Authors are often asked who their favorite character is and I usually answer “Leo.” In the Chocolate Covered Mystery series, Leo is protagonist Michelle Serrano’s brother and a veteran suffering from PTSD. He’s a loving and caring sibling, supportive of Michelle but not smothering, and her rock when she needs him.
Throughout the first two books in the series – Death is Like a Box of Chocolates (2014) and Truffled to Death (2015) – Leo is successful in his battle against PTSD. But he takes a turn for the worse in Behind Chocolate Bars. Some of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever written occur in this book.
Research is one of my favorite parts of writing. To prepare for Leo, I read several books on PTSD and consulted with psychiatrist Josh Feder, MD. He gave me great insight into what could cause Leo to lose ground in his battle, and then what might help him toward recovery. While PTSD is a very complex illness, I wanted to demonstrate both its difficulty and the fact that there’s hope.
I’m delighted than an early reviewer of the book loved the Leo subplot and I hope you do too!
BEHIND CHOCOLATE BARS
DOUBLE, DOUBLE-BOIL, AND TROUBLE…
Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Festival. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books. Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.
The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…
Kathy Aarons is the author of the nationally bestselling CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series by Berkley Prime Crime. Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.
Kathy grew up in rural Pennsylvania, attended Carnegie Mellon University, and moved to New York City where she built her career in public relations and met her husband. They relocated to California where she became one of “those” moms: running the PTA, fundraising for school foundations, helping with a high school writers conference, creating costumes for youth theater, building puppets, and cheering on her daughters in hundreds of swim meets and soccer and basketball games.
She began writing when her youngest daughter attended school five days a week and pursued publishing more seriously when her oldest daughter went off to college. She’s dedicated to supporting arts education for youth, volunteering for the CCA Writers Conference, the only free writing conference for high school students in the country. She also serves on the board of Playwrights Project, whose mission is to advance literacy, creativity, and communication by empowering individuals to voice their stories through playwriting programs and theatre productions.
She now lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters where she wakes up far too early, and is currently obsessed with the Broadway Idiot documentary, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and Dallmann’s Sea Salt Caramels.
You can follow Kathy on Facebook or Twitter or visit her at: www.kathyaarons.com.