Don Bruns Day Seven: My backup plan


Hot Stuff is my newest novel with Oceanview Publishing and it involves a murder in a celebrity restaurant in Miami. Often times I pick a location, visit it several times and try to be as accurate as possible in my description of that locale. The last book was Too Much Stuff, and it takes place in Islamorada, Florida. I had to do all kinds of research in the Florida Keys. I hate that.

But Hot Stuff takes place, almost exclusively, in Le'Elfe, a restaurant I invented, down on Biscayne Bay in Miami. There's actually a condo at that location, with no restaurant at all.

I visited probably fifty different restaurant kitchens all over the country to get a feel for actually cooking in mine. There were restaurants in Sarasota, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, New York, Key West, and so many other places. And every chef I met was thrilled to have me come back and see his operation.

I got to see the roughest, rowdiest, dirtiest kitchens and some of the most refined, clean, and neat operations you would ever want to see. I watched cooks throw things at each other and swear in Spanish. I saw white-coated chefs lovingly stir a soup or prepare a soufflé.

I watched a restaurant owner of a very fancy restaurant in Sarasota, fire his head waiter as the guy was waiting on a table. Screaming, threatening him as he chased him out the door. I watched a head chef take a mistake out into the alley behind his restaurant and give it to a homeless man and woman.

I have great respect for anyone who works in the food business. I think you must have passion, love what you do, and be totally crazy, and for all the food in China, I would never, ever, work in a restaurant.

Unless this writing thing dries up

Don Bruns is a novelist, advertising executive, musician, songwriter, cook and painter who has no idea what he wants to do when he grows up. He's the author of nine books and was editor of the mystery/music anthology A Merry Band Of Murderers.

Don's published novels cover two series. One, a Caribbean thriller collection and two, the Stuff series, a humorous look at two twenty-four year old guys in South Florida who start their own detective agency and end up neck - deep in trouble. Skip and James from the Stuff series have often been compared to grown up versions of the Hardy Boys.

Jamaica Blue, Barbados Heat, South Beach Shakedown, St. Barts Breakdown and Bahama Burnout make up the Caribbean books. The Stuff series consists of Stuff To Die For, Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, Stuff To Spy For, and Don't Sweat The Small Stuff- which came out in December 2010.

His two series have won numerous awards, and the latest "Stuff" series has won a starred review in Booklist.