Daisy: Yes, sort of. The basic idea and location are based on Bodega Bay, where my family has been going since I was little. San Elmo is a slightly bigger town, though, because Bodega Bay is just a little too small to host a regularly occurring series of murders.
Not to be confused with the town of Bodega.
Right, that’s a separate, even smaller town slightly inland. It’s where the church and schoolhouse from the movie The Birds are located, which is part of what’s confusing to people. Stupid Hitchcock ruins everything.
When I first met you, you were writing a book about giant land squids, and I thought, this is a girl I want to get to know! What ever happened to the squids? Maybe you could do a crossover where giant squids invade San Elmo Bay and Claudia has to stop them.
The squids are still out there, waiting for their chance. I can’t even remember why I thought it would be a good idea to write a book about giant underground squid, but it’s a decision I stand by. As for Claudia, I don’t know if she’d be able to take on the squid on her own, but maybe if she teamed up with the rest of her friends from the marketplace they could stop them. The good thing is, land squid can’t swim. (Obviously.)
What was the first piece of fiction you ever wrote?
The first fiction I’m aware of having written was when I was seven years old and my little brother had just been born. It was for a school assignment and it was about a princess who had been living in the castle with her parents the king and queen, until they found another baby and they stopped loving her, so she had to go and live in the woods with the “gentle forest creatures” (this is apparently a direct quote). I have no recollection of this work, but apparently it made quite an impact on my mother, when the teacher showed it to her.
Speaking of gentle forest creatures, I think we need to take a pause so you can tell us about your new PUPPY!
Puppy! I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without talking about him. His name is Zaphod (as in Beeblebrox), he’s a six-month-old labradoodle, and he’s on a mission to chew the whole world into tiny pieces, starting with our living room and working out. He hasn’t met you yet, but he loves you. Other things he loves: marrow bones, peanut butter (dog-safe), the cat (unrequited), paper napkins, anything he can pick up off the sidewalk, and water in any form. We got him right as the lockdown was beginning and I’m a little concerned about what’s going to happen when he realizes that us being around all day, every day, isn’t how life is always going to be. Pray for my shoes.
[Editor’s note: Daisy does have great shoes, and now I’m worried.] Okay, back to serious writerly talk. Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? (I’d also like to point out that autocorrect preferred for me to ask you if you’re a plotter or a panther.)
I think my working style could be best described as “chaotic neutral.” Which is to say, I try to write outlines, but I do them very badly, then I make things up as I go along, then I delete a LOT. I wouldn’t recommend this as a technique.
I do not consider myself a panther. More of a capybara, if I’m being honest.
I imagine it was fun exploring artisan markets looking for places one might find a dead body. What was your favorite thing you did in the name of research?
Probably the best “research” I did was to go to the California Artisan Cheese Festival and sign up for everything that looked fun. I did a class on cheese tasting, and one on the qualities of different milks (cow, goat, sheep), and toured cheesemakers and other artisan food producers. It was a great way to see how the kinds of businesses I’m writing about are run, while also eating cheese and meeting baby goats. (I think we’re in agreement on the subject of baby goats.)
We are in total agreement. In retrospect, I should have demanded you write us a post about baby goats using lots of gifs. (Tuck that away for next time!) Okay, last question, and this is super serious: Do people ever confuse you with Daisy Bateman from the North Melbourne Football Club?
Not so far, but I do wonder if some of her fans are confused about how she came to write a murder mystery. I just hope she has a sense of humor about it, because she could definitely kick my ass.
Indeed. Thanks for stopping by, Daisy. I’m pretty sure you’re the first capybara cheese lover we’ve had on the blog!
Readers, say hi to Daisy and Zaphod in the comments below, and while you’re at it, tell us your favorite cheese!
If you had asked computer programmer Claudia Simcoe what she expected to come of her leaving San Francisco for the California coast to open a farm-to-table marketplace, “assembles a mismatched team to investigate a murder” would not have been her first guess.
Lori Roth is one of the tenants of the market, or she had been until Claudia learned that the hands making her “hand-dyed” textiles belong to overseas factory workers. Claudia terminates Lori’s lease, but her hopes that this will be the last she sees of her problem tenant are dashed when she arrives at the marketplace the next morning to find Lori dead, hit over the head with a jar of pickles and strangled with a cheese wire.
The police chief thinks Claudia looks like an easy pick to be the killer, and he closes the marketplace to put the pressure on her. So, Claudia has no choice but to solve the mystery herself. Relying on the tech skills from her previous life and some help from her quirky new friends, Claudia races to save her business and herself before the killer adds her to the region’s local, artisanal murders.