I am so happy to welcome Laura Childs today as my Very Special Guest!
Her latest Tea Shop Mystery,Steeped in Evil
was released in Hardcover on March 4 and Sweet Tea Revenge
was also released in Paperback.
Hands down, the number one question I’m asked at book signings and library visits is, “Where do you get your ideas?” In trying to answer this literally (probably not a good idea) I developed what I thought was a clever explanation involving the coalescing of imagination, characters, and plot into storytelling. But as countless eyes glazed over and attention wavered, I decided to rethink my words. Where exactly did I get my jump-starts? How did I pull up random evil doings and package them into an exciting and palatable mix of mystery and murder? Because this whole writing process surely doesn’t come easy. At best, the process is sticky and hard. At its toughest, it’s like trying to coax a few more wooly mammoth bones from the La Brea tar pits.
I sat in my office pondering this question while deadlines for three different books loomed. Glancing around at my small, downstairs office, I once again thought, What a mess! There were empty Diet Coke cans everywhere, crumpled M&M wrappers, week-old newspapers tumbling off crowded bookshelves, a hundred Post-It notes stuck everywhere.
Then I realized . . . hold everything, this is where I get my ideas.
You see that gigantic leather-bound copy of Larousse Gastronomique sitting on my bookshelf? It’s the same French cookbook that Hannibal Lecter used in Red Dragon for his sweetbreads recipe. Next to it sits an unopened bottle of Vampire Wine – aged, no doubt, for about three days in some obscure Transylvanian vineyard. But it’s fun and kind of wicked-looking and reminds me of rainy nights when bare branches tick-tick against the window panes and dark shadows (that could be vampires) are swirling everywhere.
Also on my bookshelf is a boxed set of shot glasses. The packaging screams “Drink With The Great Drinkers!” Inside are shot glasses with grainy images of Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemmingway. Pretty fine company. Especially when cocktail hour rolls around.
When I began writing the Tea Shop Mysteries,I began to acquire teapots. Cute like chintz-patterned teapots, serious and stodgy sterling silver teapots, and squat little Brown Bettys. Now I have about thirty teapots, all crowded together on a shelf like a Greek chorus, silently urging me on. My Scrapbook Mysteries also account for a certain amount of detritus. Strands of colorful Mardi Gras beads are looped everywhere. And there’s a jar filled with doubloons as well as a hand-painted coconut presented to me by a member of the Zulu krewe during their amazing Fat Tuesday parade. Who knew they only gave out fifty coconuts all year? A portent that compelled me to set my Scrapbook Mysteries in New Orleans? I sure thought so.
When I started writing my third series, the Cackleberry Club Mysteries, I somehow acquired a feathery rooster. The feathers are beginning to flake off now, but he still accompanies me to book signings. Kids love him.
There’s also a stuffed black crow, appropriately named Edgar Allan, who lurks above my desk, scowling down. There’s also a grinning skull and a dangerous-looking dark purple bottle that looks suspiciously like it might contain poison. They’re both there to remind me that I’m writing murder mysteries. Mysteries that should thrill, chill, and carry readers away for a few brief shivering moments – or hours.
There’s lots more in my office, too. The framed note from Mary Higgins Clark (who helped me launch my career) reminds me that I still have a way to go. And the very same dictionary my father gave me when I jaunted off to college reminds me of how far I’m come.
A couple of quotes, scrawled in longhand, are stuck on my computer. My favorite one is from Tom Hanks’ character in the movie, A League Of Their Own . It goes: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everybody would be doing it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
So where do I get my ideas? Pretty much everywhere. In the air I breathe, the magazines and newspapers that I read, the junk in my office, and the ever-changing parade of daily events in this crazy, wildly spinning world. And if you want to know where I get my drive and inspiration – I’d have to say it’s from all the touchstones, kind words, and well-wishes that have been bestowed upon me by friends, family, and many dear readers.
About This Author
Laura Childs is the author of the Scrapbook Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and has published 31 books to date. Her books have been named to the USA Today and The New York Times Bestseller Lists, and have been featured selections in the Literary Guild’s Mystery Book Club. In her past life she was the CEO/Creative Director of Mission Critical Marketing.
Find out more about Laura and her books here.
Steeped in Evil
(A Tea Shop Mystery)
15th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
E-Book File Size: 1320 KB
In the newest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Tea Revenge, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is about to learn the true meaning of terroir…
Theodosia Browning has never considered herself a wine connoisseur—tea has always been her forte. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to pass up an invitation to a fancy wine-tasting party at the upscale Knighthall Winery, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
But a sweet evening takes on a bitter aftertaste when a dead body is discovered in one of the wine barrels. The son of proprietor Jordan Knight has been murdered.
Dissatisfied with the police investigation, Knight turns to Theo for help. She’s heard through the grapevine that there are both family and business problems at Knighthall. They say in vino veritas, but everyone at the winery seems to be lying through their teeth. Sorting through the guest list as well as family and staff, Theo has her pick of suspects. It may look like the killer has her over a barrel, but cracking tough cases is vintage Theodosia Browning.
Sweet Tea Revenge
(A Tea Shop Mystery)
14th in Series
Now in PAPERBACK
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
E-Book File Size: 610 KB
Theodosia Browning’s dear friend Delaine Dish has asked her to be a bridesmaid for her wedding. But when the big day arrives, everything seems to be going wrong. First, a massive storm is brewing over Charleston. A bad omen? Second, Delaine’s sister is late for the ceremony. And finally, the groom not only has cold feet—his whole body is cold. A murderer has crashed the wedding.
As Theodosia comforts a devastated Delaine, she needs to sort out the suspects on the groom’s side from the suspects on the bride’s side. One thing soon becomes apparent—revenge won’t be the only dish served cold at this wedding. And if Theodosia doesn’t watch her step, a cold-blooded killer may have a rude reception in store for her…
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies of Steeped in Evil
and 1 copy of Sweet Tea Revenge to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
Leave a comment for Laura for 5 Bonus Entries !
If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End April 3, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
Comments on “Special Guest – Author of the Tea Shop Mysteries – Laura Childs – (Giveaway too!)”
I have always enjoyed the Tea series. Now it’s time to play catch-up with that one and the scrapbooking and start the other one.
I love all three of Laura’s series…..
I’m all caught up on the Cackleberry club and love it, I have some catching up to do with the Tea shop, I never knew that there was so much that I didn’t know about tea. Thanks for the chance to win.
Both of these books sounds great . Both are on my TRL.
Laura is one of my favorite authors, particularly the Tea Series! Would love to win!!!
I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this series. It is on my need to read list!
The Tea Series is appealing and special.
Laura, your books are so much fun and I always love to see what the next title is going to be.
Absolutely love both series by Ms. Childs.
Laura, I love the Tea Shop mysteries. The bonus is the lovely recipes. I have tried many of them yummy.
Love the sound of both books.
I remember having a conversation with you on Goodreads several years ago about your story ideas! Next time I glance at my Larousse though, I’ll be thinking different thoughts than usual!
Sipping my 2nd flush Darjeeling and thinking about mysteries
Laura, I liked the Tom Hanks quote and descriptions of the various items in your life that help you write! Love the series and can’t wait to catch up with Theodosia, Drayton, etc!
I love that Tom Hanks quote too! Just glad that you keep writing these tea shop books!
Several new series to follow. How exciting! Always on the lookout for more and it’s so fun to play catch up!
Great answer to a really repetitive question. If you need ideas then keep them flowing in from everywhere. They’ll collect in your brain and slip out when you need them. Thanks.
This sounds great. I look forward to reading it.
This is hands down my favorite series. I’m really looking forward to reading this book!!
It is so much fun to imagine a writer in her element! Thank you for sharing!
I’m a little behind on this series, so thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
Great series – love the stories!
I always enjoy your books in any series.
I certainly agree that is hard to pick which of the three series that one likes best.
Congrats on your new release! I have the earlier books in this series. Would love to add these to my collection. <3
Love your series! I follow faithfully through our library. So glad to see the new ones. Love the great covers! Thanks for giveaway chance!
I love both the Scrapbooking and Tea Shop mysteries. Thank you for the chance to win 🙂
both books sound good to me.thanks for the chance
I can’t believe that the tea series is up to 15 books already. Keep them coming!!
Laura, I love the sound of your office — and your teapot collection! I don’t have a lot of room for teapots, but I do have four I use regularly, and one that looks like a cat in a basket, just for show. And I always enjoy your teashop mysteries, but I’m behind, so I need to catch up!
I love tea and I love cozy mysteries, so this is perfect for me. But I really have to catch up.
I’ve read many of the books in this series and enjoyed them all. I look forward to winning a copy of this book.
Both book sound so good, and I love the pretty covers.
I love this series!!
continued success to you, Laura!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!
This looks great – I will share with my stepmom who is a tea fan and has a collection of teapots and cups
Can’t wait to read your new book, Laura.
I have been looking for a new book!
Comments are closed.