Today we sit down for a chat with Pauline Mertens from author Christine DeSmet’s Fudge Shop Mystery Series.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I’m Ava Oosterling’s best friend. Before I met Ava in grade school, I was confused and sad, sometimes terrified of the night because I lived in a dysfunctional home. My dad drank too much, and my family suffered from that, so I often stayed overnight with Ava and her family on their farm in Door County, Wisconsin.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’ve learned to trust my own heart and the commonsense wisdom that comes with that.
What do you like least about yourself?
I wish I were bolder, more like Ava. Ava leaps into trouble a lot, but I envy her bravery. I’m about to get married in our novel called Holly Jolly Fudge Folly, but I’m scared I may not have the mettle marriage takes. My parents’ failed marriage haunts me. I haven’t been brave enough to confess that to Ava.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Ava led me into a creepy basement in an historic, old church looking for a secret recipe that may have been written by a real-life nun in the 1800s. She also got me mixed up with a killer who left us tied up in the middle of a fire. Ava called that autumn adventure Five-Alarm Fudge.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
I argue to make Ava more cautious and less dangerously impulsive. The author has explained, though, that Ava had an easier life than I did. She was an only child on a beautiful farm with two loving parents and doting grandparents who let her do anything she wanted. Life was sweet as the fudge and candies she now makes in her shop. Ava goes into trouble thinking somebody will always rescue her, but that doesn’t always happen.
What is your greatest fear?
By marrying John this December, I might not have enough time for my best friend Ava, my mother, and my sister. I haven’t seen my sister Lucie in person for a few years. I hope the wedding can be a new start for us all, even for Ava—who confessed she’s planning a big change in her life.
What makes you happy?
Having fun with Ava. She’s pretty hilarious. She gets me into crazy adventures that are entertaining to the max when they’re not life-threatening. Ava and I love fast cars.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
Certainly, my childhood. I always dreamed of having a perfect family and having lots of toys and dresses and opportunities. I’m making up for my childhood with my lavish Victorian-style wedding. Ava hates her red-velveteen maid-of-honor dress, but my girlfriend will wear it anyway because she realizes why I need to be extravagant.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Mercy Fogg. She’s our snowplow driver and school bus driver but she was once our village president. Mercy has a vendetta against Ava because Ava and her grandpa wouldn’t give up the last old building on the harbor. Mercy wanted to turn our harbor into private condos. Ava and Grandpa kept the old fishing shack and turned it into the fudge shop and saved the historic harbor area. Mercy is still trying to get rid of our history.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
Grandpa Gil Oosterling! He embraces being an adult very well and says what he wants without a filter. I can’t do that because I’m the local kindergarten teacher. Grandpa Gil has always been my grandpa, too, because I lived with the Oosterlings.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Christine DeSmet was raised on a Wisconsin farm and brings that know-how to the background of Ava and the Oosterling family. Christine writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series and the Mischief in Moonstone romantic-mystery novella series, both set in Wisconsin. All her mystery writing contains humor, shenanigans, and warmth. Check out Christine’s website where you can learn more about her and her books and also find links to her other social media sites.
What's next for you?
After my Christmastime wedding, I’m moving into a beautiful big house on a horse ranch outside Fishers’ Harbor, Wisconsin that my fiancé bought. I’m pinching myself to make sure it’s real. I’m also scared this change in my life may affect my relationship with Ava Oosterling. Stay tuned.
A Fudge Shop Mystery, Book 3
It’s autumn in Fishers’ Harbor, Wisconsin, and fudge shop owner Ava Oosterling is busy preparing for the harvest festival and a visit from some royal relatives who live in Belgium. According to Ava’s grandpa, a famous divinity fudge recipe from the 1860s is hidden somewhere in a local historical church—a treat fit for a prince.
But when a fire in the church reveals the body of a murdered man, it looks like someone is willing to go to any length to possess the valuable secret to the divinity fudge. As Ava searches for the killer—and the recipe—she could use a little divine intervention, because she may have bitten off more than she can chew…