Please welcome Krista Davis, author of the Domestic Diva series (and a forthcoming series–see below!).
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
We lost electricity over the summer, so I fear my answer will be skewed by that. Working electricity and heat or air conditioning, Internet connection up and functioning, all my loved ones, furry and not so furry, being healthy and happy. A truly perfect day would include a great meal with family and friends.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I see Diane’s hand in this question! For the longest time I wore Opium, but it’s not right for me anymore. I’m a woman in search of a new fragrance. I cycle through favorite colors, but a look in my closet would cause anyone to say I wear mostly black — that slimming thing, you know. I really love bright colors. And while it’s hardly a signature thing, I always wear earrings, even if I’m not wearing makeup. A person has to have some standards, right?
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
I had the great good fortune to grow up in a town with a teaching college, which meant we had some terrific teachers and student teachers. Olivia Mantz was my fifth grade teacher and my seventh grade teacher. She stands out because she allowed us so much creativity. I recall writing plays based on history. Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony come to mind. We directed and performed them. I imagine they were horrible, but Mrs. Mantz was wonderful and encouraging.
Does a high school count as a person? I suspect that Miss Boyle, Philip Spear, Ted Bruning, and William Holloman would be blown away to learn that I’m published, not to mention that my name has crept onto the New York Times bestseller list. I had a big interest in writing during my high school years and the school accommodated me by creating independent studies for me like “Great American Women Authors.”
Finally, but not least, I have to say my editor, Sandra Harding. And no, I’m not kissing up to her. With each book, I learn more from her. She laughingly calls me Twisty Kristy because of my penchant for complicated plots. But hey, isn’t that what mysteries are all about?
Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I prefer quiet so I can concentrate.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
This is tricky. If *I* were chocolate, I would be a Teuscher champagne truffle. I have two series now, so I’ll answer for both of my latest books, neither of which has been released yet.
The Diva Frosts a Cupcake would have to be a dark chocolate covered caramel with pink salt on top. Have you tried them yet? To die for! Sweet and chewy inside, with a lovely counterbalance of bittersweet chocolate and just a hint of that unexpected salt.
My new series doesn’t have a series name yet, and we haven’t settled on a title, either. I’m calling it The Trouble with Dogs but the publisher may change that. The chocolate would be dog-shaped, of course. There’s a German Oma (grandmother) in the book, so maybe a Lindt chocolate (okay, so that’s Swiss, and it troubles me that I know that without checking) with a surprise yummy raspberry liquor inside.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I love cupcakes and am thrilled to see their resurgence. They’re fun and a little bit indulgent. I’m also completely gaga over dogs and cats, so that led to the idea of my characters having a fundraiser for homeless animals called Pupcakes and Cupcakes in the book. Cupcakes, dogs, and cats–all such fun!
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I try to vary them so I won’t be repeating the same old thing all the time. I think the flaws in all of us are interesting. Someone can be a killer, yet love his children and might kill to protect them. Or someone who benefits from the fruits of crime might also have very high standards about etiquette. People are fascinating. Everyone has secrets. I can’t tell you how often (in real life) someone has told me that a person has the perfect life. I always think that’s only how it looks on the outside. Every time that happens, a month or two later we hear about a divorce or an affair or something equally awful. No one’s life is perfect.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Sophie had a very typical, happy youth. She’s competent, but not a fighter. Her childhood friend, Natasha, had a more difficult time. Her father abandoned the family when she was quite young, which drove her perfectionism. She always competed with Sophie, who isn’t easy to bait but will rise to the occasion. Sophie picks her battles, though.
In my new series, Holly’s parents divorced and went on to have other families. She spent her summers at the Sugar Maple Inn in the mountains with her grandmother. Even though she hasn’t lived there since she was about eight, it represents home to her.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
I think Sophie has that Valerie Bertinelli girl/woman-next-door niceness. She’s a little bit Ina Garten, warm and welcoming and not too fussy. And I think her snoopiness is sort of like Samatha from Bewitched, always trying to fix problems, except without the magic!
Holly is independent and earnest like Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show with the spunkiness of a Christina Applegate. Her love life is a mess like Bridget Jones.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Unfair question! If I mention one of my writing friends and omit someone else I’ll be in very big trouble! How about a huge table with all my writing buddies, including all the Mysteristas?
Writers, huh? I always thought I would invite the two “Dollys.” Dolly Parton and the Dalai Lama. Both fascinating people with wonderful humor.
Definitely Agatha Christie. Dinner will be served on a boat moored on the Nile, probably at Luxor. Cocktails, of course. Giant shrimp as an appetizer. Beef Wellington, asparagus, creamy mashed potatoes, and an exotic salad with mangos in it. Dessert would have to be champagne and triple chocolate mousse torte.
Oh, yes, the other guests. I’m going to make an exception for Mark Twain, because he’s hilarious and must be fun. Lillian Jackson Braun because I loved Qwill, Koko, and Yum Yum. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though I suspect he might be a bit intimidating. Daphne du Maurier–Rebecca, need I say more? And my only living guest, Mary Higgins Clark, because I love her books, and I bet she’s a lot of fun at a party.
What’s next for you?
I’m starting the next Domestic Diva Mystery which will take place at the time of year every domestic diva waits for–Christmas! The book involves a cookie swap, so I’m asking people to send me their favorite Christmas cookie recipes. The winning recipes will be included in the book! I’ll be baking the submissions and they’ll be judged by a impartial group of my family and friends. Preference will be given to recipes handed down in families. To enter, just send your recipe to Krista at KristaDavis dot com. If your recipe is from a cookbook, please send along the title of the book and the name of the author. If it’s from a website, please provide the link. This is your chance to see your name in a book.
I also have my new series debuting at this time next year. Seems like it’s far away, but there’s a lot to do with a new series on the horizon.
Thanks to the Mysteristas for inviting me. I love your entertaining questions!
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Krista Davis is the NYTs bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries (The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, The Diva Takes the Cake, The Diva Paints the Town, The Diva Cooks a Goose, The Diva Haunts the House, The Diva Digs up Dirt). She suffered greatly baking and tasting cupcakes for the 7th book in the series, The Diva Frosts a Cupcake, which will be released on June 4th. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme and The Diva Haunts the House were nominated for Agatha awards. Her new series will debut next year on December 3rd. Visit Krista at kristadavis.com, on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/KristaDavisAuthor and at Pinterest pinterest.com/kristadavisdiva/. She blogs at mysteryloverskitchen.com and killercharacters.com.