Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Blogger, Julie Hyzy

Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Julie Hyzy as the guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Julie’s the author of the White House Chef Mystery series. The first book in the series “State of the Onion” recently won the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best Paperback Novel of the Year! Julie will be stopping back by today to answer any questions you might have and to respond to comment. In addition, one lucky person commenting on her post between today and 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, will win a copy of her book. The lucky winner will have a choice of either “State of the Onion” or “Hail to the Chef.”

Julie could you tell us a little about your new book and your protagonist, Ollie Paras?

My latest book, Eggsecutive Orders, is also the third in my White House Chef Mystery series and I’m pretty darned excited about it. Lately, on blog posts and in interviews, I’ve been happy to chat a little bit about the Eggs storyline which is: Intrepid White House Chef Ollie Paras comes under investigation after a guest dies while dining with the president.
But there’s another, more personal reason why I’m particularly pleased with Ollie’s newest adventure.

For the first time since the series began, readers get to meet Ollie’s family. Eggsecutive Orders is set during the week leading up to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and Ollie’s mother and grandmother have come to Washington, D.C. for an extended visit. Ollie planned to bring them to the White House and give them a real insider’s tour, but the unfortunate dead dinner guest—NSA head, Carl Minkus—puts Ollie’s plans on indefinite hold. Just as Ollie’s mother and grandmother touch down in D.C., the Secret Service banishes the entire kitchen staff from the White House until authorities can determine who killed Carl Minkus.

Ollie, as you probably can guess, is none too happy with this arrangement. She thrives working in the kitchen, and was looking forward to showing off a little and have her family understand the important role she plays. But now her hands are tied—in more ways than one. Her Secret Service boyfriend warns that interfering in the case could cost them both. But Ollie needs to prove her innocence, and this time she needs to do it with her family in tow. I have to admit, this is the part of the book I enjoyed writing most of all.

As the mother of three girls, I know the mom-daughter relationship pretty well. My girls are a lot younger than Ollie, so I drew on memories of life with my mom to help write some key scenes. Most of the interaction among the three women in the book is light-hearted, but because there are no real relationships without conflict, I decided to touch on a few issues of the heart too.
Ollie, her mother, and her grandmother share a loving, respectful bond. That’s not to say they don’t have their differences—they are all strong women, after all. I had the most wonderful time exploring the relationships that exist among these three.
Eggsecutive Orders has its funny moments—the scenes with Secret Service Agents in bunny suits made me giggle even as I wrote them—but the real heart of the story is in Ollie’s interactions with her family. 

I dedicated the book to my daughters and in memory of my mom because without their wonderful influences in my life I could not have realistically created the scenes I did. Women are complicated, smart, tough, and endlessly interesting. And that’s what makes them so much fun to write!                                        
Julie, thank you so much for giving us some insight into Ollie and her family. We ladies do tend to be a little complicated at times.

For more background information on Julie, visit her Website Julie Hyzy and her Blog and she is also a contributing member of the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen.


  1. Best of luck with the latest release, Julie! It's always exciting to hear about a fellow writer's success. :)


    from the desk of a writer

  2. Hi Julie,

    Congrats on your new release and I love the cover!

    I've added your series to my TBR pile!

  3. Hi Julie! :)

    You know I've got your book on my TBR shortlist. I'm excited about learning more about Ollie's family relationships.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Julie, I love your series! I'm currently reading Hail to the Chef. Eggsecutive Orders is next. It'll be fun to learn more about Ollie's family. It's so nice to see you here today!

  5. Corra - thank you! And you're absolutely right - I love to hear about writer's and friend's successes.

    Hi Razlover - thanks so much. I hope you enjoy it. I love the cover too. Kitchen-y but ominous.

    Elizabeth - Isn't this a wonderful blog? Thanks for stopping in to "visit.*

    Ingrid - thank you! I'm so happy to know you're enjoying the series. I had fun meeting Ollie's family as I wrote this new one, I hope you enjoy meeting them too.

  6. I really enjoyed your post. Your books have just been added to my TBR list. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Good luck with the release. I liked this that you wrote:

    "Women are complicated, smart, tough, and endlessly interesting. And that’s what makes them so much fun to write!"

    I agree. Plus they are much more attractive than men. (wink). Even though I'm male I write using female main characters often - I've been blessed to have several amazing women in my life - mother, wife, two daughters and some best friends - enough so that I've been told by readers of both genders that I create quite believable women characters.

    Really enjoyed this feature. Thanks, Mason and Julie!

    Marvin D Wilson

  8. Love the idea of this series and love the titles. Very interesting concept and the latest with the family getting involved must have been fun to write.

    Straight From Hel

  9. Hi Julie,

    I have been having fun following you around to different blogs and learning about the new book. A White House chef as MC is certainly unique in culinary mysteries, how did you come up with the idea?

  10. Julie, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. I really appreciate it. Ollie is an interesting character and it's good to learn some family background on her. Looking forward to her next adventure and much success with this book. Hope everyone is having a great day, crazy work day for me.

  11. Hi LSU - thank you! And thanks for visiting!

    Marvin - I appreciate your comment - thanks! And I'm sure that with all your experience with women (wait, that sounds bad... you know what I mean) your female characters are very genuine. My husband had two sisters and now has three daughters. Plus me. I bet you and he could trade some war stories ;-)

    Helen - this was a lot of fun to write. I thoroughly enjoy coming up with ideas for this series ;-)

    Hi Janel - well, Ollie is *very* loosely based on our first female White House chef. The idea that there was a person there -- who hears all sorts of secrets and is up close and personal with some of the most important people in the world -- well, that was just a concept too cool to ignore! ;-) Thanks for the note!

  12. The titles alone make me want to run out and buy the books! Add in a great character like Ollie & I'm off to the bookstore :)

  13. I love the title of this book....can't wait to read it :)


  14. Hi Jemi - I was sure Ieft a comment earlier -- it must not have posted. Thanks so much - I hope you enjoy the books!

    KarenK - Thanks! I have a lot of fun with these titles.

  15. Interesting family she has. You have an interesting book here. I need to check it out as I've never read your books. :-)

  16. Hi Sia, I hope you do check them out and I hope you enjoy them!

  17. Just wanted to stop by and say "hi" Lori. What a wonderful interview. Everything is so genuine and beautiful. It left me feeling warm and comfortable. Best of luck to you, Lori. See you on FB.

  18. Frist, Mason, thanks for having guest bloggers, great way to learn about authors and new books. Looking forward to reading this series. They are now on my TBR list.

  19. Gale, glad you stopped by.

    Ann, it is a wonderful way to learn about new authors and books. I think you enjoy this series. It's fun and suspenseful all at the same time.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.