Mystery author Mary Jane Clark shares the inspiration for the heroine of To Have and to Kill, the first story her new Wedding Cake Mystery series. Twenty-something Piper Donovan has just returned home to help out at her mother’s bakery. And don’t miss a special taste of this new heroine with Piper’s Simple Buttercream Icing recipe at the end of this post!
While I was watching television one morning, Martha Stewart appeared to publicize her book: Wedding Cakes. The book featured more than 100 wedding cakes, each one beautiful, luscious-looking and incredibly creative. Each cake was a work of art, a mini-masterpiece. I wanted to see more. I bought the book.
The pages were filled with the most mouth-watering and eye-pleasing visual images: Daisy Garden Cake, Lemon Grove Cake, Pink Lusterware Cake, Banana Orchid Cake, Garden of Sweet Delights Cake, Lily-of-the-Valley Cake, Devils’ Food Finale Cake, Tuscan Grapes Cake, Seven Tier Coconut Cake and on and on. Each cake was as colorful and whimsical as its name implied. Each was expertly designed and executed.
The cakes conjured up wedding themes and locations in my head. Garden weddings and woodland weddings and tropical weddings and seaside weddings. Traditional weddings, modern weddings, rustic weddings and whimsical weddings. Spring, summer, autumn and winter weddings, in the United States or out.
Why was I so fascinated with these gorgeous cakes? Because I, like so many others, love weddings.
From childhood, we (females, at least) wonder what kind of wedding we will have. What style of dress will be most becoming? Who will be in the wedding party? Will the aisle of the church be long enough for a grand entrance? Will it be better to go barefoot in the sand at some idyllic beach? Or marry by candlelight in the ballroom of some grand hotel or historic estate?
We are drawn to the hope and the promise, the pomp and the ceremony, the idea of two people falling in love and pledging to spend their lives together. We want to believe in the dream, all fresh and frothy and white. Perhaps, even more moving, causing tears and cheers, is the wedding where, after overcoming great obstacles, love conquers all and the bride and groom finally make it to the altar.
I started to think: How about a little murder and mayhem before getting to the happy ending?
So, that was the inspiration for my new Wedding Cake Mystery series that features Piper Donovan. Piper is a 27-year-old struggling actress forced to move back home after a broken engagement. She is smart, sassy, curious and courageous.
Reluctantly, Piper begins to make wedding cakes at her mother’s beloved Icing on the Cupcake bakery. Every wedding cake Piper is commissioned to design means a bride, a groom, their family and friends, and the individuals who populate the scene of the wedding. They become the characters in the story and the suspects in the crimes which have to be solved before everything can be set right and the wedding can take place. Piper always travels to another destination, exotic as a mountaintop castle or as simple as the bride’s hometown, and finds another mystery to solve.
I hope you’ll sample the very first Wedding Cake Mystery, To Have and to Kill, meet Piper Donovan (you can friend her on Facebook) and find the mixture of suspense and romance a scrumptious combination that leaves you wanting more.
- Mary Jane Clark