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Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .
Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Sofia, California. That is, until the thirty-six-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Solis, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .
But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car. Even more devastating, the prime suspect is Olaya Solis herself. Doubting the woman could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove her innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!
Q: Winnie, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist?
A: Ivy Culpepper is a 36 year old woman who has returned home to Santa Sofia, California (from Austin, Texas) after losing her mother six months earlier. She is a little bit lost and ends up finding Olaya Solis and Penelope Branford, two women (one a feisty octogenarian) who become her family. Her brother and father, her best friend from school, and her former boyfriend, Miguel, round out the cast of characters. Ivy is confident, if a little lost, and isn’t going to let anything get in the way of what’s best for her.
Oh, and Agatha, her little fawn pug, is the current love of her life!
Q: How much of you is in Ivy? What would you think about her if you met her in real life?
A: I know I would love Ivy! I think all my protagonists are a bit autobiographical, but they also have traits that I wish I had.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: Oh, definitely! If the characters were stagnant, I think the series would be boring. Kneaded to Death is the beginning of Ivy’s life in Santa Sofia. We get to see some of what came before through her flashbacks, but moving forward, she will grow and change and have life experiences, all of which will impact how and why she gets involved in the mysteries in her town.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: Ha! There are some characters that have been influenced by real life people. I think that’s all I can say. And I can’t name names.
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: Both of my main series (Magical Dressmaking mysteries, and this one, the Bread Shop mysteries) take place in fictional towns. They are modeled after real places, but only loosely. That makes it easy to make the towns what I want them to be.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: Emma Stone is a bit of an inspiration for Ivy Culpepper, so I’d want her, although her award-winning status might prevent her from taking the role. Miguel is a little tougher. He’s a bit of a blend between Enrique Iglesias and (a younger) Jeffry Dean Morgan. Penelope would be Betty White and Olaya would be Rita Moreno.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: My husband never doubted my ability and wouldn’t let me quit, even when I wanted to give up. He always encouraged me to stick to my dream. I did and Kneaded to Death is my 13th book!
Worst advice? In the early days, I was encouraged to go with an agent from a big agency purely because she was more of a powerhouse. There was also an agent from a small, independent company who loved my writing and books, but I went with the advice I’d gotten and went with the big guys. I can’t say I regret it; I’m in a great place with my writing career, after all. But I do wonder how things might have played out if I’d gone with the person who truly loved my work verses the one who saw it as marketable but wasn’t really invested in it. I was a little fish in a huge ocean and it might have been nice to be a big fish in a little pond.
About The Author
The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day, and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.
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Winnie Archer is the pseudonym for national bestselling author Melissa Bourbon. Learn more at http://melissabourbon.com.