Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Penny Warner as the special guest blogger at Thoughts in Progress.
Penny’s latest release is HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH. She’s here today to talk about her series.
Thanks for having me on your site, Mason. And thanks for the kind review of my HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY series. I thought I’d tell you a little about myself and my books.
I didn’t plan to become a writer. I graduated from college with degrees in Early Childhood and Special Education. But soon after my first child was born, I decided to stay home with him. With my background in child development, I started writing children’s activity books on everything from healthy snacks to kids’ parties. Around the time my kids became teenagers, I started thinking about murder…
That’s when I wrote my first murder mystery series, featuring a deaf reporter who lived in the California Gold Country. My first book, DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, won a Best First Mystery award. After seven books in the series, I decided to try something new, and came up with the HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY series, featuring Presley Parker.
Presley Parker (named after Elvis—her mother was a big fan), was recently downsized at her abnormal psychology teaching job at San Francisco State University. Forced to move from her Marina apartment and find work, she ended up renting a condo on Treasure Island and setting up her new business in an old barracks there. Her mother, once the party queen of San Francisco café society, encouraged her to try the event-planning business, since Pres often helped her mom at various functions. Reluctantly Pres gives it a try, promising herself she’ll donate a percentage of her profits to important causes like the Alzheimer’s Foundation—her mother has early stage Alzheimer’s.
After the City’s premiere party planner mysteriously dies, Presley finds herself hired to plan Mayor Davin Green’s “surprise” wedding on notorious Alcatraz—with a “ball-and-chain” theme. But a major party foul occurs when the bride-to-be is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates. When Presley becomes prime suspect, she gets help from her quirky Treasure Island co-workers, as well as the mysterious crime scene cleaner Brad Matthews who helps tidy up her tarnished reputation. She realizes that if she doesn’t solve this mystery, she’ll be exchanging her party dress for prison stripes.
In her next book, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, Presley plans a Murder Mystery Party at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Naturally, someone winds up deader than a decaying artifact. When she’s finished solving that case, she’ll head to the Winchester Mystery House and learn HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE (debuting in March 2011).
It’s been fun researching the books. I enjoy setting the books at popular sites in San Francisco, and sharing the history of Treasure Island, a manmade island between Oakland and the City that once housed the 1939 Golden Gate Expo, the Pan Am Clipper ships, and the Navy. I don’t do a lot of research for the parties in the books, because I’ve written several non-fiction party books.
I’m about to get to work on my next book in the series, HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE, a spoof of the many vampire movies so popular today, set in Colma, the “City of Souls” (there are 14 cemeteries in the small city of Colma….)
Thanks again for letting me stop by. Let me know if you have any questions—or any great party ideas. I can always use them in my next book! - Penny Warner
Penny, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. I enjoy learning about how a series comes about and what’s next.
Now for background on Penny. She has published over 50 books, including over a dozen party books. Her book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, is the first in a new mystery series featuring event planner, Presley Parker, and set on Treasure Island and Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay Area. Book two, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, is set at the de Young Museum, and HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE, set at the Winchester Mystery House, comes out March, 2011 (Penguin). Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award. For more on Penny, check out her website.