Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interview with Sarah Zettel & Giveaway - July 12, 2011

Please welcome Sarah Zettel to The Qwillery.

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 Nightlife
Vampire Chef Mystery 1
(Signet, July 5, 2011)
Charlotte Caine isn't called "the Vampire Chef" because she's a member of New York's undead community-she just cooks for them. Her restaurant, Nightlife, is poised to take the top slot in the world of "haute noir" cuisine.

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.

Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders : Nicola's Books : Powell's

For a complete list of Sarah's books head to her website by clicking here.

About Sarah

Sarah Zettel is an award-winning science fiction, fantasy, romance, young adult and now mystery author and one of the founding members of Book View Cafe, the internet's largest professional author cooperative. She has written seventeen novels and a roughly equal number of short stories over the past ten years in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist and raising a rapidly growing son. She is very tired right now.

Sarah's website: www.sarahzettel.com
To read a preview and buy A TASTE OF THE NIGHTFILE:

The Giveaway


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?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

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.*


  1. Congratulations on the release of A Tasste of the Nightlife Sarah! It looks really interesting and fun!

    My favorite meal is a nice size serving of Lasagna with a nice green salad, a good glass of wine and chocolate cake for dessert.....

    I am a follower of The Qwillery via Google Friend Connect

    I Tweeted the Interview and Giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/crazymidwestgal/status/90787971292336128


  2. A Taste of The Nightlife seems interesting and the idea is unique. Looking forward to read your book Sarah!

    My favorite snack is chocolate. When I'm sad and stressed, just eat cake make me whole again, lol. For meal, I'm addicted to noodles! I know it's unhealthy to eat noodles everyday, but I can't help my self *shrug*

    Thanks for the giveaway too

    +1 commented
    +1 GFC follower : Ren
    +1 tweeted :http://twitter.com/#!/r3n87/status/90791545321693185

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  3. Thank you for the interesting & informative interview with Sarah Zettel & thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share here.

    A TASTE OF THE NIGHTLIFE is very intriguing & I love Sarah's writing. I love the story how she got the idea for it!

    All the best,

    PS- My favourite meal is a barbequed hamburger.

  4. My favorite meal would have to be taco night with the girls. We all get together, I cook and we have a great time. My favorite snack is going to have to be BBQ chips and because they're my favorite snack, I don't eat them very often - they're addicting.

    Good reading ~ Escape by Fiction :)

  5. Hey, everybody, thanks for stopping by, and glad to "meet" you all.

    Maria, you will be pleased to know lasagna has a prominent supporting role in NIGHTLIFE. Escape: I am totally with you on the tacos. There's a food cart around the corner that makes _killer_ tacos. Ren, I also adore noodles in all their variations. RK, thanks for the plug!

  6. The cover for A Taste of the Night looks so spunky and cozy. It's a fresh take from the common paranormal covers out there. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

    My favourite meal is anything to do with sandwiches. I love subs, paninis, grilled, cold cuts, wraps, pretty much any version. Plus the possibilities of ingredients are endless.

    GFC follower

  7. i love new cozy series!!!! thank you for this giveaway!! i can't wait to read it!!!!
    i'll be sharing on my FB page, www.facebook.com/cyn209

    my favorite snack or meal??? too many choices, by i would have to say favorite snack is CHIPS!! favorite meals???? spaghetti or pizza!!!!


  8. A vampire mystery, sounds awesome!

    Favorite meal: roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy or cheese ravioli. Favorite snack: Breyer's chooclate chip mint ice cream. I could go for some right now. Yum!

    GFC Anne38

  9. Hello Sarah, Well my indy just called saying Taste of Nightlife is in.

    Don't enter me in the contest.

    Favorite snack is hot chocolate anytime anywhere anytemp.

    qwill follower

    zombvampire (^t] gmail {•] com

  10. My favorite snack or meal is pizza.

    I follow The Qwillery on Google Friend Connect.

    I tweeted the Interview & Giveaway:

    Mentioned on Facebook:


  11. OH for a fav snack it has to be almonds and for a meal, I love pizza. The Great Vegetable pizza.
    This looks like a great read. I cannot wait.
    GFC Teril

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  12. Congratulations on your new release, Sarah! It sounds wonderful!
    My favorite meal is chicken fettuccine alfredo and favorite snack is anything with chocolate


  13. Ooh this sounds like an interesting new series!! I like a good mystery that has paranormal elements! Sounds like this one is right up my alley!

    My fave meal? Well ultimately it depends on what I'm in the mood for. Truly it does! But I love thin crust pizza--especially at the small town pizza places, ie: not apart of the chain. Also love chips n' salsa as a snack! And really this could go on and on!!

    GFC follower


  14. Next to reading there is little more that I really enjoy - one is recipes and good food. A favorite of mine is baked artichoke squares - so rich, so yummy with a little tang and garlic:) Thank you for sharing about this wonderful book today. I cannot wait to try the asparagus dip, my mouth is watering right now. I would love to win a copy of this book.

    GFC follower


  15. What an interesting concept! I love mysteries and I love vampires, so this cannot go wrong for me! Thanks for the great interview and giveaway:)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/jwitt33/status/90912768710021121

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  16. My favorite meal is breakfast cause if I'm not too lazy I make chocolate chip pancakes and a fruit bowl :) GFC Krystal Larson edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom facebooked: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100000547840483

  17. I'm not a foodie at all, I love the all you can eat pizza buffet at Cici's Pizza. Any time I get a chance to eat out, that's where I pick. I love having pizza for lunch or dinner, it's the best.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  18. Egg Mcmuffins.I know it is a bit weird, but man they are delish!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  19. Great interview.

    My favorite meal would be Fish & Chips: freshly caught fish & my mother's home made chips.

    GFC Follower: Mary Preston


  20. A Vampire Chef ! That is a new and unusual take.

    Love the idea.

    My favorite meal is Spaghetti Bolognaise.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.


    Carol T

    +1 for answer
    +1 I follow via GFC (buddyt)

  21. Congrats on the new release! It sounds like a fun new series. As for me, my favorite snack is chocolate. I can't have chocolate in the house, because I have no self control when it comes to it. As for a favorite meal, I guess it would be some type of mexican food....enchiladas, rice, beans, tamales....that sort of stuff. Yum!


  22. Love burritos!!! Snack would be FUNYUNS :)

    I am a follower.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  23. My favorite snack is Oreos ! <3 When some one asks for one, I just look at them like get your own. Hahha

    And Sarah, congratulations on the release of A Taste of the Nightlife!!


  24. My favorite meal is the dessert, or more exactly cake like the "paris brest" ! I just love it, it's delicious !

    thanks for the giveaway ! I'm a follower of this blog.


  25. My favorite snack is fresh strawberries and blackberries

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com