Sunday, July 28, 2013

ParaCozyMysMo - Interview with Isabelle “Betts” Winston from the Country Cooking School Mysteries by Paige Shelton - July 28, 2013

Please welcome Isabelle “Betts” Winston from the Country Cooking School Mysteries by Paige Shelton. Betts teaches cooking and solves mysteries with her Gram. Did I mention that she sees ghosts?

TQ:  Hi Betts. Welcome to The Qwillery.

Betts:  Thanks, Sally, it’s great to be here.

TQ:  Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to work with your grandmother at her cooking school in Broken Rope, Missouri?

Betts:  While I love working with Gram and I’m awfully happy about the way things worked out, my route to getting there was a little bumpy. My original plans were law school followed by a fast paced, big city life. However, a short time into law school I realized that the legal world just wasn’t for me. I didn’t have any money, so I had no choice but to go back home to Broken Rope. Gram brought me into the school and we’ve worked together ever since. Truthfully, I feel like I’m right where I belong.

TQ:  What is life like in Broken Rope? Have you lived there your whole life?

Betts:  Other than college and law school, yes, I’ve lived there all my life. Broken Rope is a performance town. We have an interesting but brutal history. Every summer the town is set up just like it was back in the Old West days. We perform skits and we highlight our long-dead and sometimes controversial citizens – there’s a healthy supply of both good and bad. It’s a small town, but the downtown boardwalks are packed with tourists during June, July and August which makes it seem like Broken Rope is two towns in one – the summer historical town, and the rest of the year when Gram and I spend most of our time teaching down-home cooking techniques.

TQ:  Do you have a favorite recipe?

Betts:  That’s a difficult one to answer. Gram is an amazing cook and I think my favorite is always the one she’s had me most recently taste test. I’m not picky at all.

TQ:  Do you like to experiment with your recipes or stick to the tried and tested ones?

Betts:  Again, Gram’s a better at experimenting, but I’m getting more courageous all the time. I have lots of standard recipes I stick with, but I’m branching out a little.

TQ:  You do more than just teach cooking. You also solve mysteries both present day and from the past. Which mysteries are easier to solve - the present day or historical ones?

Betts:  Oddly, they’re both the same degree of difficulty, just very different. One is more about paying attention, one is more about research.

TQ:  You and Gram see ghosts. Do they help or hinder your investigations?

Betts:  Depends on the ghost. I haven’t yet met nearly as many as Gram has over the years. I’m still very fascinated by them, and I still enjoy their company – well, mostly. Gram has grown a little impatient with some of their shenanigans, but she appreciates their contribution to our history.

TQ:  Do solving mysteries and cooking have anything in common?

Betts:  For me more than Gram, yes. Gram’s pretty good at taking a little of this and a little of that and consistently creating something that tastes good. I’m getting there, but I still have a ways to go.

TQ:  Can you give us a hint regarding what is up next for you and Gram?

Betts:  In the book that comes out August 6, IF BREAD COULD RISE TO THE OCCASION, I get to meet a new ghost – someone who was a very important part of Gram’s past. But I also get to reacquaint myself with the first ghost I met – Jerome makes an appearance. And, I’m pretty sure that the book next year will include a bunch of cowboy poets and a Pony Express rider or two.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Betts:  Thanks for the great questions. All my best to you and your readers, and I look forward to seeing you in Broken Rope.

Country Cooking School Mysteries

If Fried Chicken Could Fly
A Country Cooking School Mystery 1
Berkley, January 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

At Gram’s Country Cooking School, Betts and Gram are helping students prepare the perfect dishes for the Southern Missouri Show-Down, the cook-off that draws the first of the summer visitors. Everything is going smoothly until they discover the body of local theater owner Everett Morningside in the school’s supply closet, and Everett’s widow points an accusatory finger at Gram. Now, Betts has to dig deep into Broken Rope’s history to find the modern-day killer—before the last piece of chicken is served...

If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance
A Country Cooking School Mystery 2
Berkley, October 2, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

At Gram’s Country Cooking School in Broken Rope, Missouri, Isabelle “Betts” Winston and her grandmother share the secrets of delicious home-style recipes. But there’s one secret they keep from their classes—their ability to talk to ghosts from the town’s colorful past...

Betts and Gram agree to help their friend Jake at Broken Rope’s Historical Society by accommodating some foodie tourists for the night and occupying them with cooking lessons. It couldn’t be worse timing when the pair encounter the ax-wielding ghost of Sally Swarthmore, one of Broken Rope’s legendary murderers, who pleads with Betts to help find her diary—a diary that could prove that Sally was really a victim, not a villain.

But they soon have a modern-day murder on their hands when one of the tourists turns up dead with a noose around his neck and two other tourists are nowhere to be found. Now Betts needs to put the cooking classes on the back burner to untangle two knotty mysteries and rope in a cold-blooded killer.

If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion
A Country Cooking School Mystery 3
Berkley, August 6, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

At Gram’s Country Cooking School, Isabelle “Betts” Winston and her grandmother share their home-style culinary secrets. But what they keep to themselves are the secrets of Broken Rope, a quiet little Missouri town, that isn’t nearly as quiet as it seems...

A fresh school year begins as Gram and Betts anxiously await the arrival of their new crop of students. But their enthusiasm is thwarted when a stranger named Freddie O’Bannon arrives and claims to have proof that he was accepted to the school despite what is in their files. And when the ghost of Cylas Gent, a young man who might have a romantic past with Gram, also appears, there are suddenly two mysteries demanding their attention.

But just as Gram and Betts start sifting through the past, one of their new students is murdered. Does the seemingly sweet Freddie O’Bannon have something sinister to hide, or are Gram’s ghosts trying to teach her a lesson? Either way, it’s up to the country cooks to catch a killer before another living soul gets burned.

Includes delicious recipes!

About Paige

Paige Shelton is the national bestselling author of the Farmers' Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She grew up in the Midwest but moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, after college. Paige enjoys reading, listening to music from the 80s, and watching way too many zombie movies with her husband and son.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @authorpaige

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion (A Country Cooking School Mystery 3) by Paige Shelton from The Qwillery.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on August 10, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

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  1. I'd love to learn how to make quiche. Whenever I make it the crust gets soggy! My husband loves it, but I'm just not a fan.

  2. I would love to learn to bake bread - it might sound simple but every time I try I end up with rock hard bread that even the birds review to touch! :-)

  3. I'd like to learn to cook vegetables so that they don't get all mushy---and to make them interesting.

  4. I'd like to learn how to make cakes - special occasion cakes.

  5. I'd like to learn to cook pasta and soup. Until now i still can't master that two :)

  6. Cakes and cookies. I like eat that two and always want to make it for myself

  7. Molecular gastronomy -- it's just sooooo cool!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com