Today I am delighted to welcome fellow mystery author B.K. Stevens to share a “bite” of her YA mystery FIGHTING CHANCE (Poisoned Pen Press, October 2015). I recently read it, and absolutely loved it. It even got me interested in possibly taking a Krav Maga class one of these days! FIGHTING CHANCE has been nominated for both an Agatha and an Anthony award. Oh…and there’s a yummy chocolate cake and fudge icing recipe below, too!
Who is your main character? What is he like?
Seventeen-year-old Matt Foley is a thoroughly nice guy with good instincts and a generous nature—for example, he won’t stand idly by when someone else is being bullied. But he sometimes gets taken in by a pretty face or a smooth talker, he’s too quick to believe gossip, and he tends to think the people in his own popular crowd at school are superior to the misfits. He’s also a star basketball player and a talented martial artist who sees himself as a jock who’s bored with school—but he’s smarter than he thinks he is, and reading and writing interest him more than he’ll admit. Although he loves his parents and knows they’re good people, he can’t help feeling distant from them. By the end of the novel, Matt’s taken some important steps toward growing up.
What would Matt choose for his last meal?
Matt loves simple, basic foods such as pizza and cheeseburgers—and that puts him at odds with his parents, who favor more healthful dishes such as tofu stir-fry, quinoa patties, and gluten-free trifle. For his last meal, Matt would choose fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. When he comes home one day and sees his mother preparing these favorites of his, he’s instantly suspicious: “Too much comfort food—something bad must be happening.” (He’s right.)
How about you? What would you choose for your last meal?
Like Matt, I’m no gourmet and have pretty basic tastes in food. For my last meal, I’d choose Caesar salad, steak, roasted potatoes, and a glass (or two) of Merlot, followed by a hot fudge sundae and an oatmeal-raisin cookie. (I had to cheat and squeeze in two desserts—I love hot fudge sundaes, but who’d want to leave this life without one last cookie?)
Why should someone bite into FIGHTING CHANCE?
I sometimes describe FIGHTING CHANCE as a cross between The Hardy Boys and The Karate Kid: It’s a fair-play whodunit laced with action and adventure, and it’s also a coming-of-age story about a teenager growing into adulthood while studying a martial art. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a smartly crafted mystery filled with suspense and intrigue”; Booklist says, “Stevens’ portrait of Matt, Graciana, and their town is a compelling one, full of convincingly real dangers.” All the martial arts scenes—classes, tournament, real-life clashes—are carefully choreographed with help from my husband, a fifth-degree black belt. I hope both teenagers and adults will enjoy the mystery, the humor, and the account of a young man coming to a better understanding of his friends, his family, and himself.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?
Matt loves chocolate cake, and so do I. And I love the recipe for Cockeyed Cake, from Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book. It’s incredibly simple (only nine ingredients, mixed and baked in the same pan), it uses no milk or eggs (perfect for vegans, and for people who run out of eggs), and it’s amazingly rich and moist. Here’s the link: http://www.ourtableforseven.com/2014/08/the-easiest-chocolate-cake-ever-aka.html
As a bonus, here’s my mother’s fudge icing recipe (also incredibly simple, but not perfect for vegans):
2 squares unsweetened baker’s chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3-5 tablespoons milk
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Melt butter and chocolate in 3 tablespoons milk.
- Blend in sugar and vanilla; add more milk if necessary. Stir until thick enough to spread.
Thank you so much for sharing this “bite” of your book and the recipes!
You can read the first chapter of FIGHTING CHANCE at http://www.bkstevensmysteries.com/book/fighting-chance-a-martial-arts-mystery-for-young-adults/