It was supposed to be a girls’ weekend in scenic St. George, Utah that would include shopping, trying out the local cuisine, and participating in a breast cancer fundraiser. The fact that one of the organizers of the fundraising event, a local doctor, disappeared two months ago was not supposed to be Sadie’s problem. In fact, she refuses to participate in the grassroots investigation her friend Caro, and Caro’s cousin, Tess, have put together prior to her arrival. But then she meets the ex-wife of the missing doctor. How could she not ask a few questions . . . that lead to a few more questions . . . that lead to a small town and yet even more questions. Before she knows it, Sadie is in the middle of yet another murder investigation and trying to piece together a convoluted trail of good intentions, hidden motivations, and philanthropy turned big business.
Thank you, Mrs. Jodi Kilpack
How LDS and crime go together?
There are no LDS elements in the culinary mystery series. Though that's my faith, it isn't Sadie's :-) The culinary mystery series was written for a national audience. The books I did prior to this series were faith based, however.
I used to watch Murder, She Wrote, but after a while I wondered if Jessica is a jinx since everyone dies around her. So, my question is how do you avoid such a perception in a mystery series which now has 10 volumes and the same “amateur detective”?
I've had the same thought about Jessica--never invite her to visit! It has been tricky to keep Sadie from feeling like a black cat crossing someone's path so I've tried to varied how the different 'murders' cross her path, her interest level when she first learns about it, and there are even a couple of books that don't involve a murder at all, just a mystery. Because of that the books don't always follow the traditional mystery genre formula, but it's been fun to change things up and see where Sadie takes me.
Why and how did you get to choose to put together cooking with solving mysteries?
Many years ago I had attended a writing conference where a presenter told the audience never to write about a housewife because they are too boring. It bothered me for a number of reasons but mostly because I didn't think it was a characters occupation that determined their interest level, but their personality. I know some very interesting housewifes. So, I set a goal to one day write about a homemaker and make her really awesome. When I began Lemon Tart I decided to fulfill that goal with her. Throughout the story she baked and ate, it was simply part of her character. After my publisher accepted the book, they suggested putting recipes into it and making it a culinary mystery. I spent a crazy month cooking all the things Sadie's mentioned and we put them into the story. It was a hit!
Some chefs go strictly by the recipe, some improvising. What kind of chef is Sadie and how her style helps her in solving mysteries?
I think Sadie is pretty much by the book, though she might add her special touch here and there. The way that style influences her mysteries is that she likes to do things the right way. Even when she fudges the rules, she feels it's necessary and doesn't flippantly approach anything she involves herself in.
If Sadie would have a secret recipe and she would let you to share with us (we promise not to tell anyone) what it would be?
Sadie doesn't believe in secret recipes :-) She believes that delightful dishes should be shared, therefore she shares all her recipes which are available for download via my website www.josiskilpack.com
How hard is to write a good and funny mystery?
At times it's a challenge, but for the most part it comes together pretty easily because it's all fueled by Sadie. It took me awhile to get to know her, but I feel like I know her very well these days. I know what kind of internal commentary she'll have about things she encounters, I know what she'll stick her foot in her mouth about, and I know her imperfections. They all combine together and influence the story. The hardest part for me is the mystery. Keeping it a surprise but allowing the reader to look back later and say "Oh yeah, I forgot about that" is a challenge. I am always worried that I've run out of ideas and the current book I'm working on is crap! So far, I've been wrong about that. I hope it continues to be an unrealized fear.
“I wonder,” Caro said, boldness coloring her words. “If you and I could look into things while we’re here, ya know? Answer some of the as-yet unanswered questions and figure out what happened to Dr. Hendricks. It could be fun!”
Fun? “Search and Rescue looked for six days, Caro.” She thought of the expansive wilderness that surrounded this relatively small city—a bit of an oasis set within a valley surrounded on every side by magnificent red rock mountains, canyons, and plateaus. Even with this being Sadie’s first visit to St. George, she was aware of Southern Utah’s numerous national parks that protected the unique topography of the region. Though Sadie had hoped to go on a hike or two while they were hear, searching for a missing hiker was a laughable undertaking.
“I don’t mean searching the backcountry. I mean why did he go out by himself, and why hasn’t anyone found any of his gear, and what was his personal life like? Professional life? Was anyone angry with him? Did he have debts to hide from?
“St. George isn’t a big city and the people are nice, I bet we could gather a lot of information—find things the police know nothing about and figure out what really happened to Dr. H.”
About the author:
Author Josi S. Kilpack Born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah, I met my husband in high-school--well, he wasn't my husband then, just the cute guy in weight training with the permed mullet--and we married in 1993. I wrote my first book while on bed rest with my third child and have gone on to publish 20 novels, the most recent being part of The Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. I currently live in Willard, Utah with my husband, children, and cat.
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