Today, it's time to get lost with Agatha award nominee Krista Davis, who writes the Berkley Prime Crime Domestic Diva Mystery Series.
Donnell: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Krista: I wouldn't categorize Humphrey as a hero - maybe he will be someday! He had an overwhelming crush on my protagonist, Sophie Winston, when they were in grade school. She barely noticed him. In THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, Sophie's mother invites him to Thanksgiving dinner as a surprise. Humphrey means well, but he's socially inept. All he wants is to find someone to love, but he's always looking for love in the wrong places. I never meant for him to become a regular, but his awkwardness became endearing, and he grew on Sophie and me.
Krista: Fromage Affinois Poivre. It's rich and creamy with a zing of peppercorn. I don't dare indulge too often!
Donnell: Tea or coffee?
Krista: Definitely tea! My favorite is Newman's Own Organic Black tea, hot, with skim milk and sugar. In the summer, I take it straight -- iced, plain, no sugar or lemon, though I do like to make iced tea out of two bags of black tea and one bag of raspberry tea for a little fruity flavor.
Donnell: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Krista: Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and I'm having my annual party with house guests for the weekend, so the fridge is full. New Year's Eve dinner will be fondue, so there's Gruyere and beef, mushrooms, and red peppers. We're in the south, which means we'll be eating black-eyed peas in a vinaigrette, spinach, and ham on New Year's Day for luck. I had a Christmas cookie recipe contest in December and froze lots of cookies so I could serve them on New Year's weekend, including the fabulous Quadruple Chocolate Chip cookies. I'm always experimenting with recipes for my books and trying them out on my poor friends, so there's also a cheesecake that I'm planning to flambé.
When I don't have guests, the fridge is usually stocked with more mundane things, like lots of celery (my big snack food), black olives, sweet potatoes (for my dogs), Asian pears, and chicken.
Donnell: Is Elvis really dead?
Krista: He'll never be dead.
Donnell: What does it mean to love someone?
Donnell: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Krista: I walk away from the computer and undertake some neglected household project. That usually lifts the fog, and I'm able to work through my problem. Of course, there's a down side because I leave a mess behind when I run back to the computer in the middle of cleaning a closet or working in the garden.
Donnell: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Krista: I'm not sure this is a quirk, but I was surprised to learn it about myself. I *have* to know who the murderer is and exactly how and why he/she committed the murder before I start writing. I run away shrieking at the thought of outlining, but I have to know about my killer before I can start.
Donnell: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Krista: I was certain I would be brave and learn from critical reviews. Unfortunately, while I so appreciate the lovely things reviewers say (and there have been some wonderful reviews), it's the harsh words that ring in my head over and over again. One complaint in particular stuck with me, and before I knew it, I was changing characters and plots to overcome that criticism, even though I didn't agree with it. I mentioned it to my editor (a very wise woman), who asked, "Are you writing your books for that one person?" Her question hit home. Of course I wasn't writing for one person, and certainly not that one! I adopted a line from Sara Lee -- everybody doesn't like something. It's so true. I don't like all books. It would be unreasonable to expect everyone to like my books. However, now that I know how easily I'm influenced, I have become cautious about reading negative reviews.
Krista: As you might imagine, mystery authors research ways to murder people. So there I was, innocently researching arsenic, when I found a study analyzing the amount of arsenic found in grocery store chicken. Turns out we allow chicken farmers to add arsenic to chicken feed! Who knew?
Donnell: What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?
Krista: Clean house. Ugh.
Donnell: Dog person or cat person?
Krista: Both! I'm a total pushover for anything with fur. I could easily become the little old lady with a houseful of rescued cats and dogs.
Donnell: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?
Krista: French is so melodious, how could I not love it? I'm big on German, though. Many of my relatives live in Germany, and I've spent wonderful vacations there.
Donnell: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?
Krista: I would love to see Egypt in the 1930s and 40s, when Agatha Christie traveled there. Such fascinating and adventurous people toured on steamers, like in DEATH ON THE NILE. How exotic!
Krista: More than I have! LOL! I think money makes life easier and makes us feel more secure, but I don't think it necessarily leads to happiness. Plenty of people with modest amounts of money are happier than the incredibly wealthy.
Donnell: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Krista: Dog and cat rescue. I suppose that's not a profession, but if there were no other considerations, that's what I would love to do.
Krista Davis writes the Domestic Diva Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Her first book, THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, was nominated for an Agatha award. Her most recent release is the fourth book in the series, THE DIVA COOKS A GOOSE. Krista now lives in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, but her mysteries are set in quaint, historical Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.
Learn more about Krista's books by visiting her website http://kristadavis.com/ or pay a visit to Mystery Lover's Kitchen, where mystery writers cook up crime . . . and recipes! http://mysteryloverskitchen.com/
Also, one lucky commenter today will receive The Diva Cooks a Goose!
KRISTA'S QUESTION FOR READERS: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PROTAGONIST IN THE DOMESTIC DIVA SERIES?
Thanks for joining us, Krista. Join us tomorrow, Friday, December 31st as the Get Lost Crew's own Angi Morgan explains "How to Claim 2011 as our Own."