Jane/Susannah/Sadie here, wondering which Comfort Food recipe to try first…
Please give a Wicked Welcome to Christine Wenger, author of the Comfort Food Mysteries!
Thanks for having me. I really live in Cicero, New York, but I am playing snowbird in Florida right now at a motor home park. Internet service is wonky, but I hope to make an appearance to say hi to all you “wicked” readers.
Tell us about your series and your latest book, IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE.
The Comfort Food Mysteries feature Trixie Matkowski from the Silver Bullet Diner in Sandy Harbor, New York, a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario. Here’s the description for IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE:
All Trixie Matkowski wants for Christmas is a break—just not the broken leg she got after slipping on some ice. With Sandy Harbor alive in the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s the busiest time of the year at Trixie’s Silver Bullet Diner. There are millions of things to do, including cater the town’s annual Christmas pageant and community dinner with some delicious holiday comfort food.
But the festivities turn into a bit of a turkey after Liz Fellows, the director of the pageant, is found with Trixie’s butcher knife in her back. Now Trixie must help the police arrest the scary gentleman—or lady—guilty of the crime if she hopes to get herself off the naughty list.
What actor would make the best Trixie Matkowski?
Hmmm….someone with a lot of energy, someone who can cook, solve mysteries and who has a great sense of humor…probably ME!!! Okay, maybe a female Emeril Lagasse.
Do you have any quirks? Tell us about them.
Me? Quirks? Why, I am perfect in every way. Okay, maybe I shop too much, spend too much money and love to be lazy on a cold winter day (after I make soup).
Who’s your favorite mystery writer of all time?
It has to be Mary Stewart who wrote all those luscious gothics.
Favorite book (not necessarily a mystery) of all time?
It’s A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. I’vr read it 10,087 times and cry each and every time.
Who is your most-loved book boyfriend?
Jim Frayne from the old Trixie Belden books.
What is your writing process like? Early bird or night owl? Pantser or Plotter? Do you require special drinks or snacks?
I write whenever I can, but mostly at night. I’m usually sipping on some kind of icy beverage (water, soda) and pizza would be wonderful. I am mostly a Pantser, but I usually get myself jammed up and wish I plotted more!
Best writing advice you ever heard or read?
FINISH THE BOOK!
Do you have any pets?
I have a very sweet and lovely golden retriever by the name of Blondie. She’s on the cover, or is featured in, all five of my cozy mysteries.
What’s next for you?
I’d love to continue my comfort food series with book #6. Actually, I have ideas for five more cozy mysteries! The readers seem to love them, and I love writing them.
Thanks so much for being here, Christine! Here’s where you can connect with her:
Facebook: christine wenger
Readers: Say hi to Christine, and tell us what’s your favorite comfort food!
Welcome, Christine! My favorite comfort food is starch. There, I’ve said it. Polenta, grits, mashed potatoes, gnocchi, rice, sourdough bread. Yum. Any nice hi-carb thing that sticks to your ribs.
My comfort food is anything cheesy–pizza, homemade mac & cheese, cheesy omelettes with caramelized onions, fresh cheese curds, and of course cheesecake! I think it comes from growing up in dairy country 🙂
You are the “Dairy Queen!”
I am such a fan of your books! I have read all of them and am currently reading “It’s a Wonderful Knife”. It’s so nice to see you here!
Thanks so much Joanna!! It does my heart good to hear this!!
Welcome Christine! I am most definitely adding your book to my “to read” list. I think my favorite comfort food is spaghetti and meatballs, it reminds me of my dad. I loved the question about who was your favorite book boyfriend. That really got me thinking. I’ll have to get back to you on that one!
My father’s favorite comfort food had to be my mom’s chicken noodle soup. He loved it, and to tease us he used to slurp really loud! Thanks for the memory.
Welcome, Christine! These books look great. I’d never heard the boyfriend question, either. Thinking….
Spill it, ladies and gents. We want to know about the book boyfriends! Or girlfriends! I’ll start. Radcliffe Emerson from the Amelia Peabody Mysteries. Kit from The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Mr. Knightley from Emma. Gabriel Oak from Far From the Madding Crowd. And currently Detective Inspector Jack Robinson from Miss Fisher’s Mysteries (although he might be more of a Netflix boyfriend, since I’ve not yet read the books). What can I say? I’m fickle.
The younger me would have hung out with Travis McGee, but now in my “golden years,” Jim Qwilleran or Richard Jury would be just fine!
I like the “new” James Bond, whose name totally escapes me! Duh.
Welcome Christine! My comfort food would probably be something sweet and potato chips! Now that we’ve started on the whole book boyfriend I’d have to go with Ranger from Janet Evanovich’s series. Okay, he’d make a terrible boyfriend but there’s something about mysterious bad boys that’s intriguing!
