Of course I’ve got Halloween on my brain right now. As a mystery author it’s practically my favorite holiday! I think it all started when I was a kid – I adored spooky costumes, always took the dare to sneak into the cemetery at night, and shivered over the carved pumpkins with their toothy grins and flickering malevolent eyes.
Yes, even as a kid I’d gone over to the dark side. Well, not too dark. After all, my specialty now is writing cozies. But with every book I write, I try to get a little scarier, a little spookier, a little more thrilling. That’s why I’ve even branded my books as “thrillzies.” They’re cozies written under the guise of a thriller formula. What’s that mean exactly? Big open with a dead body in the very first chapter. At least two or three major and exciting turning points. Plot twists. Main characters constantly under serious threat. Big, big ending.
I’m particularly proud of GILT TRIP, my newest Scrapbook Mystery that was just released three weeks ago. My main character, Carmela Bertrand, owns Memory Mine scrapbook shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans and has a group of wise-cracking friends who hang out there. Carmela is smart, curious, and just happens to have a knack for solving murders. She even gets pulled into one when she attends a fancy Get Out of Jail Free Party for New Orleans business tycoon Jerry Earl Leland. You see, in the swirl of champagne, Zydeco music, and bad behavior, poor Jerry Earl is murdered and stuffed inside a clothes dryer. Since Carmela discovers the body, the grieving widows latches on to her and begs for help in solving the crime!
But here’s the really fun thing. Besides a roster of nasty suspects, New Orleans also serves as a sort of character, too. It’s one of those cities that is eccentric, fanciful, and just naturally has a dark side. You’ve got the French Quarter with its great architecture and bad behavior, the above-ground cemeteries, wild Mardi Gras celebrations, and lots of old families with skeletons in the closet.
New Orleans is also highly atmospheric – deteriorating mansions, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and fog-shrouded bayous.
You see? There’s that dark side again. But just in case you’re nervous about stepping into St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 with me, where a few famous vampires supposedly slumber in uneasy repose, I also lighten things up with craft tips and recipes. And, really, who wouldn’t love a recipe for Big Easy Brownies, Cajun Chicken, and Crockpot Meatloaf!