A New Spice Shop Mystery and Interview from Gail Oust: Ginger Snapped

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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.


Interview

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

gail-oust

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.


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New Spice Shop Mystery and #Giveaway: Curried Away by Gail Oust

>>>Enter to Win a Mini Gift Box of Penzey Spices<<<
Piper Prescott, proprietor of Spice It Up!, has persuaded Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been dating, to demonstrate Indian cuisine at her shop. But before Doug’s presentation of classic chicken curry is completed, Ned Feeney, local handyman, bursts in with news of a murder.

curried-away-cover

Sandy Granger, the director of a local production of Steel Magnolias, was found strangled in the third-floor balcony of the Brandywine Creek Opera House. Sandy, it seems, had not endeared herself to cast or crew. Complaints about her ran the gamut from her management style to her lack of people skills. Everyone connected with the production falls under suspicion, including Piper Prescott’s BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who made it well known how unhappy she is that she was cut from the cast.

When the spotlight for the dastardly deed shines on Reba Mae, Piper rushes to her friend’s defense. Who among Sandy’s detractors was angry enough to wrap a silk scarf around her neck—and pull tight? Will Piper succeed in solving the case before she becomes the killer’s encore performance? And will she ever learn just how to prepare the perfect curry? As delicious as it is charming, the latest entry in Gail Oust’s mouth-watering Spice Shop Mysteries is sure to delight both old fans and new.


Q: Reba, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Tell us a little bit about yourself—maybe something that readers might not guess.

RMJ: Hey, y’all. I’m Reba Mae Johnson, Piper Prescott’s BFF. After my husband Butch drowned during a fishin’ tournament—some say too much beer, not enough bass, but no matter, dead is dead—leavin’ me to raise twin boys, I reinvented myself. I’m the proud owner of the Klassy Kut, the best little beauty shop in Brandywine County. But what most folks don’t know is that I’m more than a pretty face. I’ve actually got a darn good head on my shoulders when it comes to business. Stay tuned. I’ve been savin’ up nickels and dimes to expand my horizons. I haven’t even breathed a word of my plans yet to Piper.

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

RMJ: Like I said, Piper and I are besties and have been ever since when she moved into the house next door years ago. Both of us were new moms back then so we bonded over diaper rash and soap operas. Even after Piper moved to a bigger, grander house and joined the country club, our friendship remained unchanged. Piper’s the same gal she always was—sweet and steadfast. Why, when Butch died and I found myself up to the wazoo in debt, it was Piper who loaned me money for beauty school. She told her then-husband she’d needed the money for a tummy tuck. To this day, I don’t think CJ ever figured out her trim tummy was her own doin’ and not a plastic surgeons.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

RMJ: That’s easy. CJ Prescott, Piper’s ex, tops the list. He dumped my best friend to chase ambulances and a bimbo in a short skirt. Ask me, and I’ll tell you that makes him a fool in my book. CJ’s changed a lot over the years. I suspect he resorts to Clairol Nice ‘n Easy to keep his hair that yellow color. And his teeth are so white, it makes me want to grab my shades. But it’s his holier-than-thou attitude that really gets my goat. I’m usually not the kind to criticize, but you asked the question.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of Gail Oust?

RMJ: She’s a good ol’ gal—for a Yankee. Most of the time she gets things right. She might not have been born in the South, but as she said, she got here as soon as she could.

Q: What’s next for you?

RMJ: What’s next? All kinds of changes comin’ up for me in Gail’s next book, Ginger Snapped, available next December. Keep it on your radar.


About The Author

gail-oust

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.


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