Interview with Giveaway ~ A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

Is there something on your bookshelves we’d be surprised to find there?

I’m not sure there is. I read a lot of thrillers and suspense. I read a lot of cozy mysteries. I have read a few romances. Maybe you’d be surprised to find out that Shakespeare was my focus in college, so I have some huge tomes of Shakespeare on the shelves. I love going back and seeing the “notes” I wrote at the time. I wrote copious notes. Perhaps you’d be surprised to know that I have a book of poisons on my shelf….but maybe not.  LOL

Tell me a funny/odd/interesting anecdote from a reading, or book signing.

First of all, I read this as a “book singing” and I was wondering how you knew I’d might sing a song about a book! I love to sing. LOL  Okay, funny anecdote. I was at a weekend conference in Tucson and on a panel with Paige Shelton. A couple of fellow authors were in the audience.  Paige and I riffed off each other and it was going very well until an audience member asked how much we made. Paige and I stumbled over that question. We earnestly tried to help the audience understand how an author earns money, with upfront money and royalties and such. When it was over, Jenn McKinlay, a fellow author with a wonderful sense of humor, squirreled us to a corner and “reprimanded” us. She told us to always answer that question as follows: “I’m a millionaire. All authors are millionaires.” She said that is what the audience wants to hear; they want to believe all authors who are published are highly successful. I’ve taken that advice to heart. I’ve often said, “I’m a millionaire” in response to that repeated question, and it works. The answer stops them in their tracks.

What book are you reading right now, and why?

Speaking of Jenn, I’m reading About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay because I wanted to see how she had changed up her writing style from mystery to romantic comedy. It’s a fun read. Caveat: it’s a bit steamy in places, but it’s delightful. It’s the first in a trilogy.

Is there a book you re-read over and over?

No, there isn’t. I have reread a few of Shakespeare’s works repeatedly. Hmm, what does that say about me? I did watch the movie Romancing the Stone so often I knew all the lines. As for regular books, I like to read a book once and hold it in my memory.

What book have you recommended most recently?

I really enjoyed The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne. It’s dark, so beware. It’s NOT a cozy. But I love Karen’s writing. I also enjoyed William Kent Krueger’s Iron Lake. It is the first in a very successful series. He has a beautiful writing style.

What book do you feel everyone should read?

Besides the Bible? There are too many to mention…but I will say that I like to read the first in a series before I read the others. I adored Rebecca and Agatha Christie’s mysteries, particularly Then There Were None. Years ago I enjoyed epic stories like Hawaii. I haven’t read a saga in a long time.

What is your favorite quote?

I have a few that I love:

For my family and friends:

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

For authors:

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. ~ Mark Twain


For a laugh:

The pressure on young chefs today is far greater than ever before in terms of social skills, marketing skills, cooking skills, personality and, more importantly, delivering on the plate. So you need to be strong. Physically fit. So my chefs get weighed every time they come into the kitchen. ~ Gordon Ramsay

Is there anything in your book you’d go back and change?

I can’t say there is. Is it perfect? Is anything perfect? I’m happy with how Mimi evolved. I love her relationship with her employees and her mother. And I adore her relationship with her goldfish.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Believe in yourself.

What inspired your latest book?

My love of wine and French food, Napa Valley, California, and of the everlasting story of a person who has to start life over after a stunning setback.

Do you write as you go, or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?

I use an outline, but my outline is like a map. I know where I’m going, from point A to point B, but I might make a detour. The outline is quite detailed, but if I change course, I add lots of new details to the outline so I stay focused. I rewrite a book about a dozen times. I amend my outline about that many times, too.

What is your view on self-publishing?

I have self-published two books now. Years ago, I never thought I would, but I did, and I’m proud of what I have produced (two stand-alone suspense novels). Why did I do it? It was hard to convince my agent, let alone a publisher, that I could sell suspense because I am known as a cozy mystery author. But suspense is where I started my writing career, and it was important for me to publish at least two of them. My husband made me promise. I love them and I wouldn’t change that aspect of my career. However, it is HARD to self-publish. It is not easy finding the audience. It is not easy expanding a brand. Will I do it again? Probably. But I’d like to believe now that I have published two stand-alone suspense (and they’ve earned terrific reviews) that a publisher might consider my future work.  P.S.  I did not go into self-publishing lightly. I edited each book a lot, and then I hired a professional editor to edit them. I put them through rigorous hoops. And I had the wonderful help of a virtual assistant who made sure that the covers and quality of each book were up to industry standards. I will gladly share their names.

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?

I love the initial stages of creating new characters and coming up with the mystery, but I have to admit (and maybe I’m a glutton for punishment), I adore the rewriting process where I can actually add all “color” and “flavor” to the manuscript.  The first draft is often bare and sparse. The rewrite is the playful “fun” time.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?

I didn’t start out as a reader. I hated it. But when I found mysteries, I was hooked. I devoured all the Nancy Drew mysteries in a week when I had the measles. Then I reread them and tried to write one at the age of nine. Ha! That was such a disaster my mother didn’t even put it in my baby book. I also loved and was moved by the Newbury winning book, A Wrinkle in Time. It was quite ethereal and scary and fantastical.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

One? C’mon! You’re kidding, right? Okay, don’t quit. If you quit, you’ll never know what you could have achieved.

Also, believe in yourself. Finish that first book. Get it edited. Join a critique group and listen and learn. Take classes. Join an online group to help you learn about promotion. I joined the Guppies, a Sisters in Crime online group, and it was the best thing I ever did. I found my critique group there (we are all published now).

What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?

All of the above!


