Cozy mystery author G.P. Gottlieb joins me today to chat about her new culinary cozy novel, Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery.
G.P. Gottlieb has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator, but she’s happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries. Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery and Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery take place in the spring and summer of 2019 and a third book in the series will center on a murder that occurs during the city of Chicago’s lockdown in May 2020. G.P. Gottlieb has always experimented in the kitchen and created her delicious vegan cookies and cakes in direct opposition to what she learned in courses at Chicago’s French Pastry School. She is host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in a Chicago high-rise that is strikingly similar to the building portrayed in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.
Please tell us about your current release.
Until the release (Feb 16, 2021), I am offering Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery at 30% off the cover price and will also send a free copy of Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery, the first in the series.
I’ve submitted guest posts and essays that will be made public in the weeks before and after the release, and will participate in a few online launch activities (sadly, there won’t be any live events).
What inspired you to write this book?
I love writing and ideas for stories and plots are always swirling around in my head. After I finished writing Battered, I wanted to keep imagining tales about Alene, my protagonist, her best friend Ruthie, the vegan pastry chef, Alene’s father Cal, an ornery, sharp guy in his early 70’s, and Frank, the homicide detective with whom Alene is falling in love. Other characters from Battered also insisted on appearing, like some of Alene’s staff from the Whipped and Sipped Café; sharp-witted Olly, recovering addict Kacey, and cranky old Edith.
Excerpt from Smothered:
It was the third time Alene had to point out waiting customers to Jocelyn and LaTonya, a barista who was slowly working her way through a graduate degree in urban studies. Her intricately braided hair gave her a few additional inches so that she was as tall and striking as Jocelyn. They were usually excellent baristas, but occasionally got too immersed in conversation. All month, Alene had been conferring with Ruthie about how to get employees to be more attentive to customers.
They’d been overwhelmed with pride when the café won both “Healthiest Breakfast,” and “Best Hot Drinks,” in the Lakeview neighborhood newsletter competition. Whipped and Sipped was known for its art exhibitions, story hour and knitting group, and always co-sponsored Pride Parade and Lakeview Arts Fest. Everyone loved Whipped and Sipped, but it could all collapse if Alene wasn’t vigilant.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Crushed, the third (and maybe final) book in the Whipped and Sipped mystery series (The titles are all cooking terms that might also be used in conjunction with murder!)
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was originally a conservatory-trained musician (piano and voice), but always loved writing. After recovering from a scary battle with cancer, I vowed to write a book and get it published – it was only after it got published (August 6, 2019) that I really felt myself to be a writer!
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write for 6-10 hours nearly every day (I take Saturdays off). In addition to working on the next culinary mystery in the Whipped and Sipped Series, I’ve been writing essays and short stories – some to offer as guest blog posts since I don’t have a blog, others to submit to journals. I also occasionally go back to writing lyrics to songs or stories for children. I take breaks through the day, to play a little piano, sing and play guitar, or bake. I bake or cook constantly, because in addition to keeping the family nourished, I love inventing the recipes to include in my culinary mysteries.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I drink copious amounts of herbal tea as I write!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be like Sigrid Lindgren, who wrote Pippi Longstockings, or Laura Lee Hope, who turned out to be a slew of writers that created the Bobbsey Twins series. I also wanted to be like Arthur Rubinstein, who won the International Chopin Piano Competition at age 18 in 1960, and like a singer/guitarist whose record album was one of the few we owned but whose name no one in my family remembers.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
For a long time, I’ve been working on a piece whose working title is “How to become an Unpleasant Character or Murder Victim in my Next Book.” It’s a list of things people have done that annoyed me, like being twenty minutes late for a meeting or backing a grocery cart onto my foot. I might not say anything at the time, but rest assured I will seek revenge!
Thanks for being here today!