by Julie, summering in Somerville
I met Daryl years ago, when neither of us was published, at the New England Crime Bake. Since then she’s had series under her name and Avery Aames, and she’s also written stand-alone suspense thrillers. I’m delighted that she agreed to visit and tell us about her Fairy Garden Mystery series. Welcome Daryl!
HOW RESEARCH AND A GLASS OF ICE WATER RELAXES ME + GIVEAWAY
By Daryl Wood Gerber
Summer shouldn’t be stressful. But for an author with a deadline, it can be. So in order for my creative juices to flow freely, I need to do all I can to make sure I’m rested and relaxed. That starts with making sure my writing space is comfy. A glass of cold water (or possibly a hot cup of decaf coffee—I grind my own beans) and a comfortable chair. Next, the desk needs to be neat. Okay, fairly neat. I do keep my notes and outlines to one side of me, but if I feel crowded, that’s not good. Then I make sure I’m ready to go. No outstanding phone calls to make. No bills to pay. Finish the chores before I sit at the desk. Oh, sure, those might all get done-done—I am not THAT organized—but I have no reminders at my desk to hound me.
One of the things that really relaxes me when writing—something that can take me down a rabbit hole if I’m not careful—is research.
The other day I wanted to gather a few fairy quotes that I could use at the beginnings of my chapters. I must have spent two hours reading poetry . . . and smiling.
How can you not smile at this?
A little fairy in a tree
Wrinkled his wee face at me:
And he sang a song of joy
All about a little boy.
~ Moira O’Neill, “The Fairy Boy”
After I do my research, I dig into my writing . . . except sometimes I don’t because . . . it’s time to dress a few of my characters, so I spend an hour surfing the web looking at clothing. Courtney Kelly, the protagonist in the series, typically dresses casually in jeans and rompers. She runs the fairy garden shop and gets her hands dirty building fairy gardens, so unless she’s going out someplace, I’m often looking at denim and capris and fun T-shirts for her. However, her best friend Meaghan Brownie, who runs an art gallery, loves flowing bohemian dresses. Oh, man, I have so much fun shopping, I have to refrain from buying anything for myself.
Then I dig into my writing . . . except I don’t because . . . I need to pin down which tasty recipes I’ll feature in the book. Yes, I include recipes in my fairy garden mysteries. Why? Because at Open Your Imagination, the fairy garden shop, they serve tea on the weekends on the patio. What have I found on some of these research junkets? How about lemon lavender cupcakes? Oh, my, yes! Cinnamon swirl scones? Can you spell salivating? Caramel brownies? Yup! I have downloaded many a recipe to try and I will tweak as necessary.
Then I dig into my writing . . . except I don’t because I need to look at fairy garden pictures on Pinterest to inspire some of the creations Courtney will make, and . . .
You get the idea. Research can be relaxing, but an author must be careful. When my relaxing research is done, for real, I take a sip of my ice water, stretch my fingers, and let them hover over the keyboard. Yes, this time I’m ready to write and write freely. My mind is clear. I’ve filled it with images that inspire.
Readers: What beverage do you like to enjoy when you’re ready to relax? To truly relax? Is there a deep dive you do on the Internet that you find relaxing? I’m giving away a choice of the first two Fairy Garden Mysteries to one commenter. US and Canada only. I’ll pick a winner August 5.
Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Fairy Garden Mysteries, Cookbook Nook Mysteries, and French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she penned the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. In addition, Daryl writes the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Daryl loves to cook, fairy garden, and read. She has a frisky Goldendoodle who keeps her in line. And she has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and hitch-hike around Ireland alone.
A GLIMMER OF A CLUE debuted June 30 this year. It is the 2nd in the Fairy Garden Mystery series.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Courtney Kelly has a shop full of delights, a cat named Pixie, a green thumb—and a magical touch when it comes to garden design. But in Carmel-by-the-Sea, things aren’t all sweetness and fairy lights . . .
When Courtney’s friend Wanda gets into a ponytail-pulling wrestling match in public with a nasty local art critic, Courtney stops the fight with the help of a garden hose. But Lana Lamar has a talent for escalating things and creating tension, which she succeeds in doing by threatening a lawsuit, getting into yet another scuffle—in the midst of an elegant fundraiser, no less—and lobbing insults around like pickleballs.
Next thing Courtney knows, Lana is on the floor, stabbed with a decorative letter opener from one of Courtney’s fairy gardens, and Wanda is standing by asking “What have I done?” But the answer may not be as obvious as it seems, since Wanda is prone to sleepwalking and appears to be in a daze. Could she have risen from her nap and committed murder while unconscious? Or is the guilty party someone else Lana’s ticked off, like her long-suffering husband? To find out, Courtney will have to dig up some dirt . . .
DARYL’S CONTACT INFORMATION:
Have you signed up to receive my newsletter? I send one out every month and with a new release. In the monthly, there is always a GIVEAWAY to one (or more) subscribers. There’s always a recipe, a bit about Sparky, what I’m reading, etc.