Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have Kristi Abbott visit with us today!
Guest Post by Kristi Abbott
(Post provided by publicist)
When my editor at Berkley first talked to me about writing the Popcorn Shop Mystery series, I was thrilled. I developed a thing for Garrett’s Caramel Cashew Popcorn when I lived in Chicago about a bazillion years ago. That stuff was like crack. One taste and I could not stop. Writing about a gourmet popcorn shop felt like a totally natural fit. Besides, who doesn’t like popcorn?
Some books are just easier to write than others. They flow easier. The words bring you more joy. The plot naturally evolves in a way that’s both inevitable and surprising. It’s kind of like having an easy baby. You’re never sure what special alchemy occurred to have a book that is a joy to sit down to every day any more than you really know what made that kid sleep through the night at six months. Kernel of Truth was one of those good-sleeping babies.
So far so great. Delicious popcorn. A book that’s flowing from my fingers into my laptop via my keyboard (an external one since I sort of accidentally poured ice water on my computer, but that’s another story). My editor sent the back cover copy. It was, in a word, adorable. Things were bursting. Problems were being resolved in a jiffy. Suspects were popping up. And recipes were included!
I wrote to my editor telling her how much I loved the copy and asking who worked up the recipes. She wrote back that she was pretty sure we’d talked about that way back when we were discussing the contract and I was supposed to be coming up with recipes. Once she said that, it did ring a bell. Thanks tons, middle-aged brain.
Cue panic mode. In the book, Rebecca had developed all kinds of special popcorn products like popcorn breakfast bars and popcorn fudge. Everyone loves them. Now I had to make them a reality. Really?
To say my first attempts were less than stellar is a bit of an understatement. My breakfast bars were more oozy breakfast lumps. The popcorn fudge wasn’t bad. I mean, how far wrong can you go with sweet and salty together? Not far in my book or in my life. Still, the chocolate was a little too stiff and the popcorn got a tiny bit soggy.
Enter my good friend and amazing author, the lovely Spring Warren who is not only a good cook, but understands the science of how food works. There was a bad moment when she asked me what I was using to hold the breakfast bars together and nearly choked when I told her marshmallow crème. Apparently, marshmallow crème is not considered to be a healthy part of a balanced breakfast. Who knew?
Spring, being the fabulous friend that she is, spent about four hours in my kitchen one afternoon and by the end of it, I had the recipes for Kernel of Truth. They were edible and replicable. I even shipped some off to my kids in care packages. Of course, twenty-year-old boys will eat pretty much anything, but they were still well-received.
I have at least two more popcorn books to write. That means I need somewhere between six and ten new recipes. Anybody have any favorite popcorn recipes they want to share? You’ll totally get a shout out in the acknowledgments of the next book if I use them!
Kernel of Truth:
A Popcorn Shop Mystery
Brand New Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (March 1, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Catherine Deeter
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00Z8VTL7O
An all-new Popcorn Shop Mystery bursts on the scene, featuring gourmet popcorn entrepreneur Rebecca Anderson and her poodle Sprocket.
Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson’s bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business—naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia “Coco” Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses.
But when Coco’s niece, Alice, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn’t so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy!
INCLUDES POPCORN RELATED RECIPES!
Warning – pop some popcorn before you start reading this story. You are going to want to be munching as you read.
POPS is the newest shop in Grand Lake, right next to Coco’s Cocoas. In fact Coco and Rebecca have found they work pretty well together and are planning a new venture. That is until Coco is found dead in her shop. Robbery gone wrong, Rebecca doesn’t think so. She starts popping up all over town trying to prove it was murder and will bag the killer herself if she has to.
What a great idea for a mystery series. A Popcorn Shop with a peppy protagonist and a poodle named Sprocket, yes a poodle.
Kristi Abbott is off to a fantastic start. I was sad that our victim was Coco though, she seemed like a grand lady. Everyone loved her and her fudge, who would want her dead? Surprisingly there are plenty of suspects if Sheriff Cooper would open his eyes. He is Rebecca’s best friend and he is married to her sister, he can’t seriously think she had anything to do with the murder?
I liked all of these characters, Rebecca really pops off the page. She has escaped a bad marriage and is putting herself first for a change. I love the way she stands up to her ex. She has been friends with Dan forever and is thrilled he married her sister. She lives on their property and they have dinner together often. It is hard when he has to keep the case confidential and Rebecca keeps butting in where she shouldn’t. This family dynamic pulls us right into the story.
The mystery is very believable too and well written. A little predictable but the “why” was something that was not what I thought at all. There were several twists that made me think maybe I was wrong along the way. There is a surprising secret revealed when Rebecca rushes into a situation that was so not what she thought at all that put me back on the main track.
The story has just the start of a romance and I was happy that it is starting slow. I think Rebecca needs some time for just herself.
Bottom line, this is a charming start to what I hope becomes a long running series. The theme is unique and the characters are fresh and I hope to pop in for another visit very soon.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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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.”