It’s a dark and stormy murder with author Julia Buckley - Dark Streets
What happens when an aspiring writer gets to live and work with her idol, a writer of romantic gothic suspense ala Victoria Holt? Well, her adventures might get told in a new series, Writer’s Apprentice Mysteries, and the teller of such tales might just be a native Chicagoean named Julia Buckley!
Julia was born in the suberbs of Chicago to German/Hungarianparents. She grew up loving to read and write, and eventually translated that love into her other full time career: that of High School English teacher. Although holding down two jobs can get somewhat demanding at times, Julia wouldn’t have it any other way.
The idea for the Writer’s Apprentice mysteries came about because of Julia’s love of romantic suspense novels of the mid-20th century, ala Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. The result was a series with a sort of Gothic overtones (Quick! Can you say Dark Shadows) minus the supernatural aspect:
When said heroine, Lena London, lands a job as assistant to her idol, a best selling romantic suspense novelist, she can’t believe her good fortune. Not only does she get to learn about writing hands on, but she gets to live rent free in her employers gorgeous Victorian estate! But all is not as it seems. Besides being the center of gossip for befriending the local recluse (cue the mysterious, brooding hero) she soon stumbles across the one thing a Gothic novel is never without: namely, a dead body. Now Lena has to hunt down clues to track a real killer, and clear her mysterious recluse’s name before she gets written out of the story for good…..
And while Julia’s preferences might run to gothic mystery, she doesn’t discriminate. She also pens another series for Berkley, the Undercover Dish mysteries. The premise of these is that Lilah Drake, a young chef, has a secret business making food for people who want to take credit for making food themselves.
Note the back cover copy from the first in the series, THE BIG CHILI:
After dreaming for years of owning her own catering company, Lilah has made a start into the food world through her Covered Dish business, covertly cooking for her neighbors who don’t have the time or skill to do so themselves, and allowing them to claim her culinary creations as their own. While her clientele is strong, their continued happiness depends on no one finding out who’s really behind the apron.
So when someone drops dead at a church Bingo night moments after eating chili that Lilah made for a client, the anonymous chef finds herself getting stirred into a cauldron of secrets, lies, and murder—and going toe to toe with a very determined and very attractive detective. To keep her clients coming back and her business under wraps, Lilah will have to chop down the list of suspects fast, because this spicy killer has acquired a taste for homicide…
And the second in this series, CHEDDAR OFF DEAD, released last September, sounds just as spicy:
The Christmas holidays are one of Lilah’s favorite times of the year, filled with friends, family, and, of course, tons of food orders for her covered dish clients. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees a most Grinch-like crime: the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot.
It turns out the deceased Kris Kringle was a complicated tangle of naughty and nice, with a long list of people who might have wanted him dead. And whoever did the deed wants to make sure that Lilah keeps quiet. Now, Lilah will have to team up with her former fling, Detective Jay Parker, to unwrap the mysteries of a deadly Christmas killer and stay alive long enough to ring in the New Year...
Julia admits she doesn’t do any of the “cool writer things” like interview her characters or keep a diary for them. Rather, she just embroiders them as she goes along. She has a preference for “pantser” writing but admits that her publisher prefers outlines so she tries to combine the best of both worlds.
Right now, Julia is working on the last contracted book for both series. Next she admits she’d like to try her hand at a YA novel, or perhaps a thriller. Whatever she chooses, we know one thing!
Julia Buckey’s writing is anything but dark and stormy! Try one of her novels today!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read. Visit her at www.tclotempio.com or at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com