Hello book lovers, welcome back! As usual, today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy!
One Taste Too Many (Book 1) and Two Bites Too Many (Book 2)
A new series, Sarah Blair Mysteries, is a fast-moving, intriguing plot set in the world of food. Readers should probably read the books in order, One Taste Too Many and then Two Bites Too Many. These first two books have the main protagonist, Sarah Blair, trying to defend family members of murder. First her sister is accused, and in the second book her mother.
Sarah would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove, and she seems to be good at being an amateur sleuth. The plot of One Taste Too Many explains how Sarah was married at eighteen and divorced ten years later. She is starting over in Wheaton Alabama and has taken a receptionist job at a local law office, living in a studio apartment with her Siamese cat, RahRah. Her twin sister Emily has also come back to her small hometown to be a culinary guru in a restaurant run by the chef, Marcus, who trained her. Now in a relationship, she decided to be the main chef in his restaurant, Southwind. The twins are direct opposites. Emily is ambitious, a free spirit, and a seriously talented chef with great people skills, while Sarah is insecure and trying to find herself.
Trouble finds the sisters after Sarah’s ex-husband is found dead and Emily is accused of poisoning him. To make matters worse, Sarah’s beloved cat Rah-Rah might not be hers anymore. The cat was rescued during Hurricane Katrina by Sarah’s ex-mother-in-law who wanted her to take Rah-Rah if and when she died. Yet, Sarah is shocked that her ex would will the beloved cat to the woman who broke up her marriage. She is determined to clear her sister’s name and find a way to keep her cat.
In the second book, Two Bites Too Many, Sarah investigates another murder. The president of the town bank has been killed. Her mother Maybelle becomes the prime suspect after she is found with his blood on her and was the last person to see him. Then there is Emily, who has created tension in her relationship with chef Marcus after she takes a job at The Howellian. It is in competition with their proposed upscale restaurant/pub, Southwind as well as Marcus’ catering business. Sarah spends most of this book trying to clear her mother of a murder charge, organizing a town-wide pet-themed fundraising event, and trying to keep her sister from making a major business-related mistake.
Both these great mysteries kept readers guessing until the very end. The many twists and turns confuse readers as to which of the possible suspects is the real killer. The characters are charming and likeable and the added bonus of humorous dialogue enhances the story.
Elise Cooper: Why did you retire as a judge?
Debra H. Goldstein: The first book I wrote had the publicity, ‘judge writes a book.’ I was sitting on the bench when it was published. Right before I did my standard closing the defendant said, ‘I just want you to know no matter how you rule I will still buy your book.’ I went home and decided to follow my passion to write, so I retired.
EC: Did you associate with the main character, Sarah?
DHG: I identify with her being a cook of convenience. Like her, I prefer bringing in take-out, going out for dinner, or using pre-made ingredients. My sister and mother are excellent cooks. While I watched Perry Mason, my sister would be in the kitchen with my mother. Just as with Sarah the kitchen kind of terrifies me.
EC: What about Sarah’s divorce?
DHG: Although I have never been divorced, many of my friends and family members have, so I wanted to write about a woman’s vulnerability.
EC: How would you describe Sarah?
DHG: Because of being divorced she does not know what she wants to do. In the second book, she is taking more control over her life. I think she has been shattered and is insecure.
EC: How would describe her twin Emily?
DHG: She and Sarah have personalities that are day and night. She is very confident and knows exactly what she wants. She can be stubborn, is a planner, and someone everybody wants to socialize with.
EC: Why twins?
DHG: I am the mother of fraternal twins. My son is the party animal and my daughter is the academic. I went to schools like Stanford and Harvard, while my husband went to party schools.
EC: How would you describe the mother, Maybelle?
DHG: A typical Southern lady. I have based her a bit on my mother who is a Holocaust survivor. She takes nothing from anybody. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and to believe we can do anything. Some of Maybelle’s personality also comes from my Southern friends who can be charming and behave like those in “Steel Magnolias.”
EC: How would you describe the cat Rah-Rah?
DHG: Because I never grew up with cats I relied on my friend that has Siamese cats. She talked to me how they behaved and what are their nuisances. Her cat is on the cover of my book. I wrote Rah-Rah as very controlling and an alpha-male.
EC: Book 2 has a dog, Fluffy?
DHG: I grew up with dogs so I wanted to add a dog to balance Rah-Rah. He is naïve, subservient, and will become friends with the cat.
EC: Why the Perry Mason references?
DHG: I love him and have had a crush on him since I was a child. In part, I became a lawyer because of the show.
EC: Will Sarah ever be involved in a relationship?
DHG: Harlan Endicott is her boss who is a lawyer. He had done her favors by defending her family. He cares a lot for her and has approached her, but she does not want to cross any lines. I did not want to make him the romantic interest because of the boss/employee relationship. This comes from my time as a litigator of sexual harassment cases. I want readers to understand she is coming out of a bad marriage and right now does not want to be tied down, especially since he emotionally abused her.
EC: How would you describe the neighbor Mr. Rogers?
DHG: I want to say I did not base him or the name of the child’s TV host. He is eccentric and is the person who watches out for the rest of the block. He is loosely based on a neighbor I had after arriving in Alabama as a twenty-four-year-old single. He was seventy-eight and a widow. He would check out all the single female dates and tell us what he thought of them, a fatherly type.
EC: Does the setting play an important role?
DHG: I like writing about small southern towns. I made up the town of Wheaton just fifteen minutes out of Birmingham so there would be a contrast. I wrote it as a composite of small towns with the white church, marvel buildings, and a river. Mainstreet has some shops and businesses, a few blocks away has some gorgeous beautiful homes, and then a few blocks further are smaller homes.
EC: Your next book?
DHG: One of Emily and Sarah’s friends, Jacob, will be accused of a murder. They work together to try to get him off along with his sister.
Three Treats Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) Book Three – available for pre-order NOW!
FROM AMAZON- Book 1.
For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!
Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .
Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
Includes quick and easy recipes!
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x
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