LUCY BURDETTE: Today I'm so happy to introduce/reintroduce our friend Daryl, whom you all probably know as Avery Aames of the famous cheese shop mysteries. She's been having a ball researching her new series--which you can tell if you follow her posts on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Welcome Daryl, congrats on the new book--and tell us more!
DARYL WOOD GERBER:
Thank you so much for having me on Jungle Red! I love it here. For those that might have noticed the title of this post, yes, you read it right...
This awareness came to me while I was driving north up the coast of California to do research for the first in what I hope to be a long and prosperous new series: A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY. The series is set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove and features Jenna Hart, a culinary bookshop owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie. I had driven up Highway 101 and Route 1 many times. I live in Los Angeles, but many of my family live in northern California. These are familiar routes. There is beautiful countryside. However, this time as I was driving, I noticed more. Because I was doing research, I paid attention to every winery, store, and house. I noticed which barns were in good stead and which were neglected. I noticed the terrain and its texture, which hills were gold, which trees were green, what needed water and what was thriving. I read signs. I now know where every fruit stand is along these roads. I also know that one farmer had a great sense of humor—he painted huge signs telling people what trees he had planted.
You know what I mean…you drive along and say, what’s that, an almond tree? The trees were citrus and, according to the farmer, we do better if we eat more citrus. I saw a huge…HUGE… American flag hanging from a pole on private property. Wouldn’t you love to know why? It wasn’t like it was a former president’s abode. I counted all the hothouses that protected orchids. I noticed parks, racetracks, and golf courses. As I toured the area between Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz, which is where I’ve set my fictional town, I took note of the gentle valleys to the right and all the signs with images of hikers and bikers. California is super friendly to outdoorsy types, by the way.
What I particularly loved, as a result of this research, was that I became connected again with my state. I adore California, but I have taken it for granted. The majestic mountains, the rolling hills, the fabulous blue coastline. In addition, I realized I need to pay more attention to people. Lately, I have been doing my darnedest not to tune out everyone. I look at people. I make eye contact. I make mental notes of their style, their moods, and their quirks [great info for a writer]. And I smile just to see whether they will smile back…most will; many think I’m loco.
What have you noticed lately that surprised you? Was it always there? Are you aware when you zone out?
DARYL WOOD GERBER aka AVERY AAMES writes the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series. As Daryl, she writes A Cookbook Nook Mystery series, featuring a culinary bookshop and café owner. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. As an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Check out her recipes on her blog and friend her on Facebook.