Daryl Wood Gerber is not only an Agatha Award-winning author, but also worked as an actress. She even had a role in Murder, She Wrote. Daryl writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries as well as the French Bistro Mysteries. Her new series, the Fairy Garden Mysteries, debuts with A Sprinkling of Murder.
It began at the Renaissance Faire
Daryl said the idea for the Fairy Garden Mysteries came to her after she went to a Renaissance Faire and saw a few fairy gardens. “I fell in love with the art. So I set about learning how to make them. I love to garden, but I no longer have the time to do huge gardening projects. Making a small fairy garden seemed the perfect answer to me. I visited a store in Tustin, CA, which was filled with whimsical creations and I felt a need to be creative, myself. As I was making my first one, I thought, wouldn’t this be a sweet theme for a mystery series?”
At first, Daryl wasn’t sure the idea would sell. The genre was a blend of fantasy and mystery and no one had written about a fairy sidekick. “The more I thought about it,” Darly said, “the more the world of fairies filled my mind. How would they talk? How would they act? When Fiona flitted into my mental sphere, I knew I had to write her story. Of course, the protagonist is Courtney, who lost the ability to see fairies when she was young, and now she needs to open her imagination to the possibility that they do exist.”
Believers vs. Non-believers
As an adult, we’re predisposed to stop believing in certain things. Daryl said, “Non-believers can be caustic. Why? Because something doesn’t fit into their mold of what life is supposed to be. In the story, there are fairies and the fairies speak and help with the mystery. Are there real fairies in life? One has to wonder. But the issue of so many in the town not believing and having a bias against Courtney, the protagonist, and her shop itself, poses a problem. People can be mean. Vindictive. One woman wants to close the place down for good. And yet another wants to see a fairy. Therefore, the push and pull of the community comes to bear, you know? What is real? What is fantasy? Who’s to say that one is right or wrong for believing?”
The long road to publication
“I love to entertain,” Daryl said. “It gives me purpose. It’s the main reason why I write. I want my readers to get lost in the world I create, if only for a day or two of reading. I think everyone needs a place to escape, and I like to provide that for my readers. Heck, I need that, too. It’s why I love to read. So if I can provide that moment of peace, relief, and wonder for readers, I’ve done my job on earth.”
The fact is, it took Daryl a long time before she could entertain readers with her work. She wrote for years before being published and said the rejection was heartbreaking. “Over and over, I received responses from agents like, ‘I love this, but I can’t sell it. Can you write another?’ As if writing another was as easy as making a pie. It’s not. But I did. I wrote another book. And another. I couldn’t pin down what I was doing ‘wrong,’ but my work wasn’t resonating. I was about to give up, but I persevered, because in high school I was given the ‘most persevering’ award – not sure why, then, but I sure know why now. LOL Along the way, an agent who did like my work (but couldn’t sell it) asked if I could write something ‘on spec.’ The publisher had come up with the idea for a cheese shop cozy mystery. I said I could, and I did, and they bought it, and I became a published writer. It took ten years to be an instant success. So to all those writers who have not yet been sold, don’t give up. Persevere. If you don’t know why you’re not selling, ask blunt questions of your critique group or agent. Be flexible. Be willing to change. Be willing to write to the market. But persevere.
You tasted how many cheeses?
“When I was writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries, I tasted over 1,000 cheeses. That was truly enjoyable. Now that I’m writing the Fairy Garden Mysteries, I’ve made over thirty fairy gardens. I have so much fun making them and tending to them. I go into my garden and I smile. My kids make fun of me. They think I’m slightly addicted. I probably am. But, hey, I have fairies in my garden. And butterflies. And hummingbirds. And whimsy. I adore whimsy.”
Learn more about Daryl Wood Gerber on her website at darylwoodgerber.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway