Yes, it's true, I almost talked myself out of going. I've been fighting a headache and kind of wanted to stay in tonight with the promised storm heading our way (probably the storm that cause the headache -- double-edged sword). And I was going to the event alone, after all.
Still, I'm glad that Mike convinced me to go -- that and my desire to support a local bookstore (High Crimes) and an author event kept me motivated to go. (Side note: if you have the opportunity to attend an event near your home, take advantage of it!)
This is not the first time I've seen Davidson in action. In late '04 or early, early '05, I made Mike drive from Lafayette to Houston for a signing at Murder by the Book (a fantastic store if you live in the Houston area) for the release of Double Shot. And I'm very jealous of this year's crop of DPI students because Davidson, a local Colorado author (moved to Evergreen in 1976 if I wrote my notes correctly, after living in Texas and California first), spoke at the Publishing Institute this year. Not that I missed out, we had Stephen Coonts and Gordon Campbell, but I wanted Davidson, too! Greedy me.
Anywho, Davidson talked about her inspiration and research for several of her books, including her latest release, Fatally Flaky, which involves bridezillas, wedding catering, and spas. But I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so look for that post in the near future.
Instead, tonight I wanted to tell you a little bit about Davidson and her talk from this evening.
Davidson started out in 1982, but her first two books remain unpublished today. She wrote Catering to Nobody in the late 80s and it was released in 1990. If you haven't read the books, they feature Goldy Schultz, a Colorado caterer who deals with all sorts of issues -- and gets involved in many a murder -- through her work. They're super fun reads, and are as addictive as some of the dishes Goldy serves up. Don't worry, they come with recipes too, so you can try them out for yourself as you read.
My grandmother actually got me started reading this series ages ago. Back then, she was a little careful about what books she threw my way. I was probably still in middle school at this point, so it's understood. Davidson's books, while funny and exciting, do deal with some deep dark issues, but definitely fall into the cozy category, meaning that they're not graphic in either the violence or the sex department. In fact, just like a great recipe, they have just the right amount or both, even for someone like me who isn't afraid of the darker, gorier reads.
I have to say that Diane Mott Davidson, like many authors, is such an inspiration to me. She taught herself to cook, watched Julia Child everyday, and lived down the street from Sunset books -- all things that added to the experiences that she drew from when creating this series. She even received a letter from Child herself after mentioning the famed chef so many times in her books.
She's been inspired by everything from her local church to Oliver North, and from bingeing models to coroners' tales. She creates her own recipes and tests each one for high altitude and sea level (believe me, a bigger deal than you would think if you've never tried to bake in Colorado) and she's worked with many a caterer in the name of research. And I think it's obvious when reading Goldy's tales that Davidson gives each and every new book her all.
Davidson is full of advise for writers and enthusiastically tells people to try different things when starting out, in order to find what works best for you. I have taken her advise to heart before, having watched an interview from Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale (found on YouTube) where she talks about how she started out writing, and find that I learn something new each time I hear her speak.
With a total of 15 titles in the series thus far, Davidson shows no sign of stopping any time soon (and thank goodness for that), though readers may notice she has slowed a bit to allow more time between titles. Hey, I'm not complaining. Authors are artists and in creating each new book, they devote so much time and energy into pleasing their readers, true, but also in remaining true to their characters and their work. If it takes that extra 6 months to make Goldy's next outing that much better, I welcome it!
Fans of the series can look for the long-awaited cookbook in Davidson's future (according to this evening's news) and she is currently at work on series title 16.
For more on Davidson, and for a peek inside some of her latest titles, visit her official HarperCollins site here.