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Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.
Q: Kelsey, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
A: First of all, there’s the whole marriage thing. Everyone assumes that since I’m a wedding planner, I secretly want to get married. But really, that’s like saying you secretly want to be an elephant because you work at the zoo. No, I chose wedding planning as my career because I’m organized and resourceful and I love a good party. Plus, it is pretty fun getting to be there on one of the biggest days of people’s lives.
I really do love my job, and I love traveling to different places. Take San Miguel de Allende, for example. It’s a really magical place, with cobblestone streets and a three-hundred-year-old gothic church sitting on the town plaza. A lot of artists live there, and most people who go there end up falling in love with it. If I ever do get married, I could see doing it in San Miguel. Or in a Tuscan villa. Or on a private beach on some faraway island… Actually, the expectations would be so high that I’d probably just elope.
Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?
A: Brody Marx. He’s an amazing wedding photographer, so I always recommend him to my clients—which works out pretty well because I love it when he gets to come along with me on a wedding. There’s nothing romantic between us, because I’m not his type. In fact, I’m off by a whole Y chromosome. But he’s a good guy to have on your side when you’re trying to juggle wedding planning and fighting crime. I always have to bite my tongue in front of clients, but when it’s just the two of us, I can say whatever I’m thinking and he doesn’t judge. Well, maybe a little. But we have fun.
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?
A: I had a hard time with the mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy. I can get along with anyone, and I’m used to demanding clients, but she must have thought I had magical powers, because she fully expected me to fix everything that went wrong, even though I’m pretty sure investigating a murder wasn’t part of my contract. I did it though, because I hate saying no to my clients. After all, my whole business is built on referrals, so I do whatever it takes to make them happy. That’s something I should probably work on.
Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Marla Cooper?
A: We have a lot of fun together! She and I share a similar sense of humor, and she loves it when Brody and I get going. I catch her eavesdropping on us all the time and sometimes we say things that make her laugh out loud. She also doesn’t mind when I’m cranky from having to bite my tongue around my clients all day long. Sassy chicks unite!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m planning a wedding in the California wine country. It’s a little awkward, because my clients were using a rival wedding planner, then they fired her and hired me. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, though. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
About The Author
As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
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