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Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.
Shirley, the town’s Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt’s suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.
Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper’s shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.
Gail, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist?
For readers new to the series, Piper Prescott, following her divorce from her ambulance-chasing, skirt-chasing ex-husband, opens her own business, Spice It Up!, a spice shop in the small town of Brandywine Creek, Georgia. Piper’s teenage daughter, Melly, her meddlesome former mother-in-law, and trusty sidekick, Reba Mae Johnson inhabit the pages along with hunky Chief of Police Wyatt McBride. McBride is no fan of Piper’s when it comes to the amateur sleuth bent on crime solving but, even so, the two have formed a friendship of sorts.
How much do you and Piper have in common?
My claim is that Piper is purely a fictional character, but friends have told me they see me when they read the series. I’m flattered, of course, but Piper is much younger and thinner. She’s also much braver and more impulsive than I am. And she doesn’t have to resort to a box of Clairol to hide all the gray. Piper and I would most likely hit it off when we meet at Spice It Up! I’d be impressed with her extensive knowledge of spices and would leave after buying twice as many as I’d originally intended.
Do your characters change and evolve through consecutive books in the series?
Yes, but in subtle ways as do their relationships with other characters.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life—on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
Yes! Actually, I’ve done that. My bad. At a silent auction a good friend of mine bid on being a character in my next book—and won. I introduced her as a character in Cinnamon Toasted, then killed her off in Curried Away. My advice is beware of what you bid on. Good news though, we’re still friends.
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
Brandywine Creek is a fictional small Southern town. I’m originally a Yankee (born and raised in Michigan,) but when we moved to South Carolina nearly fifteen years ago I was instantly smitten by new lifestyle. Brandywine Creek is the composite of several small, charming towns in the area where I live.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
Good question. I believe Amy Adams would make a great Piper Prescott.
And when I think of ruggedly handsome police chief, Wyatt McBride, I picture James Caviezel (most recently the star of the TV show Person of Interest.)
As for the role of Reba Mae Johnson, Piper’s BFF, I’m open for suggestion but definitely would cast a Geena Davis type.
What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
“If I can do it, anyone can” is simultaneously the best and the worst bit of advice. While we all are gifted with certain God-given talents, these talents/skills are all different. Strengths and weaknesses can vary within each individual. For example, some people are better writers than they are storytellers. Others are better storytellers but labor when it comes to putting the stories in their heads down on paper. I think we need to be honest with ourselves yet at the same time follow our passions. Just my opinion.
About The Author
Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL. In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look. Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s. When she isn’t reading, writing, or sleeping, she can usually be found on the golf course or hanging out with friends.
Keep up with Gail on her blog, Facebook, and Goodreads.