Saturday, January 2, 2016
Top Six by Julie Hyzy
LUCY BURDETTE: I invited Julie Hyzy to visit today because she has big news on her beloved White House chef mystery series. I'm sorry because I love these characters, but I also completely understand. Take it away Julie!
JULIE HYZY: You know how sometimes you can make the absolute right decision but still feel a tiny bit sad about it?
That’s where I am today, just a few days before the release of my new White House Chef mystery, Foreign Eclairs. I’m ecstatic to have a new book to promote, of course. That’s a thrill that never gets old. In fact, my husband and I always find ways to celebrate launch day. But this time, things will be different. When Tuesday rolls around, our celebration will be bittersweet.
Why? Because Foreign Eclairs is not only the ninth White House Chef mystery, it’s also the final one. At least, the last one with my name on the cover.
I’ve explained why the series is ending on my blog (All Good Things) so I won’t rehash all the details here. But if you’re interested in some of what goes on behind the scenes in a work-for-hire arrangement, I invite you to give it a read.
The decision to walk away from the series wasn’t easy and come January 2017, I’ll be bereft that I don’t have a new release to cheer about.
But, because I’m the sort of person who prefers to focus on the positive, I’m here today to share my Top Six List of why ending the series is a good thing. I realize (thanks to David Letterman) that this should be a top ten list, but -- have I mentioned that this decision was bittersweet? -- I can only come up with six.
So, here goes. My Top Six List of why I’m happy to be ending the White House Chef Mystery series now:
#6 A small subplot in Foreign Eclairs involves President Hyden’s bid for reelection and how that affects his young son, Josh. Walking away from the series now gives me one less presidential election to worry about!
#5 I’ll have more time to read.
#4 I’ll no longer be stressed about recipes. On my blog, I briefly touch on the difficulties I had with the company that owns the series. If Berkley had been able to obtain copyright from them in order to keep Ollie going, I’d have been responsible for creating recipes myself. Although I’m a good cook, I don’t have the patience required to create new dishes. I thoroughly enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. But, remembering to stop and record the steps, ingredients, and measurements? Ooh…Way out of my comfort zone!
#3 My characters Ollie and Gav could, conceivably, give up their White House jobs, change their names, and move cross country. If that happens -- and if they let me in on their plans -- I could, conceivably, pick up their lives with a new series <grin>
#2 Ollie has – countless times over the course of nine books – saved the lives of her colleagues, the president and his family, and visiting dignitaries. Through it all, she’s fed the First Family, managed the White House kitchen, and developed a gratifying personal life. Ollie knows that her exploits stretch the bounds of believability a tiny bit (ahem). She and I agree that it’s best for her to bow out now, before she starts jumping sharks.
And the number one reason I’m excited to be walking away from the White House Chef series is…
I have far more stories bouncing around in my head than I’ll ever have time to write. Years ago, when I first started submitting, I leaned toward darker themes, but then the White House Chef opportunity arose and I jumped on it. Now, with only one deadline per year (for Grace, the Manor House series), I’m looking forward to rediscovering my roots. How appropriate that all this is coming together just as a new year begins. Although I’ll miss Ollie, I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my career.
Thanks, so much, Lucy, for inviting me to join Jungle Reds today!
Julie Hyzy is a New York Times bestselling author who has won the Anthony, Barry, Lovey, and Derringer awards for her mystery fiction. In addition to her nine books in the White House Chef mystery series, she currently writes the Manor House Mysteries, the seventh of which (Grace Sees Red) comes out in June. She lives in the Chicago area. Visit her slightly outdated website.
Flash news: the winner of Juliet Blackwell's book, The Paris Key, is Roxie Faubian!