Sally Berneathy is a USA Today Bestselling author who wrote fifteen romance novels ranging from comedy to dark suspense under the names Sally Carleen, Sally Steward, and Sara Garrett. The former winner of the National Readers’ Choice award talked about her Death by Chocolate series.
“Back in the ‘90s,” said Berneathy, “I wrote romance novels. However, Harlequin/Silhouette didn’t allow me to write with my quirky sense of humor. Add to that a love of chocolate and a nasty divorce creating a desire to write about murder rather than romance, and Death by Chocolate was born.”
Berneathy also said, “I personally test all the chocolate recipes in my books…most of them several times! My friends, neighbors and I are all gaining weight from my chocolate trials. I have not (yet) personally tested any of the methods of murder.”
Some writers start writing later in life. That is not the case for Berneathy. She started out young—very young. She said, “I grew up in a small rural town in southeastern Oklahoma where our favorite entertainment on summer evenings was to sit outside under the stars and tell stories. When I went to bed at night, instead of a lullaby, I got a story. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old and wrote my first story, a mystery. When I was taking journalism in college, I got very frustrated because I had to stick to the truth in those stories. I knew I could make them better if I could just be creative! Since that time, I’ve always stuck to fiction. My greatest delight is to tell stories that entertain.”
“Death by Chocolate” is about murder, mayhem, madness and chocolate. “Something for everyone,” joked Berneathy. She added, “Ex-husbands can be more annoying and harder to get rid of than a cold in summer and sometimes chocolate is the only thing that helps. Primarily my books focus on viewing life and murder with a sense of humor.”
In “Death by Chocolate,” Lindsay Powell’s only secret is the recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, but she is surrounded by neighbors with deadly secrets. Suddenly Lindsay finds herself battling poisoned chocolate, a dead man who doesn’t seem very dead, and a psycho stalker.
With all of those secrets surrounding Lindsay, it’s no wonder that she has thoughts like, “There wasn’t a weapon in sight. That’s what comes from having a clean house.”
Readers often wonder if writers get their ideas from real-life experiences. Berneathy’s story lends some insight. She said, “Recently, I had an encounter with a crazy man who bumped my new car, then went into a rage when I wrote down his license number. Fortunately a passerby stopped and intervened then called the police. I used the man’s license number to track him down and am making him a villain in my current work-in-progress. I haven’t decided if I’ll kill him yet, but I’m going to torture him a lot. Moral: Do not mess with a writer. We have words and we know how to use them.”
Sally Berneathy is currently writing two mystery series: Death by Chocolate and Charley’s Ghost. The first books in both series, “Death by Chocolate” and “The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die,” made the USA Today Bestseller List. Learn more about Sally Berneathy on her website at www.sallyberneathy.com.