The eighth White House Chef mystery, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MENUS, debuts January 6, 2015, and I can truthfully say that if it weren’t for my amazing and fabulous readers, she wouldn’t still be at work feeding the First Family and saving the world in her spare time.
When my most recent Manor House Mystery, GRACE AGAINST THE CLOCK, came out in July, I came up with a fun quiz about the series. It went over so well with readers that I decided to try it again.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve read one, four, seven, or none of the prior titles¾this is just for kicks and a chance for me to share a little behind-the-book trivia with you:
1. The first White House Chef mystery, STATE OF THE ONION, opens with an intruder racing across the front lawn of the White House. How does Ollie stop him?
a) She alerts the Secret Service
b) She trips him
c) She smacks him in the head with a frying pan
d) She full-body tackles him
2. In one of the early scenes in HAIL TO THE CHEF the First Lady attempts to make a love connection between her nephew, Sean, and our intrepid chef, Ollie, not knowing that she’s already in a relationship. Where¾that is, in what location—does this matchmaking attempt become obvious to Ollie?
a) The White House Kitchen
b) The underground Presidential Emergency Operations Center
c) The East Room
d) The Oval Office
3. In EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS, the victim is already dead before the book opens. Why is this important?
a) The victim died an eggstremely quick death after dining at the White House
b) Ollie was eggcited to meet the victim, but he never showed up
c) Ollie eggsterminated the victim by feeding him rat poison
d) The victim did himself in after encountering one too many egg puns
4. In AFFAIRS OF STEAK, Ollie is required to work with her nemesis. Okay, so she has more than a few…Which of her least favorite people turns out to be an ally?
a) Laurel Anne Braun
b) Howard Liss
c) Craig Sanderson
d) Peter Everett Sargeant
5. BUFFALO WEST WING saw the return of a character from the second book. This character was supposed to be a one-off. I never expected to see him in the books again. Apparently he and Ollie had other ideas because he’s back and the two clearly have eyes for each other. What is this character’s name and why does he hesitate entering into a relationship with Ollie?
a) Gav – engaged twice before, both women died tragically
b) Tom – sees Ollie as an impediment to his career
c) Virgil – his competitive nature can’t allow for a woman besting him
d) Agent Nourie – thinks flirting with Cyan will make Ollie jealous
6. In FONDUING FATHERS, a shadowy fellow helps Ollie learn the truth behind her father’s death. What is this man’s name?
b) Stan the Man
c) Paul Vasquez
d) Joe Yablonski
7. In HOME OF THE BRAISED, what does Ollie expect will take three days, but might take eight weeks?
a) her soufflé to rise
b) her marriage license to come in
c) Virgil to apologize
d) Sargeant to hire an assistant
8. Although I love my character’s name…Olivia, Ollie to her friends—I occasionally run up against a problem with my choice. What situation makes me cringe at least once per book?
a) New readers to the series think that Ollie is male
b) Ollie makes people think: “Ollie, Ollie, oxen, free, free, free.”
c) I can never have a character say, “I’m sorry, Ollie.”
d) I accidentally mistype and it comes up Oily
2. b, and yes, it really exists
4. d (this was one of my favorite books to write)
5. a, but we’re glad he finally took the plunge, aren’t we?
8. c A few new-to-the-series readers have told me they were confused about Ollie’s gender for the first couple chapters of HAIL TO THE CHEF. That’s why now I’m careful to make it clear she’s female at the beginning of each new book. But that’s not the reason I cringe. In every book it seems someone needs to express regret to Ollie. But whenever I type “I’m sorry, Ollie,” I see Stan Laurel scratching the top of his head and I hear him apologizing to Oliver Hardy. Every. Single. Time.
Needless to say, I reword 🙂
About ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MENUS
It’s an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it’s Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup…
Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation’s top chefs.
But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it’s clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day…
About Julie Hyzy
Julie Hyzy’s first experience with food included flipping burgers and chopping onions at a neighborhood hot dog stand. She traded that experience for a job as a singing waitress at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour — but gave that up when she started college (and because she couldn’t carry a tune).
Over the years, she’s acted in community theater productions, appeared in television commercials, and crashed a previously all-male fraternity to become one of the first female brothers in Loyola University’s Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi.
Julie had dreams of becoming a writer, but family, friends, and frat brothers convinced her otherwise. Having held positions as junior officer at a downtown bank, office manager at an architectural firm, and financial advisor at a prestigious wealth management company, she realizes that the business degree was probably a good choice — but fiction is truly her passion. Now, with some well-earned life experience behind her, she’s delighted to finally be able to make writing a priority in her life.
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