Character Interview: Carol Sabala from Murder, Honey

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Today we have a character interview with Carol Sabala, the protagonist of MURDER, HONEY,  by Vinnie Hansen.

When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.


 

Q. Carol, thanks for coming by! Tell us a little bit about yourself–both something we learn from Murder, Honey and something that readers might not guess? 

A. My name is Carol Sabala. Readers know that I’m Mexican-American, but other characters often fail to recognize this. Apparently, I received all my mother’s Anglo genes! My surname, a corruption of the common Mexican name Zavala, doesn’t help.

Since my father disappeared when I was a baby, my desire to claim my full-identity underpins my decisions and arcs through the Carol Sabala Mystery Series.

Readers don’t know that for a sleuth I have a lot of phobias, including arachnophobia. Fortunately, I don’t encounter spiders in the series, although I do have a brush with a couple of scorpions in Black Beans & Venom.

Q. Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?

A. My best friend is Suzanne, the garde manger at Archibald’s, the fancy restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, where I have my part-time job as a baker. Suzanne is a cream puff of a woman, sweet and easy-going, a balance to my personality. In Rotten Dates, Suzanne is the first person officially to hire me to investigate a murder. My buddy, though, meets the love of her life, and by book four, Squeezed & Juiced, she’s moved to Kuwait.

Q.  Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why? 

A. Hoo boy, I have conflicts with just about everybody. I love my mother, but I was a late-in-life baby. Sometimes Mom seems more like a grandmother. My head feels like it will explode from her maxims. We’re both independent and blunt, our similarity making it hard for us to connect.

Eldon, the kitchen manager at Archibald’s, is basically a good guy, but he drives me crazy. He runs the kitchen efficiently, but he’s a born bureaucrat who never shuts up. When I finally become a part-time private investigator, my other boss, J.J. Sloan, is an overbearing, arrogant alcoholic. And don’t even get me started on my love interests or the actual bad guys.

Q. Just between you and me: What do you really think of author Vinnie Hansen?

A. Hansen, the author, gets on my nerves, always reining me in. Frankly, if it weren’t for her, I’d swear even more than I do, and I’d kick some serious ass. But she keeps buffing my raw edges, so cozy readers might accept me. She should embrace that I have more in common with Kinsey Milhone and Stephanie Plum than with Miss Marple. Maybe she could use that energy to create me a mate. Think young Johnny Depp.

Q. What’s next for you? 

A. Cough up my secrets? You gotta be kidding! Did you bring a gun, because I’m armed with my Colt.


Carol Sabala is the creation of author Vinnie Hansen. You can read all about Carol’s adventures in Murder, Honey, one of the books in Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries, a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.

Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

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About the Author: Vinnie Hansen fled the South Dakota prairie for the California coast the day after high school graduation.

Vinnie Hansen - Copy

A reading addict since childhood, Vinnie is now the author of the Carol Sabala mysteries. The seventh installment in the series, Black Beans & Venom, was a finalist for the Claymore Award. She’s also written many published short stories including Novel Solution in the anthology, Fish or Cut Bait, and Bad Connection, the 2015 winner of the Golden Donut Award. Still sane after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired and lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and the requisite cat.

 


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