I’ve lived most of my life in a small town on the south shore of Eastern Long Island, along with four generations of my family. My grandfather owned a deli in town, where I started working stocking shelves and sweeping floors when I was twelve years old. When I was a little older, I started working the breakfast shift, the inspiration for the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series.
I’ve always loved the small-town feel, the way everyone knows everyone, especially the families who have lived here for generation after generation as mine has. When I married a man from the neighboring town, it seemed natural to settle down where we’d grown up and start our family.
Then my husband got a job offer in Florida, and he accepted. We moved down right after my daughter finished kindergarten. I had only ever been to Florida once, when my daughter was three and we spent three days in Disney World, so I had no clue what to expect.
Just like Gia Morelli in SCONE COLD KILLER, I was in for a few surprises.
I was used to deer crossing signs, since Long Island is home to a large deer population, but the first time I drove my daughter to school and saw a bear crossing sign, I actually turned around and went back to see it again. I thought I was mistaken, but nope, it was a bear crossing sign. Until that moment, I had no clue there were bears in Florida.
Then there were the love bugs, and they were everywhere. And lizards, which I’d never even seen in real life before I moved, and snakes, sometimes poisonous ones.
In SCONE COLD KILLER, MURDER MADE TO ORDER, and A COLD BREW KILLING, Gia suffers more than one run-in with Florida wildlife. As the series progresses, she gets more used to some of the creatures native to her new home, but others continue to terrify her.
Aside from the critters, Florida’s weather brought a few surprises for me as well. On the rare occasions Long Island gets tornadoes, they are small F-1s that do very little damage. One night, about six months after we moved to Florida, I had just gotten into bed and turned on the TV, and the weather report came on. A line of damaging storms were coming through. The reporter said if you live on my road, “take cover now,” and I freaked out, to put it mildly, woke my daughter and stuffed her and my dog into the tub, even tried to wrestle a mattress into the tiny bathroom. (That was so not happening.)
When a line of damaging storms tears through Boggy Creek, Gia is forced to deal with yet another new downfall. Fortunately, she learns a few lessons about living in a small town and how the people pull together in times of need.
Gia moves from Manhattan to a rural area just south of Florida’s Ocala National Forest. The enormity of the forest frightens her at first, especially when she thinks about everything that’s probably living in there, and she has a terrible time trying to fall sleep in all the quiet. Eventually, she comes up with an inventive way that reminds her of home to help her sleep.
Like Gia, whenever I got homesick, I spent a lot of time checking off the positives and negatives of living in Florida and New York. Because there were also amazing things about living in Florida. The natural springs, with their crystal-clear water, gorgeous blue skies—even in the winter when the skies in New York are permanently gray. And who could complain when everyone in New York was shoveling out from under a foot of snow, and I was laying by the pool?
In the end, my decision was made for me when my husband and I both got job opportunities in New York. We ended up moving back to New York and visiting Florida every year, because we missed it so much.
Gia is still weighing her options, but the small-town feel is definitely getting to her. She’s made some great friends in Boggy Creek, but she’s still not sure it will ever feel like home.
What about you? Have you ever had a hard time deciding where you wanted to live?
For Florida diner owner Gia Morelli, there’s no such
thing as too much breakfast—unless it kills you . .
When Gia Morelli’s marriage
falls apart, she knows it’s time to get out of New York. Her
husband was a scam artist who swindled half the millionaires
in town, and she doesn’t want to be there when they decide
to take revenge. On the spur of the moment, she follows her
best friend to a small town in Central Florida, where she
braves snakes, bears, and giant spiders to open a cheery
little diner called the All-Day Breakfast Café. Owning a
restaurant has been her lifelong dream, but it turns into a
nightmare the morning she opens her dumpster and finds her
ex-husband crammed inside. As the suspect du jour, Gia will
have to scramble fast to prove her innocence before a killer
orders another cup of murder . . .
To save her cozy Florida diner, Gia Morelli must choke
down a heaping helping of murder . . .
New York native Gia Morelli is just getting used to life
in Florida when she gets word that the town government
wants to shut down her pride and joy: the charming little
diner known as the All-Day Breakfast Café. A forgotten
zoning regulation means that the café was opened
illegally, and hardboiled council president Marcia Steers
refuses to budge. Gia is considering hanging up her apron
and going back to New York, but before she gives up on
her dream, she discovers something shocking in the local
swamp: Marcia Steers, dead in the water. There’s a secret
buried in the books at town hall, and someone killed to
keep it hidden. To save her café and bring a killer to
justice, Gia and her friends will have to figure out a
killer’s recipe for murder . . .
An All Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery
When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner
Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .
Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor
who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-
Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local
attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling
and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very
wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When
Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body
in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just
beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially
when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend
and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded
killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .
About Lena Gregory
Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.
When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.