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Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, social media, and the senior center, it’s like a zombie apocalypse where the undead consume people’s secrets instead of living flesh.

But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar.

So when her new bakery becomes linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can’t have that.

Forced into the role of investigator, this new-in-town bakery owner has to become the very thing she hates–a nosy, small-town gossip–in order to clear her good name, and keep her face off the front page. But when a dating debacle brings her face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the who-dun-it.

Book One in a cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.

Rebecca, welcome to Island Confidential, and congratulations on your new series! Can  you tell us about your protagonist? She’s had an unusual career path, hasn’t she?

Vangie Vale is an exiled pastor who opens a bakery in the town she moves to, because there isn’t a bakery there, and she loves to bake. She also needs an income, since she’s only working a few hours a week at the church that agreed to take her. Very smart, but very curious.

How much do you and Vangie have in common?

I don’t think Vangie is me at all—she’s way cooler than I am. But both my mom and my best friend think she’s me. So apparently, I didn’t do as good a job of making her not-me as I thought.  But I think I’d love to hang out with her if I knew her. We’d watch Sherlock together.

Will Vangie change throughout the series?

Vangie definitely evolves through this series. In fact, in a lot of ways, her arc is the whole series. She keeps solving these mysteries, but the reality is, every one is changing her just a little.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

Oh, like, writing someone into my book? Yeah, I definitely did that in a previous book. Not that I killed someone I knew, but that I wrote them. It wasn’t at all as cathartic as I thought it would be. But every book is a little bit of catharsis for me, too.

That sound interesting–maybe I’ll be able to talk you into doing a guest post on revenge-writing sometime! So how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

My setting is very realistic. In fact, I’m pretty unapologetic about the fact that these little Montana towns are all based on very real places. I’ve lived in Montana a good portion of my life, so I feel like I know it.  It helps me to be able to write the place with some reality.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Mandy Moore would be Vangie Vale.

Kevin McKidd would be Malcolm Dean. Leo would be Theo James. Henry would be James Norton. Derek would be Jason Momoa. Emma would be Drew Barrymore. Clearly, I’ve thought about this.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

Oh, that’s a great question. I think the best advice was “you can’t edit a blank page.” Nora Roberts is famous for saying that, and she’s so right. I’ve heard a lot of bad advice in my day, and I’ve probably given a fair share of it myself. But I find that most bad advice is at least well-meaning, even if it’s still bad.

About The Author

Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

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