I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Libby Klein and her new release Restaurant Weeks Are Murder. This is the third book in her A Poppy McAllister Mystery series. I have read all three books and I highly recommend them.
Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B07DBQBVYJ
Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .
Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.
Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .
Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and she pulled me right into the story from the very beginning. Whether at the Restaurant Weeks challenges or back at the Bed and Breakfast, the story remained interesting and exciting.
Poppy gives her all no matter what she is doing and she likes to help people if she can, even her ex-fiance. She also seems to be a dead body magnet, much to her dismay. She will have her hands full trying to solve this murder, but she will give it her all, before the murder is pinned on her.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Poppy’s family and friends are funny and unpredictable and you never no what they are going to do next, which is great as a reader, but not so great for Poppy. Figaro, Poppy’s cat, is one of my favorite animals in a cozy, I just laugh whenever I am reading about him.
The mystery was well plotted and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider. The murder did not happen until about 40% into the book but that was okay because I was enjoying all of the other things that were happening.
I would recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy. If you like food cozies, this is a must read. I felt like I was watching an episode of Chopped as I was reading this book, which was a very good thing.
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16834863.Libby_Klein
Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/libby-klein
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/libbykleinbooks/
Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/libbyklein/
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I didn’t set out to be a writer, I think I fell into it accidentally. I used to rewrite books and movies in my head when I didn’t like the way they ended. I couldn’t sleep at night until I’d fixed whatever I felt had gone wrong with the story. I could daydream for hours. Some nights I wouldn’t sleep until I’d worked out a scene of some imaginary play that had been running in my head. It wasn’t until I started playing the same story over and over in my head that I thought maybe I should write this one down. Some of the non-murdery parts of that daydream have been published as my first book.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?One of the highest compliments I’ve ever received from readers has been that my books are part mystery, part romance, and part chick-lit. Every story has a definite theme running through it – your worth is not in your size, love and accept yourself, romance is not just for the young, age awesomely, and it’s never too late to start over are just a few. I’m very committed to character growth. I don’t want my books to stagnate and become interchangeable. I want each one to have fresh ideas, not just a different mystery. Out of all the themes I’ve worked into my stories, the one that makes them stand out is their humor. Whether you like witty, quirky or silly there is something funny for you. I blame Aunt Ginny and Figaro. They turn every scene into a comedy.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
I have a complete outline before I start. I have to know where every clue drops and how they will all line up at the end. I know what themes will be in each chapter and how I will move the story along, but exact lines and dialogue are not planned. Once I start writing, the characters have a tendency to take over and drive the story around bends I didn’t see coming. Aunt Ginny is always surprising me and making me laugh. I’ve had to add entire chapters that were never outlined because she creates chaos wherever she goes.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
The very first bad review I ever received upset me so deeply I spun out for days. Many authors came to my aid and told me to never read the reviews. And never, never respond to them. We have so much invested in our books. They’re not just another story to us. They’re a piece of our soul. We lay it all out there to craft mysteries to entertain and speak to the hearts of our readers. It’s gut wrenching to read that someone gave you one star and didn’t read past the first chapter because something rubbed them the wrong way. Especially something they misunderstood that they would have realized if they’d made it to the end. So, I handed the reviews over to my assistant who knows to tell me about anything positive or negative that’s constructive. Some reviewers are given advance copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but nothing is done to “secure a good review” other than hope.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop focusing on things that have no lasting value. You are not your dress size. You’re capable of so much more than you realize, so don’t hide in your small comfort zone. Also, you can’t digest gluten so no more bread. Stop crying… it will be okay.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?I honestly don’t know how much the cover plays into the buyer’s decision. I think word of mouth recommendations play a big part. I’ve also been told that people have bought my books because they saw someone in the bus, train, airplane, or café who was reading one and laughing like a maniac. My covers are beautiful. The graphic design team at Kensington does a fabulous job. Of course my favorite is Midnight Snacks Are Murder with Figaro on the cover.
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
Poppy is very real. She isn’t young and gorgeous, she isn’t fabulously successful at twenty-five or running her own business just out of college. She’s a plus sized, middle aged widow trying to start her life over. She doesn’t cave under pressure – she fights back with sarcasm. She cares deeply for the people she loves and will do anything to protect them.
Sawyer is Poppy’s best friend. They’ve been together since grade school. She’s the Shirley to Poppy’s Laverne. Sawyer is gorgeous, but her looks came later in life and she still feels like an awkward teenager. She’s very unlucky in love, but a more faithful friend you couldn’t find.
Aunt Ginny is somewhere in her 80s, but she’s determined to stay twenty-nine forever. She lives life on her terms and enjoys every day. She is either sharp as a tack or certifiably crazy, we haven’t figured it out yet. One thing is for sure, she is always a surprise. Aunt Ginny brings as much fun into Poppy’s life as she brings chaos.
Sir Figaro Newton is a black smoke Persian who is convinced that he runs the show. Poppy and Aunt Ginny are there to do his bidding and his affection can be bought for the low price of a handful of cat treats. Figaro is very expressive and has a way of making sure you understand his judgmental thoughts and opinions.
What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
I’m a lot more distracted than I thought I was. Some days I have to force myself to sit at the computer and write down the scenes playing out in my head. After I finished Class Reunions Are Murder I was afraid I had used up all my ideas. I didn’t know if I could come up with any other stories to tell. I’m writing the fifth book in the Poppy series and I’m amazed every time a new story begins that there were more ideas up there.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full time, but I also have a full-time day job. Writing did not make my life easier, that’s for sure.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Theater Nights Are Murder comes out in March of 2020, and I’m currently working on Wine Tastings Are Murder. I’m also crossing my fingers that someone at the Hallmark Channel will think they need a comedy with a sexy curvy girl, a feisty 80-year-old, and a cat at the Jersey Shore.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
The hardest is getting your butt in the chair day after day and just doing it. The easiest and most fun is when Aunt Ginny gives me an idea and I let her take over.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I read all kinds of things. I love romance, Jude Deveraux is one of my favorites. And I love mysteries. My fellow Cozy Mystery Crew members on Facebook are all fabulous along with more wonderful authors than I can count. I love humor, so Vicki Fee, Becky Clark, and Cynthia Kuhn are all favorites.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I love to receive emails and hear from you. There is a contact link on my website where you can drop me a note.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving a new series a chance. Poppy and Aunt Ginny have so many more stories to tell, thank you for reading them.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?Follow me everywhere!
Cozy Mystery Crew – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1757692634274149/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/LibbyKleinBooks
Website – https://libbykleinbooks.com/
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/libbykleinbooks/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/libbykleinbooks/
Amazon – amazon.com/author/libbyklein/
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