Sunday, September 30, 2018

FEATURED CHARACTER: NANCY J. COHEN'S MARLA VAIL






ABOUT THE BOOK




Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. Can she unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life?

Recipes Included!




Book Details


Title: Trimmed to Death

Author: Nancy J. Cohen

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: Bad Hair Day Mysteries, book 15

Publisher: Orange Grove Press (September 25, 2018)
Print length: 290 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours









ABOUT MARLA VAIL

Marla Vail is a hairstylist and owner of Cut ’N Dye Salon and Day Spa in sunny South Florida. She is married to Detective Dalton Vail and has a teenage stepdaughter. In her late thirties, Marla hasn’t wanted children of her own until now due to a past tragedy, but she’s overcome these issues and looks forward to expanding her family.



INTERVIEW WITH NANCY J. COHEN'S MARLA VAIL


Q:  Marla, how did you first meet Nancy?
A:
We met when Mrs. Kravitz, a cranky client, died in my shampoo chair while getting a perm. Detective Dalton Vail suspected me of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer. I had to solve the crime to salvage my reputation. This story was titled Permed to Death. Now we’re up to number 15 in the series. Do you believe it? We’ve come a long way since I started this journey.

Q:  Want to dish about her?
A:
The author had some growing to do and so did I. Her writing has vastly improved since that first book. Fortunately, she’s been going back and revising those earlier titles. I like how she’s curious to explore different issues in each story. I’ve learned all sorts of things on my adventures. Also, my personal situation has progressed from being single and divorced to getting married again. How could I resist a hunk like Dalton Vail?

Q:  Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
A:
One night, Dalton and I crept through the woods to catch a suspect. The man was conducting an ancient Egyptian ritual with a cult of followers. We didn’t think we’d be in any real danger until we met them and Dalton suddenly collapsed without warning. During this foray, I learned about the roles of banyan and acacia trees in early mythology.

Q:  Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
A:
No, most of them were fun. I especially loved the scenes with food. We started with the bake-off contest at a farm festival. I entered a live scavenger hunt where we had to find people playing characters named after fruits or vegetables. Then Dalton and I ate at a couple of restaurants with eclectic menus. Food plays a prominent role in this story, which includes ten recipes in the back of the book.

Q:  If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
A:
I got queasy after tasting a sample of olive oil. As my stomach continued to be sensitive, I thought maybe I had a new food allergy or the oil had been rancid. I should have realized much sooner what was really going on.

Q:  Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
A:
I’d like to travel, but my author already knows this. I’ve hardly been anywhere, and with my schedule, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. I wouldn’t mind going to a Caribbean resort, although I might get bored after a few days. I’m too used to being busy.

Q:  If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
A:
I’d go to the beach, stretch out on a lounge chair, and listen to the waves. My dream is to visit Tahiti, but I’ll be lucky to get to the Caribbean, which is much closer.



Q:  What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?
A:
Hopefully people see I’m a friendly person with a good ear for listening. I am known as a skilled conversationalist, and I care deeply about my friends as well as my clients. You can rely on me to be there for you.



Q:  What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
A:
Oh, my. I’ve had a lot of bad things happen. First was when little, Tammy drowned in the backyard pool while I was babysitting for her. I was nineteen years old at the time. That was the very worst. I felt guilty and sorrowful for years and vowed never to have children of my own. I couldn’t stand the pain if anything terrible happened, nor could I count on being a good mother. Thankfully, with the love of my friends and family, I forgave myself and moved on. You can’t dwell on your mistakes. You need to focus on living a better life and being a good person.



Q:  Tell us about your best friend.
A:
Tally Riggs, in Trimmed to Death, is a widow with an infant son. She lost her husband in Hair Brained, where she’d been seriously injured in a car crash. Tally trusted me as guardian of her baby, Luke. The experience of caring for her child opened my eyes to my own possibilities as a parent. I’m so glad Tally is back on her feet again and eager to rebuild her boutique dress shop. She’s a great sounding board for my crime cases, too. As a mystery reader, Tally knows what questions to ask about the suspects. She always gives me a fresh perspective.



Q:  What are you most afraid of?
A:
With Dalton being a cop, even though he’s a lieutenant on the force and a detective, I fear for his life when he goes into the field. You never know what crazies will be out there. But I accepted this risk when we started dating. It doesn’t get easier, so you have to make the most of each day and focus on the positive aspects.



Q:  What’s the best trait your author has given you? What’s the worst?
A:
The best trait is that I’m a good listener, and I care about people. The worst is that I can be impulsive and too nosy for my own good.



Q:  What’s Nancy’s worst habit?
A:
She gets distracted too easily and tends to doubt herself.



Q:  How do you feel about your life right now?
A:
After years of not wanting children, I’ve finally realized that I can have a family, manage work at my salon, and still find time to solve crimes. Nor am I alone. We have both of our mothers to help, along with my stepdaughter and our friends.

Q:  What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?
A:
I like the humor she infuses into my character’s voice.

Q:  Describe the town where you live.
A:
Palm Haven is an affluent western suburb of Fort Lauderdale. Our ecology varies from the Everglades to the far west to the Intracoastal and Atlantic Ocean on the east side of the greater metropolis. Palm Haven is wedged in between and reflects the diverse population of this region. Manicured lawns, single-story ranch homes, and upscale cars are the norm.

Q:  Describe an average day in your life.
A:
I make breakfast in the morning, send my stepdaughter Brianna off to school, then go to work at the salon. Evenings are spent catching up on email, discussing the day’s activities with my husband Dalton, and watching the news. My days off are Sundays and Mondays.

Q:  What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
A:
I’ve overcome a tragedy in my past to move forward in life. Through the course of my adventures, I mature as a person and eventually marry Detective Dalton Vail. Caring for his teenage daughter and then being forced to look after my best friend’s infant son made me realize I’d like to have kids of my own. So my character goes through a cycle of growth and maturity that readers like to follow. It’s more than solving a mystery each time. It’s about evolving as a person and learning something new and interesting along the way.

Q:  Will you encourage Nancy to write a sequel?
A:
Yes, of course. I’d like to feature some holiday novellas that can be bundled together. She’s written one of these so we have a start. And I would like her to put more of my stories into audiobook. So far the first four titles are available in audio, and we need to build this audience.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, won a Readers' Favorite gold medal, and earned third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. These books have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

Connect with Nancy:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Booklover’s Bench

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Audible






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