You write in more than one genre. What do you get out of writing adventure, romance and funny mysteries?
The truth is that I love writing in various genres, and you can see my varied passions in my tendency to bend and blend genres. I started writing adventure under another name, and those books had some romance in them. I started looking at romance as the next genre to explore, especially as I learned how smart, diverse and feminist so much romance is. So I wrote a steamy romance series, The Bohemia Beach Series. These books are hot but also have rich love stories at their heart, along with humor.
I was ready to try something new after I wrote this series, and a spinoff into another genre seemed like the perfect combination of my love for adventure, romance, mystery and humor. The result is the Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries, a funny series that I love to immerse myself in. It stars Pepper Revelle, a mixologist who joins a team of bartenders that travels to different events and invariably stirs up trouble. Pepper is plucky and outgoing and has a crush on the lead bartender, Neil, and their opposites-attract dynamic makes for humorous conflict, a little heat and a friendship that may be growing into something more.
The series is set in a world I know well, that of cocktail culture, which intersects with retro and tiki culture. It’s full of colorful characters, and a hallmark of cocktail culture is the incredible stories that surround booze. The cocktail world is rich with inspiration. Risky Whiskey is set at a New Orleans cocktail convention; Wrecked by Rum is set at a tiki convention in South Florida. Both fictional conventions are inspired by real events I’ve attended.
How do you write about events like this during a time when people are hunkering down at home?
It wasn’t that easy writing humor during the pandemic. When I started Risky Whiskey, we had no idea it was coming. But as I progressed through book two and especially Vexed by Vodka, book three, it was clear the pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon. So I made it my mission to immerse myself in this “pre-pandemic” era, or perhaps parallel timeline or “after time,” where all is well and our characters can deal with normal everyday problems. If murder can be considered an everyday problem! These are essentially comedies, and I think we all need some comedy right now. And writing these books is an escape for me, too.
What else do you do besides write?
I had a career in newspapers that allowed me to meet lots of people in different walks of life, and that experience certainly informed my writing. I’ve become a book editor and cover designer. I’m also a photographer. I love to chase storms, and I travel from Florida to Tornado Alley every spring to track tornadoes (though I stayed home this year because it seemed like the best thing to do). My husband and I have a couple of small, crazy dogs, and they seem to occupy a lot of my time since we’re home all the time now. Fortunately, we have a nice home bar to get us through!
What are you working on now?
Next up is the fourth novel in the Bohemia Bartenders Mysteries, Jiggered by Gin, in which the bartenders travel to London. What’s fun about this series is that it fits the cozy-mystery definition in that characters travel from one novel to the next … but stretches the definition in that the locations change and there’s a bit of cursing and romance. (There’s that genre-bending again.) I’m excited to write about London. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, and it’s a place I love. Writing about it—or reading about it—is the next best thing to being there.
Learn more about Lucy Lakestone and her books at LucyLakestone.com.