Today, I'd like to welcome Avery Aames as guest blogger. Avery's new mystery, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is released tomorrow, so it's the perfect time to invite her to meet with us. Thank you, Avery!
By Avery Aames
You know what’s fun? Populating a book with characters. For A Cheese Shop Mystery series, I’ve created an entire town of people, characters who have dwelt in the quaint town of Providence, Ohio for years. You know what’s even more fun? When a character is cast in a cameo role and turns out to become a major player.
When I began writing The Long Quiche Goodbye, I started out with a set of main characters that included my protagonist Charlotte who ran The Cheese Shop, her cousin Matthew who ran the wine annex, her grandparents Grandmère and Pépère who raised her, and a best friend from childhood, Meredith. Charlotte also had an assistant in the shop, Amelia Wagler, who was a sweet Amish girl who left the community. Along the way, I realized that Amelia was too close a name to Amy, one of Charlotte’s twin nieces, so I changed Amelia’s name to one that was a more typical Amish name, Rebecca Zook, and wham! The character took off. Rebecca started waving her fictional hands at me and begging to be “all she could be.” She loved TV mystery shows. She was a snoop. She repeatedly had important information to impart. Without warning, she started chatting more in conversations. [Okay, yes, I probably had the ability to rein her in, but why? That would ruin the fun.] And so she evolved into Charlotte’s sidekick. Understand, Meredith was supposed to be Charlotte’s sidekick, but Meredith turned into someone who had more pressing life issues than pal-ing around with Charlotte. Rebecca, on the other hand, was always there, chiming in. [In book two, Lost and Fondue, she is just as vital. And Meredith gets a bigger role.]
Another character that took off in The Long Quiche Goodbye was Grandmère. What a delight she was to write! She is the local mayor and runs the local theater that earns rave reviews in the region. When she first appeared on the page, she had such energy. She reminded me (and therefore Charlotte) of “the little engine that could.” She charged onto the scene with the colorful verve of a gypsy. Years ago, she and Pépère left war-torn France and made America their home, and the couple embraced all things American. Grandmère raised Charlotte with love and affection and a gentle hand, but she is a director, and an organizer, and she wants to make sure her opinion is heard. Rein her in? Not on a bet!
Charlotte’s twin nieces, Amy and Claire, have also blossomed into full characters. Amy is night to Claire’s day. She’s a spitfire like her grandmother, nosy like Rebecca, and very dramatic, while Claire is more reserved, a reader, an observer. Charlotte adores them both.
And then there’s Charlotte’s pal, Delilah, an ex-hoofer from Broadway who has returned to town to run the Country Kitchen diner. And Lois, the quirky gal who adores the color purple and operates the Lavender and Lace bed-and-breakfast. And Umberto Urso, the chief of police, a big bear of a man who Charlotte thought was destined to become president of the United States but chose to keep the peace in his hometown.
The list goes on, but I don’t want to forget to mention Jordan Pace, the handsome cheese farmer who has won Charlotte’s heart. Not only does he help smaller farms age their cheeses properly in the affinage caves that he built, but he makes a delicious Double-cream Gouda. What a guy! However, Jordan has a mysterious past that makes Charlotte a little wary. She wishes she knew more about him. She’s not the kind of person who takes risks. At least she isn’t until a murder happens in town and her grandmother is suspected of the crime. Then Charlotte finds out that she has spirit. Lots of spirit!
Ah, yes, the joy of being an author. I love it.
Do you people watch? Do you divine stories about people you see? ? Do your characters have a past, a future? Do those stories morph? Isn’t it fun?!!!
Thank you, Avery! I hope you'll check out Avery's book if you love cozy mysteries or cheese. And, I'm sure you don't have to love cheese to read the book. I'm originally from Ohio, and I'm partial to books set there. I'll be reviewing The Long Quiche Goodbye tomorrow.
Avery Aames, author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, likes to read, cook, garden, and do amateur photography. You may visit Avery at http://www.averyaames.com. She also blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for foodies who love mysteries, http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com as well as at Killer Characters, a blog overtaken by cozy authors’ characters, http://www.killercharacters.com.
The first book in the series, The Long Quiche Goodbye, debuts July 6. You can purchase the book at Avery’s bookseller page: http://www.averyaames.com/book1_sellers.html
The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2010. ISBN 9780425235522 (paperback), 304p.