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The Golden Spoon (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jessa Maxwell is a cozy mystery fiction author that is best known for her novel “The Golden Spoon.” However, what most people do not know is that this was not her first rodeo.
In another life, she is known for her adorable characters when she usually writes under her real name Jessica Olien.

As Olien, she has been a very successful creative as her illustrations and cartoons have been featured in the likes of Conde Nast, the New Yorker, the Hairpin, and Spiralbound.
Before she became a writer of fiction, she used to work as a journalist and has lived all over the place in the Netherlands, Thailand, and Egypt.

She finally decided to upgrade from cartoons and illustrations by penning her first adult audience project in “The Golden Spoon,” which was published in 2023.

Apart from that, she has had many of her articles published in The Atlantic, Slate, Pacific Standard, Salon, and Bust. She loves to describe herself as a jet setter who has an obsession with looking at corgis pictures.
However, it is her fun-loving and dark personality which writes as Jessa Maxwell that is interested in cooking, murders, and mysteries.

It also happens to be the name of her grandmother and she just borrowed it in an attempt to differentiate it from her kids’ fiction works.

Jessa Maxwell started writing “The Golden Spoon” in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While she was self-isolating she thought she had a good opportunity to start writing a long-form fiction work which is something she has always wanted.

It took her three and a half months to pen her manuscript which was quite fast given that the novel has become very popular. She felt that if she did not write the novel, she could have gone and buried her head and never would have done it at any other time.
The good thing was that she had a very supportive family and she dove into her work writing at a feverish pace.

As for how she writes, Jessa is somewhere in between a plotter and pantser, as she sometimes lets her pen loose on the page even though she carefully outlines her stories.
She always knew where she was going with the manuscript, even if there were many times when she did not know how she would get there.

Nonetheless, she has always loved working this way even with her articles, and by doing just that, she managed to finally finish writing her manuscript.

As for her inspiration, Jessa Maxwell has said that before the pandemic she use to love to cook and bake but it was during the pandemic that she had significant improvements.
She spent a lot of time venturing out of her comfort zone trying out new foods and looking at all manner of recipes.

Still, her novel was for the most part inspired by the 10-week baking competition the “Great British Baking Show,” which typically involves amateur cooks.

She used to religiously watch the six seasons of the show on Netflix, particularly when her husband Tim was on it for a couple of seasons.

She is also a huge fan of “Knives Out” on Netflix and “Only Murders in the Building” on Hulu, both of which are comedies/mystery series. She has said that she loved how the shows were designed that you got to know the characters so well.
As is usual with such shows, there are some contestants who are deeply annoying that you want them to get kicked off the show or in the case of “The Golden Spoon” to be found dead.
The novel got three starred reviews from the likes of Library Journal and Publishers Weekly even though she does not plan any sequel.

She was very pleased with herself as she had always wanted to one-day pen a closed-room-style cozy mystery that made use of multiple perspectives and she found a lot of fun doing this with her novel.

The novel initially failed to get sold and so Jessa Maxwell got another agent to help sell it. Alexandra Machinist her new agent turned out to be great and sold it within a few months of getting the gig.

When she had the auction, there were at least half a dozen publishing houses interested. Ultimately, she would sell her novel to Penguin Michael Joseph. The rights to the novel have also been sold to Atria in the United States.
She would later auction the TV rights for the novel which would just be as contested with Deadline.com winning the rights.

The online streaming giant is now developing the dark comic mystery into a limited series that will be produced by Aline Brosh McKenna the creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

“The Golden Spoon” by Jessa Maxwell is a work about six contestants who are doing a bake-off in Vermont on an old estate with some massive grounds. The six bakers who are participating are Stella, Hanna, Peter, Gerald, Lottie, and Pradyumna.
They will be participating in a TV show known as “Bake Week” that is being filmed at the home of Betsy Martin, a legendary cookbook author.

Betsy has been a successful host of the show for a decade but this year things are very different. The first thing is that the producers told her that she would need to have a cohost who would have much more appeal to a younger audience.
The man they want to join the show is a man who is known for some stinging critiques and his million-dollar smile hosting his own cooking show. The second complication is that at least one of the bakers is not what they said they are.
Things get interesting when a body is found bleeding into a beautiful cake. It seems that one of the competitors has taken the competition a little too seriously.

The work balances a little of the intrigue and baking details as the contestant compete in several challenges and reveal their secret motives and how far they will go to ensure victory.
Hitting all character types from the rustic craftsman, the beautiful ingenue, the anxious newbie, the bored millionaire, and the fluffy old woman.

The work provides their backstories and a bit of internal dialogue to make for a delicious combination of a Great British Bake Off and a shake of Agatha Christie.

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