BookEnds Talks to Livia J. Washburn

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 26 2006

Livia J. Washburn
Book: A Peach of a Murder (A Fresh Baked Mystery)
Publisher: Signet
Pub date: October 2006
Agent: Kim Lionetti

Livia J. Washburn has had the privilege of being a professional writer for over twenty years. She lives in a small Texas town with her husband, James Reasoner, and two daughters.

Awards received: Livia received the Private Eye Writers of America award and the American Mystery award for her first mystery, Wild Night, written under the name L. J. Washburn, and was nominated for a Spur Award by the Western Writers of America for a novel written with her husband.

BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Livia: Phyllis Newsom and her friends, a group of retired teachers, become involved in a series of murders centered around the town’s annual Peach Festival. Rich in the colorful and sometimes deadly details of small-town life, this book features not only intriguing mystery plots and likable characters but also delicious recipes.

BookEnds: Where do you get your ideas?
Livia: Depends on whether you’re talking about the story or the recipes. The idea of writing a cook-off novel came from my agent, Kim Lionetti. The characters and locations come from life experiences and the murder comes from research. The recipes were developed to fit the story and came from many experiments in the kitchen.

BookEnds: What’s your next book? When and where should we look for it?
Livia: Murder by the Slice, the second book in the Fresh Baked Mystery series, will come out in October 2007.

BookEnds: Who are your favorite characters and why?
Livia: Phyllis and Carolyn are fun with their different personalities and their competitive natures, but I have to say I love the interaction between Phyllis and Sam. I can’t wait to see how their relationship will grow.

BookEnds: Do you see yourself in any of your characters? If so, who and how?
Livia: The characters grew from a blend of my family and all the other teachers I’ve known over the years. I see very little of myself in any of the characters, just some of my experiences.

BookEnds: How do you spend your time when not writing?
Livia: Baking to come up with the original recipes in my books. But I also spend as much time as possible reading. Both my husband and I love to read and our library continues to take over our offices and house. And when I have the time and money I enjoy building. I recently purchased a cordless nailer and have had fun building tables, shelves, and putting up ceiling trim.

To learn more about Livia J. Washburn, see Our Books at