We are so excited to welcome back author Debra Sennefelder! Her debut novel The Uninvited Corpse released on March 27th from Kensington Publishing. Debra is giving away a copy to one of our commenters.
Here’s a blurb about the The Uninvited Corpse:
Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer . . .
Hope’s schedule is already jam packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy . . .
One of the tour guests committed murder, and all eyes are on Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon—who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival. And suspicions really heat up when another murder occurs the following night. Now, with two messy murders shaking Jefferson and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer intent on making sure her life goes permanently out of style . . .
I’m so thrilled to be here with all of you celebrating the release of my debut novel. I feel like I’ve come full circle here with the Wickeds. I had the honor of sharing how I got my first contract (there’s been a second one for a new series since that post) and the pleasure of sharing my cover reveal here on WCA. While I’ve enjoyed so much sharing all of my exciting news with all of you, I have to admit I’ve truly loved finding a community that shares my passion for cozy mysteries.
There’s a long list of reasons why we love cozies. For me it’s the amateur sleuth. So today in celebration of my release I thought I’d share with you how I view amateur sleuths and what I had to make sure mine, Hope Early, had either honed or needs to work on because she’s new at this sleuthing thing.
We’ve come to equate the terms Boss Lady, Girl Boss and Lady Boss with being strong, determined and in control. This is a shift in attitude from not encouraging women who have these attributes to nurturing those strengths, talents, and gifts. I’ve been reading cozy mysteries for about twenty years now and I’ve come to realize the amateur sleuths in all my favorite cozies are Boss Ladies or more appropriately each one is a Boss Sleuth.
When you think about amateur sleuths they’re just not busy-bodies. They’re women who are willing to risk friendships, family relationships, their jobs, their standing in their communities and quite possibly their lives all in the search of the truth and justice. These are not women who will standby idly while someone is being wrongfully accused or when the victim doesn’t seem worthy of justice being sought.
Not everyone is born an amateur sleuth so here are 9 tips on how to become not only an amateur sleuth but a Boss Sleuth (why be average when you’re chasing down a killer).
Doubt everyone’s alibi
You need to suspect everyone is lying about where they were and what they were doing at the time of the murder. Because someone is lying.
Learn when to say “no”
Throughout the murder investigation you’ll be asked to participate in events that could take you away from your own investigation, interfere in your tracking down of leads so you need to learn how to firmly say “no”.
Learn when to say “yes”
Keep your ears open for any opportunities to hang with a suspect because it’s so much better to interrogate someone under the guise of a community event.
Question everyone’s motives
Everyone has a secret and it’s your job to find out if the secret is motive enough for murder. Be prepared for some uncomfortable conversations because they will happen.
Empathy is your greatest asset
Tapping into your empathy will help you connect better to the people around you and this makes you a more relatable person and people will open up to you and give you information to help with your search for the killer.
Challenge authority figures
You’ll be told time and time again to stay out of the investigation so you’ll need to prepare yourself to stand firm and do what you believe is right. There’s a chance you’ll end up fingerprinted and have a mug shot taken, but it’s a small price to pay to see that justice is served.
Don’t back down to threats or attempts on your life
No good deed goes unpunished but remember you’re doing this for the greater good – justice and keeping an innocent person out of prison. Just keep your wits about you, always be aware of your surroundings and one of those life monitors could come in handy if you’ve…well… if you can’t get up.
Fine-hone your apology skills
You’ve come to realize asking permission to talk to suspects or search a property is usually not given so you’ll need to craft apologizes for when you’re caught doing those things. Remember, you’ll be seeking forgiveness, so make it good.
Improve your baking skills
You don’t need to be a culinary whiz, but a freshly baked batch of muffins goes a long way with empathy to get someone to open up to you. Just be aware you don’t know if you’re having coffee and pie with a murderer, so keep an eye on the knife.
I hope those tips are helpful. They’ve been helpful as I’ve developed Hope Early. I keep in mind that a Boss Sleuth is a multi-faceted woman who is kind and understanding and can kick butt when needed. She’ll fight for what she believes in even when those closest to her think she’s making a mistake. Ultimately, she believes in herself and knows that she’s right.
I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to create my own Boss Sleuth. With Hope and every other amateur sleuth, I think this quote “women are like tea bags – you never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water”, which is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, says it all.
Thank you for joining me today to celebrate my debut release. Readers: I’d love to know who your favorite Boss Sleuth is.
Debra Sennefelder, author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.
Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy. You can find Debra at: http://debrasennefelder.com/