Vintage Sweets? by Kaye George
Are you wondering how on earth I came to write a series based on that (somewhat odd) topic? It was an evolution, a rather round about one.
I had my location from the start, Fredericksburg, Texas, a German tourist town in the Hill Country, full of wineries and interesting places. My agent at the time had actually been there, though she lives in New Jersey, and she was enthusiastic about that setting.
Sweets were on my mind from the very beginning. My first idea for the new series was a combination candy and cupcake shop. I worked up the idea, two friends running the place, one specializing in candy, the other in cupcakes. The candy maker would be named Taffy and she would be the sleuth. They would buy two shops and knock out the wall between them, sharing a large kitchen running across the back of the enlarged space. I worked up an outline and wrote three chapters, a standard proposal.
However, my agent felt there were too many cupcake cozy mysteries out at the time, which was a couple of years ago. She suggested the vintage candy theme and wanted two separate shops. Being from New Jersey, she named a number of candies from her Eastern seaboard childhood, some of which I had never heard of, or never tasted: Mary Janes, Whoopie Pies, Mallomars?
Since the cupcakes were out, I had to think of another product that would go well with these ancient candies. I was glancing about and my eyes lit on my basket collection, which was stashed on top of a set of bookcases. Of course! A basket shop. The candies could be incorporated into the basket themes.
Now, to figure out what these candies were. Google to the rescue—there were even recipes. I could change them up a bit and use them for Taffy’s shop. However, my agent had suggested so many changes, including changes to her personality and background, that she was no longer Taffy. So Tally Holt was born. Now I just had to figure out why a Texas would make candies she had never heard of. That wasn’t too hard. She had had a grandmother from New Jersey. Close to the beginning of the first book, her grandmother died and left her an old metal recipe box, oddly similar to one my mother had, which I now own. The grandmother’s hobby had been recreating the candies of her childhood and the recipe box, with those creations on index cards, was given to Tally in the will.
Voila! A Vintage Sweets cozy mystery series!
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Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (her latest is the Vintage Sweets series from Lyrical Press). Her short stories have appeared online, in anthologies, magazines, her own collection, her own anthology, DAY OF THE DARK. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter (Knoxville), Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, and Austin Mystery Writers. She lives and works in Knoxville, TN.
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