Sunday, October 9, 2016

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH LAURA CHILDS’ CARMELA BERTRAND



ABOUT THE BOOK

The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Parchment and Old Lace . . .

The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon . . .


 “It’s not October without a new spectacular Scrapbooking Mystery from Laura Childs.”
     Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Thrills and chills.”
     St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Local color is Childs’ strong suit, and on this romp with Carmela, the details of the Big Easy, from absinthe to etouffee, do not disappoint.”
     Publisher’s Weekly




ABOUT THE CHARACTER


Carmela Bertrand is the proprietor of Memory Mine Scrapbooking Shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Divorced from her rat-fink husband, Shamus, Carmela has struck gold with her little shop and delights in hosting classes on scrapbooking, papercraft, and rubber stamping. Although Detective Edgar Babcock is eager to put a ring on Carmela’s finger (and hopefully retire her from amateur sleuthing!) our dear Carmela’s been dragging her feet. After all, she’s happy living in her charming garden apartment with her two dogs, Boo and Poobah. And the nightlife with her best friend, Ava, isn’t bad either. But what really keeps things popping for Carmela is the city of New Orleans itself. After all, this is a city that has elevated Mardi Gras to a national holiday, is spooky, charming, mythic, and – oh yes, let’s not forget those crazy above ground cemeteries! What’s not to love?



INTERVIEW WITH CARMELA BERTRAND


Carmela, how did you first meet Laura?
I popped into my writer’s head one day as she was wandering through a scrapbook shop. She was looking at all the cool albums and scrapbook papers and saw how much fun all the ladies were having—you know, sitting at a big craft table in back, laughing together and working on scrapbook pages. When I felt my author’s brain begin to whirl, I just gave her a subtle whisper and said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if you wrote a Scrapbooking Mystery?”

Tell us about your favorite scene in Crepe Factor.
In the very first chapter, Ava and I are strolling the Winter Market in the French Quarter. We’re minding our business, looking at jewelry, nibbling food, and drinking wine (well, lots of wine), when suddenly, out of nowhere, we hear this horrible moaning and gurgling going on. Imagine our surprise when a man staggers out from behind one of the tents with an enormous kitchen fork stuck in his throat! I mean, this guy looked like some kind of zombie. He clomped right up to us with this dead-eyed look, and all Ava could do was let loose a blood curdling scream. What did I do? Um, well I did wonder who could have done this—and if the guilty party might be standing around watching the fun? I guess you could call me a wanna-be detective.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I create paper theatres, do stamping on velvet pillows, and generally hone my crafting skills. I also volunteer with the Children’s Art Association and occasionally help build Mardi Gras floats with my good friend Jekyl Hardy.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Well, everybody in New Orleans is a little bit crazy. But I do love my fellow characters a whole lot. I mean, Ava is the best friend (and devious accomplice) that a girl could ever want. And Baby and Tandy are great friends, too. As for my ex-husband, Shamus? Meh. Maybe he should take a hike and not be in these books anymore.

Do you have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
In one of the upcoming books Ava and I do a little modeling for The Latest Wrinkle, this great resale shop over on Magazine Street. So . . . I sure wouldn’t mind strutting the catwalk again sometime soon.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d wander the antique shops in the French Quarter, stop by Café du Monde for chicory coffee and a beignet, hit the Old French Market for quirky shopping, then have lunch at The Court of Two Sisters. I’d probably head down to Magazine Street then for some more shopping. Around dinner time I’d call Ava and we’d pop into Commander’s Palace. Did I mention that food is a huge part of life in New Orleans?

Sure sounds like it! What’s the worst thing that happened in your life?
Getting divorced from Shamus Mechum was no piece of cake. For one thing, he hails from the banking Meechums, so getting any sort of settlement was horrible. It took me years and then I still had to deal with his parsimonious big sister Glory, who Ave and I like to call the Great Stone Face.

Tell us about your best friend.
OMG, where do I start? Ava Grieux is my BFF, and she runs Juju Voodoo, a little voodoo shop in the French Quarter. Maybe as a result of this slightly off-kilter enterprise, she’s a little more daring than I am. For example, Ava wears tight leopard tops, leather pants, and sky-high stilettos. And she does Botox big time. The other thing is, we are always getting in trouble together. We don’t look for it, but we’re forever being chased through a New Orleans cemetery or a bayou or rushing out of some fancy Garden District party. Yeah, it’s funny how trouble just seems to follow us around.

Describe the town where you live.
I’m the luckiest girl in the word because I was born and bred in New Orleans. You see, this is a city that should come with a warning label. This city is historic, charming and highly seductive. It’s filled with charming old homes and antique buildings decorated with lacy ironwork. Music is everywhere—blues, jazz, Cajun, whatever you want. And the food is to die for. We’re talking beignets, muffalettas, shrimp gumbo, fried catfish, turtle soup, red beans and rice, po-boys, eggs Sardou, jambalaya, alligator sausage, etouffee, pecan pie, bread pudding, and bananas Foster. And then, of course, we have Mardi Gras. With enormous floats, marchers, strings of beads, bands, exotic costumes, and all-night revelry, it’s the biggest, baddest party you’ve ever seen!



ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Laura Childs is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Connect with Laura:
Webpage  |  Facebook  





Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.
Connect with Terrie:
Facebook  |  Blog  |  Goodreads  



Buy the book:
Amazon  |  B&N  | Goggle Books | IndieBound





6 comments:

  1. What a terrific interview with Carmela! Thanks so much for having us visit.

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  2. Love this series and can't wait to read "Crepe Factor". New Orleans is a great place for a murder mystery.

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  3. Thanks for this opportunity! I enjoy the scrap booking series!

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  4. I was just browsing to find a book for the weekend and this one looks quite interesting! 😀

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