I am super excited to have Marla Cooper visit today!
Help me plan my next escape!
By Marla Cooper
I always knew I’d have fun writing a mystery series about a destination wedding planner. Sending my main character off to far-flung places with people she barely knew? All with the stress and drama that a wedding brings about? And everyone expects her to be able to fix things? I knew I’d found the perfect setup for chaos and mayhem.
The first book, Terror in Taffeta, is set in San Miguel de Allende, a small and exceedingly romantic colonial village in central Mexico. (Think cobblestone streets, strolling mariachis, and a 17th-century church bordering the town square.)
Book two is set in the California Wine Country, with rolling hills covered in vineyards and beautiful wineries that include Victorian farmhouses, gothic mansions and regal chateaus. It’s a beautiful place to get married, and as an added bonus, I get to drink wine “for research.”
So now comes the fun part: choosing a destination for book three! Let’s take a moment to daydream together, shall we? So far, my nominees are:
Hawaii: White sand beach fringed by swaying palm trees. Remote waterfalls that can only be accessed by helicopter. Crystal-clear lagoons where sea turtles frolic in the water. And umbrella drinks! I think having my main character plan a beach wedding at some point is practically mandatory. The only question is, should it be Hawaii or someplace more exotic, like the Cayman Islands?
Reykjavik: I talked to a library group and the conversation turned to future destinations. One woman nominated Reykjavik, and I have to say, I’m intrigued! It seems like everyone is going there—but since I’ve never been, I’d have to go on a research trip before I even got to start writing. Of course the Northern Lights would play a part. Maybe someone disappears while everyone’s busy staring up at the sky?
Florida Keys: There are two places in the Florida Keys that would be great for a mystery novel because they’re so remote. One is the Dry Tortugas (terrible name, fascinating location) which is the United States’ most remote national park. The other is Little Palm Island, a super luxurious (and expensive!) resort that can only be reached by boat. Instead of a locked-room mystery, it would be an inescapable-island mystery!
Italy: Okay, maybe it’s just because I REALLY want an excuse to go back to Italy, but this one appeals to me a lot. If I were picking where in Italy I would like to go to a wedding… the Amalfi Coast comes to mind. (I was invited to a wedding there once and am still kicking myself that I didn’t go.) But from a mystery standpoint, I think Venice would be an amazing setting, what with the gondolas, the architecture, and the sublimely twisty streets. (You know there’s going to be a chase scene!)
Las Vegas: I think this could be a lot of fun, but there wouldn’t really be much for Kelsey to plan. Maybe someone elopes and she’s invited as a guest. I’m thinking novella here: quickie wedding, quickie book!
Okay, I want to hear what you think! Leave me a comment telling me your top pick—and if you have any more nominations, I’d love to hear them!
Terror in Taffeta: A Mystery
Setting – Mexico
Minotaur Books (March 22, 2016)
Hardcover: 288 pages
E-Book ASIN: B014PELGRW
Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.
Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.
Kelsey McKenna is a wedding planner and is dealing with a “momzilla” of the bride. The couple decided on a destination wedding in Mexico much to the mom’s dismay and now she is trailing after Kelsey to make sure the wedding goes as planned. She even seems to blame Kelsey when one of the bridesmaids faints during the service. But the girl didn’t just faint, she died… as in murdered… and the police arrest the bride’s sister. Momzilla places the whole thing firmly on Kelsey’s shoulders, expecting her to get her daughter released, find a killer, and cater to every whim while they are detained in Mexico.
This was a wonderful mystery, Kelsey is a great protagonist. I was very impressed with the way she ran her business and truly tried to do everything that was demanded of her. In fact all the primary and supporting characters were so realistic as was their dialogue. Momzilla, Mrs. Abernathy, was an absolute nightmare as a client and her demands just had me shaking my head. The bride and groom were pretty laid back, sometimes this made Kelsey’s job harder. Wedding photographer, and best friend, Brody Marx, makes a good Watson to Kelsey’s Holmes. They worked so well together.
The story flows so well, there was always something happening. The plot is complex with several twists and surprises. It is also a story that is not short on humor.
San Miguel de Allende sounds like an ideal place for a wedding or vacation. The villa the family had rented came complete with chef, Fernando, and I could almost taste all the delicious treats he created. He was also a good ally for Kelsey.
I am surprised this is Marla Cooper’s first novel, she is definitely an author to watch. Terror in Taffeta is a perfect escape filled with fantastic characters. I am looking forward to Dying on the Vine which be will be released in March 2017.
About The Author
Marla Cooper was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter.
After moving to San Francisco, she became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything, including travel writing, web copy, and even the occasional haiku. While ghostwriting a book on destination weddings, she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta—the first in a series about a destination wedding planner.
Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
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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.”