Morning lovelies and happy Sunday! Today I’m on the blog tour for Add Cyanide to Taste, and am brining you a Q&A with author, Karmen Špiljak….Enjoy lovelies!
abou the book
Title: Add Cyanide to Taste
Author: Karmen Špiljak
Genre: Culinary noir (mostly suspense/crime/mystery with a pinch of horror)
Estimated page count: 256
Formats available: Paperback and eBook
Tour organised by: Rachel’s Random Resources
A sinister cook, a cursed cake, and a casual dinner between neighbours that goes murderously wrong.
This debut collection of dark tales and recipes by Karmen Špiljak ascends the jagged culinary heights you’ve hungered to explore but could never find on a map. As the characters swoon over every unforgettable mouthful, and sometimes bite off more than they can chew, you’ll find yourself asking: What would I be willing to pay for the meal of a lifetime?
If feasting on culinary noir leaves you hungry, extend your pleasure by preparing the dishes featured in the stories. All recipes provided are cyanide-free.
Karmen Špiljak writes across different genres. Her short fiction has been awarded and anthologised.
More on www.karmenspiljak.com
Q & A with Karmen Špiljak
suspense, horror, noir, science fiction
What inspired you to start writing?
Living in a small town that didn’t feed my appetite for adventure. I started writing when I was very young and have always been curious about the world. Coming up with stories was my way of exploring the world and still is.
How many books have you written and published?
I have written four books, two of which have been published. My debut, ‘A Perfect Flaw’, is a contemporary women’s novel about identity and my second book, ‘Add Cyanide to Taste’; is a culinary noir short story collection, that just came out.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
My favourite one is ‘Add Cyanide to Taste’, because it’s the kind of book I’ve always wanted to read and because I had great fun writing it. Each story is a bit special, an excursion to a different genre, form or topic. This book was my escape from the pandemic and did not feel like work at all.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
I steal shamelessly from my address book and collect names while visiting cemeteries. Very few of my characters come with strictly defined names, but when they do, I keep them as they are. Otherwise, I change names in almost every draft to make sure they don’t all sound the same. I tend to pick short, punchy names: one can only manage so many Sams and Pams before things get mixed up.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Maybe Ula from ‘Damned Fine Cook’, because she’s quite resourceful and able to whip up a good meal with limited resources. She also knows the right people to get us out of there.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
One of my all-time favourite authors is Daphne Du Maurier, whose dark and atmospheric stories are a real treat. I absolutely loved her novel, ‘My Cousin Rachel’, a beautifully written story that is quite cleverly plotted. It’s the kind of book I’ll want to re-read and learn from.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
My first memorable writing attempt was an embarrassing poem about my dad’s afternoons on the sofa. He didn’t believe I was writing poems myself, so I wrote one about him and it somehow got published in a local paper. Growing up in a small town, everyone then knew about his lazy afternoons through the newspaper, but at least he never doubted me again.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
In my twenties, I did all sorts of odd student jobs, packing envelopes, waiting tables, writing for a newspaper and working as a cashier in a supermarket. Other than that, I spent many years working as a trainer and facilitator in non-formal education, planning and running seminars and workshops about social and political issues. I’ve also spent over a decade working full-time in online communications, doing everything from websites to campaigning. Writing is the only consistent thing in my otherwise eclectic and turbulent career.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
That’s a tough one. Maybe Ancient Greece, because it’s a period I’ve read a lot about, but I doubt I’d get very far as a woman.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
That would probably be Shirley Jackson. I’ve read the recently published ‘The Letters of Shirley Jackson’ and found her correspondence incredibly witty and intriguing, but also quite lonely. Since she was a foodie, I imagine we’d get along well, munching on tasty snacks while discussing creepy stories.
What are your favourite things to do?
Write, read, cook, travel and cuddle cats. Especially if I can read AND cuddle cats.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
One of the characters in my debut novel was initially called Tamara and worked in marketing. While writing the book, I met a person called Tamara, who worked in marketing, and promptly went back and changed the character’s name and profession.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Believe in yourself and write what you love, even if your stories can’t be neatly put into boxes.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
‘Last Chance to See’ by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine. It’s a non-fiction book describing their search for the world’s most endangered animals. It’s beautifully written, funny and heart-wrenching all at once.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My new book is called ‘Add Cyanide to Taste’ and includes dark, twisty tales
and recipes for some of the dishes featured in them. Though the collection is bundled as culinary noir, the stories range from suspense to speculative fiction and a pinch of horror. The book includes beautiful illustrations by Slovenian writer and artist Luka Rejec and is available in paperback and as an Ebook.
follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on the tour and to Karmen for coming to chat with us.
Have a lovely snuggly Sunday!