What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Wrongfully Infused (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries Book 11)?
This book is the 11th title in my Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, which is inspired by my own time studying at the famous university and living in the beautiful, historic city of Oxford – as well as my visits to the quaint villages in the surrounding Cotswolds countryside.
I imagined what it would be like to be an Oxford graduate who gives up a high-flying corporate career to open an English tearoom. While she’s serving traditional afternoon teas (with warm, buttery scones and jam & clotted cream!), Gemma also encounters intrigue and murder, and her insider knowledge of the University helps her solve the mysteries. She is also helped (or hindered!) by four nosy Old Biddies from the local village, plus a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli!
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I will read any type of book in any genre – I’m not a genre-specific reader. However, I do gravitate towards crime fiction (although not cozy mysteries, like the ones I write – I tend to read darker, grittier stories!) and my other types of stories are YA dystopian and YA fantasy, especially folkloric or fairytale retellings.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Oh, too many books to list! 😛 I am a “mood” reader and I believe firmly in reading for pleasure, rather than because you “ought” to read something, so although I will put aside lots of books that I want to read, I often don’t pick something up until I’m in the mood for that particular type of book, even if I’ve already purchased it. Right now, I’ve just started “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (purchased 3 years ago!) and I can’t decide yet whether to stick with it.
I’ve also just started a YA fantasy retelling of the Goose Girl fairytale which sounds intriguing (Thorn, by Intisar Khanani). Meanwhile, I also have Suzanne Collin’s latest “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”, which is a sort of prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy, sitting on my Kindle and also Val McDermid’s latest release: “1979” – Val McDermid is one of my favourite authors; she writes brilliant crime thrillers with really atmospheric settings and fascinating characters.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
It’s hard to pick a favourite! But one of the most enjoyable was when the Old Biddies drag the heroine Gemma into a dental clinic and convinces her to help them snoop on the dentist, who is a suspect in the murder case. Of course, things don’t quite go according to plan and all sorts of mayhem ensues, including the Old Biddies accidentally knocking the dentist out with ‘laughing gas’! But all is not lost because they do find a suspicious-looking teapot which could be a murder weapon…
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Readers usually tell me that it’s the quirky, funny, appealing characters in my series that has them coming back for more. They feel like the book characters are old friends and they look forward to reuniting with them and seeing what’s happening next in their lives.
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