While an accomplished USA Today bestselling author, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, HOLT-Medallion Award winner under the name Dianne Castell, we are not going to delve into that world. While attaining all of those titles is meaningful, I don’t really care much about all of Castell’s accolades. It is the world she has created as Duffy Brown that piques my interest.
I have been salivating for Iced Chiffon since she started teasing me and many of her legions of mystery fans since 2011. And let me give the charming and talented Brown a heads up – if you aren’t Taylor Kinney, please don’t even deign to tease me. I am not nice when I am teased. Aaahhh, I mean, it isn’t nice to tease Ms. Morasco.
Darn elves seized my computer while trying to tweet and upload their holiday party photos to Keebler on Instagram and wrote that not so kind sentence about me not being nice. I am afraid of mice. I mean, I am nice. Really. Well I was once upon a time. Hey, don’t you dare think I am like that evil Regina on Once Upon A Time. I’m not. Nope. Not any more.
When it comes to constructing a mystery, Brown is an amazing storyteller. Amazing. Amazing! Oops, I am beginning to channel Britney Spears in her X Factor responses. Come on, folks, we all know she wants to say – “You suck. I’m bored. I am making a ton of money sitting here instead of autosinging my ass off for all of you music pirates out there. And no, I don’t want to get up and shake my booty on stage. Understand Simon? No one wants to buy music anymore. Thanks to all those who are involved in the illegal, illicit and irresponsible music piracy conglomerate. (Okay, she didn’t roll the “I” sentence – Demi did) Anyway, if The X Factor was around when I was a Mouseketeer, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’d be serving shakes at Dollywood or Cracker Barrel. So, my life today is AMAZING!” Yes, I love Brit but I’m calling it like it is.
Brown’s first cozy from Berkley Prime Crime was so delicious I thought it was a buttercream cupcake. I was hoping it was more cupcake-ish but alas it was about a consignment shop. I wasn’t thrilled to know this because I am not one to wear hand me downs. I don’t mind passin’ my apparel along, but I am too much of a spoiled brat to wear other chick’s attire. No matter how much I sage, set ablaze…Errr, I mean, steam. And there isn’t enough Tide or Febreze in the world for me either. Yeah, I have deep-rooted issues – it’s called I am a SPOILED B ___! My gift to you all this holiday season is to fill in the blank, but remember Santa is watching!
I devoured Brown’s cozy debut. No, I didn’t have any buttercream cupcakes nearby. Nope, it was just remarkable storytelling, mayhem and murder…and a Twinkie. What? I was helping Hostess stay afloat. If you did your culinary duty, folks, they still wouldn’t be around. Greedy corporate arses.
The lovely Ms. Brown (Duffy, not the M&M) was gracious enough to do an interview with me…wonder if I can secure a follow-up now just in case she’s doling out holiday cheer in the form of southern comfort and mint juleps.
Thank you, Duffy bunny, for the fun. Everyone else – Happy Holidays and enjoy!
When you’re deeply connected and immersed in a book, Duffy, have you ever had a dream that you felt was not your dream?
After writing all day and feel like I’m coming back to the real world I think: okay what season is it? what month? day? day or night? where the hell am I?
When writing I’m not in Cincinnati but where the setting is and with the characters. I know…call the guys in the white coats, this author is nuts! LOL!
Do your characters dream within you? Have you had a dream that was one of your characters?
No, I don’t dream about my characters but after a day of writing and start dreaming at night…or day…I do it with quotation marks around what they say and put punctuation in the dialogue. Talk about weird dreams!
What do you love most about the cozy genre?
Everything! Love the mystery part…takes a lot of thought to pull off a mystery and have all the clues, characters, red herrings etc fall together and make it fun and make the readers laugh. Love the small town setting, not that it has to be a small town but a setting in a town or city. Like in Stephanie Plum books the setting is the burg…a small setting in New Jersey.
I love the characters and that they can be off the wall and help solve the mystery. I write/read for the humor. Life is serious enough. I want escape! Fun!
Duffy, please share the titles of three cozies on your nightstand?
One for the Money , Stephanie Plum book one. I think it is pure genius. Best cozy ever!
Truly Madly by Heather Webber. Heather makes me laugh and fall in love. An amazing author.
Dead Air by Mary Kennedy Great characters and setting.
Who are some of your favorite mystery writers?
The three above. I’ve read One for the Money so many times the pages are falling out of the book. All the Plum books are good but the first three are magic.
How do you find balance?
There is no balance. My house is trashed, no clean clothes or food in the fridge and the grass needs cutting, no kibble in the cat bowls. Good Lord, where are the cats! When writing/promoting books there is little time for anything but that. And I do work at a consignment shop…how I got the idea for Iced Chiffon, a consignment shop in Savannah…so there is that. I need a clone!
What is the guilty pleasure you find the most scandalous?
Eating peanut butter out of the jar. Crunchy. Can’t keep the stuff in the house or I’d weigh 500 pounds!
What did you learn about yourself while penning Iced Chiffon?
That I really, really love writing mystery! I always have and probably should have been writing mystery all along. I wrote romance for 20 years but the mystery part is more fun to write than sex. There is romance in Iced Chiffon so I still get to do that.
Aaahhh, Duffy, there is mystery sex…I mean, he comes to my door and he doesn’t know if I am Wonder Woman, Casper the Sexy Ghost or a cougar. Oh, wait the last one was younger than me. I was a cougar for a few a…oops, never mind. I mean, I can be a sexy wench. Oh, wait, I don’t mean, Morasco in real life. Oh, I guess, I will pull out my Peggy Bundy. *laughing*
What challenges did you endure while penning Iced Chiffon?
Writing is a challenge. If it were easy to get published everyone would be. LOL This is a job, much more than a 9 to 5 job. It never ends. But I love it. Cannot imagine doing anything else. And the best part of all is meeting the wonderful readers along the way. I cannot tell you how many readers have become good friends. Tons! Love this job!
What did you learn about yourself while inking Killer in Crinolines?
That I could do it a second time. There’s always the fear that you’re a one-book wonder but Killer turned out good. Now off to pen Pearls and Poison.
What fears are you facing with the release of Killer in Crinolines?
It’s done! No more fears there but there’s always the promo part. I hope it sells well and readers like the story! That is always the big fear.
What are you most ambivalent about with Killer in Crinolines?
Nothing. I take each aspect of writing very seriously. I’m a very hands-on person and do all the promo, answer emails, FB etc myself.
What do you want your readers to walk away with after reading your books?
What a fun ride! I write to entertain…a mini vacation to Savannah. I want readers to laugh and say, “Honey, listen to this.” I want someone to ask the laughing reader, “Is it really that funny?”
If you were able to go trick or treating with whomever you want (past or present), who do you pick and what are you talking about and munching on?
I’d love to talk to Michael Connelly. He’s a down to earth author and could tell me a lot on writing a series. He’s been around the block and not a pompous ass. We’d trick or treat, I’d steal all his Snickers and then we’d drink brandy in snifter and smoke cigars. I’d love that!
Thank you so very much, Duffy, for this fun interview.
Thanks for asking me to do the interview, Diane.