Penny Warner is the author of the new mystery series, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, (Obsidian/NAL/Penguin). She can be reached at www.pennywarner.com Thanks, Penny, for this enlightened look into your new series!
GUEST BLOG FOR DYING FOR CHOCOLATE Penny Warner, Author of HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY
Like most readers of Janet Rudolph’s Dying for Chocolate Blog—aw let’s face it, like most women on the planet—I’m a Choc-addict. That’s like being a crack addict but more fattening. Currently I’m in trouble with my daughter. I just introduced the drug to my two-year-old grandson—I gave him a Hersey’s Kiss—and now all he talks about is getting more “shock-lit.” He’s already a Choc-addict like his grandmother.
Naturally both protagonists in my two mystery series have my disorder. Connor Westphal (DEAD BODY LANGUAGE) keeps chocolates hidden in her desk, while Presley Parker (HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY) deals them to unsuspecting crowds at her parties. But when she’s not sharing them, she uses chocolates for medicinal purposes. She has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and the caffeine in chocolate and coffee are similar to drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, which calm her down instead of revving her up.
So she self-medicates. Often.
Unfortunately for Presley, her chocolates are sometimes lethal. As a party planner, she always includes some form of chocolate on the party menu. But after hiring local TV chef Rocco Ghirenghelli to create chocolate Maltese Falcons for Mayor Davin Green’s Alcatraz Wedding Party, she soon realizes a couple of the brown birds have been injected with cyanide. She discover this when the bride-to-be is found floating in the San Francisco Bay, a victim of poisoning. And dead guests of honor aren’t really good for the party business.
So how did Presley get herself into this chocolate mess? That’s the way I wrote her. After all, it’s a murder mystery. And while I haven’t had much experience injecting chocolates with cyanide (see the Internet for instructions), I have had a lot of experience with chocolate, as well as party planning, writing party books for kids and adults, and creating mysteries. Since “they” often say, “Write what you know,” I decided to make my new sleuth a party planner (she prefers “event planner”), put her on Treasure Island where she lives and works, and have her solve mysteries all around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Presley, recently downsized from her teaching job at San Francisco State University, agrees to the career change after being encouraged by her mother, once a popular party girl and member of the City’s café society. But after developing early stage Alzheimer’s, Mother has retired to a care facility, leaving Presley to fill her party slippers.
After that it’s just one party foul after another…
Although the book doesn’t include recipes, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY is like having three books in one. 1. It’s a mystery, 2. there’s a complete party plan at the end of the book, and 3. Presley offers party tips throughout the mystery.
- Party Planning Tip #2: "Like MacGyver, a good event planner can fix any party mishap with a toothpick, duct tape, or crepe paper.”
- Party Planning Tip # 3: “Don’t drink while hosting an event. Especially when the police want to question you about a murder.”
- Party Planning Tip #13: “Choose your event caterer carefully. Nothing ruins a party faster than a bunch of toilet-hugging guests who’ve been poisoned by bad sushi or tampered chocolates.”
“When your dessert soufflé falls flat, dump the disaster into the disposal and bring out your backup stash of gourmet chocolates. One bite of a Christopher Norman, Marie Belle or Lake Champlain chocolate and your guests will be eating out of your hands.”