Thursday, August 25, 2022

Author Interview & $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway ~ TWO PARTS SUGAR, ONE PART MURDER by Valerie Burns

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery, #1)
by: Valerie Burns
Series: Baker Street Mystery
Genre: African American Cozy Culinary Mystery
Release Date: August 30, 2022
Publisher: Kensington Cozies

In a brand-new culinary cozy series with a fresh edge and a delightful small-town setting, the acclaimed author introduces Maddy Montgomery, a social media expert who’s #StartingOver in small town Michigan after inheriting her great-aunt’s bakery…and a 200-pound English Mastiff named Baby.

When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great Aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 200-pound English Mastiff named Baby.

Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka The Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .

Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.

Hi Valerie. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I’m well. Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m thrilled to be here.

I’m excited to have you here. You are a new to me author. Could you please tell me about yourself?
Sure thing. Well, I guess the first thing readers will want to know is that I love mysteries. I got hooked on mysteries, particularly cozy mysteries, at a young age. So, I both read and write mysteries. As V. M. Burns, I’ve written three other mystery series, The Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, RJ Franklin Mystery series, and Dog Club Mystery series. I’m also a dog lover. I live with two toy poodles, Chloe and Kensington (Kenzie). Readers will find a dog lurking somewhere in my books. Although I was born and raised in Northwestern Indiana, I’ve also lived in Southwestern Michigan. Now, I live in the much warmer Southeastern United States, where everything shuts down when we get a dusting of snow.

Please tell me about your A Baker Street Mystery series and what readers can expect from it.
A Baker Street Mystery series is a culinary cozy mystery that is set in the fictional town of New Bison, Michigan. It features a young fashionista and social media influencer, Madison Montgomery, who is jilted at her live-streamed wedding. While looking for a place to hideout, she learns she’s inherited a home, a bakery, and a large 250 lb English mastiff from her great aunt Octavia. There’s just one catch. Maddy can’t sell. She has to move to New Bison, stay in the house, and keep Baby (a dog the size of a small pony) for one year in order to inherit. The only problem is, that Maddy’s never owned a home. She can’t cook. And, she’s never even kept a goldfish alive. This culinary cozy mystery includes recipes from Babycakes Bakery and follows Maddy as she adapts to life in a small town, learns to trust her instincts, learns to cook, and solves mysteries.

Tell me about some of the characters readers will be introduced to in Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, and the Baker Street Mystery series.
  • Maddy Montgomery is the only child of a navy admiral. With a love of clothes and shoes, Maddy turned to social media to get the attention she never got from The Admiral. She’s smart and with her social media skills, love of mysteries, and her Great Aunt Octavia’s recipes, there’s nothing she can’t do.
  • Hannah Portman was Great Aunt Octavia’s oldest and closest friend. In the early stages of dementia, she works in the bakery and helps solve mysteries when she’s able.
  • April Johnson is the town beauty, but don’t let her good looks fool you. She is also the sheriff.
  • Leroy Danielson works in the bakery and has been nursing a crush on Sheriff Johnson.
  • Tyler Lawrence is a business owner and master of yarn craft.
  • Michael Portman is Hannah Portman’s grandson. He’s an army veteran and the local veterinarian. Despite having served in the wrong branch of the military, he and Maddy share a lot in common.

They sound like a great cast of characters. Can you give me a preview of one of your favorite scenes from Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, and why is it a favorite?
One of my favorite scenes is when Maddy Montgomery meets Baby, the 250 lb English mastiff she’s inherited from her aunt. Maddy is shocked at meeting the massive dog. Until Baby, she’s never even been able to care for a goldfish. However, despite her reservations, she and Baby hit it off. In fact, they bond quickly and are able to provide just what the other needs.

I think that’s my favorite scene because of my love of dogs. Pets provide love, comfort, and support. And some pets can even provide protection. I love writing about someone just experiencing this for the first time.

When it comes to writing your stories do you begin writing already knowing who the killer is and why they killed or is it a surprise for you?
When I start writing, I usually start with an idea of who the killer is because my editor likes to have a synopsis. However, the real killer is usually only determined when I get to the end of the book. Often, the person I thought was the killer at the beginning, turns out to be innocent.

That’s really interesting. Thank you so much for your time, Valerie.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and for allowing me to talk about my book.

You’re welcome.

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Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles.

Places to find Valerie Burns:

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  1. I enjoyed reading the interview and getting to know you a bit, Valerie, Two Parts Sugar and One Part Murder sounds like a mystery that I will really enjoy!

    Thanks for sharing it with me and have a fabulous day!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Stormy Vixen. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Maureen’s bloglovin link doesn’t work! I tried finding her but the last name wasn’t on there either. Congrats! & this sounds like an amazing book! Thanks for sharing & ty for the chance!


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