TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Sarah: Wow. Writing's such a quirky occupation, it's hard to pick just one. I guess I'd have to say that I can't write in isolation. There's the popular image of the writer who really needs to get away to a cabin in the woods and lock the door and be completely alone to crank out their novel. I've tried something like that, and I get _nothing_ done. I need mental focus, but I also really people around to interact with to be really productive.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Sarah: Oh, that's a long list, and it's constantly changing. Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Sayers, Georgette Heyer, Poul Anderson, CL Moore, Agatha Christie, Richard Adams would be for starters. My writing is influenced one way and another by every book I read, because every book teaches me something about the craft, whether it's something to try to work toward, or something to avoid at all costs.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Sarah: I'm a panster with plotter pretensions. I start every book with an outline, but by page 100, things have inevitably changed so much, I throw the outline away and fly blind for the rest of it.
TQ: What inspired you to write the Vampire Chef Mystery series?
Sarah: A publisher phone call. Seriously. This is something that seriously almost never happens, but one day the editor and publisher Marty Greenberg, who sadly just passed away, walked into the office and said "Vampire Chef. Why has no one done this?" and the people around him all blinked and said, "Yeah, why hasn't anybody done that." They then started looking for an author who'd be interested in such a project. First they contacted Esther Friesner, who is an extremely funny writer, but she couldn't take on the extra project and gave them my name. I got the next call and when the words "Vampire Chef," came down the line. I said "I'm in." I did not care what came after that, I wanted to be part of this project.
TQ: Why did you set the series in New York City?
Sarah: It's one of the great food cities in the country, if not _the_ great food city in the country. Plus, it's a place I do truly love, so it was an easy choice.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in A Taste of the Nightlife?
Sarah: I like the opening a great deal, particularly the end of the first chapter. I am also very fond of the, you should excuse the expression, stakeout scene with Anatole.
TQ: In A Taste of the Nightlife, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Sarah: Charlotte was definitely the easiest. I am very comfortable writing with strong, ambitious women with a bit of banter and snark. Can't think why that would be. VBG. Oddly, the toughest turned out to be Brendan, because I wanted Brendan to be a nice guy, but still a strong and interesting character. Broody and angsty is relatively easy. Making someone genuinely _nice_ and yet keeping them interesting and dynamic at the same time, is a more difficult trick than it appears at first glance.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create both Nightlife (the restaurant) and the world in A Taste of the Nightlife?
Sarah: I got permission to observe Friday night dinner rush at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor. I met the chefs and cooks, talked to one of their farmers. I interviewed Vannessa Sly, who was a high end chef both in Chicago and Las Vegas I ate out a fair amount, both in my home town and in NYC. And, of course, I read everything I could get my hands on, starting with Anthony Bourdain's famous KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, but working my way through books like WAITER RANT and SERVICE INCLUDED to get the front of the house perspective. I'm only sorry the new memoir BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER, which is fabulous, wasn't out when I started writing the book.
TQ: Do you have a favorite recipe from A Taste of the Nightlife?
Sarah: I'm very partial to the asparagus dip Charlotte makes for her roommates. And, of course, the lasagna.
TQ: Describe A Taste of Nightlife in 140 characters or less.
Sarah: Welcome to Nightlife, home of haut noir cuisine in an NYC where vampires are out of the coffin, witches have bad attitudes, and Chef Charlotte Caine has a murder on her hands. (I think that does it).
TQ: How many books are planned for the Vampire Chef Mystery series?
Sarah: Well, I've just turned in Book #2, LET THEM EAT STAKE. After that, we will have to see. Personally, I hope there will be many more. I have lots of plans for Charlotte, Chet, Brendan and Anatole.
TQ: What's next?
Sarah: Well, first of all, I have to outline and set up the next Vampire Chef book(s). I also have a young adult series, the first book of which is coming out in the summer of 2012: THE DUST GIRL, and I'm very excited about that.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
Sarah: Delighted to be here.
About A Taste of the Nightlife
A Taste of the NightlifeVampire Chef Mystery 1
(Signet, July 5, 2011)
But when a drunk customer causes a scene, a glowing review from the city's top food critic doesn't seem likely-especially when that customer winds up dead on Nightlife's doorstep. Now, with her brother under suspicion for the murder, Charlotte has to re-open her restaurant and clear her brother's name-before they both become dinner.
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For a complete list of Sarah's books head to her website by clicking here.
Sarah's website: www.sarahzettel.com
To read a preview and buy A TASTE OF THE NIGHTFILE:
What: One commenter will win a copy of A Taste of the Nightlife (Vampire Chef Mystery 1) from Sarah!
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite meal or snack?
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, July19, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*