I am very pleased to have Gail Oust here today on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the release of her new book, first in a new series, ROSEMARY AND CRIME. (Be sure and check out the giveaway below the review.) Gail is often accused of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, she penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing fired her imagination for writing a cozy. Ever since then, she spends more time on a computer than at a golf course. Author of the Bunco Babe mysteries, she’s currently working on her new Spice Shop mystery series. Welcome Gail.
Do you think the work ethic (of being a nurse) has made you a better writer? Are you more disciplined than a lot of us at getting butt into chair and just sitting there writing X number of hours every day?
Hmm… Good question. I think my background in nursing as been an asset in that it made me goal oriented. I know what has to be done and when which forces me to be organized when the deadline clock is ticking. I’m not a get-up-with-the-chickens kind of person so it still takes me awhile to get my behind in a chair and start work each morning, but once there I get down to business. I even pack a lunch and allow myself only a twenty minute break while I indulge in my favorite soap opera.
Do you know “whodunit” before you start your book, or does that sort of evolve and get clearer as you write?
I usually know my “perp” before I start because I like to add a subtle hint here or there. Once though, in one of my Bunco Babe books, the killer came as a complete surprise to me.
Why the switch from romance to mystery?
I didn’t deliberately plan to make the switch, it just sort of happened. The already half-formed plot for a mystery (a cozy) sprang from nowhere after hearing “maybe it’s a dead body” while playing golf.
What others writers influenced you?
Nothing impresses or influences me more than reading a well-written book..
What is the best book you’ve read lately? And why?
I read a lot of mysteries so I read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton for a change of pace. I was struck by the skillful way the author handled multiple points of view and settings. Also I found the premise interesting.
What author, living or dead, would you invite for dinner and conversation if you could?
I wouldn’t just have dinner, I’d host a party and invite Nora Roberts, Pat Conroy, the late Robert B. Parker, John Hart, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Higgins Clark.
Now three things I ask everybody…
- What is your favorite food? Pizza
- What is your favorite TV show? The Good Wife and CSI
- What is your favorite music? I listen to New Age while I’m writing. Country western when driving.
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 17, 2013)
Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back. She might be down, but don’t count her out. “Change of life?” she asks. Bring it on. Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business. Spice It Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia. But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed. Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride. Desperate to uncover the truth—and prove her innocence—Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit. The pair compile a lengthy list of suspects and work to eliminate them using their own creative brand of sleuthing techniques including stakeouts, breaking and entering, and one very unorthodox chocolate pie. When Piper narrowly avoids being a victim of a hit-and-run, she knows she’s getting closer to the truth, but can she catch the killer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim?
All the elements of a Southern, Culinary, Cozy Mystery. We have recently divorced Piper starting a new life and a new business. There is a fun BFF, hints of possible romance, a local sheriff and an ex-husband with a very young girlfriend, a teenager to deal with, a new business to be opened… oh, and of course a body to ruin that opening. The spice shop was a different setting. While I cannot imagine a spice (exclusive) shop making a go of it in this day and age, it is a fun idea. While sometimes in culinary or craft mysteries, we hear more than we would like about about the subject business, I would have liked to hear a bit more about spices throughout this one and maybe a section in the back devoted to spices and their uses. All in all,though, a good introduction to a new series and I will be looking forward to the next installment. ♥♥♥½
Gail has an autographed copy of ROSEMARY AND CRIME to give away as well as an apron like Piper wears in the book. First leave a comment for Gail below then go HERE for your chance to win.
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January 7 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
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January 9 – Mochas, Mysteries and More – Guest Post
January 10 – A Chick Who Reads – Review, Guest Post
January 11 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review
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January 13 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview