I am absolutely delighted to welcome Jacklyn Brady to Escape With Dollycas today!
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog today. I’m thrilled to be here.
One of the most frequent questions I get as a writer is where ideas for a book come from. There’s no one answer, of course. Sometimes an idea comes in a flash. I might see a character in my imagination or overhear a snippet of conversation, and my creative muse is off and running. Those times are great, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love when that happens.
There are other times, however, when the idea is more elusive, the thread of a plot harder to find, the characters more difficult to discover. Most writers like to talk about those flash-of-inspiration moments because they’re interesting and exciting. I think readers like to hear about them, too. I know I do. But I’m afraid that finding the plot and the characters for The Cakes of Monte Cristo wasn’t one of those lovely experiences.
I had the idea for signing Rita up to cater the Belle Lune Ball while writing Rebel Without a Cake. It seemed like a great idea, a chance for Rita and the crew to stretch and grow. Besides, the title for The Cakes of Monte Cristo had come to me in a flash, and I loved it. But when I sat down to write the book, that’s all I had–an obligation for Rita established in the previous novel and a title I adored. Nothing else.
I’d already created the Monte Cristo Hotel in Rebel so that locked me into holding the Belle Lune Ball there, but I didn’t worry. I was so excited about the title, I expected the ideas to pour forth like … well, like something wonderful and fluid.
Instead, the ideas were hidden under layers of thick, dried mud.
It took a while and a lot of brainstorming with my editor at the time to excavate the plot and find the treasure that had been hidden at Zydeco Cakes this whole time. I think we were both as surprised to find it as Rita is. It took a while longer to discover the characters. Rita hired no less than six assistants to fill in for Edie while she’s on maternity leave before Estelle finally suggested her niece, Zoey. But once Zoey showed up, I knew we had our gal.
As difficult as the story was to chip out of the rock, I grew to love it and the characters involved as I wrote. Every day brought something new and unexpected. Every conversation between Rita and her friends, family and co-workers was a revelation. Characters did and said things I wasn’t expecting, and I had no idea how the book was going to end until Rita and I got there together.
I don’t know about other writers, but for me, a hard-won book earns a very special place in my heart. The Cakes of Monte Cristo is going on that shelf, for sure. To make it even more special, the art department at Berkley Prime Crime did a terrific job with the cover. I love the dress cakes!
Thanks so much for having me. I hope you and your readers enjoy the book.
Thank you so much for visiting us today Jacklyn!
The Cakes of Monte Cristo:
A Piece of Cake Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Louisiana
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by Penguin Random House, LLC.
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01071RFUY
In the fresh new Piece of Cake Mystery from the national bestselling author of Rebel Without a Cake, a pastry chef becomes embroiled in a suspicious death as a mysterious curse casts a pall over an annual New Orleans ball.
Rita Lucero, co-owner of New Orleans’s Zydeco Cakes, is thrilled to be catering an annual ball held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. Designing the high-end desserts is her priority—until she stumbles upon a mystery long-buried at her shop. It’s an ornate ruby necklace, hidden underneath her staircase and rumored to be cursed.
After the gem’s appraiser suddenly drops dead and Rita herself is targeted by a menacing stranger, she’s no longer laughing at local superstition. Now with five cakes on order and an investigation into the necklace’s past revealing layers of unsettling clues, Rita has reason to keep looking over her shoulder while she’s frosting. Because any way you slice it, the next victim of the legendary curse could be her.
I am so glad we finally return to New Orleans and Zydeco Cakes. The author set us up in Rebel Without A Cake for The Cakes of Monte Cristo and Rita and her staff are taking on their biggest job ever, the Belle Lune Ball. They needed to bake 5 gorgeous dress form cakes complete with the accessories and they are catering the affair too. When the Monte Cristo Hotel ballroom is flooded just days before the event Rita has to settle for a smaller venue, but at least it is still in the same hotel. As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Zydeco is short staffed because Edie is out on maternity leave and the temps to replace her have been nightmares. Rita finally hires Estelle’s niece, Zoey. Rita vows to make it work even after a freak accident that destroys part of the beautiful old home that houses the business. Especially when a very interesting discovery is made. A discovery that leaves one woman dead and Rita extra cautious as she tries to piece together all the clues before she gets herself frosted.
I love this series! These characters are some of the best ones around. They work together from early morning until sometimes late at night. They go out for drinks together and have fun. They are as close as family and genuinely care about each other. Like family they have their little spats too. They also bake the most amazing cakes! The cover is nice but the picture I have in my head from the descriptions is nothing like on the cover. Rita makes so many peacock like feathers out of fondant and paints them all to look so real. The image is crystal clear in my mind along with all the other beautiful dress creations that were made. Thank you Jacklyn for the amazing imagery brought forth from your words.
The author not only paints us beautiful pictures with her words, she crafts quite a plot as well. She gives us plenty of twists, surprises, and a few tense moments before we reach the end. She introduces some new characters and one quickly got on Rita’s nerves and mine too, well frankly everyone around her. No, she wasn’t killed but I would not have been surprised. There is always the next book. 🙂
I do hope there is a next book, or two or three and we don’t have to wait too long for a return. Each of these characters “slice” of life has been delightful. If you haven’t taken a bite out of this series yet, start at the beginning and enjoy! You can thank me later.
About The Author
Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series which is set in New Orleans and features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero. The Cakes of Monte Cristo, 6th in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is available at your favorite bookseller now!
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”