Penny Warner Interview – Death of a Crabby Cook

Penny Warner Interview Stacey GustafsonWhen I heard that my good friend and humorist Penny Warner was releasing her latest novel, Death of a Crabby Cook: A Food Festival Mystery on August 6, I knew I had to help spread the word. She’s  a witty, smart and a darn nice lady. Despite her busy schedule, she agreed to answer a few questions about herself. Prepare for surprises!

Tell me about your current project.

Death of a Crabby Cook: A Food Festival Mystery is the first in my food truck/food festival mystery series, set at Ft. Mason in San Francisco, among the food trucks there. When Darcy Burnett is downsized from her job as a restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and breaks up with her two-timing boyfriend, Trevor-the-Tool, she moves into her Aunt Abby’s Airstream in her aunt’s backyard and goes to work in her aunt’s food truck, hoping to write a best-selling Food Truck Cookbook.

Why food trucks?

The Food Truck phenom has recently swept the country, so I thought readers might enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at the business, along with a few yummy recipes.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Either teaching child development at Diablo Valley College or watching my grandkids, otherwise, I’m probably on the couch, writing.

Pizza or pasta?

I love both, but favor pasta over pizza. Aunt Abby offers gourmet comfort food in her Big Yellow School Bus food truck, and serves such dishes as Cheerleader Crab Mac and Cheese and Science Experiment Spaghetti.

Where do you get your inspiration for humor?

MAD Magazine

Do you make a living at writing?

I’ve managed to pay for my kids orthodonture and college tuitions with the money I make, but that’s about it. Most of it goes to chocolate.

When did you realize that you could write?

I don’t think I’ve ever realized it. It’s a work in progress and I’m still learning. I never know how something will go over with readers.

What’s the dumbest question anyone as ever asked you?

When I was on a book tour and doing a signing at a bookstore, I got questions like: “Where are the bathrooms?” “Do you know Sue Grafton?” and “Have I ever heard of you?”

How many characters have you killed to date?

Too many to count. Wanna be next?

Who’s Penny Warner?Penny Warner Interview Stacey Gustafson

Penny Warner has published over 60 books for both adults and children. Her first mystery series, beginning with DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, features Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter living in the California Gold Country. The book won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award.

Her second mystery series, beginning with HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, features event planner, Presley Parker, and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Presley solves mysteries on Alcatraz, at the de Young Museum, at the Winchester Mystery House, in Colma, the City of Souls, and in the Napa wine country.

Her newest series, DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK, features Darcy Burnett, a former restaurant critic who now works in her eccentric Aunt Abby’s food truck and lives in an Airstream RV. The book features food trucks and food festivals, beginning with the San Francisco Seafood Festival, followed by the SF Chocolate Festival and the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Her middle-grade mystery series, THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB, won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s Mystery, and has been nominated for the World Mystery Anthony Award for Best Children’s Mystery. The series features four kids who solve mysteries by cracking codes in each chapter. The books are set in Berkeley, on Alcatraz, at the Carmel Mission, at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award.

She writes a column for the local newspaper on family life in the Valley, creates fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country, and teaches child development at Diablo Valley College. She can be reached at or

Check out Death of a Crabby Cook book review:

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  1. This sounds great. I love food, and reading, and food trucks, and mysteries. So combining the four can only result in something wonderful.

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