Leslie here. When I started writing my Sally Solari culinary series, one of the first authors I turned to for inspiration was Daryl Wood Gerber, who—also as Avery Aames—has written a host of fabulous culinary cozies. So you can imagine how thrilled I am, along with all the other Chicks, to welcome Daryl here today. But writing without food? Is that even possible? Read on, to find out…
Am I saying I can write and never eat? Um, no.
But just yesterday, my latest suspense novel, Desolate Shores, came out, and there’s no food in it. No recipes. Am I concerned? A tad. I’m known as a cozy author. A culinary cozy author. Most of my books have food in them. Lots of food. All my cozies include recipes, too. Do I let the protagonist in my new suspense starve? No, but she’s a private investigator and needs to eat on the run. Power bars seem to do the trick. Okay, occasionally she eats a plate of spaghetti and she even barbecues, but food is not the main thrust of the story.
So, how difficult is writing without food? Ahem, I mean, writing across genre? Hard. I love reading both cozies and suspense, and I started out as a suspense author, but the first book I sold was a cozy, written under a pseudonym: Avery Aames. The Long Quiche Goodbye, a Cheese Shop Mystery, set me on a journey writing culinary mysteries. I didn’t mind. I love cooking. I’ve worked as a caterer, restaurant manager, and waitress. I know food. But I pined to write and publish the suspense novels that were inside me.
So over the past year I took time to write this book. It has been a challenge. Why? Well, see, I wrote the book years ago (remember I started out writing suspense) and this story continued to call to me, so I asked my publisher if we could publish it and the sequel and received a yes, and…
OOPS. I realized it needed a complete rewrite. COMPLETE. Ack. If only every sentence had been perfect. NOT. My writing had changed. My voice had changed. The story was good, but wow, did it need work.
This is where food comes back into the picture. I ate and ate. Comfort food. Snack food. Brain food. Anything to help me finish the job and not give up. Did I? You bet. Did it turn out okay? If the reviews on Net Galley are any indication, yes. Phew.
What am I doing now? More eating because I’m getting ready to turn in the sequel, and guess what? Not every sentence is perfect. OY! Will this teach me to stay in my cozy lane? Nope. I still have more suspense stories I want to tell. Will I rewrite an old one? NEVER AGAIN. I’ve learned my lesson, plus my waistline can’t handle the stress.
What’s next? Well, I do have a new cozy series coming out in 2020. Does it involve food and recipes? Yes. Is it a culinary mystery? Nope! What’s it about? I’m not telling. It’s a secret. Can you stand the suspense?
Readers: Do you find yourself turning to food when times get tough? Or is there something else that helps to comfort you during stressful periods?
About Daryl: Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER ventures into the world of suspense again with her new novel, Desolate Shores. Daryl writes the bestselling culinary cozy series, the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, with another cozy series coming in 2020. As Avery Aames, she wrote the Cheese Shop Mysteries.
Fun Tidbit: As an actress, Daryl appeared in Murder, She Wrote. She has also jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and hitchhiked around Ireland by herself.
About Desolate Shores: Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense: A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .
After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.
Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead.