I am really pleased to have Christine Wenger here today. Christine has spent years working in the criminal justice field and has a dual master’s degree in Probation and Parole Studies and Sociology from Fordham University but what she loves to do the most is writing romances and cozy mysteries. Her very first book, THE LADY AND THE COWBOY, a short, western historical, sold to Laubach Literacy and in 1998 it was chosen by the Publishers Liaison Committee of the Public Library Association’s Adult Lifelong Learning Section as one of the “Top Titles for Adult New Readers.” THE COWBOY WAY was released in January of 2005 by Harlequin and since then she has written eight books for them. Christine’s new venture is a series of “comfort food” cozy mysteries which are set in a small-town 1950’s diner, THE SILVER BULLET. She is on a blog tour with Great Escapes Book Tours for the first book in the series, DO OR DINER.
Welcome Christine. I live in Rhode Island where diners were invented. So I love diners and it follows I would love a cozy with a diner setting. What in your background made a diner your choice over say a coffee house?
I am a foodie, and there’s nothing like a diner. I love the menus, love the setting, love to people watch. The “silver bullet” diners are particularly interesting to me. I just love that all-metal, shiny, bright look with the pastry carousel (mesmerizing!) and the worn vinyl booths where millions of butts fit perfectly… does it get any better?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters from Do or Diner in a movie rendition?
Hmmm…Trixie would have to be played by a comedian due to her sense of humor. Who? I really don’t know. And Deputy Brisco would have to be played by a studly cowboy.
How do you construct your books, plotter or ‘pantster?
I sell on synopsis, so I have to have something in writing in order to get contracts. But things happen when I sit down to write and I stray from the synopsis. I just love when that happens.
When it comes to the question of character versus plot, which one do you think is most important in a murder mystery and which one do you emphasize in your writing? Why?
I am so totally new to the mystery genre, so I rely heavily on characters. I’m still trying to figure out when and where to place clues, so I’m glad that Trixie is an amateur (like me!). Plus, in a cozy mystery, I believe that the setting is just as important. Actually, everything is important when writing, and it’s a balancing act.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The biggest challenge is making myself sit down to write when I’d rather be playing. I live in Upstate New York (by Syracuse), and we only have three months of what you’d call summer. It’s hard to sit inside when it’s a (rare) perfect day and there are garage sales to find, cookouts to attend and pools to float in. I also love the fall and spring here. Too bad I just can’t write in the winter, but it’s a year-round job.
I know you write cowboy romances. Do you think there might be a rodeo cozy mystery series in your future?
Wow! I’d love to! What a totally fabulous idea, but I have to admit that I thought of that already! HA!
Now three things that have nothing to do with writing:
- What is your favorite food? Pizza! Is there anything else?
- What is your favorite TV show? The Big Bang Theory. I would totally love to write for that show. It’s the only comedy that actually makes me laugh out loud.
- What is your favorite music? I love country music. The late Chris LeDoux is still my absolute favorite, and I’m glad he lives on through his music. Garth Brooks, too. He’s top on my bucket list to see in concert. He can really sing. And Alan Jackson. Yum!
It has been great having you here Christine. And when you travel around the country visiting diners, you’ll have to stop in Rhode Island where it all started and see some of ours and see the diner exhibit at the Johnson and Wales Culinary Museum. Good luck with the series and before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?
I’ll take you up on that visit to Johnson and Wales. I’d love to see the diner exhibit! I love Rhode Island, too. I like to hang out at Point Judith and watch the fishermen, and used to rent a camp at Charlestown Beach. And who doesn’t love sweet Rhode Island lobster?
I hope everyone enjoys DO OR DINER. I had such fun writing it. Trixie is of Polish heritage, as am I, so I enjoyed peppering in my favorite Polish foods. And check out “Dinerese” in DO OR DINER. For instance, did you know that “a cowboy on a raft” is actually a western omelet on toast?
Thanks for having me, and thanks for all that you do for the cozy mystery genre!
Let me know when you’re coming. I’m a J&W alumni so I could give you the tour and maybe we can hit Haven Brothers or Modern Diner. And I hope every one else goes and checks out Christine’s book right now. And you can win a copy of Do or Diner by leaving a comment below answering: What is your favorite Diner menu item to order?? then go here and just scroll down to the Rafflecopter.
When Trixie Matkowski agrees to take over her aunt’s diner, she pictures lakeside views and delicious comfort food in the small town where she spent summers as a child. But the sweet scene turns sour when someone puts murder on the menu….
Trixie is in need of a fresh start away from her cheating ex-husband, but she may be biting off more than she can chew when she moves to upstate New York to run her family’s famed Silver Bullet Diner. Not only is she caught off guard by the small town’s resident heart-throb, Deputy Ty Brisco, but her first health inspection turns into a nightmare…when the inspector keels over into his blue plate special.
Someone made a deadly addition to an old family recipe, and Trixie is determined to find out whodunit. But between serving up orders and sniffing out clues, she’d better watch her back-or her next meal might be her last.
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