Edith/Maddie here, happy to welcome the talented and prolific Denise Swanson to the blog! She’s celebrating a new book and a big number.
Here’s the blurb for Winner Cake All:
Once again, it looks like Dani Sloan will get a slice of the action… In the small town of Normalton, IL, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for small business owner Dani Sloan to cater big-ticket events. But that’s about to change—a client named Yvette Joubert is marrying Franklin Whittaker, the richest guy around, and they want Dani to cater their engagement party! The swanky event is the perfect opportunity to put Dani on the map for wealthier clients.
But when a storm hits the party after guests arrive, it becomes clear that more than the dinner is ruined: Yvette is found dead beneath the marquee. Is her death a tragic accident, or a perfectly orchestrated murder? Then the case gets even juicier—it turns out that Yvette’s ex-husband is Spencer Drake, Dani’s almost-boyfriend, and the police start circling. Now Dani must follow an unending list of clues to save her business, her better half, and catch a criminal. Let’s just hope they get their just desserts!
From One to Thirty-Three in the Blink of an Eye
Getting my first book traditionally published was a long and arduous journey. It took a long time and two hundred and seventy rejection slips to find an agent. And even then, it took that agent eighteen months to find a publisher. Twenty years ago, cozy mysteries were nowhere near as popular as they are now. And since I had my own ideas on setting, sleuth’s appearance, and sleuth’s occupation, it was lot harder than if I’d have put Scumble River in Alabama, made my sleuth Skye a size six, and had her own a bookstore or work in law enforcement.
Few editors wanted to take the gamble on a book that didn’t fit the mold and am I ever glad the editor at NAL/Signet/Penguin was willing to give me a chance! With the first book, Murder of a Small-Town Honey, going into multiple printings, and the twenty-third book, Body Over Troubled Waters, due out in April, I think it’s safe to say there was more interest in a curvy, Midwest, school psychologist than a lot of folks ever realized.
Thrilled that my first series was successful, I tried my hand at a second, Devereaux’s Dime Store. Wanting to stretch my creative muscles even more, I also wrote a few contemporary romances and a paranormal cozy, A Call to Charms.
I’ve always used my real-life experiences in my books so when I got interested in cooking, I proposed a third cozy series—Chef-to-Go. This series features a caterer/personal chef named Dani Sloan who lives in the fictional college town of Normalton, Illinois (inspired by Bloomington-Normal, home of three universities).
In the first two books, Dani is getting settled in her new career and new house, but by the third one, Winner Cake All, which debuts September 29th, she’s looking to expand her business into the world of luxury catering. The setting for the murder is based on an outdoor wedding reception that I attended where bad weather blew in and almost destroyed the tent that we were all under.
Stagnation is always a risk, with long running series, but by writing additional series, I have been able to allow my characters to change and grow. This means that my sleuths crash cars, inherit and lose houses, and occasionally change boyfriends. Their goals, expectations, and how they deal with family and friends also evolve.
When I married off Skye in my Scumble River series folks started asking if I planned on ending those books. I’m sure I’ll get similar questions about Deveraux now that she’s chosen her man and about Dani because of the way her latest book concludes. But because I don’t think a woman’s journey ends when she finds the man of her dreams, the answer is no.
Having a settled relationship pushes my sleuths into even more exciting adventures and changes the dynamic between them and their family and friends. So, to anyone who is concerned that I’ll end a series just because the sleuth looks as if they’ve gotten their happily ever after, all I can say is stay tuned for book number thirty-four!
Readers: Do you prefer a happily married (or in a settled relationship) sleuth to a one who is unattached? I’ll give away winner’s choice: either a signed copy of Murder of a Small-Town Honey or Winner Cake All (US only).
New York Times Bestselling author Denise Swanson writes the Scumble River, Devereaux’s Dime Store, Forever Charmed, and Chef-to-Go mysteries, as well as the Change of Heart and Delicious Love contemporary romances. She lives in rural Illinois with her husband and a pack of squirrels, blue jays, and the occasional deer.
For more information, please visit at DeniseSwanson.com. Or come hangout with her at https://www.facebook.com/groups/428723763963797/
Or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeniseSwansonAu