I am happy to have as my guest today, Michelle Hillen Klump, as she celebrates the release of Murder Served Neat, the second book in the Cocktails and Catering Mystery series. In her guest post, she tells about one of the sources of inspiration.
Inspiration from a City
Guest post from Michelle Hillen Klump, Murder Served Neat
When I sat down to write my first cozy mystery series, I knew I wanted to set it in my adopted hometown of Houston, Texas. As the fourth-largest city in the US with its twelve-lane freeways and massive sprawl, it wasn’t the likeliest setting for a cozy. But there is a lot of charm here that is overlooked by those who associate it only with its chemical plants and oil refineries, its big-city grittiness and traffic.
The city is full of interesting neighborhoods where you can find people and food from nearly every country in the world; a tremendous arts community with theater, ballet, opera and the symphony; and beautiful parks where people from all corners of our city come together to play and have fun.
In my series, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite parts of the city and show it off to those who may only have preconceived notions of Houston. In my first book, A DASH OF DEATH, I focused on the quaint historical community of the Highlands, my fictional stand-in for the Houston Heights neighborhood. The Heights is full of old Victorians and bungalows and even a little shopping district of galleries and boutiques that could rival any small town main street found in more traditional cozies.
In my second book, I wanted to pay homage to another aspect of the city that I have always loved – the access it provides to mix and mingle with people from so many different cultures. On any given Saturday in Houston, you can stumble into a cultural festival where you can learn about international cuisines and traditions that you may otherwise have never encountered before. At these festivals, you can learn Bollywood dance moves, hear music from the Caribbean or watch a cooking demonstration from South America.
MURDER SERVED NEAT takes place during one such festival hosted by the German-Texan lodge. Though the lodge in my book is purely fictional, dozens of these cultural heritage societies exist in Houston with the goal of celebrating and preserving their unique traditions and what they represent to the community at large. German settlers in particular made many contributions to Texas culture, influencing everything from beer and brass bands to barbecue.
I hope my book captures a flavor of the fun to be found at these festivals, sampling unique foods listening to traditional music and watching traditional dance performances. I frequent them often with my family, and every time we leave, I’m left with an appreciation of how much richer our lives are because of the cultural melting pot that is Houston.
About the Book
Reporter-turned-mixologist Samantha Warren has already thwarted one murder. Now, her world is shaken—definitely not stirred—once again as another killing throws her world into chaos.
Samantha is mixing up traditional cocktails at the German Texan Lodge’s Fourth of July festival—a gig she was roped into by her mother. But amidst the bratwurst and brass bands, trouble is brewing. Lodge loyalties are divided over a proposal to build a private, country-club-style tennis center on the lodge grounds. Her mom’s best friend Patty Davis is vehemently opposed to the plan. Society matron Angela Clawson is all for it. At the festival, they’re seen in a heated argument—and hours later, Angela is found dead, killed by one of the ceremonial shovels intended for the groundbreaking.
Samantha’s mother begs her to help clear her best friend’s name, but can she handle another murder case or will the whole investigation go bottoms up?
Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a signed copy of Murder Served Neat + some cocktail accessories.
About the Author
Michelle Hillen Klump began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, traveling the back roads of central Texas and Arkansas, reporting on everything from natural disasters to crime and corruption. She’s interviewed former presidents, covered a midnight manhunt through the Ozark Mountains, and learned the finer points of how to break a car window from a looter while covering a hurricane. Now, she uses her experiences as fodder for fiction, writing a cozy mystery series about a former reporter turned craft cocktail caterer.
Michelle lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and young daughter. When she’s not writing or working her day job, she enjoys gardening, reading, exploring Houston’s neighborhoods, hiking and biking, and creating craft cocktails for friends and family.
- Webpage https://michelleklump.com/
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichelleKlump/
- Twitter https://twitter.com/mh_klump
- Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21600853.Michelle_Hillen_Klump
- GoodReads Book Link https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60729835-murder-served-neat
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/michelle.h.klump/?hl=en
Purchase Links – Amazon – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound
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