Melinda Wells is the mystery pen name of Linda Palmer, a woman who has led a very diverse life. She’s been a wildlife photographer in Africa, a children's photographer in New York City, a writer for a Daytime TV drama, a produced screenwriter, a producer, Vice President of a Hollywood Public Relations firm, and Vice President of TriStar Pictures. (She says that when she works for a company she has to start as a VP because "I don't have the skills to start lower.") To learn more about Linda/Melinda, visit her website.
Linda/Melinda is offering a copy of one of her Della Cooks mysteries (winner’s choice) to one of our readers. To enter the drawing, simply post a comment to the blog this week. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday to see if you’re the lucky winner. -- AP
Hi, I'm Melinda Wells (aka Linda Palmer), currently writing a series of "culinary mysteries" for Berkley Prime Crime. In 2007, after I had completed a series of four mysteries set against the background of a popular Daytime TV drama, my editor asked if I would like to write a series for them set somewhere in the world of food. They wanted each book to include "cooking, recipes, and murder," with ten recipes at the end of each book. She added, "Because this series will be so different from your first, will you use a pen name?"
I love to cook, so I accepted the challenge eagerly and came up with a new set of characters, a new location and a new name, "Melinda Wells." At the time of my editor's request, I had no idea that there was a category called "culinary mysteries." I hadn't read any of them. But, fortunately for me, there are many people who enjoy reading mystery novels that are food-connected. Now that I've read books by some of the talented writers in this genre, I can understand why it's a popular category.
My series began with KILLER MOUSSE, published in 2008. I enjoy writing them because they combine four of my favorite things in life: friendship, working at a job one loves, mystery stories, and food. The recipes in the book labeled "Della's" are mine. Other recipes come from friends, each of whom I name. The cake featured in DEATH TAKES THE CAKE (2009), was adapted from a recipe sent to me by Myra Morehouse, who had read and enjoyed KILLER MOUSSE. I had to make a few changes in order for it to become Della's cake—she had to enter it in a competition—but I wouldn't have come up with "Della's Orange Dreamsicle Cake" without Myra's generosity in sharing some of her recipes with me.
My heroine, Della Carmichael, isn't me, but she's the most like me of any character I've ever conceived (except that she's younger and thinner than I am.) She has friends who are dear to her and pets she loves. In fact, the black standard poodle in the series, "Tuffy," is based on my own beloved, now sadly deceased, black standard poodle, Tuffy.
I'm happy spending every day writing about Della and her friends, getting them into—and eventually out of—trouble. And finding new ways for people to murder one another. Personally, I don't like gore—I don't want people to suffer—so my victims are dispatched quickly. The fun I have is with the relationships among the characters, and discovering how Della will solve the mystery and expose the killer.
PIE A LA MURDER, the fourth book in the series, just released. At the moment I'm working on writing book # 5, which will be published in 2012.
To read the first chapters of the first four books—to have a "taste," so to speak—please go to my web site: www.lindapalmermysteries.com. Go to "Book Previews," and click on the book covers. While you're there, I'd like to have you see the two dogs and the cat who are blessings in my life.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Linda. Readers, would you like a copy of one of Linda’s Della Cooks mysteries? Post a comment to enter the drawing. And don’t forget to check back on Sunday to find out if you’ve won. -- AP