interview with Suzanne
Wendy Lyn Watson writes deliciously funny cozy mysteries with a dollop of romance. Her Mysteries a la Mode (I Scream, You Scream (October, 2009) and Scoop to Kill (September 7, 2010)) feature amateur sleuth Tallulah Jones, who solves murders in between scooping sundaes. While she does not commit--or solve--murders in real life, Wendy can kill a pint of ice cream in nothing flat. She's also passionately devoted to 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. (www.wendylynwatson.com)
Suz: Welcome back to the Bandit Lair, Wendy, and congratulations on the upcoming release of your second book, Scoop To Kill, in your cozy mystery series Mystery A La Mode! We so enjoyed having you with us last year. Pull up a chair, Sven brought us a pitcher of cool Mojitos to share while we chat, and tell us what you've been up to the past year.
Wendy: Thanks for the cocktail, Sven! And thank you, Suz, for inviting me back to the Lair.
It's been a busy year, Chez Wendy. I've been so busy promoting my Mysteries a la Mode, going to conferences and book festivals, talking to writing and reading groups . . . I think I've traveled more this year than in the five years before. And, of course, I've been writing, both the second and third Mysteries a la Mode and developing a few other projects (both cozy and dark). Stay tuned!
Suz: So, book 2 is titled Scoop To Kill (I love these titles) and has the same heroine as in the first book, I Scream, You Scream, Tallulah Jones. What trouble does she get into this time?
Wendy: This time around, Tally's neice Alice, who is a student at the local college, stumbles over the body of a murdered graduate student. When Alice's favorite teacher looks like Suspect #1, Alice rushes in to prove her innocence, and Tally is not far behind ... trying to protect Alice. Together, they uncover all sorts of Ivy League shenanigans.
Suz: I see her old boyfriend Finn is back for book 2. Without giving away details, want to fill us in on their relationship?
Wendy: Oh, yes. Finn. Tally and Finn are still trying to work out their relationship, how to know each other as the adults they are now and not the kids they were when they dated in high school. But the sparks are flying . . . and in Scoop to Kill, Finn has some competition for Tally's affection.
Suz: Your secondary cast of characters are a hoot. Did you base them on people you know? And how important of a role do you think they fill in cozy mysteries?
Wendy: I sometimes borrow bits and pieces of people--physical characteristics, quirks, turns of phrase--for my secondary characters, but I never take anyone wholesale. Honest.
Secondary characters are critical to cozies. To sustain a series with the same core group of characters, they all have to pull their weight; you can't rely solely on your heroine to keep things interesting. A lot of secondary characters end up with a very important role: suspect. Those people have to be complex, even if they're only in a few scenes. They have to be capable of murder, but not downright evil. Developing characters to the point that readers can say, "yes, pushed in just the right way, I can imagine this person committing the ultimate crime," that takes a little effort.
Suz: Last time you gave away a great ice cream sauce recipe in your book. Any special items for your readers this time?
Wendy: Absolutely! This time around, there's a great recipe for Peanut Butter `Smores Ice Cream Cake and an interesting milkshake recipe. It involves a Dr Pepper reduction . . . but you have to trust me, it's delish.
Suz: Peanut Butter 'Smores Ice Cream Cake? Girl, you are trying to kill me. (Sven, quick copy down that recipe!) Ahem, so, Wendy, when can we expect the next book in this series? (Please don't tell me one a year? I really can't take it!)
Wendy: Not quite a year ... Book Three (tentatively entitled "A Parfait Murder") is due out in June of 2011.
Suz: Have you thought about writing in another sub genre?
Wendy: I have! I love cozies--the humor, the whimsy, the heartfelt emotion--but I've got a project in the works that's straight suspense. It's been a trip, exploring my darker side. (People who know me might be surprised to find out I have a darker side ... but somewhere beneath the homemade cookies and giggles, I've got a real edge.) The real trick is balancing the two, moving between light and dark. Light comes naturally; I have to do some mental gymnastics to get into that frame of mind.
Wendy: So, since we were talking about secondary characters, Bree is Tally's cousin and also her side-kick. She is so much fun that she even gets her own fan mail. Do you have any favorite sidekicks in books? Who are they and what do you like about them? I'll be giving away a signed copy of to one lucky commenter.