I’m sitting here with Abby Knight, owner of Bloomers Flower Shop, along with some very important people in her life. They’ve agreed to meet me today in the coffee-and-tea parlor to let me interview them. Abby, would you like to introduce everyone?
Abby: Thanks, Kate. This incredibly sexy hunk on my right is Marco Salvare, who, as you know, is the man of my dreams, the guy who makes my heart beat faster, the--
Jillian: Yuk. Someone have a barf bag?
Abby: Hey! No need to get nasty. This, by the way, is my cousin Jillian, the—
Jillian: Wardrobe consultant extraordinaire.
Abby: Right. Next to Jillian are my assistants at Bloomers, Lottie Dombowski and Grace Bingham, and at the far left is my mom, Maureen Knight. My dad couldn’t come today, unfortunately.
Kate: I’m sorry to hear that. I know he’s been a strong influence in your life, Abby. So tell me this. In MUM’S THE WORD, you try various means to bring more customers into your struggling flower shop, such as your addition of the parlor. What else do you plan to do to grow your business, no pun intended?
Abby: Okay, first of all, do you always have to refer to Bloomers as a struggling flower shop? That’s not good for our business.
Lottie: You tell her, sweetie. Kate, this little angel here kindly took over the shop when my husband’s health problems caused us a severe financial hardship. I think Abby’s doing a fantastic job, especially in this economy.
Grace: Hear, hear. Might I add that putting in this coffee-and-tea parlor was pure genius on her part?
Abby’s mom: That and selling my pieces of original art.
Kate: Speaking of your art, Maureen, where do you get your inspirations?
Abby’s mom: My inspirations? Well . . . I just combine things. For instance, (looking around) flowers and . . . tea. Flowers and . . . scones. No, wait. Scones and stems . . . thorns and coffee . . . I know there’s magic here somewhere. Let me just think for a moment.
Abby: Going back to your original question about growing my business, Kate --
Jillian: Why just your business? Excuse me but my wardrobe consulting business is doing quite well, thank you. (Whispering to Kate) Would it be too much to ask if you would let me have some input on Abby’s wardrobe for the next book? I mean, seriously, do you see the jeans she’s wearing?
Abby: I’m sitting right next to you, Jillian. I can hear you whispering. Stop it.
Marco: Calm down, Sunshine. Consider the source.
Kate: Abby, your talent for creating beautiful floral arrangements is impressive, but where you really shine is in your ability to solve murders and catch killers. Isn’t that a contradiction of character?
Abby’s mom: (thinking aloud) Killers and flowers… murder and mocha … contradictions and coffee…
Abby: I don’t see it as a conflict. It’s more like I’m good at arranging things. I pay attention to detail. Take the flowers in my coolers, for instance. I have to pull the right stems and arrange them in a way that satisfies me as well as my customers. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, which is what it takes to solve a murder.
Marco: (Putting his arm around Abby) Good answer, Fireball. You must have been thinking about that for awhile.
Abby: Thank you. I have. But I’m not the one who catches the killers, Kate. That’s Marco’s job. He’s the pro. He’s my hero.
Jillian: Did Abby actually say she pays attention to detail? Abs, hellooo. Have you looked in the mirror today?
Abby: That’s it. I’ve had it. Marco, let go of my arm.
Marco: I don’t think so.
Abby’s mom: Mirrors and magnolias….puzzles and petunias….
Grace: Would anyone care for one of my blueberry scones? I made them fresh this morning.
Kate: I’d love to try one later. But since time is running short, let me just ask one last question.
Lottie: Hold on just a gosh darn minute. Why don’t we ask you the question this time?
Jillian: I think that’s only fair.
Grace: What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander.
Marco: (folding his arms and leaning back) This should be good.
Kate: What would you like to ask? I’m an open book.
Jillian: (Whispering to Abby) Is that supposed to be funny?
Abby: Okay, I’ve got a question, Kate. You spend hours at the computer every day, documenting our lives for the benefit of readers. That has to get monotonous. Why do you do it? What do you get out of it?
Jillian: That’s easy. Look at her outfit. She gets fashion advice from me.
Grace: I’d be more inclined to think she loves my quotes.
Lottie: Or our flower arrangements.
Abby: I think it’s deeper. Am I right, Kate?
Marco: Maybe she’s a romantic at heart.
Abby: She’s writing a murder mystery series, Marco. I wouldn’t call that romantic.
Marco: I’m talking about us, sweetheart. Our relationship.
Abby’s mom: Sweet hearts . . . relation ships . . . sweet ships . . .
Kate: It’s all of those things -- the flowers, the fashion, Grace’s wisdom, Lottie’s common sense, Abby’s deep love for Marco, her passion for helping people solve puzzles, Marco’s strength and courage, and his devotion to Abby. It’s every one of you that keeps me coming back day after day.
Lottie: Well, aren’t you a sweetie to say so?
Kate: And to be honest, it’s even Abby’s mom’s unique art creations. I always look forward to the next one.
Maureen: Unique . . eunich . . . unicorn . . . Wait. I’ve got it!
Abby: Say goodnight, Mom.
Kate: Hold on a minute, gang. I’m going to open up the floor for questions. Comments are welcome, too. The only thing you aren’t allowed to tell is what happens in the next book. Jillian, that means you, too. Don’t give me that wide-eyed look.
Okay, friends, it’s your turn. Questions? Favorite character? Comment?