You are what you read – author Jessica Thompson

Today I am delighted to welcome to my blog, Jessica Thompson, culinary cosy-mystery author. Jessica talks about the books that have influenced her own delicious writing and writers who are her literary master chefs. Over to you, Jessica.

As a culinary cozy mystery author, I do try to keep my reading within those predictable genres. That way I can call it “research.” It’s all food and mystery.

I read a lot of cookbooks, food science, and even food history and culture. My favorite cookbooks are by America’s Test Kitchen and its later iterations, like Milk Street and Cook’s Country, plus those ones that are a little extra in depth, like Main Dishes That Matter and The River Cottage Meat Book. A lot of those are also great sources for food science information, plus Alton Brown and Sorted Food, although those are mostly videos. I suppose there is a lot of overlap, because those are great sources for food culture and history as well! But when I think about food history and culture, I really think of anything by Michael Pollan, or books about different cultures that I have read recently, like The Food of Sichuan or Koreatown: A Cookbook.

The other side is the mystery. I looooove mysteries. I always have, but now I read them with an author’s eye. I read them as research, for ideas, to study the dialogue, and to notice the plotting and pacing. My ongoing project that I have almost finished is to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels. It’s a big project because she was very prolific. I also took on this project because I love her stories! My favorit book is actually one of hers –  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I would also recommend her others, like the collection of Miss Marple’s short stories and Murder at the Vicarage. I would even go out on a limb and say that Agatha Christie novels are still the best plots of the clean mystery options out there. But I do love other cozy mysteries, too. I think my favorite cozy authors are Josi Kilpack (I got some serious inspiration from Lemon Tart), Ellie Alexander (have you read Fudge & Jury? So fun!) Kate Carlisle (I just finished The Grim Reader), and I’m sure I’m forgetting others.

And I suppose the third aspect to my research is books about writing. I’ve read a few, and they are all helpful, but my favorite is definitely Save the Cat Writes a Novel. I’ve read it through, listen to it on Audible regularly, and keep it close by for reference. It is the only book about writing that I have tabs in for quick reference. I have it next to me right now as I write this! I have tabs to mark the pages that talk about character, the “whydunnit” section, the logline template, the short synopsis template, and I regularly refer to the graphics about outlining.

It’s all great research! So whatever media it is that I’m consuming, I try to keep it to these topics and genres. Luckily they are also the genres I enjoy!

About Jessica

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When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.

Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling culinary cozy mysteries “A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide.” She is active in her local writing community and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Storymakers Guild. She received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries.

As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection. She also tends to be the go-to source forrecipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.

Jessica is originally from California, but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle. She enjoys living in the suburbs with her husband and young children, but also enjoys helping her parents with their nearby longhorn cattle ranch.

Jessica’s books

Deck the halls…with a personal chef, a snowed-in lodge, and a sprinkling of murder!

“Watch the knives!”

While acting as personal chef for a friend’s mountain retreat, Violet and her husband, Jake, must set aside their stress over infertility and create a magical and delicious holiday – until tragedy crashes the party.

Being snowed in and unreachable from town, Violet and Jake end up hired for a different kind of job – finding out which of the guests committed murder and why they’re trying to frame their hostess.

Violet must find a balance between following her gut and keeping it all under control until the police can reach them, while still managing the kitchen. But can she sniff out the killer before anyone else bites the big one?

A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide will give you a culinary holiday you won’t forget!

Visit Jessica’s website for more information about her scrumptious mysteries!

3 comments

  1. What a fab idea. I have seen some TV series with a chef as the main character and sleuth. It must be a strain finding the recipes for each book, or is it fun. Thanks, Anna for sharing this and congrats Jessica, and continued success. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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