I’m pleased to interview author Carolyn Fardig from Indiana about her new release, Southern Double Cross that is currently on blog tour.
Hi, Carolyn. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
I’ve been published since 2015. Random House Alibi published my Java Jive series and my Southern B&B series. I have two series that are self-published, the Lizzie Hart Mysteries and the Ellie Matthews Novels.
Nice. I’ve also been published since 2015, although my first book was self-published earlier.
Tell us a little bit about your books.
I write mysteries, some cozy; some not-so-cozy. Southern Double Cross from the Southern B&B series will be available February 11th. Dead Sprint from the Ellie Matthews series will be available later this spring.
Congratulations on your upcoming releases. I, too, write cozies as well as other types of mysteries.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
This past summer I became a partner in a local coffeehouse, and since then we’ve opened a second location. I’m super busy at the moment doing all things coffee and baking, kind of like Juliet Langley from Java Jive—only I for sure don’t have time to chase murder suspects around town! So, I’ve had to put my writing on the back burner for a while. However, once the new location is up and running smoothly, I’m planning to get back to writing, but part-time. I hope to have the time and energy to create a new series later in the year!
Good luck with that.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I think my cozies and not-so-cozy-cozies would appeal more to a female audience, just because of the romance aspect and the first-person female point of view. However, my Ellie Matthews novels are much darker and heavy on forensics and investigation, which I think would appeal to anyone who likes mysteries.
As a librarian, I know that there is a large audience for mysteries.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Keep writing and keep reading. Stay knowledgeable about how your genre is changing and evolving. Graciously accept and use criticism—both constructive and derogatory. Get a solid team of proofreaders, beta readers, editors, cover artists, and marketers behind you, and don’t be afraid to spend a little money to get the help you need to turn out the best finished product you possibly can.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I simply didn’t know the ins and outs of the industry. Connecting to other authors in Facebook was a huge help to me to learn what I needed to know and to meet people who could help me along the way. You can’t—and shouldn’t—try to go it alone as a new author. It takes a village!
I agree completely. I’ve found the same thing to be true.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
Yes, I’m a member of Midwest Writers Guild, and I also belong to several Facebook groups like Sleuthing Women and Chick Lit Goddesses.
I’m sure you find those helpful.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Coffee, of course! I also enjoy travelling with my family, cooking and baking, running 5ks with my friends, volunteer work, weight training, biking, hiking, and pickleball.
Interesting hobbies, but I’ve never heard of pickleball.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
What I like most is creating characters and letting them interact in my mind. I love it when I have an idea and my characters seem to take over and turn it to a new direction. What I like least is writing synopses and book jacket blurbs. It’s so hard to take 300 pages and condense them into 3 paragraphs! The toughest challenge for me at the moment is finding the time (and the peace and quiet) to write.
I feel the same way about creating characters who take over the story and also have
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
I like that the characters are real people like me thrust into extraordinary situations. If something like that happened to me in real life, I think I’d be running for the hills rather than diving into danger!
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“Would you mind terribly to take this bouquet of flowers and set it on the registration table?” I asked one of the waitstaff, who was walking that way. I had a million little things to do and not enough time to do them.
The man stopped and stared at me for a moment. “That is not my job. And I don’t know you.”
I gave him a pleasant smile. “My name is Quinn Bellandini, and I’m a member of the committee in charge of this event. Would you mind helping me out? I’d very much appreciate your help with the flowers, and you seem to be headed in that direction anyway.”
His face twisted into a scowl. “You’re not my boss.”
Keeping my smile in place, I said, “I’ve got the checkbook to pay your boss.”
He rolled his eyes and grabbed the flowers out of my hands. “Fine. Whatever.” He stalked over to the registration table and slammed the bouquet of flowers down onto it.
I winced. The unpleasant exchange I’d had with the waiter had wasted the time I saved by not walking over there myself. Why couldn’t people just be nice and help one another out? Wasn’t that what a fundraiser was all about? So far, this guy had been the only person here who hadn’t been more than happy to pitch in to put today’s fundraiser for the Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter together.
My best helper had been my boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. He’d been my rock, doing anything and everything I needed to make sure this event ran smoothly. Since it was my job to fill the fundraising group’s Instagram page with shots of the afternoon, one of the many tasks I had him on was photo duty. He was a much better photographer than I was, anyway. He’d run off to capture some shots of the old plantation we were using as the venue for today.
The antebellum plantation mansion was massive, having two wings connected by a cavernous foyer with a sweeping staircase. My committee was under strict instructions from the owners, Duke and Magnolia Stiles, not to let anyone, especially “the help,” wander around their home. The catering staff was allowed to use the kitchen, but other than that, no one was permitted inside.
Our lovely city of Savannah was temperate and perfect in April, in my opinion the ideal time for an outdoor party. Warm enough to wear a pretty spring dress without a sweater, no pesky bugs to worry about just yet, and not so hot and humid that the food would melt or spoil.
My attention was drawn to two ladies facing off against each other on the mansion’s terrace, arguing and gesturing with their hands. I rolled my eyes and chuckled to myself. Magnolia Stiles and Lucille Davis were at it again. They were both on the fundraising event committee with me, which had made the planning of today’s event difficult from the start. They’d butted heads over everything from the food to the venue and even to the color of the napkins. These Southern belles had known each other for fifty years and knew exactly what buttons to push to get each other’s noses out of joint. Wondering if they were arguing over an actual problem that needed fixing before the guests arrived, I wandered closer so I could hear their heated conversation.
