I am delighted that busy, bestselling American author Jessica Thompson has taken time out of her busy schedule for a chat with me today. Thank you so much for agreeing to an author interview with me, Jessica.
Please tell my readers a little about yourself?
I’m Jessica Thompson. I’m originally from California but have wanted to live in Austin Texas ever since I visited in high school. I moved here after college and now my whole family lives here, too. I live in the suburbs with my husband and kids about five minutes away from my parents’ longhorn ranch. I am about to put out my second culinary cozy mystery, which is a mystery novel with recipes as featured in the storyline, and even when I try to write something else, it turns into a mystery.
What inspired you to become an author?
Just after my youngest was born, I discovered the genre of culinary cozy mysteries. I was immediately excited, but my first experience with the subgenre was reading a popular book that was terrible! It was so bad that I threw it across the room and decided that if that could get published, then so could I.
What is the best thing about being an author?
I love the flexibility of the schedule and the fact that you can write whatever is getting you excited at the time. It’s also the perfect job for my brain that likes to skip around from task to task. Don’t feel like writing right now? Answer some interview questions instead! Or do some marketing! Or in my case, cook something!
What is your writing routine like?
I outline for a long time. I daydream and outline and plot for a month or more before I even put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard. Then, the writing can just flow out. I still have small holes I need to fill, and it’s still hard to find the time to sit down and have a train of thought with life getting in the way, but the writing process is pretty smooth after that. Then editing is torture until I’m so sick of the manuscript that I never want to see it again. Then it’s time to market and try to get other people excited about the book!
How much time do you spend on research?
I do some research as part of my outlining, but luckily I don’t need to do much. I’ve done some catering, I know about cooking, and I know about a lot of poisons because of my background in horticulture and as a nervous and protective mom, and I know weapons and fighting because I grew up with guns and have done a fair amount of martial arts. My research mainly consists of going to real places in Austin, testing recipes, and asking medical professionals about the physiological responses behind my plans.
How much of the book is planned out before you start writing it?
All of it. I know the first line, last line, themes, setting characters, who dies, who did it, how the other characters look like they did it, how the other characters couldn’t have done it, the recipes, the midpoint … everything. Some things still pop up that take me by surprise though. So almost all of it.
What do you think is most important when writing a book?
I like plot the most. When reading or writing, a strong plot is more important to me than a bunch of info on the characters. That’s why, while I’m writing, even though I have lots of backstory for each character, I struggle to incorporate enough development on each character into the story. But I’m working on it.
What is your latest book about?
A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide is a holiday-flavored sequel to my first book, A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder. It’s the same main characters, but in a new setting and circumstance. Violet and Jake are acting as personal chefs for a friend’s pre-Christmas retreat when they get snowed in and someone dies!
What inspired it?
I have to say it was the setting. It is a real place that I visited a few times in college and it is so cool! And it’s in the same canyon where I almost got snowed-in once. The real lodge once belonged to a family before they donated it to the university and I just thought about how cool it would be to spend the holidays there.
Any new books or plans for the future?
I’ll definitely be writing more Violet books. I always planned to go back and write books earlier in the series as I got better at writing, so it’s probably time to write the mystery from when Jake and Violet first met. But first, I’m kinda driving this anthology of spooky short stories. My writing group is working on short stories to tell around a campfire so that we can hopefully get that published next summer.
What genres do you read most often?
Definitely mysteries. Mostly classic mysteries like Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, but I also read a lot of cozy mysteries to keep up with the genre.
Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
Just that they can reach out anytime! Find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter as @jessicathauthor or email me at email@example.com
Thank you for your time today, Jessica. it is interesting to know more about you and your work.
When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche. Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling culinary cozy mystery, "A Caterer's Guide to Love and Murder," and will be publishing her second book of the series, “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide,” on October 19, 2021. She is active in her local writing community and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Storymakers Guild. She received a bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries.
As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection. She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.
Jessica is originally from California, but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle. She enjoys living in the suburbs with her husband and young children, but also enjoys helping her parents with their nearby longhorn cattle ranch.