Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Interview with Ann Everett - author of Laid Out and Candle Lit

Ann, thank you so much for agreeing to do an interview for The Edible Bookshelf. I've had the privilege of reading an advance copy of Ann's second book, so I know her writing is funny and her characters are memorable, but I wanted to know more about Ann, her books, and her writing. Read on to find out more!

1) What was the inspiration for Tizzy, a southern girl who talks to the dead? That's a good question! 

Of course she had to be southern. She had to be sassy. She had to be pretty. But, I also wanted her to be a little odd, a good mother, sister, daughter, and friend. It was important she be close to her family...because I'm close to mine, so that part of the story came natural. In addition, I wanted to show that despite her sassy attitude, she's unsure of herself, especially when it comes to men. Her name came from a doll I bought my daughter when she was a little girl. Also, there was a tv show on many years ago with a character with that name and I loved it.

2) I know you live in Texas. How much of Tizzy's hometown comes from actual observations? 

I'd say all of it. Since the story takes place in the real life town of Brownsboro, which just happens to be my hometown. It really is the way I describe it in the book, just one main street, one caution light and one red light. Ridge pretty much nails it from a stranger's point of view. He describes it as dismal. But, for me, when I was growing up there, I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to live anywhere else.

3) I have to know more about the interesting names in your book, like Pattiecake and Sugarpie. Did you have specific reasons for giving some characters unusual names and others more common names like Rayann? 

Nicknames are HUGE in Texas. I only have one uncle who actually goes by his given name, the rest of them go by nicknames. Pattiecake and Sugarpie are actual people in my family. I wanted to include them in the book, so I thought what could be more appropriate than having a Pattiecake and a Sugarpie owning a bakery. As for Rayann, that's kinda a typical thing in Texas, as well, to combine a man and girl's name...Rayann, Jimnell, Bobbie Sue, etc. It was just another aspect of Texas I wanted to show.

4) Tizzy's special ability doesn't seem to take the regular "I see dead people" track. How did you decide how Tizzy would interact with the dead? 

I didn't want the book to be paranormal, so talking to dead people is just a small part of the story. However, I did give it more attention in the second book. I wanted for it to be more of a quirky part of Tizzy. Just a little something to set her apart from the cast of characters.

5) You are a very funny writer, but you also write a very good mystery. If you had to categorize your writing as only one or the other, which one would you pick? 

Thank you. I pick humor. My publisher picks mystery. I think because humor isn't a big category and mystery is. Many times on some sites, there isn't a category for humor, so by choosing mystery, my book can be listed on most sites.

6) I think anyone who reads your work will guess that you are a Janet Evanovich fan, but what other authors are you inspired by? 

I do like Janet Evanovich and I love Jennifer Crusie. They have very different styles and I think my writing is a combination of both. I have over the top characters like Janet, but more serious content like Jennifer.

7) Do you have any interesting rituals or unusual tricks when you write? 

Really I don't. I have to have complete quiet. I don't even play music when I write. I do play it at other times for inspiration, but turn it off when I sit down at the computer. However, I have been thinking I might start wearing a crown when I write! Maybe it would give me more confidence!

8) The sequel to Laid Out and Candle Lit is coming out this year from Briona Glen Publishing. Can you tell us more about the sequel and any other projects you are working on? 

In the sequel, You're Busting My Nuptials, it takes up kinda where Laid Out and Candle Lit, left off. Of course, you don't need to have read the first book in order to read the second one. I've tried to write it as a stand alone book. Naturally, you'd be more familiar with the characters if you'd read the first one, but hopefully, I describe them well enough, and give enough back story in the second book the reader won't feel lost.
In YBMN, I've raised the humor level quite a bit. More over the top characters and hopefully more laugh-out-loud moments.
There will be a third installment of the Tizzy/Ridge series, but not for a while.
Pattiecake and Sugarpie are working on a cookbook which will be published next. "Sweet Thangs" will be filled with cakes, cookies, pies, and all things sweet. Each recipe included in the cookbook is a recipe the ladies have served over the years...and many at "Sweet Thangs Bakery" in the books.