“I never set out to address an issue in one of my cozies,” Bradford said. “However, it seems as if one always finds its way in whether I realize it or not. In The Silence of the Flans, there’s a subplot dealing with small town living and how local politics and greed can undermine so much. I hope that my work as a small town journalist many years ago made these particular scenes all the more realistic.”
The Silence of the Flans — small towns, politics, and people
When asked how she came up with the story idea, Bradford said, “As is usually the case with all books following the first in a series, I looked to the characters I established in the first book to provide a stepping off point.”
The first book in the series was Éclair and Present Danger. The main character is Winnie, and she begins a relationship with a college professor. In the opening stages of The Silence of the Flans, the professor is troubled over a student he is about to fail—a student who has exerted little to no effort in his class all semester.
Bradford said, “Winnie, seeing the strain this is causing, offers to let the student do some intern work with The Emergency Dessert Squad. Winnie’s decision—born of a desire to help—ends up jeopardizing everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. I think what drew me to this story, once it started forming in my head, was this notion of trying to do the right thing and having it go horribly wrong. I think we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.”
The importance of kindness
In addition to the main plot, The Silence of the Flans also has a subplot regarding the professor’s teenage daughter. It turns out the daughter doesn’t like Winnie at all simply because she poses a threat. Bradford said, “As a stepparent, I know this life too well. When you break through, it’s a great feeling. But until then, it can be mighty rough.”
Bradford said, “I have two amazing daughters that make me proud every day. Not because of the things they accomplish (although that’s great), but because of their level of empathy and compassion. Those are the things that make me feel as if I’ve done something right in life.”
And speaking of priorities, there’s Bradford’s willingness to help others who suffer from the same condition she has. “I have M.S. I was diagnosed with this as-of-now incurable disease almost eleven years ago. Once I got through the denial and deer-in-the-headlights phase, I started fighting. I see this as an opportunity to show my kids that curve balls don’t have to knock you out. You just have to figure out the best way to hit ‘em. I’ve done that, I’m doing well, and I’ll drop just about anything to talk to someone who has recently been diagnosed because I want them to know they’re going to be OK. Truly.”
Bradford’s bio says that she fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. Today, that love has made her a national bestselling author of multiple series. The second book in Bradford’s Emergency Dessert Squad mystery series is now here, and it brings along a delicious slice of life.
Love of travel
So, what does Laura Bradford do when she’s not writing or being a mom or helping people who have MS? She travels. “I’m a Disney nut,” she said. “Any opportunity I have to step on Disney property makes me happy. I also adore sea lions. Which means a recent trip to Monterey, CA for a mystery conference was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Why? Because when I stepped out of my rental car for the short walk to the front door of my hotel, I heard the distinctive bark of a sea lion. Multiple sea lions, actually. Just a few blocks away, they were everywhere…and in the wild. Loved every minute of that trip.”
Then, there are her trips to the other side of the country, Amish country in Lancaster, PA. “The things that I see and experience there threads its way into my Amish Mysteries and another project I’m not at liberty to discuss quite yet.”
Early Bird Bonus Code: LuvtoTravel
All serious issues aside, The Silence of the Flans is a cozy mystery and the main character runs the Emergency Dessert Squad. So, how do all those yummy recipes come about? “I’m a huge baker…and eater,” Bradford said. “Coming up with the emergency-themed names for the desserts mentioned in this book has made me laugh (many times) and head for the baking cabinet (many, many times). But hey, it’s research, right?”
Learn more about Laura Bradford and the Emergency Dessert Squad at laurabradford.com.