Hooray for Hollywood
A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery)
Stardom fades fast when you’re on the line for murder.
is the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute.
His favorite singer is Perry Como. His favorite author is Agatha Christie. His favorite tea is Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.
Zac Bissonnette dropped by for a visit to share his new cozy mystery set in California and spill the tea on writing and Hollywood.
Keep reading for a giveaway and to find out what special gift Zac brought for me!
Jay Allan and Cindy Cooper were soap opera stars in the late ’90s, a wholesome young husband-and-wife duo who combined musical talent with humor and charisma. When the truth about their sexual orientations came to light, their marriage and TV careers ended, but decades later they have remained friends. Together, they open Palm Springs’ chicest movie memorabilia store, Hooray for Hollywood–but no customers and dwindling finances spell trouble.
A Hail Mary arrives in the form of Yana Tosh, a ninety-year-old diva of the silver screen who has amassed a valuable collection of costumes and props and is looking to sell. But first, Jay and Cindy have to beat their competition, a vice president from a mega-auction house with ten times their resources. And when he winds up dead, they become prime suspects in the murder.
With their freedom and livelihoods on the line, Jay and Cindy desperately need to clear their names. There are plenty of other potential suspects, but they’ll have to solve it soon before they’re forced to trade in their vintage costume collection for two orange jumpsuits.
ANNIE: Zac Bissonnette is here! C’mon in. The A/C is on, and refreshments are on the way. How was the drive over?
ZAC: Oh, just lovely! I actually borrowed Jay and Cindy’s car. They’re my protagonists and the owner of Hooray for Hollywood, a Palm Springs movie memorabilia store. Their car is pretty cool too–it’s a Ford Explorer from the original Jurassic Park movie with all the logos on it. So I got a lot of weird looks on the way over, but other drivers gave me wide berth, which was nice.
ANNIE: Your book cover is fabulous. Did you have any say in the design? What was the most challenging part of the book cover process?
ZAC: Chris Andrews did such an amazing job and I had nothing to do with it! But I love it! Which is a little frustrating in a way because now if the book sells poorly, I can’t blame the cover artist!
ANNIE: So it looks like you have dual protagonists who solve the murder mystery. How do you keep the characters’ voices separate in your head?
ZAC: Hmm. They’re so different that it was easy in a way. Jay is very emotional and shoots from the hip–an artist. Cindy is a financial advisor–more calculating and shrewd, but I think what unites them is that empathy and enthusiasm for their projects.
ANNIE: And I hope you like tea. Is that a gift for me? You are the sweetest!
ZAC: Oh, yes! I brought you a script from an episode of Murder, She Wrote, signed by the screenwriter and showrunner, Tom Sawyer!
ANNIE: I love it! I may find some ideas in here the next time I… uh, where were we? Tell me, what stage did you like best from the blank page to your book in distribution?
ZAC: I’d have to say the most fun part for me is coming up with the plot–the initial outline, trying to come up with the twists and turns that will surprise. The writing is so much work, but just sitting there, staring at a wall, trying to think of a plot is fun!
ANNIE: What research did you do to give the setting some authenticity?
ZAC: I did a really fun interview with Maddalena about the Hollywood memorabilia industry. It’s in the back of the book as an author’s note. And, importantly, he thought the premise of the book made sense!
“It’s totally plausible,” he said. “These people are crazy. You have some old lady with a collection no one’s seen in Palm Springs, and get a couple dealers competing for it? Someone could hypothetically end up dead, absolutely. This memorabilia is an obsession. People covet it. It’s not like any other collectibles category. There’s a passion, an intensity that’s different.”
ANNIE: If you were to choose one of the costumes from Jay and Cindy’s store that is your favorite, which would it be and why? What other snazzy items are in the store?
ZAC: So many things, and it’s always changing as they buy and sell. I would say I’m jealous of all the Judy Garland stuff they have.
ANNIE: If Jay and Cindy went to the movies, which one would they choose? The same or would they go to separate shows?
ZAC: They’d want to go to the same movie so they could argue about it after. I think they’d definitely want to go see the new Elvis biopic.
ANNIE: Tell us about an unusual item sitting on your writing desk this very minute.
ZAC: I have a very large glass paperweight with Perry Como’s head on it. You never know when you’ll need something like that. Or a truckload of sweet treats apparently.
ANNIE: So, if you had three minutes to tell a new writer your best writing advice, what would it be?
ZAC: Gosh, I really am the last person to give advice on this. It’s my first mystery! But I would say, try to write in the genre you love most. I wrote a cozy mystery because it’s the one genre I absolutely could not live without reading.
ANNIE: It has been such a pleasure having you visit and talk about your new book.
ZAC: This was so much fun! The armored truck I just ordered to get these slippers home should be here in five minutes. Can you follow behind me in my Jurassic Park car, and then I’ll get you an Uber home? It’s the least I can do.
Zac was such a delight. Leave a comment or visit him on Twitter to say hi and tell him to come back anytime! And we’ll all keep the slippers issue to ourselves.