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Adam Interviews...Jessica Thompson!


Ah, good.

You're back!

And you're just in time!

We have an old friend coming back - something I love to have happen!

Why?

Because it means they've got new books for us!


Anyway, say a big welcome back to Jessica Thompson! When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.


Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling “Caterer’s Guide to Crime” culinary cozy mystery series and the classic mystery, “Shoot Shovel and Shut Up.” Her first book was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Awards and her other books were Whitney Award nominees in the mystery category. She has also curated two anthologies and been included in many others. She is active in her local writing community and volunteers as the Finance Chair of the Storymakers Guild.


Jessica Thompson

As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection.  She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.


Jessica lives outside Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing or cooking, she likes getting her boots dirty with the family at her parents' nearby Longhorn cattle ranch.


 Bookfunnel free story - A Caterer's Guide to Sneaking Around https://dl.bookfunnel.com/vexqm40140


Movie poster for Serenity featuring the crew of the show Firefly

Firefly – gone too soon or overrated? Hm, the show was okay, but I feel like it got better at the end! Like the news that they’d be canceled lit a fire under them. And the movie was the best part of the series! (SPOILER ALERT) But now they can’t bring it back because my favorite character diiiiieeed!!!


Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity? I judge reboots on a case-by-case basis. Some franchises need a reboot if they went down a weird path. And I’m not sure it’s a lack of creativity that drives it, but instead fan service which can be done well in some cases.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I noticed just the other day that I get writing and immediately crave sugar. I’ve been wondering if there is a scientific reason. Our brains run on glucose, don’t they? I think my brain gets chugging and calls out for a new shipment of glucose.

 


Audiobook cover of Shoot Shovel & Shut Up

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love cooking, and by extension, things like vegetable gardening, raising animals, food preservation, and all that stuff that is related to cooking. Even travel! I think the best way to experience other cultures is through their food. I looooove it!


Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?

I find that I accidentally go back to a pattern that I have noticed in a lot of popular stories. Have you ever noticed that every popular story has two guys and one girl? Even if it’s not a love triangle, there are still two guys and one girl. Think about it! Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, everything! Two guys and one girl! Anyway, my main character, Violet, has a non-love-triangle pair of guys that help her. They are Jake (the love interest) and Don (his friend.) And a trope I avoid is the one where a new love interest breaks up a marriage. I hate those!


Audiobook Cover of A Caterer's Guide to Valentines Violence

What does your family think of your writing?

My husband and kids are very supportive. My husband is my sugar daddy and I get to be a kept lady who makes very little money at writing. And my parents are supportive too, but they didn’t know that I was writing until I had a book deal.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I was surprised by how much I hate editing! Yeah, the writing is the fun part, as I assumed it would be, but the editing is sooooo awful! And during editing you learn things that you have been saying or thinking wrong your whole life! If you want to feel really stupid, write a book and get it edited.


How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

With my latest book, A Caterer’s Guide to Valentines and Violence, I have written and published 4 full-length books. With my new anthology, Luck of the Irish, I have written and published 10 short stories. Yippee! My imaginary punch card is full and I get … I dunno … ice cream!


Logo of the Writers League of Texas

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Reach out to the writing community! It’s motivating and you learn sooo much from the other writers about the craft and business of writing and publishing! I was a secretive writer for a long time but I didn’t actually progress until I joined writing organizations.


Logo of the Messy Manuscript Society

What do you think makes a good story?

Plot, plot, plot! I love the intricate puzzle of a mystery. I love a plot driven story, so that is where I always start. My editor usually says I need to add more to my characters but, to fully toot my own horn, she says I’m “the queen of plotting and pacing.”


