be seeing more of her in this series? (Say yes, pretty please!)
Definitely! In the third book (tentatively titled A Parfait Murder), Peachy's in town for a visit. I love Peachy. She's not your typical grandma - she smokes a pipe, spits, swears, flirts with young men, and is quite a rascal. I'm glad she's finally in the thick of things.
FQ: You talk about the academic community as easily as you do the women with penny bright hair who frequent places like Bar None. Have you spent a lot of time in an academic environment?
LOL - yes! My day job is teaching government to college kids. It was fun bringing the ivory tower and the courthouse square together.
FQ: There is just the right amount of romance thrown in Scoop to Kill. Fickle Tally has both Finn Harper and Detective Cal McCormack drooling over her. Is she going to be seen with one more than the other in your next book? Give us a little teaser...
I don't want to give away any secrets, but Tally starts A Parfait Murder with one of the fellas. I won't say whether they make it through the book, but her love life is definitely not dead.
FQ: Remember the A-la-mode had a “new Flamin’ Hot Chile-Pineapple ice cream.” I’m not so sure I’d want to try that one, but your Pink Pepperberry Milk Shakes sounds delicious. Do you actually experiment with recipes in the book?
Absolutely. The Pink Pepperberry Milkshake was a bit of a gamble, but Mr. Wendy approved. And the Flamin' Hot Chile-Pineapple Ice Cream recipe is on my website (www.wendylynwatson.com). It was developed by a brilliant 10-year-old aspiring chef and won a local contest for recipes that use Hatch chiles (a seasonal delicacy). I was skeptical, but it's really good. To sum up, my ice cream maker gets quite a workout!
FQ: Can you tell us how you came about creating this wild, wacky, and wonderful cast of characters in this book?
Wow. I wish I could answer that. Tally and Bree, as I said earlier, are the angel and devil of my own soul. Everyone else? I get little bits of inspiration from the people I know (though no one I know would actually kill someone -- I don't think). But otherwise, it's sort of a mystery to me. I do know that some of these characters -- Deena Silver, Grandma Peachy, Kyle Mason, Finn and Cal -- have taken on a life of their own for me. In my mind, they're people I know, inside and out. They're a joy to write about.
FQ: Last of all, can you tell us about yourself and your obvious passion for writing?
I came to the writing game a little late in life. I wrote (horrible poetry and wretched fantasy) in high school and dabbled in college, but put it away for years afterward. When I did decide to return to fiction, I started by trying to write romance. I have such respect for the authors who weave beautiful love stories, but I quickly learned that I couldn't carry a whole novel on the back of a romance. Writing cozies allows me to meld the intellectual puzzle of the mystery with that luscious taste of knee-melting romance.
Apart from writing, let's see...I live in Texas (in a town that bears a suspicious resemblance to Dalliance) with my husband and four cats. I'm originally a Midwestern girl (Michigan, Ohio, and Minnesota). I earn my keep by teaching at the local university, and in the little bit of spare time I have left, I love to cook, quilt, and go to movies. I watch an embarrassing amount of reality TV. Oh, and I belly dance. Really badly, and rarely in public, but I do it. It's as close to "Breedom" as I get in real life!