Interview with Michelle Hillen Klump

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Murder Served Neat by Michelle Hillen Klump. I am grateful to the lovely Lori of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for giving me an opportunity to interview my favorite author. 🙂

Hello Michelle and welcome to my blog, The Book Decoder. Please tell me and my readers about yourself.

Hi Rekha! Thank you so much for having me on the blog. I always look forward to the opportunity to connect with new readers. I am a former newspaper reporter, turned mystery novelist. I covered crime, politics,courts and everything in between at newspapers in central Texas and Arkansas before moving to Houston, Texas, to be closer to my family. I’m still a working journalist now, but I write about commodities for a business publication, which does not provide quite the same level of inspiration as being a newspaper reporter. My husband is also a journalist, which is very handy when I need a good editor! We have a young daughter, and much of our spare time is spent driving around with her, watching her play softball or perform in her elementary school’s Shakespeare troupe. I love reading, and mysteries are my favorite genre. I also love baking and making different cocktails, which was part of the inspiration for my mystery series.

The second book in Cocktails and Catering Mystery, Murder Served Neat, is releasing in February 2023. Please tell us more about it.

MURDER SERVED NEAT takes place during a Fourth of July festival in the historic Highlands community of Houston, Texas. My main character, Samantha Warren, is serving up cocktails for the German Texas Heritage Lodge, which is hosting the event.There is an on-going feud between members of the lodge, with some of them supporting a plan to build a country club-style tennis center on lodge grounds,and others vehemently opposed to the idea. Samantha’s mother’s best friend is a lodge member who opposes the tennis center. She gets into a huge, public fight at the festival with a society matron who is the leader of the tennis center project.When the society matron is murdered during the festival, Samantha is forced to join forces with her mother to try to clear her friend’s name.

What’s the inspiration behind Cocktails and Catering Mystery series?

The old adage taught in nearly every writing course is to write what you know. But while I share a former profession (newspaper reporter) with my main character, and a similar interest in cocktails and in crafting unusual recipes, I would say I’ve been led more by aspiration than inspiration. Rather than writing what I know in the Cocktails and Catering Mystery series, I’m writing what I would like to know. I enjoy researching cocktails and different techniques and ingredients used to make them, so that is a fun element to be able to add to my books. But my other main inspiration for the series is my adopted hometown of Houston, Texas. It’s one of the most diverse cities in the nation, with so many different cultures and cuisines represented. One of my favorite parts about the city is watching how all of the different cultural groups intersect and create something new, whether it’s fusion-style food, art or music. I wanted to show readers a little bit of that and what Houston has to offer.

What’s the inspiration behind your main character Samantha Warren?

Samantha is also a bit aspirational, at least in some ways. As I said earlier, we share a former profession and similar interests. But she’s certainly had to deal with more hardships than I have—the series started with a broken engagement and a job layoff, not to mention being thrown into the middle of a murder investigation. I like to think she is a braver and more resilient version of myself. She isn’t afraid to take risks, both in her investigations, but also in her life.

What’s next for Samantha?

After being involved in two back-to-back murder investigations, she is hoping for life to settle down a little bit. She wants to get her cocktails and catering business on a firmer financial footing, and she wants to give her new relationship some time to develop. She’s hoping to stay out of trouble for a while… but you never know what could happen!

What are you currently working on?

I’m actually working on something slightly different at the moment. It’s still in the crime genre, but it’s a bit outside of my cozy comfort zone. I’m having fun following this idea, but I’m not quite sure yet how successful it will be, so I don’t want to say too much until I’m a little further along.

What does an ideal day in Michelle’s life look like?

I love that you said ideal,because it gives me the opportunity to dream about a life free from stresses and other everyday interruptions that always come up right when I’m trying to sit down and write! My ideal day would begin with a day off from my day job, which would allow me to wake leisurely, have a warm muffin and chai tea for breakfast,go on a long bike ride, and sit outside in the sunshine for hours of uninterrupted writing time! I’d stop for a lunch break at one of Houston’s amazing fusion taco stands and get back home to write some more. In my ideal day, the writing would come easily, and I would always know what I wanted to happen next in my story.After a nice, long writing session, I’d reconvene with my husband and daughter for a peaceful dinner together, and maybe we’d work on a puzzle or play a game or something. Once my daughter was in bed, I’d curl up with a nice cocktail and read a good book, or watch a movie with my husband, until it was time for bed.


2 thoughts on “Interview with Michelle Hillen Klump

  1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the kind words! And thank you for the opportunity to appear on this blog. I had so much fun answering your questions.

    1. You’re most welcome, Michelle ❤
      I read Murder Served Neat and LOVED it. Review’s coming up next monday. 😊

Comments are closed.