Today Suspense Sisters are proud to welcome cozy mystery author, Stephanie Cole, who has a new series, Tuscan Cooking School Mysteries. Book one, Al Dente’s Inferno, was released in the spring from Berkley/Penguin Random House.
First the interview:
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say? I’m a friendly introvert, who loves the arts, enjoys smart and funny books, values kindness above all, and is grateful for the love of friends and family.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? I audit Art History courses, take fiddle lessons, enjoy cooking classes, and practice meditation and yoga daily.
What was your favorite book as a teen or child? As a child, Nancy Drew and Winnie the Pooh, as a teen. . .REBECCA!
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers. I am a closet egghead and weep in academic libraries; from a theater background, I took a term off from college and went to acting school in Manhattan; I am a hobbit and prefer to stay at home in the shire rather than go adventuring (my greatest adventures of my heart happen in art museums).
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not? Literary short stories. Still do them, although less frequently. It takes me quite a long time to “get it right” when a storyline matters enough to me to write it. Suspense imbues my short stories, so there’s that crossover with mystery novels. And as a reader, I love mystery novels that have literary qualities.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why? Not really. Although I might want to try writing about art. (Yes, really.)
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be? I would have cut my losses much sooner and tried a different subgenre. I spent twenty plus years writing and trying to sell two female PI novels, and never getting anywhere. What I thought was admirable persistence seems now a bit like dimwitted stubbornness.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors? Have a downright honest conversation with yourself. There is a staggering number of people writing, publishing, striving, writing, not publishing, still striving. The competition is formidable. Ask yourself how badly you want to pursue it, given difficult odds.
Here’s a little bit about Al Dente’s Inferno: When American chef Nell Valenti is hired to design a cooking school at the villa of renowned Chef Claudio Orlandini, she eagerly moves to Tuscany. But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. The villa is in shambles, Chef spends all his time on the bocce court, and local dignitaries have been invited to dinner the very next day. Bad enough the filmmaker who shows up to document the affair turns out to to be Nell’s ex-boyfriend, but worse yet when he’s discovered murdered later that evening. To top it off, Chef has disappeared. Can Nell save the Orlandini family, the villa, and her own job before the accusations of murder shut the school down for good — before it’s even opened?
Here’s a little bit about Shelley Costa, writing as Stephanie Cole:
SHELLEY COSTA’s work has been nominated for both the Edgar and Agatha Awards. Writing as Stephanie Cole, she is the author of the new Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series (Berkley/Penguin Random House), which debuted in February with Al Dente’s Inferno. Shelley wrote her dissertation on suspense, taught creative writing for many years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, enjoys violin lessons, yoga, plotting murder (pure fiction), and time with friends and family. http://www.shelleycosta.com. Her books are available on Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.
Buy the book Al Dente’s Inferno here: https://www.amazon.com/Dentes-Inferno-Tuscan-Cooking-Mystery/dp/0593097793/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22TRQ7LLS0DRJ&dchild=1&keywords=al+dente%27s+inferno&qid=1598468392&sprefix=Al+Dente%27s+%2Caps%2C175&sr=8-1