Interview with Beverly Allen

Susannah/Sadie/Jane here, just back from a walk in the October sunshine.

Floral DepravityPlease give a Wicked Welcome to Barbara Early a/k/a Beverly Allen, the author of the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries!

Tell us about your series and your new book, Floral Depravity.

The Bridal Bouquet Shop series features a floral designer (and amateur sleuth) named Audrey Bloom. She creates lovely bridal bouquets based on the language of flowers, and all of the brides who have carried one of her signature bouquets down the aisle are still happily married. (One sad twist of this is that not everyone has survived until the wedding day.) FLORAL DEPRAVITY is the third in the series, and we find Audrey preparing the flowers for a medieval themed hand fasting ceremony. Fortunately for this couple, as they literally tie the knot, both bride and groom survive. However, in short order three things happen: an unfortunate dove release incident, the father of the groom bites the dust, and Audrey recognizes the friar performing the ceremony as…well, spoilers.

Sounds intriguing! What actor would make the best Audrey Bloom?

That’s not something I thought about when writing. I know she’s tall. (She’s not exceptionally thin, however, so I don’t know that many actresses would clamor to play the part.) Personality-wise, I suspect Anne Hathaway would probably be a very good choice (but isn’t she always!), in that she plays the idealistic, but slightly sarcastic heroine well, especially one that marches to the beat of a different drummer. And that’s what I think of Audrey.

Barbara Early1Do you have any quirks?

Quirks. I have plenty, but which would I want to admit to? I am a bit of a book hoarder, but many readers are. (I have learned how to build my own book shelves.) I suppose the quirkiest thing about me is that I like to learn new home skills, anything from beginning carpentry to canning to cake decorating. A lot of new skills, so I guess you could say I’m a dabbler. I also love campy television, and am a recent, but somewhat obsessive, Doctor Who fan.

My TBR pile continues to grow. Maybe I should invite you over and you can build ME some bookshelves! Who’s your favorite mystery writer of all time?

I guess the simplest answer is Agatha Christie. But if I had to pick a second, it’s a close tie between Rhys Bowen and Victoria Thompson. With Julie Hyzy and Alan Bradley somewhere in the mix.

Excellent choices! Favorite book (not necessarily a mystery) of all time?

After the Bible, I might say LORD OF THE FLIES. It’s not a pleasant read, but I recall it shaping the way I think of people—and also the way I write mysteries. I think the most interesting (and scariest) villain isn’t the psychopath or serial killer. It’s the person next to us, who, given the right circumstances (or I guess I should say wrong circumstances), rejects law and morality and the fear of punishment to take the life of another person.

Interesting analysis. I may have to reread that one. However, see prior comment about TBR pile, LOL! Who is your most-loved book boyfriend?

Adrian Monk. Yes, another quirk, and I know most people know him from the television show, but I read all the tie-in books too, and couldn’t get enough.

I love Adrian too. What is your writing process like? Early bird or night owl? Do you require special drinks or snacks?

I write best in the morning, but only after I’m sufficiently caffeinated (current Keurig obsession: Southern Pecan, with added chocolate soy milk) and awake. I try not to eat while I write, but on deadline I’ve been known to favor chewy things, like jelly beans and Tootsie Rolls. Or a huge bowl of popcorn, if I have to bribe myself.

Beverly's naughty cat, Nicola
Beverly’s naughty cat, Nicola

Best writing advice you ever heard or read?

Write every day. Just plant your butt in the chair and do it.

Or in the case of your cat Nicola, plant your butt in a box! Tell us about your pets. 

We have four cats. A black cat, two gray tabbies (brother and sister from the same litter), and an orange tabby whose family had to give him up when they moved. They are all very naughty, but survive only because they are equally adorable. Their real-life hijinks inspire my fictional cats to get in all kinds of trouble.


Looking a bit guilty there, Willy...
Looking a bit guilty there, Willy…

Thanks so much for being here, Beverly! Here’s where you can connect with her:


Facebook:  Beverly Allen

Twitter: @BarbEarly

17 Thoughts

  1. Welcome, Beverly, and congratulations on the new book. I was at your panel at Bouchercon, and it’s fun to see pictures of your naughty cats here, since you mentioned them there.

    1. I read mysteries, and sometimes the cats are just so obedient and sweet. And I’m thinking, have these people ever SEEN a cat?

  2. Nice interview, and another great sounding cozy to look forward too. Also, love the pictures of two of your cats. I must look into Dr. Who…..

    1. I take too many pictures of the cats. I think they’ve come to believe they’re rock stars.

  3. It was lovely to meet you at Bcon, and I love the idea of flower symbolism. Of course you know I’m coveting your apple-themed items behind Nicola!

    1. It was great seeing you, too! I will have to share more apple pics. This doesn’t include my apple teapots and apple curtains. (Note to self: move Sheila’s books to the dining room, where they obviously belong!)

  4. Hi, Barbara! It’s great to see you here. I met Barbara when she was a debut author on a panel I moderated at Malice — my very first one. Her great sense of humor and interesting stories made the panel a breeze. It’s a great series and I too love the flower symbolism!

  5. Welcome, Barbara. My daughter’s getting married in May and we are close to pulling the trigger on the contract with the florist. So many overwhelming choices! I must read this series to get some tips.

    1. Tip #1. Do not choose a florist who solves a murder at each wedding. 😉 I hope it makes for fun reading, but in real life, maybe not so much.

  6. I’ve read all three books in this series, and they are quite fun. And I got to meet Barbara at last year’s Bouchercon (11 months ago already!). Definitely one of many highlights of the weekend for me.

    1. You got me blushing, Mark. It was so nice to meet you, too, and I’m happy you enjoy the books!

  7. Looking forward to checking out your series! I had to laugh at your comment above about a florist who solves a mystery at every wedding. My series is a about destination wedding planner, and she has the same problem! (P.S. Anne Hathaway — I can totally see it.) Anyway, congrats on your new release!

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