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Criminal Appetites

J.A. (Joe to his friends) Konrath is the author of WHISKEY SOUR and BLOODY MARY. His sense of humor is like a shot of tequila-a little salty, sometimes it burns, but it always makes you feel good inside. Check him out on my links page. Here's the interview he sent the San Joaquin Chapter of Sisters in Crime:

Q: Do you know the ending to your book when you start writing?

 A. No. I'm lucky if I know my own address half the time. Or if I can find my pants.

Q: What does your family think of your books?

A: I haven't told them yet. Think I should?

Q: Has TV influenced you?

A. Absolutely. If I didn't write books for a living, I never could have afforded my new big screen TV. I love that TV.

Q. After your book is in print, do you ever wish it had a different ending?

A. No. But I really wish HANNIBAL, by Thomas Harris, had a different ending. Wow, was that ending crummy!

Q: What's the most unusual question you've been asked?

A: I won't tell you the question, but I'll give you the answer: Yes, but only if I know the person very well.

 Q: Why do writers focus on food in their stories?

A. I'd reply to that, but I have to go grab a snack.

Q. How do you come up with secondary characters?

A. I just picked up Microsoft Supporting Character Maker 2.1. Great program!

 Q: Where do you get your book titles?

A: My titles so far are "WHISKEY SOUR," "BLOODY MARY," and "RUSTY NAIL." If I remain in this business for much longer, I'll have to name a book "12 STEP PROGRAM."

Q. Do you enjoy puzzles?

A. The edible ones.

Q: Do you get writer's cramp during book signings?

A. No. I can easily sign three or four books without getting a cramp.

Q. How do you research?

A. I hunt through James Patterson's garbage for his notes.

 Q. Character, setting, story-which is your starting point?

A. I like starting with a nice, big sandwich. With mayo. Mmmm, mayo.

Q. When doing a series, how do you put enough previous storyline in for new readers?

A. Each book should stand alone. And if it's been bad, it should stand alone, in a corner, by itself, and think about what it has done.

Q. Do you also write short stories?

A. Yes! I have two coming up in Ellery Queen this year, and also some in various anthologies. Short stories are like novels, except they're shorter.

 Q. Describe your workplace.

A. It's the space where I work.

Q. Would you be friends with your main character if he/she were real?

 A. I don't think Jack would like me. I'm too flippant and annoying. Don't you think?

Q. Where do you get your insights when writing out of gender?

 A. You think I have insights? Thanks!

This was fun. But next time, I get to ask the questions.

Order BLOODY MARY from Amazon
Order WHISKEY SOUR from Amazon

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      I was looking for something "tasty" to read, and CRIMINAL APPETITES satisfied my palate.

      On the menu are 14 stories, many by well-known authors and accompanied by mouth-watering recipes. Anne Perry offered up mince pie, Nancy Pickard served Spiced Coffee Cookies, Denise Dietz teased me with Charming Billy's Banana Pie, Kris Neri tempted me with Tomato-Basil Pesto & Four-Cheese Lasagna, and Joanne Pence sliced up Potato Salsify Pie,.

      Editor Jeffrey Marks says in his introduction "For mystery writers, the storyline is our stock, our bouillabaisse if you will. . . For most authors, the characters are the meat and vegetables of the course, the vital part of the meal that adds the texture and nourishment of the dinner."

      In Tim Hemlin's "Steak Blues" a British owner of CafĂ© Noir has a Texas aunt-in-law who thinks she sees murder victims around every corner. It's hard to believe the bank robber is Amish in Tamar Myers "When Harry Met Salad." Camilla T. Crespi writes of two sisters and the man who came between the them in "Blood Ties."

      There's strife between husband and wife in Robert Perry's "Best Served Chilled." General Ulysses S. Grant solves the murder of a pretty and promiscuous pie maker in Jeffrey Mark's "Undercooked." Amy Myers presents a chef who figures out over breakfast who is the bad egg in "Murder, the Missing Heir and the Boiled Egg."

      A locked dining room mystery occurs when a diner is found face down in the bouillabaisse in William Allen Peck's French story "Recipe for Revenge." Five friends and a batch of marijuana-laced brownies cause one girl's death in Toni L.P. Kelner's "Blame It on the Brownies." Janet Laurence adds "A Spoonful of Sugar" in a story of a little boy whose stepfather attempts to poison him with arsenic in the sugar bowl until a kindly cook intervenes.

      So, savor the flavor of these mini-mysteries and try out the recipes--at your own risk!


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