Thursday, November 4, 2010

Suzanne Young's Murder By Yew

(I am beginning a new series on the blog, one which includes authors who contributed recipes for the cookbook, Killer Recipes. Even though each recipe has the contributing author’s book titles and web sites, that’s it. After all, it’s a cookbook. Now I’d like to interview a good number of these generous writers and learn more about them. Come along. I think you’ll enjoy meeting every one of them.)When I first had the inclination to compile a cookbook and donate the proceeds to The American Cancer Society, I invited other writers around the country to submit recipes as well. Since the title was Killer Recipes, we changed the names of family recipes to make them more fun and mysterious. Over the next few weeks, some of those generous authors who contributed will be showcased on my blog. We begin with Suzanne Young, author of Murder By Yew.

Welcome to my blog, Suzanne.Suzanne, please tell us what inspired you to write Murder by Yew.

My parents and Miss Marple were my inspirations. Primarily, I wanted to write about active retirees who enjoy life to its fullest and who are intelligent and talented. My parents were definitely two of those people. In addition, I enjoy cozy mysteries with characters who are clever and realistic. I find Agatha Christie’s stories and protagonists provide excellent examples of these qualities.

Give us a synopsis of it.

When local handyman Tom Greene dies, evidence points to Edna Davies, the last known person to serve him food and drink. Recently moved to southern Rhode Island, Edna has acquired herb and flower gardens, along with a number of hand-written journals from the house’s previous owner. While Edna admits to experimenting with various cookie recipes and tea concoctions, using ingredients from her backyard, she is certain she wouldn’t have used anything poisonous, even by accident.
Convinced that the police suspect her of Tom’s death, Edna cannot sit and wait to be arrested. Fearing to lose her reputation and the retirement life she and her husband have worked towards for years, Edna must find the real murderer. New to the community, she doesn’t know where to begin except with the victim’s grandson, a five-year-old boy with a speech problem whom she’s forbidden to approach. Shunned by the townsfolk, questioned by the police, and threatened by thieves, Edna taps into strengths she never before realized she possessed. Her search takes her back forty years to when two of Tom’s high school classmates ran away from the town.

Did you fall in love with a particular character?

Edna and I bonded in this first story, I think. I helped her to grow and, in turn, she led me down one particular path that I didn’t know existed until she pointed it out to me. Together, we got through our first crisis and we’re learning from each other.

Will you write more about this character?

Definitely. Murder by Proxy will be released in February. In this episode, Edna travels to Colorado (as Albert asked her to do at the end of Murder by Yew) to help her son and her pregnant daughter-in-law. Edna returns to Rhode Island in the third book Murder by Mistake – which we are currently working on together.

Where can folks buy Murder by Yew and in what formats?

Murder by Yew can be ordered through any online or local bookstore, such as Barnes and Nobel, Borders or Amazon in trade paperback format. It is also available for downloading to Kindle. I learned recently that Kindle software is free to download to any “reading” device, including PCs, iPhones, iPads, Nooks and the like, so I have not formatted it specifically for any device other than Kindle.

Do you have upcoming events you'd like to mention?

On Saturday, November 6, I will be one of four authors speaking at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Club in Colorado Springs. This annual fund-raiser is being sponsored by the American Association of University Women. The other speakers will be Beth Groundwater (also a contributor to Killer Recipes, as you know), Margaret Coel and Kathryn Eastburn.

You contributed recipes for my cookbook, Killer Recipes. Sin-sational Shrimp Pasta is delicious. Is it a family recipe?

No, I made it up one evening when I was hungry and wanted shrimp for dinner. I like to create quick and simple recipes that can be adapted for any number of servings—particularly single servings, since I live alone. This particular recipe uses several of my most favorite ingredients—shrimp, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, lemon juice and pasta.

Since proceeds of Killer Recipes are going to help fund cancer research, can you tell us why you personally wanted to contribute?

I joined a Pilates class about a year ago in which the majority of the women are cancer survivors and one is still fighting to survive. They are the most upbeat, fun and caring group I’ve ever enjoyed knowing. They inspire me and I want to do whatever I can to help them and others like them.

Where can readers learn more about you?

Suzanne, it has been a pleasure to have you over. Thanks again for the contributions you make to those around you. I hope we can sell lots of recipes and fun mysteries.

Thank you, Susan, for all your efforts toward this noble cause!

You bet! Folks, here's one of Suzanne's recipes from the cookbook (available at Amazon in all formats):

Deadly-icious Cracker Spread

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese

3 Tbsp freshly chopped chives (can also be made with dill, basil or cilantro--use 3 tsp if using dried herbs)

Mix your choice of herb (or a combination of 2 herbs) with mayo, sour cream and cream cheese. Serve in a bowl to accompany a variety of crackers or spread on thin slices of baguette and toast lightly under the broiler to serve warm.

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