Ranger is hot! I love Cape Cod potato chips. They are made in Hyannis, MA. Love them, especially with French Onion dip!
My comfort foods – pizza and ice cream would probably top the list.
With the name of your main character, I was wondering if you were a Trixie Belden fan. My number one book girlfriend is Honey Wheeler from the series.
Okay, Mark, you caught me! Yep, I was a Trixie Belden fan. Honey Wheeler was my best friend! HA!
Thanks for visiting, Christine! My favorite comfort foods are cheese fondue and French onion soup.
I love French onion soup! Especially with gobs of melted cheese on it!
Can you tell that I’m a “foodie”???!!!
OK, so clearly Jessie, Christine, and I are in the Cheese Cabin at Camp Comfort Food.
I’ll bring my fondue pot!
My favorite food real family style Italian and I like Ranger but Wally from Denise Swanson’s Scumble River books is wonderful but then Emerson. In November I’d been after our local library to feature cozies and finally they did a bookcase full Titled let’s get Cozy in November. I donate all my books to them and it breaks my heart to see them sold for 50cents when I know that others would read the. I gave them 2 of your books and found another in their used book store. It went well and I have an easier time getting on the shelf.
Thanks for advocating for the cozies!
Welcome Christine. Love your books. My favorite comfort food is chocolate. Anything chocolate. And chicken and noodles. Or maybe meatloaf — especially cold and sliced for sandwiches the next day. When I was younger my book boyfriend was Brian Belden. Now, probably James Qwilleran or maybe Fair Harristeen. He has a bit of that bad boy vibe going.
Mmmm, chocolate. I’m looking for a really good meatloaf recipe. Do you have one?
Well, the one I use is good, I think. Start with a mix of good, lean ground beef and ground pork using a 2:1 ratio (I usually use 1 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb pork. Add a can of tomatoes well drained and mashed in a sieve to get as much of the juice out of it (I usually drink the juice but you can add it to spaghetti sauce or soup). Add chopped onion and green peppers — sometimes I also add a little chopped celery) — one egg and mix thoroughly, Add bread, cracker or cornflake crumbs and mix again. Shape into a loaf, cover with ketchup or BBQ sauce, and bake at 350 until internal temperature reaches 165 — usually about an hour. I usually pour off the grease a couple of times during the baking process or you can use a pan with a drain. Sorry I can’t be more precise, but I never measure anything. I’ve been making this for so long that I just go by feel and appearance.
I’ll give this a try! Thanks!
We absolutely love this series and have heard that this one is the last. Is that truly so???? I dont think I have laughed so loud and so much in a long time. Well ok Jessie Crocket’s books crack me up too. But my friend and I cannot believe this amazing series may be at an end. Please tell me this is not so!!
Not sure if Christine will come back and weigh in here about her series, but I can tell you that, unfortunately, a lot of very good series have already ended or are going to be ending in the next year. 🙁
Can you share those series with us, please, Susannah?
Well, there are reasons an author might not want to divulge just yet whether their series is continuing. An author might know the series is ending even before the last book comes out, so she might not want to announce it publicly since it might negatively affect sales. I do know that Julie Hyzy has publicly decided not to continue with the White House Chef mysteries (although that’s a special situation where the publisher could continue it with another author). Do you belong to any of the cozy mystery groups on Facebook? (just put “cozy mystery” in your FB search bar and a bunch of them will come up) There are discussions in some of the groups about series that may be or are ending. And you can always watch the websites or FB pages of your favorite authors for announcements. Depending on their contracts, some authors may be able to self-publish future installments, though that would likely be in digital format with or without print on demand.
Thank you. I’ll check out FB. I already knew about Julie Hyzy. That’s a shame, because her Whitehouse Chef series is so good.
Although one rumored bit of good news is that Rett MacPherson, who wrote the Tory O’Shea genealogical mysteries a few years ago, may be resurrecting that series (which was one of my favorites, and one of my inspirations to write my own cozies). I will be jumping for joy when that comes out!
I have been trying to find out about her series ever since I saw something about this one being the last one on a review. I have tried and tried to find out something. I had truly hoped it was a mistake. It is such a shame that because of internal issues with the publishers some amazing series are being ended. I wish there was a way to prevent it. I do get reviews out and pre-order, but there has to be more we can do. Thank you for answering my question. You have been a big help!
That’s wonderful news! I have all the Tory O’Shea books and have been so disappointed not to have any new ones.
Rett posted on her FB page about a month ago that she was rereading all the Torie books and said something to the effect of: Could it be that I’m writing another one? When it comes out, you and I can put on our docent dresses and pop the top on a virtual can of Dr. Pepper, Dragons3!
What a great book boyfriend! My favorite comfort food is warm cookies from the oven!
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