Made It Moment II: Nancy Lynn Jarvis
Nancy Lynn Jarvis shared her first Moment back in 2012, but this year’s is a horse of a different color. Or a cookie of a different flavor. Lately I have been hearing from writers frustrated, downtrodden, and worried that their pursuit of this crazy passion of ours may never be truly fulfilled. Nancy reminds us that changing course, trying something different, is sometimes the best thing a writer can do. It can lead to all sorts of exciting places and people we may never have imagined getting to know. And sometimes it even tastes pretty good.
I’ve had made it moments before, but the one I had this past May was in many ways sweeter because it was shared with 128 other writers.
Those of us who love books, and especially those of us who write them, seem to find one another on social media. After a few years of writing real estate mysteries and a novel about octogenarian bank robbers, I had come to “know” several other writers. I’d even talked to a few of them on the phone and told them if they were ever visiting Santa Cruz, they had a bedroom waiting.
The day I found a perfect cozy cookbook graphic happened to coincide with when writer and social media friend Ellery Adams posted a recipe on Facebook. Although I wasn’t really considering doing a cookbook, on a whim I asked if I could include Ellery’s recipe in one. Honestly, I didn’t even expect her OK…until she responded, “Of course!”
Egged on by Ellery’s egg recipe, I composed a letter asking for recipes and biographies, and fired it off to my social media cozy mystery writer friends. I sort of hoped they’d tell me that a cozy cookbook was a dumb idea and then I could get back to writing book six in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series.
Not one of them did. Some friends they turned out to be, huh? Emboldened by their support but needing many more recipes to do a cookbook, I emailed dozens of writers I didn’t know and had no right to annoy. I asked them to send in recipes with introductions and a short biography…oh, and to do so promptly because there was a deadline.
The writing community is a wonderfully supportive group of people. Still, I never expected 128 authors to follow my instructions. Enthusiastic authors — some New York Times bestsellers, some representing big, medium, and small presses, and some first-book indie writers — sent in witty, thoughtful, charming, and entertaining recipes and bios. Their recipes appear to have been carefully chosen because those that I’ve tried are delicious. Based on buyer reviews, others have had similar experiences. People who use the cookbook are discovering new authors they’d like to read, and getting their books. Which was part of the plan: recipes are linked to the bios, and the bios link to buying information.
I read a post on Facebook from a writer who attended Bouchercon and shared an elevator with an accomplished mystery author. My Facebook friend recognized her and wanted to say she was a fan, but was afraid to speak to her elevator companion. That well known writer is a contributor to Cozy Food and because of it, I am lucky enough to know that she is a nice, approachable person.
Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes was published on May 21st. I’m not biased; the cookbook is terrific. And so are all the writers who gave me their time and recipes. Because of their support and kindness, we share this book, and this special made it moment.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis thinks you should try something new every few years. After writing five books in her Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series, and Mags and the AARP Gang, a comedy about a group of renegade octogenarian bank robbers, she thought, “Why not contact a bunch of great writers I’ve never met and see if they want to be part of a cookbook?”
She is currently working on a sixth real estate mystery book and playing with a new series called Geezers With Tools about two senior men who solve mysteries while doing home repair.