  1. You will receive plenty of rejection.
  2. Try not to demean yourself in the process.
  3. Grow a thick skin.
  4. Not every book is for every reader.
  5. Write your passion.
  6. Find your brand.
  7. Sit your rear in the chair and write something every day, even a thank you note.
  8. Say you are a writer. Own it.

(And so many more…)

How do you react to a bad review?

I try not to read them, but if I do, I remind myself of #4 above.

What is your favorite scene in your book?

I love when Mimi goes on a date with Nash to the jazz festival. It has passion (I’m a bit of a romantic), humor, and a scare.

What books do you love that don’t get a lot of hype? 

I rarely read the latest water-cooler book, if that’s what you mean. I read what I like, so almost all of the books I read don’t get a lot of hype. I do read thrillers by famous authors, but I don’t read them because of their hype. I read them because I like the author.

What makes your novel stand out from the crowd?

It’s a mixture of mystery, romance, foodie-loving fun, and texture. There are lots of twists and turns plus numerous subplots: the wedding and out-of-towners’ dinner, Mimi’s budding romance with Nash, Mimi’s interaction with a woman named Willow, the jazz festival.

Do your characters really talk to you?

Yes, and they’re quite chatty at times. Some characters have begged for more page time. Honestly. And they are usually right. Most of those characters offer a touch of humor to lighten the darkness of a mystery.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

This is not a short answer. I wrote fiction as a girl, but I had a 7th grade teacher who told me I wasn’t any good, so I hung up my pen. Another teacher in college said virtually the same thing. But when I was a working actress in Hollywood, I decided to try my hand at screenplays. I wanted to write something I could “star” in. I wrote a number of screenplays and won a couple of awards, but I couldn’t get a producer interested—not because they weren’t good; because it was simply hard to get anyone to look at anything! I took classes and read how-to books. I learned structure, and I had fun. I was lucky enough to create the format for a series that was on the air in first-run syndication, Out of this World. That was a success, and I thought perhaps I would write for television, but soon after, my family and I moved to the east coast (my husband was transferred), and I realized my “screenwriting” days were numbered. It’s hard to “take a meeting” in Los Angeles from the east coast. So I focused on my first love, writing suspense and mysteries. I took more classes. I read a lot of how-to books. I read a lot of book-books. I studied. AND I pushed those negative thoughts that teachers tried to implant in my psyche aside. It took me many years to publish my first book, but I’m thrilled that I stuck with it.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

Lots! I’d like to write another suspense by next year, and I’d like to come up with a new cozy series, as well. I have 5-year goals, but there are too many possible projects to mention.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?

Lisa Gardner or Harlan Coben or Daniel Silva.

Describe your book in 5 words

Tasty mystery with passionate twist.

How many books are in your TBR pile?

At least 30. I’ll never finish them all because I’m always buying new books.

What do you hope readers will get from your book?

A friend in Mimi and a love of her devotion to family and friends. A desire to see Napa Valley. An appreciation for French food. An understanding for how a professional kitchen works. A few recipes to enjoy. A desire to read the next mystery because the first was fun and entertaining.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….


How long do you generally let a story idea ‘”stew” in your brain before you start the book?

Once I’ve decided on the story, about a week to stew. Then about four weeks to write an outline and about 12-16 weeks to write the first draft. A month off for good behavior. Then tackle it again with fresh eyes.

As for a “new” story (series, stand-alone), it might take a whole year before I write it. I have to decide whether I want to devote a year to the project. I have to be passionate about it. I make notes. I create a few character biographies. I test out suspects and motives and storylines.

What distracts you the most when you’re trying to write?

Doing public relations. PR. Gack! I try to set it aside until I’ve finished the page count I intended for the day, which is not always easy, especially as a release date comes up. The best thing for me to do is to turn off the Internet feed and e-mail alerts so I don’t see pop-up items. Do I? Sometimes. Not always.

Thank you for the terrific questions and the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.  ~ Daryl

Series: French Bistro Mystery, Book 1
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-10: 1683313410
ISBN-13: 978-1683313410
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.

The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.

Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

Thanks to the publicist I have one (1) copy of A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery to give away.

Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on November 1st

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will have 48 hours from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.

darylPseudonym for Avery Aames.

Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of Cookbook Nook Mystery series, featuring an avid reader, admitted foodie, and owner of a cookbook store in picturesque coastal California. The series will debut in 2013. In addition, under the pen name Avery Aames, Daryl writes the Agatha Award winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mysteryseries, the 5th book, DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT,  which came out in February 2014.

Prior to her career as a novelist, Daryl wrote screenplays and created the format for the popular TV sitcom Out of this World. A fun tidbit for mystery buffs, Daryl was also an actress and co-starred on “Murder, She Wrote”, as well as other TV shows. Daryl is originally from the Bay Area and graduated from Stanford University. She loves to cook, read, golf, swim, and garden. She also likes adventure and has been known to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. She has been happily married for over twenty-five years, and Daryl and her husband have a grown son who has flown the coop.

Website/Avery * Goodreads * Twitter/Avery * Facebook/Avery * Website/Daryl *Facebook/Daryl *
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  1. I enjoyed the interview, thank you.

  2. Kristin A. says:

    What a fun interview Lori and Daryl! I have been looking forward to this release, so I’d say you’re doing well with PR stuff as it’s been on my radar for a while now, Daryl. 

  3. Delightful interview! I can't wait to read the new book. I've read all the Cheese Shop Mysteries and am always eager for more from Ms. Gerber.

  4. Debbie Quinn says:

    The interview was so much fun to read. I'm always up for a cozy mystery to sit back and relax with, all the while becoming attached to the characters and training my brain to solve the mystery.

  5. kathleen kendler says:

    I enjoyed this interview.  Thank-you

  6. Awesome interview!  Can't wait to read a deadly eclair!

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