Episode 47: Leslie Karst

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“Papà.” I looked into my father’s eyes, deep blue and set off by leathery skin and rows of wrinkles—the result of age, but also a lifetime of long hours in fishing boats out in the sun. “Oh, Papà,” I said again and then started to cry. I hadn’t meant to; I’d convinced myself I could do this, that I could hold it together and be strong for my dad. But now, standing there in front of him, it hit me: I was about to tell him that his sister had been viciously murdered. -- Leslie Karst, Dying for a Taste Cozy mystery lovers are in for a treat! Leslie Karst's Sally Solari series is set in not one, but two restaurants on the California coast. Sun, sand, recipes, and murder. What more could one ask for? Leslie and I chat about her multiple careers -- waitress, passionate chef, attorney, writer -- and how they all come together in her wonderful cozy mysteries. You can check out her website here and her Facebook Author page over here. The first book in the series is Dying for a Taste, and gives an insider's view of running a restaurant. The second, A Measure of Murder, blends music with the mystery, as Sally joins a local chorus to be able to sing Mozart's Requiem. An appropriate piece of music, as it turns out... Meanwhile, we also bond over a shared love of Dorothy Sayers, Sue Grafton, Sarah Caudwell, and Ellen Byron. Ellen and I had a chat a few months ago, and you can check her out, along with her hilarious Louisiana cozies, right here. And if you are a Dorothy Sayers fan (and who isn't?), I recently found a terrific group on Facebook, The Lord Peter Wimsey Appreciation Society, should you be looking for like-minded people with whom to chat about all things DLS. Finally, Leslie gives a big shout-out to her fellow Guppies at Sisters in Crime. Woot! As always, if you'd rather read than listen, the transcript is below. Enjoy! -- Laura Transcript of Interview with Leslie Karst Laura Brennan: Author Leslie Karst combines her background as an attorney with her English Lit degree and culinary passion to create a cozy series as delightful and unique as she is. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls her a "dab hand with the red herrings" while her fans call the Sally Solari Mysteries "smart, thoughtfully plotted, and laugh-out-loud." Leslie, thank you for joining me. Leslie Karst: Thank you so much, Laura, for inviting me. This is very exciting. LB: So you came to writing after a career in the law. LK: Yes, I did. LB: But you started out as a Lit major. Was writing always in the back of your mind? LK: Well, when you're a literature major, all you do -- you do a lot of reading, but you mostly do a lot of writing. So that's probably when I would date my earliest decent writing, anyway, back to that time in college, yes. LB: But then, when you left college, you bounced around for a bit, let's say. LK: I absolutely did. I was one of those people, you know, with an English lit major, there's not a whole lot of jobs you can get. You can be an English literature teacher, but those are pretty much impossible to get. And by the time I had finished my four years doing that, I realized that literary criticism was not my passion. Even though I love to read. So I spent about seven years having all sorts of strange jobs. I washed baby diapers for a while, which is sort of embarrassing to admit. [Laughter.] I wanted to stay in Santa Cruz and so I did all different jobs. One of the jobs I did was waitressing, which I liked a lot. But I eventually decided I needed to grow up and get a real job. My father was a law professor, and I'd always been told that I was argumentative. "You'd be such a great lawyer!" So I ended up going to law school. Which my writing really helped with that, too, because most lawyers cannot write to save their lives. They're very good at maybe standing on their feet and arguing in court or whatever, but I actually ended up being pretty good about putting together a l...

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