Cocktails and Victorians by Deb Kristy

There are some people in the world who are nearly too good to be true, and yet as time goes by you realize that they are, indeed, as lovely a person inside as they are out. I’ve been lucky enough to meet one of those people, and happily enough for the reading community she had her second novel published on Tuesday, April 10th.

A POISONED SEASON is Tasha Alexander’s brilliant follow-up to AND ONLY TO DECEIVE, the delightful and pleasantly soporific novel of historical suspense starring the plucky, port-swilling Lady Emily Ashton.

One way that Tasha has shown support for her fellow authors is to feature them every Friday on the very successful grog Good Girls Kill For Money in an addictive little thing called The Cocktail Party. As turn about is fair play, I am thrilled to have Tasha here with us on The Debutante Ball as the guest of honor at her very own Cocktail Party. So, please don your pearls, grab a martini, avoid the spider monkeys, and enjoy our guest, the talented and beautiful Tasha Alexander.

Kristy: Tasha, do you perhaps have a drink recipe to start us off with?
OK, frankly, I think this sounds appalling, and I’m not even sure what Rumple Minze is, but I was searching for a cocktail whose name I could manipulate into THE EXHAUSTED DEAD, and this, called STONE COLD DEAD, was the closest I could find…
1/2 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz Bacardi white rum
1/2 oz Rumple Minze
Combine in a shot glass and serve at room temperature.