Lucille’s voice dripped with disdain as she gestured toward the pool house. It was a wonder she could even lift her hand with as many carats of diamonds as she was wearing. “Really, Mags, you couldn’t have had the pool house repainted before the event? The last coat you had put on there is starting to chip away. I can see the hideous shade of green from years ago peeking out. Not a good look.”
From where I was standing, which was closer to the pool house than they were, I couldn’t see any peeling paint. Granted, the place wasn’t sparkling with a brand-spanking-new coat of paint, but it was far from an eyesore.
Magnolia’s cheeks blazed red. “You try keeping this monstrous money pit maintained. I’ve been wanting to sell for ages, but Duke won’t hear of it. He was born here, and he’ll die here.” With a sneer, she added, “At least my home is large enough to provide a venue for an event of this size.”
That comment was hardly fair. Lucille lived in an absolutely gorgeous home in Savannah’s historic district, and it was good-sized for a house in town. Its square footage and lot size could never compete with that of a sprawling old tobacco plantation. It was like comparing apples to oranges.
Eavesdropping on their catfight wasn’t worth my time, so I started walking and made a sweep of the grounds. The caterers had the food well under control, and the smells from the kitchen had my mouth watering. The bartender had several drink stations set up and ready with plenty of ice and luscious-looking cocktails. The florist had finished her job and was pulling her van out of the driveway, having festooned the place within an inch of its life, including the pool, which had a dozen huge flower arrangements floating on its still surface. It was quite the floral wonderland around here. The band had completed a sound check and was warming up. Everything was in its place. That was, except Tucker’s tie.
I approached him to straighten it, but when I got within arm’s reach, he surprised me by grabbing me and planting a kiss on my lips.
“What was that for?” I asked, smiling up at him.
He smiled back at me. His smile always warmed me to my core. “To take your mind off stressing over this party for two seconds.”
“I’m not stressing,” I said, trying to convince myself as much as him.
He gave me a pointed look.
“Okay, so maybe I’m stressing a little,” I admitted.
His face fell into a mock frown.
“Okay, fine. I could stand to simmer down a little.”
“A lot. You could stand to simmer down a lot, Quinn.”
I sighed. “Point noted.”
He dropped his arms from around my waist. “Tell me what I can do to help.”
“Would you mind running around to the front of the house to make sure the valet stand is fully staffed and ready for the influx of guests?”
“I’d be happy to. While I’m gone, you take a break. You’ve got a long evening ahead of you.” He gave me a pat on the back and trotted off.
I wanted nothing more than to take a break, but there was no time for that. The moment Tucker’s calming presence was gone, I slipped back into stress mode. I flitted around all over the party setup, double and triple (or maybe more—I’d lost count) checking everything one last time. As the first of the guests started arriving, I handed out donation envelopes and brochures detailing how the money we raised would benefit Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter, while Magnolia and Lucille welcomed everyone. The two ladies’ demeanors had turned on a dime since I’d last seen them. They were nothing but graciousness and good cheer.
Once the guests had all arrived, I took yet another walk around the grounds. As I was fussing over a bouquet of flowers on the donation table, Clara McLeod, another of my fellow committee members, came over to speak to me.
Clara took my hands in hers. “Everything is absolutely perfect, dear. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about anything else. Relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it.”
I squeezed her hands. “Thank you, Clara. I just want everything to go off without a hitch.”
Giving me a knowing smile, she said, “I’ve put together enough of these parties to know that we’ve got all our ducks in a row for today. Nothing will go wrong. Mark my words.” She waved over a waiter with a tray of champagne flutes and took two of them. She handed one to me and clinked her glass against mine. “To a spectacular party.”
“Hear, hear,” I replied, taking a sip with her. The champagne was phenomenal, but I needed to keep my head, so one sip was enough for a lightweight like me.
Tucker appeared next to us. “Toasting your success already?”
Clara tittered out a laugh. “Yes, Tucker. We’ve already deemed the party a winner.”
He beamed at me. “I couldn’t agree more.”
My phone rang in my pocket. I’d managed to find a lovely dress with a hidden pocket in the skirt, perfect for stashing my phone. I had a feeling I was going to need it today. “One sec,” I said to Tucker, as I stopped to answer the call. It was from my friend Pepper Fox, who was part of the catering staff. “Hi, Pepper. Everything going well with the food?”
“The food? It’s fine.” Her voice sounded strained. Laid-back Pepper’s voice never sounded strained. My body tensed.
Intriguing. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
My family and I spend time each summer in Savannah, the setting for my Southern B&B series, during our annual trip to Hilton Head. I fell in love with the city and have spent countless hours scouting out amazing and gorgeous real-life locations for these stories.
Sounds great. Thanks for being with us, and it’s my pleasure to share your blog tour and giveaway with my readers.
Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery
by Caroline Fardig
About Southern Double Cross
Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Alibi (February 11, 2020)
Print Length: ~260 pages
Digital ASIN: B07W3J7QFC
The USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and Southern Harm returns to the delightful B&B in Savannah, Georgia, where trouble always seems to be checking in.
LONGER SYNOPSIS COMING SOON
CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.
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