What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I love calling them literary pilgrimages! I haven’t yet gone to any famous authors’ houses or anything, but I have planned family  vacations and writing group retreats around amazing bookstores and libraries. We took a writing retreat to Brownwood, Texas just so we could visit the awesome Intermission Book Shop. And my family traveled to New Orleans partially for the food (mostly for the food) and partially for cool old book shops. AND! When my writing group does local writing sprints instead of going on a retreat, we go to the Austin Central Library, which is huge and awesome! The staircases alone are worth a visit. Plus, there’s a rooftop garden, free study rooms with the best desk chairs, and comfy spaces on each of 6 floors!


Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes, I’m still considering it. There are two other Jessica Thompsons and one Jessica Thomson who are authors. It’s occasionally a problem, so I have just tried to set myself up as the one that writes mysteries. Sometimes it’s still an issue, so I would switch now, but I have already set myself as my real name! Is it worth doing all that branding and publicizing work over again? Probably not.


A cartoon of a man and a woman in a meet cute situation

What do you have coming next?

On March 17th I have an anthology of St. Paddy’s Day cozy mysteries coming out. Ten authors have come together to contribute short stories and donate our proceeds to a charity that benefits children. Our collection is called LUCK OF THE IRISH and it’s available on Amazon now!

I assembled another small team to write a Kindle Vella story that has new episodes once a week. MEET CUTE MOMENTS is a collection of super short and sweet romances. It’s the best part—the meet cute!

And I’m getting my novels into audiobooks!  A CATERER’S GUIDE TO VALENTINES AND VIOLENCE just released on Audible with SHOOT SHOVEL AND SHUT UP coming out soon.


Cover of LUCK OF THE IRISH

Excerpt from “A Caterer’s Guide to Leprechauns and Lies,” my story in LUCK OF THE IRISH:

 

“What?” Violet said.

“I–uh–” Jake shook himself. “I just didn’t know he was in this play. That’s my mom’s ex-boyfriend. They broke up maybe ten years ago. He’s kind of a big deal, so I thought he was through with community theater. Maybe it’s so he can be in a production with his son. That’s him with the sideburns—the one that’s playing his son.”

Violet felt her eyebrows raise as she turned back to appraise the man. He was also tall and broad with a swimmer’s build, but he was stooped with age, probably as part of his acting. His clumsy, drunken stumbling was so believable that Violet thought he might actually fall on the stage floor.

For another hour, the company on stage rambled off sentences that left Violet more confused than ever. During that time, the older man became shakier and shakier and fumbled more and more. At one point, the actor next to him even propped him up with a shoulder and Violet wondered if it was all part of the act or not.

Finally, a fake fight broke out between the two tall men—the older and the younger, who were apparently real-life father and son—until the younger hollered, “I’m goin’, but I’ll stretch you first!” Then Mr. Sideburns swung at the stumbling, bandaged man with a prop ax and sent him sprawling on the floor.

Violet couldn’t help but feel relieved for him to finally get a rest while he pretended to be dead, then impressed that he could stay perfectly still for so long. He lay face down at stage left, while the actors continued their dialogue for another twenty minutes at stage right.

When the other actors onstage wrapped two thick ropes around Mr. Sideburns’ wrists and attempted to arrest his character, something about the mood changed.

First, there was a long silence as the men scuffled on the floor, then one by one the other actors glanced over at the ex-boyfriend as if expecting something. Violet started to suspect something was wrong after the stocky actor repeated his last line, louder than before. Jake tensed up as the actors looked confused and stalled. Jake's mother sighed and hobbled over to the man. She nudged him with her foot as she said, “Oh no . . . He’s alive,” in an exasperated monotone.

She was trying to rouse him, but still the ex-boyfriend didn’t move.

Mr. Sideburns muttered through gritted teeth just loud enough for the front row to hear, “Get up. You’re missing your cue.”

Jake stood in alarm as the stocky actor walked over and shook the unconscious man as murmurs began to roll around the audience. Violet clasped Jake’s hand and held her breath until his mother stood up straighter than she had for the whole production and yelled in an American accent, “Someone call 911!”

 

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