And then, after you cringe, why don’t you just pour yourself a nice glass of port? Whiskers Blake is good, inexpensive, Australian.
Kristy: Hmmm, I thought that was Russell Crowe?
Rob Gregory Browne: Which of the three amigos are you?
Now I hate to admit this, but I’ve never actually seen The Three Amigos. I mean, except the REAL Three Amigos, as in my two illustrious friends, Rob Gregory Browne and Brett Battles, who were kind enough to allow me to be their third wheel. So I googled. What’s a girl to do? Wikipedia tells me that “El Guapo” is Spanish for “the handsome one,” “Jefe” is Spanish for a chief or boss, and that “Santo Poco” is broken Spanish, with “Santo” meaning ‘saint’, and “Poco” being a adjective for “a few.” So who’s who? I believe Rob coined the phrase, so maybe he should get to be boss? That leaves Brett and me to duke it out for the title of handsome, because I don’t think either of us is going to claim to be a saint. At least I’m not. Not after all those years of Catholic school. Place your bets now; we’ll arm wrestle or something at ThrillerFest….
Renee Rosen: If Colin were to roam the earth in 2007 would he have piercings or tattoos?
Are you crazy? Mar that perfect body with ink? Unless….hmmm….yeah….that might actually be kinda hot. I’m not sure. Would have to check. Colin, baby? Spring back into my mind, will you? And take off your shirt. You need help? My help? Hold please, my work here is almost done….
Brett Battles: If you were in Queen Elizabeth’s shoes, what would you choose?…Love or Country?
No question: love, love, love! I’d curl up in a cave with someone I adore who adores me if that was our only option. We could build a fire and pile rocks in front of the entrance to keep wild animals at bay. Much better than the cold love of a nation. Maybe that’s why I’m not Queen of England…
Renee: Is it true that you’re a huge Eddie Vedder fan?
Look, the man could sing the alphabet song and I’d be mesmerized; love his voice. And my Brilliant Scientist Husband can give him a pretty good run for his money. Gotta love those rich voices.
JT Ellison: If you could rewrite one moment in history, what would it be and why?
Well, first I would….oh, wait. You probably didn’t mean MY history, did you? I would prevent the destruction of the library at Alexandria because THINK of the texts that we would have.
Ken Bruen: Who would you like to play in a movie of her life?
Renee: If you weren’t an author, what other insane career would you pursue?
Let’s see…umm….yeah. I don’t really have any other marketable skills, so this writing gig better pan out.
Judy Merrill Larsen: What’s something you know now you wish you could have known when you were in high school?
That none of it–NONE of it–mattered at all. You know, like not being allowed to go to the REO Speedwagon concert, or to get my drivers license, or to go to the beach with boys, or go to the library with boys. Wait. Am I seeing a trend here with the “boys” thing?
Jennifer McMahon: Did the Victorians enjoy cocktails, or was it strictly tea and smelling salts?
The Victorians knew how to drink–wine, wine, wine at dinner. Liquor in the drawing room. Champagne at balls. We really try to make them much more prudish than they were.
Nathan Singer: Tasha, not only are you beautiful, talented, successful, and hella-fun to hang out with, but you are also extremely generous and endlessly supportive of other writers.  On behalf of deeply flawed lowlifes everywhere, what the hell’s the deal?!  I mean GEEEEEZZZ.”
Nathan, God bless you. Wait. Is my mother sending you checks again? Look, I love writers. Love them. Love people who understand the trials and tribulations and the heady joy of it all. How could I not be generous and supportive to such a wonderful group of people?
Joe Konrath: Would you ever co-write a book where you do most of the work but I get top billing and 90% of the money?
Joe, for the pleasure of working with you, there is nothing I wouldn’t do. But, really, I was hoping we could co-write a series about a young Victorian widow who becomes a serial killer.
RR: What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had?
I ran a temporary employment office in Laramie, Wyoming. The job itself wasn’t odd, and in fact my boss was the best I ever had. But I was continually faced with weirdness….like the employee who told me during a job interview that he and Harrison Ford use the same pot dealer (I guess he hoped the cool factor would make me hire him?). Or the man who couldn’t go to his assignment because his girlfriend had beaten him up with his own prosthetic leg. Now that I think about it, that was after I’d transferred to the Vermont office, but still. Never a dull moment in the world of temps.
Konrath: You’re on a desert island, with no hope of rescue, no chance of ever seeing another human being. But there’s a cloning machine on the island. Would you clone yourself and have sex with the clone?
The clone would never be able to give me what I need. I’m terribly demanding. Don’t make me go into detail.
Renee: Do you think the corset will ever come back in style?
If it did, would that mean I’d have to stop eating Black Pepper Jack Doritos? Or would it mean that I could eat more Black Pepper Jack Doritos and not have to worry about sucking in my stomach? If it’s the latter, sign me up. I’ve worn corsets before; they’re not all that bad.
Nathan: “Tasha, consider: Lady Emily Ashton finds herself pursued by none other than Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lector himself (just go with me on this).  How ever will she survive with her dignity and liver intact?”
Hmmm. Good question. Emily would engage him in a debate about the merits of various translations of cookbooks that feature fava beans. She’d keep the chianti flowing and reach for a nearby sword when he was distracted, then skewer his liver and sauté it. Or rather, have her staff sauté it…
JT: Name one, and only one, favorite book of all time.
Kristy Kiernan’s CATCHING GENIUS, of course. Is there any other option? I thought every other book on the planet spontaneously combusted in shame and despair once GENIUS was released. What else can explain the heaps of ash all over my house?
Kristy: Look, this is my blog, What did you people expect? Besides, the spider monkeys were hovering over her as she replied…
Ken: What is your favourite all time break yer heart song?
Oh gosh. I’m such a sucker for bad love songs. Maybe Lucinda Williams’ “Still I Long for Your Kiss.” Or what’s that Nickelback song (I know, I know….cheesy….sue me) with the whole “I’m not leaving you anymore” line? “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Mayer is thoroughly depressing.
Renee: Do you read one book at a time, or several all at once?
Serial monogamy all the way.
Jennifer: When you were working on AND ONLY TO DECEIVE were you planning to write a sequel all along, or did it just kind of happen?
I definitely wanted to write a sequel. As a reader, when I fall in love with characters I want to be able to go back to them again and again. So as a writer whose goal it was to write what she likes to read, a series seemed the thing to do.
Konrath: What’s the most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten? And the most disgusting thing?
Does elk count as exotic? Or rabbit? Both really good. Disgusting? Well, when I was about six, my friends and I read somewhere that there are lots of minerals in dirt. And we had a vague notion that minerals go with vitamins. So, naturally, we decided that if we could make it taste good, it would end world hunger: everyone could eat dirt. We mixed in sugar and cinnamon and I don’t remember what else. And you know, it tasted pretty damn good. Just ask my brother. We got him to eat most of it.
Renee: Do you dog-ear your pages or are you a bookmark girl?
Bookmark, definitely. I don’t like to hurt paper. But I use all sorts of weird things for bookmarks: envelopes, napkins, plane tickets, whatever’s around. 
Nathan: Tasha consider once again:  You agree to give someone a blurb only to discover that said person’s novel is the literary equivalent of deep-fried roadkill on toast.   Share with us your diplomatic, yet totally honest, review of that book.”
In A Heartbreaking Work of Astonishing Badness, Author X has crafted a novel in a league of its own. Never before have I seen such use of language, such a large collection of words, such grandiose punctuation. Readers everywhere will  be left speechless, wondering what X will be allowed to do next.
Kristy: Well, as we all know Tasha Alexander won’t be getting one of those blurbs herself. Even the spider monkeys love Lady Emily Ashton,Ivy, Cecile, and the dashing Colin. You’ve been a lovely guest, Tahsa, and in the tradition that you yourself started, might we have a few questions from you for our intrepid readers?
My questions:


1. Why haven’t you read CLOUD ATLAS?
2. What book should I read next?
3. What is your favorite type of extreme weather?
4. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
5. What is your favorite short story?

9 Replies to “Cocktails and Victorians by Deb Kristy”

  1. 1. I plead the 5th Amendment!
    2. Something in French.
    3. Desert! My favorite place to live got less than 6 inches of percipitation a yr. and I thought it was just perfect. With no humidity, 110F isn’t too bad, esp. with a Shakespeare Stout.
    4. “Zardoz” No question. My taste in movies is appalling, but this is even worse than the combined opus of Sly Stallone.
    5. A. Conan Doyle: “The Ring of Thoth” or Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.” No, wait, Stephen King’s “Grey Matter.” O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Cretien’s “Eric and Enide.” Marie’s “Lanval.” Choosing one short story is just impossible!!

  2. 1. Why haven’t you read CLOUD ATLAS?

    I plead the 5th too.

    2. What book should I read next?

    Hmm. I’ll go with Tim O’brien’s “The Things They Carried”. I just think it’s a book everyone should read.

    3. What is your favorite type of extreme weather?

    Blizzards. But only when I’ve been to the grocery store and the bookstore so I’m fully stocked up.

    4. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

    AI. Totally stupid, stupid, stupid.

    5. What is your favorite short story?

    Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”

  3. I’m staggering in late because I’m still recovering from the fabulous cocktail party at Good Girls Kill yesterday — not sure if I’m up to anything involving Jaegermeister AND Rumple Minze. Bluurgh.

    1. Because I am a bad person? Or just plain ignorant?
    2. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    3. Ice storms — the crackling gorgeous aftermath more than the storm itself.
    4. I think I have to say Dreamcatcher. What was up with that?
    5. Hmm, not too original of me, but I will say “The Lottery” by the amazing Shirley Jackson.

  4. The clock is about to stike midnight, but I’m so glad I didn’t miss this terrific interview.

    1. Dare I say CLOUD ATLAS?
    2. How about reading THE BOOK OF AIR AND SHADOWS.
    3. Blizzards are popular here, aren’t they?
    4. Ishtar, maybe.
    5. “The Gift of the Magi”

  5. 1. I read ATLAS SHRUGGED. Does that count?
    2. I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
    3. Love a good thunderstorm.
    4. 28 Days Later. I want to kick the characters in the shins.
    5. Recently, it was Sara Gruen’s short story in the NYT about the dead husband immortalized in a pendant. Can’t help you with the title.

  6. 1. Er ….
    2. Waiting by Ha Jin
    3. I have a 5 degree band of tolerance. Not too hot, not too cold. I’m fussy that way.
    4. Jennifer Aniston is leading the pack for some reason – Rumor Has It and The Break-Up. Gah!
    5. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Actually, almost any short story by Shirley Jackson.

    And congrats, Tasha! Have I mentioned that I love the title? Period pieces are so challenging for me, and I can’t believe you pull it off so effortlessly. Congrats on its success!

  7. Sorry I’m late to this cocktail party.
    1. I haven’t even heard of Cloud Atlas. My bad.
    2. I have Kristy’s book Catching Genius on my bedside table, but am still trying to get through Suite Francaise, which is excellent, but very long. Kristy, can’t wait to read your book.
    3. Thunderstorms and blizzards are both great, although I’ve recently learned to love the dessert experience–dry heat and lots of it.
    4. Worst movie I’ve recently viewed has got to be Friends With Money. Funny that it starred Jennifer Aniston. Terrible movie that one.
    5. I have tons of short story favorites, but I think the best is James Joyce’s The Dead. That one packs a punch. Also, The Prussian Officer by D.H. Lawrence is excellent. Anything by Lorrie Moore or Alice Munro…okay, I’m going to stop now.

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