This week, in our first-ever Chicks on the Case interview, we’re talking to Vickie Fee. Vickie writes the Liv and Di in Dixie series, featuring party planner Liv McKay and her best friend Di who live in Dixie, Tennessee. Hi, Vickie. Thanks for joining us!
I’m thrilled to be here – and wow, am I really the first interview? I feel so special!
So, what kind of party should we throw to commemorate the occasion, and what should I wear?
We should throw a Mexican-themed party, because a) Taco Belles, a fictional restaurant in the Liv and Di books, could cater it, and b) because I’ve never been to San Miguel Allende featured in Terror in Taffeta and would love to visit and c) because tequila. Marla, you should wear a sombrero and be prepared to shake your maracas.
That sounds perfect! What’s the most elaborate party you’ve ever been to?
There’s a Navy base in Millington, Tennessee, a city where I worked as a reporter, and attended the Navy Anniversary Ball. All the officers looked gorgeous in their formal dress uniforms, and the band played fanfare as each of the four admirals in attendance entered. I’ve always wanted someone to play fanfare when I entered a room. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough brass on my jacket to qualify.
One cocktail supply I always have on hand is Fee Brothers Plum Bitters. Please tell me that they’re actually your brothers. Or maybe your fun uncles.
Fee is my married name, so my husband would have bragging rights on this one. But since I haven’t met them, I’m wondering if this branch of the family has been deliberately hidden away from me. I’ll have to quiz my father-in-law and see what secrets I can shake out of the family tree. He owes me a drink anyway.
Your bio mentions that you used to work as a reporter covering small Southern towns. What’s your favorite small-town news story that you covered?
The best stories are the ones we couldn’t run in the paper. So I probably shouldn’t mention those here. There was an annual Goat Days festival I covered more than once that featured goat chariot races (yes, goat teams actually pulled little carts) and a Miss Nanny Goat Pageant, where contestants dressed in goat-themed costumes.
It was also at this event one year that a man told me I looked nothing like the photo that ran with my weekly personal column in the paper, saying, “That must be a really old picture.” It was not! But that experience inspired me to include such an awful author photo in my books that when readers meet me they can honestly say, “You look much better in person.”
In Death Crashes the Party, you have a scene set at a bar called Buddy’s. Coincidentally, one of my favorite dive bars in Texas is called Buddy’s Place. Is there a real-life Buddy’s—and do you hang out there?
Buddy’s bar, like most of the book, is fictional but authentic – right down to the discarded peanut shells on the floor that Liv shuffles through wearing sandals. That scene features karaoke and I have also been known to sing a bit of karaoke. I sound better after I’ve had a few daiquiris. Or at least I sound better to myself, I can’t speak for the audience.
Marla, I’d love to put on some cowboy boots and hang out with you at Buddy’s Place in Texas. Please tell me there’s a mechanical bull on the premises.
There isn’t a mechanical bull, but there is a shuffleboard table. (Bring quarters for the jukebox!) Okay, so I also see that you like watching B movies from the 1930s and 40s. If we promise to bring the snacks, what movie would you screen for me and the other Chicks?
I’d pull out a classic A-list movie for the Chicks on the Case: The Thin Man! We could chuckle at the witty banter – and add our own sparkling repartee, drool over Myrna Loy’s glamorous evening gowns, drink martinis along with William Powell. And every movie in this series includes at least one party, which means I could count it as research – perfect!
I love the Thin Man movies! I’m totally in. So what’s next for Liv and Di?
The next entry, One Fete in the Grave, comes out May 30, 2017 and is set at the annual Dixie Fourth of July festival. A shady town councilman gets taken out of the picture and Mama’s fiancé, Earl, is put in the frame for murder. There’s also a romantic development between Di and the handsome sheriff.
Vickie Fee blesses hearts and makes Jack Daniels whiskey balls that’ll scorch your tonsils. The second book in her Liv and Di in Dixie cozy mystery series, It’s Your Party, Die If you Want To, just came out and is set at Halloween. It includes a plethora of parties, a passel of scandal, a prima donna celebrity ghost hunter – and of course, a dead body. Find out more about Vickie and her books at www.vickiefee.com.