Monday, March 31, 2014

J.J. Cook, Guest Blogger

I do monthly book chats featuring mysteries from Penguin's Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian. This week, I'm hosting three of the authors who have April releases. Today, please join me in welcoming J.J. Cook (sometimes known as Jim and Joyce Lavene) as guest blogger. Cook is launching  Death on Eat Street, the first Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery.

Spotlight Guest Post for Berkley Prime Crime
By Jim Lavene

Writers frequently have what they call AH-HA! moments that are usually followed by a rush of what we hope will be great brainstorms that end up being awesome books.

That being said, it doesn’t always happen.

Many ideas that seem wonderful at 2 a.m. when they wake you, are lackluster in the cold light of morning (after coffee). The plot isn’t workable, or the characters that sounded good, aren’t. You might walk around in a fog all day trying to make the pieces fit.

Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.

With our new Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mysteries, it was one of those moments that worked out as well as we hoped it would. I say we because my wife and I write together. You don’t even want to know what kind of vetting process it takes for both of us to agree on an idea.

Our heroine, Zoe Chase, emerged full of insecurities and fear about her upcoming thirtieth birthday. Passed over for promotion one time too many at the bank where she worked, Zoe decided to do something about it. 

I am happy to admit that the whole, deep-fried-biscuit-bowl idea was mine. No, I never made a biscuit in my life, though I enjoy eating them. My mother knew her way around a biscuit. Maybe she inspired me.

I was actually thinking about doughnuts when the idea came to me. Then I think I was possessed by Zoe, who was experimenting with her creation at the time. We didn’t even own a deep fryer, but I convinced my wife that we needed one.

Zoe is a much better cook that either of us. She spends all her time watching cooking shows, and looking for new ways to make delicious foods. Her cat, Crème Brulee, helps her. This was my wife’s idea—name the cat after food. It worked for me.

We have this one, unbreakable rule when we’re writing together. We never put anything into a story unless we agree on it. It may sound simple, but it’s not. We have been up at all hours trying to work around some problem one of us have with a character or plotline.

Zoe grabbed our hearts right away, and hasn’t let go. It has been a pleasure to get to know this brave young woman as we write about her. Going into business for yourself is hard work. Your family being dead set against you makes it harder. Luckily, there were some friends waiting in the wings for Zoe who could help with her problems.

Working together is always better. My wife and I live it everyday. Zoe, Ollie, Crème Brulee, Uncle Saul, and Delia do too—at least in the pages of the Biscuit Bowl food Truck Mysteries!

Death on Eat Street by J.J. Cook. Berkley. 2014. ISBN 9780425263457 (paperback), 304p.


Mark Baker said...

This series and character certainly do sound like a lot of fun. I hope to get to read it very soon.

Lesa said...

I haven't read it either, Mark. Looking forward to it.

Rosemary said...

I can't imagine writing anything with my husband! But I know there are other very successful writing partnerships (isn't Nicci French one of them?) These books sound great, I love the name of the cat - I'll look out for them.


Joyce Lavene said...

Thanks for having us here, Lesa!

Melissa @ My Recent Favorite Books said...

I enjoy reading books by this writing team!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Joyce! Thank you.

Lesa said...

I enjoy there books, too, Melissa.