Cooking up Mystery with…Daryl Wood Gerber! - Dark Streets
Daryl Wood Gerber writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As Avery Aames, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com. “They” blog on www.mysteryloverskitchen.com as well as www.killercharacters.com
We caught up with Daryl to ask her a few questions!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
I was always interested in writing. I tested my hand at Nancy Drew and wrote a play when I was 12, but I had a 7th grade teacher who told me I stunk which struck me to the core, so I set aside my pen and focused on acting. During my career as an actress, I studied screenwriting and wrote a few screenplays, hoping I could kick my career up to another level. After a few attempts, I realized I adored writing. But then we moved far, far away from Los Angeles for my husband’s career. So much for acting. That’s when I got serious about writing. I’d always loved mysteries as a kid. I read all the Nancy Drew books one week while I had the measles. I started taking writing classes; I found a critique group; I joined an Internet group called the Guppies (part of Sisters in Crime) and learned about the business. And then I persevered. My first book did not get published.
Tell us about your Cookbook Nook series. How did the idea for this come about?
I was scheduled to do a signing at a culinary bookstore in Virginia. The moment I walked into the store, I fell in love. There were not only cookbooks but fiction and nonfiction books about food. There were also culinary decorative items, foodie puzzles, aprons, and a whole section for children. Adorable! It was such a fun place to visit. I wanted to spend lots of time there. Now that I’ve set that as a setting in my series, I go every day.
Tell us about your latest “Cookbook Nook”. STIRRING THE PLOT.
Aha! Trouble is brewing, with a dash of murder. Jenna Hart, a former ad executive, has returned to Crystal Cove, California to help her aunt run a culinary bookshop and café. In Stirring the Plot, Halloween is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster. Jenna has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder. When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead under mysterious circumstances, there’s no logical answer and plenty of blame to go around.
What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Quiet or, if there’s a lot of noise, symphonic, wordless music streaming through my earbuds. Also an outline. I need a structure, a road map if you will, about where I’m going. I need to know who did it and why. And I can’t write on an empty stomach.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
In my early twenties, I hitchhiked by myself through Ireland.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’M a plotter. But once I’ve got the outline, then I’m a pantser. I stray from the outline a lot. I allow the characters to come alive and change the program. But I have to start with a clear objective.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I golf, cook, garden, play with or walk my dog. I exercise. I love to read. Mysteries, thrillers, suspense. I don’t have any party tricks, although I’m not bad at pulling a quarter from a person’s ear. LOL I can NOT juggle, although I do feel like I’m always juggling my writing schedule. J
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Don’t give up! Take classes, find a critique group – an honest critique group. And write more than one book. The first is not always your best.
Daryl’s books are excellent for a good night’s read. You will enjoy them- try one today!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Find them at: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or at www.tclotempio.com