Today, I’m delighted to welcome back fellow Darkstroke author, Jessica Thompson, to talk about the themes of her latest novel, released only last week. I can’t wait to read it and have bumped it up to the top of my TBR pile!
Thanks so much for having me, Jo!
The theme I had in mind as I wrote A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide is not all that deep, and definitely not well-hidden, but it’s a good lesson for everyone. The theme I went with was what I consider the best way to live life, that is, to have a plan and work towards it, then to listen to your instincts and roll with the punches.
Violet is hyper-organized. She has a detailed plan, lists, goals, and is a bit neurotic about the details. This has served her well in her work as a caterer, but the problem is that she can’t seem to deviate from the plan. She is pernickety and a bit of a clean freak and perfectionist, so she gets mentally stuck when her plans goes off the rails.
Now, I could have gone into that and made her problem a bit deeper, needing serious counseling and perhaps anxiety meds, but that wouldn’t fit in with the cozy mystery genre. We gotta keep it light. Instead she CAN roll with the punches (as she did in the climax of the first book, A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder,) but she doesn’t want to deviate from her plans and needs some practice in pushing through how stuck she feels when confronted with a snag.
Her plans have gotten her to this point, prepped and ready for a week of feeding a group in a cabin in the mountains, but now that everyone is snowed in and there has been a murder, her plan has gone out the window. She increasingly tries for more and more control over the situation, but as she tightens her grip, more slips between her fingers. It’s causing tension with her husband as they are trying to conceive, it’s causing her to confront the wrong people in her search for the killer, and she believes it is her fault that the investigation just keeps going in circles.
The theme is also exemplified by the bad guy. Our bad guy came on this trip, saw an opportunity, and formulated a plan. At every step they are working towards that plan, even long after they should have adapted to the situation and abandoned their plan. If they had rolled with the punches, they may have even gotten away with it!
Luckily, Violet learns the lesson that she needs to trust her instincts because, as Jake puts it, she has “done the research and knows what she’s doing.” She gets a final nudge past the snag in her plan from an unlikely source, and is able to finally fix things the right way. Thus, the good guy learns the lesson and the bad guy doesn’t, and that makes all the difference between who wins and who loses.
I love endings like that, don’t you?
Deck the halls…with a personal chef, a snowed-in lodge, and a sprinkling of murder!
“Watch the knives!”
While acting as personal chef for a friend’s mountain retreat, Violet and her husband, Jake, must set aside their stress over infertility and create a magical and delicious holiday – until tragedy crashes the party.
Being snowed in and unreachable from town, Violet and Jake end up hired for a different kind of job – finding out which of the guests committed murder and why they’re trying to frame their hostess.
Violet must find a balance between following her gut and keeping it all under control until the police can reach them, while still managing the kitchen. But can she sniff out the killer before anyone else bites the big one?
A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide will give you a culinary holiday you won’t forget!
About the Author:
When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.
Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling culinary cozy mystery, “A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and will be publishing her second book of the series, “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide,” on October 19, 2021. She is active in her local writing community and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Storymakers Guild. She received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries.
As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection. She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.
Jessica is originally from California, but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle. She enjoys living in the suburbs with her husband and young children, but also enjoys helping her parents with their nearby longhorn cattle ranch.
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