by Ann Myers
on Tour November 20 – December 31, 2016
Holly, jolly, and downright deadly—the third Santa Fe Café mystery unwraps surprises both naughty and nice… It’s the most picturesque time of the year in Santa Fe, and Chef Rita Lafitte of Tres Amigas Café hopes the twinkling lights and tasty holiday treats will charm her visiting mom. Rita is also planning fun activities, such as watching her teenage daughter, Celia, perform in an outdoor Christmas play.
What she doesn’t plan for is murder.
Rita discovers a dead actor during the premier performance but vows to keep clear of the case. Sleuthing would upset her mom. Besides, there’s already a prime suspect, caught red-handed in his bloodied Santa suit. However, when the accused Santa’s wife begs for assistance—and points out that Celia and other performers could be in danger—Rita can’t say no. With the help of her elderly boss, Flori, and her coterie of rogue knitters, Rita strives to salvage her mother’s vacation, unmask a murderer, and stop this festive season from turning even more fatal.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Christmas
Published by: Avon
Publication Date: October 25th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0062382322 (ISBN13: 9780062382320)
Series: Santa Fe Cafe Mystery #3
Feliz Navidead Can Be Found on: HarperCollins 🔗, Amazon 🔗, Barnes & Noble 🔗, and Goodreads 🔗.
Read an excerpt:
More About Ann:
Ann Myers writes the Santa Fe Café Mysteries. The first book in the series, Bread of the Dead (2015), introduced café chef and reluctant amateur sleuth, Rita Lafitte. Rita and her friends stir up more trouble in Cinco de Mayhem (March 2016) and Feliz Navidead (October 25, 2016). Ann lives with her husband and extra-large house cat in southern Colorado, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, and cozy mysteries.
Q&A with Ann Myers
Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.
Hi, Cheryl. Thank you so much for having me as a guest!
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
The first three Santa Fe Café Mysteries all feature holidays, Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, and Christmas, respectively. The holidays can be stressful, but thankfully I’ve never found a body or taken on killers. However, I do draw inspiration from the setting, Santa Fe, and its history, culture, and wonderful culinary scene. Like me, my protagonist Rita isn’t a native of New Mexico or the Southwest. However, we’re both enchanted by the “Land of Enchantment,” and I’ve incorporated some of my experiences, favorite things, and “discoveries” into her story.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
When I start plotting a book, I tell myself to first identify the killer and what sparked the crime. It never happens. To get started, I need to know the initial situation for my protagonist. What time of year is it? What is she worried or happy about? What’s she cooking? Then I can figure out what happens to her and the other characters.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Some characters have bits of real people in them. There’s a dash of my grandmother in Flori, my protagonist’s tush-pinching octogenarian friend, boss, and sleuthing companion. And my mother swears she’s the visiting mom in Feliz Navidead. Not really. She and the fictional mom merely share common worries about dehydration in the desert and the fire hazards of farolitos, outdoor Christmas candles in paper bags.
My beloved family aside, I also keep notes of distinctive traits, like gaits or manners of speaking. Difficult people are useful too. It’s calming to think this if you’re stuck with one. Just repeat to yourself good material, good material…
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I usually write best in the morning. My only idiosyncrasy might be enforced sitting at the computer. (If my mother is reading this and worried I’ll die of sitting-induced blood clots, I do get up and stretch.) When I’m writing a first draft, I try to forge through quickly and meet word-count or scene goals for the day.
Tell us why we should read this book.
I love the characters and hope you will too! Rita isn’t perfect. But while she might flub up dancing or spill soup on customer’s laps, she’s always there for her friends and family. Flori and her Senior Center pals get into fun trouble in each book too, from deadly tai chi to rogue knitting. Then there’s the food. Rita and her friends whip up some fabulous dishes and you can too. Each book contains recipes for a complete meal, including treats like anise-spiced pan de muerto in Bread of the Dead, a yummy green chile and cheese soufflé in Cinco de Mayhem, and pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust in Feliz Navidead. Oh there’s also chocoflan cake, which might be my favorite cake ever (and I have a LOT of favorite cakes).
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Diane Mott Davidson’s wonderful culinary cozies were my first cozy-mystery loves. I also adore Kate Carlisle’s delightful Bibliophile Mysteries and the Cajun Country Mysteries by Ellen Byron. For regional flavor, there’s the incomparable Tony Hillerman. I also enjoy Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury series and Ann Cleeve’s Shetland mysteries.
What are you reading now?
Speaking of Martha Grimes, I realized I hadn’t read some of her early Jury novels. I’m reading the first book in that series, The Man with a Load of Mischief.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’d love to write more Santa Fe Café Mysteries and have ideas for plots. While waiting to hear how the first three books do, I’m working on a mystery/thriller set in a fictional Colorado town. The heroine is inspired by a friend, a social worker who helps kids. Crimes are already underway…a missing foster child, a murdered social worker, and soon another killing.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
This was actually a hard one! I’m terrible with names of actors and rarely see movies. But it turned out okay because my aunt and I undertook Google research on “hunky male actors in their forties.” After making a list including Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Jude Law, and Daniel Craig (with brunette hair dye), we chose Bradley. For Rita, we barely had to search: Amy Adams or Jenna Fisher would be perfect!
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I love baking, especially bread. But I can’t do that every day unless I take up extreme exercise on the side, and who has time for that? I also enjoy dabbling in crafts. I’ve tried a lot, from soldering to sewing, but haven’t found “The One” yet. Recently, I’ve been into embroidery, paper-cutting, and rudimentary blacksmithing. By rudimentary, I mean three hours of pounding on hot steel to achieve a wobbly twist.
Easy. Lasagna, especially cheesy, gooey, saucy versions.
Thanks! This has been such a fun interview!
You can find Ann online on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AnnMyers.writer/; and her website http://www.annmyersbooks.com/