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Happy Book Birthday/Interview with Jessie

Happy Drizzled with Death launch day, Jessie! We are SO excited for you. The rest DrizzledCoverof your Wicked Cozies have some questions for you about this book and the Sugar Grove mysteries. Here’s the teaser first:

The annual pre-Thanksgiving pancake-eating contest is a big event in Sugar Grove, New Hampshire. It’s sponsored by the Sap Bucket Brigade, aka the firefighters auxiliary, and the Greene family farm provides the syrup. But when obnoxious outsider Alanza Speedwell flops face first into a stack of flapjacks during the contest, Greener Pastures’ syrup falls under suspicion.

Dani knows the police—including her ex-boyfriend—are barking up the wrong tree, and she’s determined to pull her loved ones out of a very sticky situation. The odds may be stacked against her, but she’s got to tap the real killer before some poor sap in her own family ends up trading the sugar house for the Big House…

Edith: First, what’s the capital of Belize? No, just kidding (and channeling Hank Phillippi Ryan at Bouchercon…).  Maple syrup and New Hampshire are pretty much joined at the hip. Tell us how you twist the stereotypes we all have, like “sturdy backwoodsman Jack, the dappled sunlight falling on his ruddy cheeks, trudges through knee-high March snow to check the taps on his maple trees.”

Jessie: My main character is a tiny young woman and the other sugar makers in the series run the gamut from gentleman farmers to self-sufficient older women. There is a man something like the one you describe in the second book but his name is Frank! One of the things I like to do is to create a character with a surface that looks familiar and then to create scenes in which other characters come to realize there is more to that person than he or she knew.

Sherry: How much did you know about maple syrup before you started Drizzled with Death?

Jessie: My sister has tapped trees for years and there are plenty of other sugar makers all around in my neck of the woods. I’ve been lucky to get to see the process from beginning to end. Writing this series has made me even more aware of the popularity of sugaring and the way it is a part of the rhythm of life in rural New Hampshire.

Barb: What is your favorite maple sugar fact or tidbit you discovered in your research?

Jessie: I was surprised and delighted to discover maple syrup contains more than fifty compounds which help the human body with everything from inflammation to diabetes. Not bad for something that tastes so delicious!

Liz: I’m so intrigued by the village life you describe, and I know you have plenty of real-life experience! What are some of the traits you’ve “borrowed” from real people to create your characters? Any scenes inspired by true encounters?

Jessie: I am certain I am influenced by the people all around me but I never set out to show anyone real. I think some of the people are more wishful thinking than anything else. On the  other hand,  I know some of the situations are real, like the way people stop and visit with each other at the post office or how much political campaigning gets done at the dump. That is all part of the ebb and flow of life in a small town and is part of what I love about living in one myself!

Julie: Jessie, I am so exicted to read your new series! And I look forward to learning more about sugar groves and the industry. So tell me, is it true that weather, tree locations, etc. affect tapping season? Is this going to be a good one?

Jessie: It is true that the weather and climate change have a lot to do with maple syrup production. In fact, the difference between day and night temperatures is what makes the sap start to flow in the trees and makes tapping possible. Maple syrup making is just one more reason to get serious about climate change.

Readers: Ask Jessie a question about her book, whether you’ve read it or not!

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