Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - A Clue in the Stew by Connie Archer

Book Synopsis

Soup shop owner Lucky Jamieson stirs up more trouble in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave…

When Lucky Jamieson opens up By the Spoonful to host an event with a famous author, she’s not expecting a bunch of nuts to descend on her small-town soup shop. But the author’s exasperating entourage—from a prickly publicist to a snippy son and his tipsy wife—give fresh meaning to the phrase, too many cooks spoil the broth.

The evening is more than spoiled, however, when it ends with a homicide. When the manner of the murder—as well as another recent unsolved crime—echoes the author’s fiction, Police Chief Nate Edgerton realizes he has a copycat killer on his hands. And Lucky hopes that one of her regular customers who has mysteriously gone missing isn’t involved. Once again, the soup shop owner will need to stir up some clues to find her friend and catch a cunning killer—before things really take a tureen for the worse…

Birdhouse Books Interviews Connie Archer 

Birdhouse:  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

Connie:  I think it was a very slow evolution.  I didn’t start out thinking, ‘I want to be a writer.’  I’ve always been a huge mystery and thriller reader, always loved any book in that genre that I could get my hands on.  It was always my preferred reading.  Then one day, I realized I was creatively bored and decided I would try to write a mystery myself.  I wasn’t sure I could do it, it was a lot harder, well, I should say, I figured it would be hard, but it was harder and more of a brain burner than I realized.  My goal was to write one book, just one, and try to get it published.  If anyone had ever told me that a few years later, I would have a contract to write the first three books in a series, and more to come, I’d tell them they were dreaming.  So, I guess I woke up one day and discovered I was a writer! 

Birdhouse:  What was your favorite book as a child? 

Connie:  I would really have to say it was The Borrowers.  I remember those books so vividly.  I learned to read pretty early and read a lot of books – of course, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys – all mystery writers must cut their teeth on those, but I still think I’d go with The Borrowers.  I’d love to find those books again and read them as an adult. 

Birdhouse:  What is your writing day like?  Do you have any interesting writing quirks? 

Connie:  I promise myself I’ll wake up early in the morning and use those first hours (after coffee, of course) to write.  The truth is I’m pulled into too many household things, taking care of my needy cat, doing laundry, watering plants, putting something in a crock pot, washing a few dishes, etc., that’s it’s hard to keep to that promise.  My best time for writing seems to be at night, when the house is quiet and I have no distractions.  Even if I just rough out a chapter, that’s fine.  I’m chipping away at the huge task.  And then I write till I fall over, then crawl into bed.  I like to play Freecell on the computer, so I allow myself three games and three games only, otherwise I’d still be playing an hour later and waste a lot of time.  Freecell helps me get my brain out of linear thinking somehow.  At least I’m convinced it does and makes it easier to write. 

Birdhouse:  What was the most surprising thing you learned while creating this book?

Connie:  I’m not sure if there was anything really surprising, except I did find that this story just flowed very easily.  One writer friend of mine once described my books as “dark cozies.”  (She writes very funny upbeat stories, so coming from her, I’m not surprised she said that.)  I’ve just approached each book as a traditional mystery.  Some of the motives and crimes were dark, but the village always remained a safe place in the end.  For a lot of readers, the term “cozy” has come to mean lighthearted or funny or upbeat, but I’ve never been a “funny” writer.  If anything, maybe I did have a little fun with A Clue in the Stew because the plot is based on a famous mystery writer visiting the village.  Clue is probably the “coziest” book in the series.  I just hope readers love it as much as the earlier books. 

Birdhouse:  Who are your favorite authors?

Connie:  Wow, that’s hard to say.  There are so many famous authors I adore – Sue Grafton, Tana French, Michael Connelly, Archer Mayer’s Joe Gunther novels, Nicholas Freeling’s books, especially the Inspector Van der Valk series (sadly, he’s gone now), the Swedish Beck series from years ago.  And I’m totally blessed being a mystery writer because I get so many free books at conferences, and get to read beyond my budget, and then when my mystery writing friends have a book launch or library event, I always make sure to buy one of their books.  When I sit down to do my taxes, I’m sometimes shocked at what I’ve spent, so I do try to be economical.  Thank heavens for those free conference books! 

Birdhouse:  What is your next writing project?

Connie:  Well, my new series, the Zodiac Mysteries (Midnight Ink) will debut on June 8th.  My protagonist is Julia Bonatti, a San Francisco astrologer, who never thought her profession would lead her into danger.  This project has been close to my heart for a long time and I’m thrilled that it will see the light of day in just a couple of months.  This series is written as Connie di Marco, and anyone curious about it can go to my new website (conniedimarco.com) and read about the series and The Madness of Mercury, the first book.  I’m busy right now working on the second book which I’ve called Dark Sun.  (I hope my publisher likes that title because my plan is to use a different planet in each title.)

I’m starting to work (when I have time) on a Los Angeles based crime story and I have two other projects, more traditional mysteries, that I’d like to find time to work on.  I just wish I could clone myself and then maybe I could get a lot more done. 
Author Bio

Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Penguin Random House (Berkley Prime Crime).  A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge, Ladle to the Grave and A Clue in the Stew are all set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont.  Connie was born and raised in New England and now lives on the other coast.  You can visit her at www.ConnieArcherMysteries.com
Author Links

Website:  www.conniearchermysteries.com
Facebook:  www.Facebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteries
Twitter:  @SnowflakeVT
Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1O6lVOs


(5) Print Copy - A Clue in the Stew by Connie Archer.  Giveaway ends 4/4/16.