Today we sit down for a chat with Claudia Simcoe from author Daisy Bateman’s Marketplace Mysteries.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Once upon a time, I was nothing but a tech drone, writing code to make other people’s ideas a reality. Then one day it all fell apart, and for once I found myself asking what I really wanted out of my life. And it turned out the answer was: a lot of cheese. So, to make a long story unreasonably short, I moved to a small town on the Northern California coast to open an artisan foods marketplace, and I’ve never looked back. (Except about twice a week, when I wonder what on earth I was thinking.)
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I guess I would have to say it’s my determination. There have been some situations I’ve faced where a normal (some would say sane) person would have thrown in the towel, when I have kept going, and surprisingly they have ended up turning out all right. Not saying things wouldn’t have been better if I had left well enough alone, but I’ll take what I can get.
What do you like least about yourself?
That would be my impetuousness. Sometimes it works out well, like when I decided almost on a whim to buy the marketplace, which for all my doubts has been the best decision I ever made. But at other times, like when I find myself telling my friend that I am going to solve a murder to clear her name, it has some clear downsides.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Well, the time I got into a low-speed tractor chase was definitely unusual. And I don’t think many people have encountered frog colonies in their workplace. But the weirdest thing is probably all the murders she has me solve. I mean, who does that?
What is your greatest fear?
Letting people down. When I opened the marketplace, I was only thinking about it as a place that would sell the kinds of things I love, and my biggest worry was making it a going business concern. It didn’t occur to me that my tenants would be so dependent on it for their livelihoods, or that they would become my friends. Which is why, when there have been times when the marketplace has been threatened, I’ve made some choices that other people might not have made.
What makes you happy?
Cheese, mostly. Also my dog, who is a lot of trouble but so sweet it’s impossible to stay mad at her. Which probably explains how many treats she manages to scam when she doesn’t deserve them.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I wouldn’t mind a do-over on how I met my nearest neighbor, Nathan Rodgers. When I first opened the marketplace, he was an unseen thorn in my side, always making complaints about what my business was doing to his neighborhood. I ended up with a certain impression of him, without us ever meeting, and, let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly accurate.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
I do try to get on well with everyone, but even I have to admit that I haven’t had the best relationship with our local law enforcement. The previous chief of the San Elmo Bay force was a real piece of work, and I have zero regrets about the trouble I caused him. But his replacement is something else entirely, and the thing that worries me the most about her is that I’m pretty sure she can see through all my nonsense.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
Probably my friend Betty. Not so much for the details of her life—I like her husband well enough, but I think I’m looking for a guy who says more than five words per day, and three kids is at least two and a half more than I can handle—but for the way she is able to meet every challenge head-on and always seems to come out on top, with her hair looking great. I know she has problems of her own, but just for a day, I’d like to project that kind of confidence.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Daisy Bateman definitely spends too much time on the internet, so that’s a good place to look for her. On her website you can find a place to sign up for her newsletter and links to her other social media accounts.
What's next for you?
My last adventure ended up with me making a surprising discovery related to my marketplace, so I think I’m going to be dealing with that for the foreseeable future! The details are still under wraps, but I’ll be sure to let you know.
A Dismal Harvest
A Marketplace Mystery, Book 2
It’s autumn on the Sonoma Coast, and Claudia Simcoe is sure that the gourmet harvest dinner being held at her artisan marketplace will wipe away any memories of the unpleasantness last summer. But then the newly installed video surveillance system shows local lawyer Clark Gowan removing something from a hidden compartment in the marketplace walls… and Claudia’s visit to his office the next day reveals that he’s dead, shot with one of his own vintage guns.
The town’s new no-nonsense police chief wants to know about the compartment, but she’s more interested in the fact that Julie Muller, famed cheesemaker and one of Claudia’s tenants, broke in to Gowan’s office the night before he was killed. Concerned for her friend, and also about the revelation that Gowan, who was involved in the sale of the marketplace building, was not entirely on the up and up, Claudia is determined to learn more.
The building’s Prohibition-era history offers some clues, and the victim’s illegal legal work turns out to have affected a number of people in town, from Julie to the farm museum he cheated out of a significant amount of land. Meanwhile, Claudia still has a marketplace to run, and she is more confused than anyone when it comes to her relationship, or lack-thereof, with her craft-beer-making neighbor.
Still, Claudia thinks she’s getting a hand on this investigating thing, until another gruesome death, secrets from her building’s past, and a low-speed tractor chase make her wonder if she’s really ready to reap what she’s sown.