Today we sit down for a chat with Scarlett Gardner from author Samara Yew’s California Bookshop Mysteries.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I’m glad my author started pulling my strings because I’m not sure if I would have had the courage to pursue my dream of opening a bookshop on the beach if she hadn’t. I was living in Phoenix (possibly still with my parents) and saving up money to start a new business, but it was still mostly a dream. My author finally gave me the courage to do something about it, so I moved to Southern California and opened up the Palm Trees and Page Turners Bookshop.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m a good listener. My roommate/BFF Lucia says this is something she really appreciates about me. And she loves to talk, so we make a good pair. My sister and other friends have also mentioned this is a trait that makes them feel like I’m a safe person to talk to.
What do you like least about yourself?
Okay, so I’m working on it, I promise. But I’m not the most confident person around. I’ve sort of gotten into the habit of letting others speak up for me, but I’m getting better at doing that myself. I think having confidence might be essential to running your own small business. I mean, I know having confidence is essential.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
I don’t know why she had to write about me being the police’s prime suspect in a murder investigation, but that was a setup for a whole sequence of strange things happening to me. Following trails of clues, snooping around dingy motels, washing off threatening messages that had been painted on my beloved bookshop. I’m just trying to sell books here!
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
We sometimes argue, but not too often. My author really wanted me to date my friend Hiroki. Even in the outline for Murder by the Seashore, she had him listed as my “love interest,” but when it came time to write the book, she discovered (as Hiroki and I knew all along) that we were better as just friends. We’re really close, and I treasure his friendship, but right now, there are no romantic feelings between us.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is losing my sister. Olivia and I are very close, but sometimes I get scared something will come between us that will drive us apart. She also lives in Australia, so I fear we will grow apart with such a huge physical distance between us.
What makes you happy?
Books and the beach. So much so, that I built my entire business around those two things.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I would have kept my distance the first time I met Connor Walker—my now-ex. We started Palm Trees and Page Turners together, but then he left both me and the bookshop for a better job offer. I wish I had just started the bookshop on my own from the get-go. I would also not include so much murder in my story if I were to rewrite it.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Definitely Connor. Ugh. He’s just so sleazing, and I’m embarrassed I didn’t notice it until after he had left.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
No one specific, but I often wish I could trade places with the tourists who come into my bookshop. I’m a little jealous that they get to grab a book and then head out to the beach for the day, eating tacos from the Guac ‘n’ Roll food truck and walking along the pier.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Samara Yew is a cozy mystery author who writes about adorable bookshops and dead bodies. A full-time mom, full-time dog servant, and part-time writer, Samara lives in British Columbia, Canada, where she can often be found watching Psych reruns. Samara loves to travel, especially visiting her husband’s home country of Singapore or donning Mickey ears in Disneyland. Learn more about her at her website.
What's next for you?
Not to give away too many spoilers, but I’m planning on expanding Palm Trees and Page Turners to include a café. I’m already thinking of fun ideas for how to celebrate a re-grand opening. Readers can expect to see something about that in the next California Bookshop Mystery.
Murder by the Seashore
A California Bookshop Mystery, Book 1
Southern California is where dreams come true—or so Scarlett Gardner thought. When she moved there and opened the Palm Trees and Page Turners bookshop, she thought her boyfriend and business partner would be part of the story. When he leaves her for a better job, Scarlett finds herself struggling to keep her new business afloat. That’s not the only thing she has to worry about—she discovers something underneath the pier by her bookshop that she didn’t outline for her life’s story: the dead body of a book-buying customer.
After Scarlett gives a statement to the police, she thinks her life can go back to business as usual. But when a lawyer, representing someone named Lorelai Knight, tells Scarlett that she now stands to inherit a small fortune, she’s left with more questions than answers. Before she can make sense of any of it, the police bring her in for questioning; the body she found was Lorelai Knight. And the evidence they have against Scarlett doesn’t look good. Business is booming as Scarlett returns to Palm Trees and Page Turners, but for all the wrong reasons – curious tourists don’t want books, they want a glimpse of the Bookshop Killer.
Who could really be behind all of this? And why frame Scarlett? To clear her name, she’s going to have to get creative—and hope she can remain one page ahead of the killer.