1–What is the title of your latest release?
It’s called the PINT OF NO RETURN. Cutest title ever, right? I take no credit. It was my editor’s idea.
2–What is it about?
Here’s the blurb. Trinidad Jones is a woman trying to find her way again after a betrayal. The Shimmy and Shake Shop, home of the fantastic freakshake, is supposed to be her magnum opus in the idyllic town of Upper Sprocket…until the dead body turns up. It’s going to take a super-sized scoop of courage to flush out the killer!
3–What do you love about the setting of your book?
I simply adore Upper Sprocket because it’s the kind of town I would like to visit. It’s set in Eastern Oregon, “the Swiss Alps of Oregon”, so the postcards say. It’s the kind of place where folks can stroll the main street, visit Three Egg Lake, and pick their own apples. It’s small-town America, where everyone knows everything about everyone, at least they think they do!
4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?
Trinidad has way more courage than I first imagined. Not just the kind needed to be a sleuth, but the courage required to find your way in this difficult world after you’ve been knocked down.
5–Why will readers relate to your characters?
Trinidad struggles to trust people again after the life she’d always imagined crumbles away. Sure, she’s going to solve that mystery, but she also grapples with insecurities and fears that many people of us do. I like that about Trinidad! She’s the Piglet of the human world, and it takes courage to stand up and be counted, but she finds a way. Can you relate?
6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book (spoiler-free, of course!)?
I am not going to say the ‘c’ word, but there was a certain virus which shall not be named that managed to stop life as we know it. At the time, I was teaching third grade so I had to learn how to do that online in a matter of days. Let me just say, that is NOT how teaching was meant to be done. Between that and writing, it was a wee bit of a stressful time.
7–Do you look forward to or do you dread the revision process?
Answer: No one enjoys hearing how they could improve, do they? I can stew about that for days. That said, the book is ALWAYS better after being revised. Editors take rough cut words and buff them until they shine like jewels. I try to keep that in mind when I’m plowing through revisions.
8–What’s your favorite snack to have on hand while writing?
I make this coconut milk, cocoa, agave syrup pudding which I know sounds horrible, but it’s just the best. So rich and yummy and my little brain cells all say, “Huzzah! Can we get some more of that stuff before we dive into chapter three?”
9–Where would you go for an ideal writer’s retreat?
I always wanted to book a cross-country trip and write from a train car. Silly, right? I get train sick, bus sick, car sick and plane sick, but I feel like I would love that.
10–What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
If you want to write professionally, act like a professional. If you own a shoe store, you don’t show up only when you feel like it.
11–Who is the fictional character you want to hang out with the most? (anyone in literature!)
I’d like to hang out in Mitford with Father Tim. I just know we’d have a grand time and I want to meet his enormous dog, Barnabus.
12–What’s one of your earliest book memories?
My father read to me every night from the Bible and whatever storybooks we had around. He is a masterful storyteller. I hear his voice in my head sometimes when I’m writing a passage.
13–If you had to write in a different genre, what would it be and why?
I’d like to write a thriller novel. No romance, no quirky town, just straight-up adrenalin. I think that would be a fun writing challenge.
14–What song will automatically put you in a good mood?
‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’. I can belt out a show tune if no one is around to listen!
15–What is your favorite way to practice self-care?
This, I confess, I am not good at. I’m trying to work on balance, telling myself it’s okay to do things that aren’t outwardly productive, but I have a tightly wound spring inside me that will not be ignored. I do have a strict sleep schedule, so I guess that’s good self-care, right?
16–What can you eat and never get sick of?
Brussel’s Sprouts. I know, I know. That’s weird. You roast those things with olive oil and something magical happens to them! And no one in my household likes them but me, so I don’t have to share.
17–Will you share a favorite, recent-ish book you recommend?
I recently listened to The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman. Incredibly good. He is so amazing at creating characters who are deep and fresh.
18–Do you have any hobbies?
Ummm…I have hobbies that I’m straight-up terrible at. Piano playing (everyone hides), indoor gardening, and lately word searches, because there is only one answer and I feel ridiculously successful when I find a word. There should be SOME easy answers in this world, shouldn’t there?
19–Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Oh, easy. An early bird. My family knows if they want to talk about something serious after nine p.m., to go find their father.
20–What can readers expect from you next?
The next installment of the Shake Shop series will come out in May 2022. Trinidad is scooping up some more adventure! Hope you’ll come along to Upper Sprocket to join in the fun!
Shake Shop Mystery #1
The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…
After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.
That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.
About Dana Mentink
Dana Mentink is a national and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She’s written more than forty mystery and suspense novels for Love Inspired Suspense, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. She is honored to have received two ACFW Carol Awards, a Holt Medallion Award, and a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Please visit her on the web at www.danamentink.com or find her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. Dana hosts monthly contests and giveaways via her Dana Mentink’s Reader Group atwww.facebook.com/groups/danamentink/.