Today Heather Day Gilbert is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about No Filter, her first novel in the Barks & Beans Cafe mystery series.
Welcome, Heather. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Yes, No Filter is the first book in the Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series, which is set in my neck of the woods in Lewisburg, West Virginia. It features sibling sleuths Macy and Bo Hatfield.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Honestly, I don’t know! I came up with a mysterious locale for the murder (a spiritual healing center called Ivy Hill), and the crimes sort of fleshed themselves out from there. I also knew there would be a dognapping in this particular book that involved Macy’s adopted shelter dog, a Great Dane named Coal.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
There wasn’t a really strong lesson to the book as it’s simply a clean, twisty mystery, but I do want to portray a really strong sibling bond through this series, as well as the importance of giving shelter dogs a chance.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
In this series, I just love the amateur sleuth, Macy, and her protective big brother, Bo. They will get into all kinds of dangerous situations where they’ll have to work together to survive. The side characters are also fun to write, and of course you’ll see several of the people in No Filter reappearing throughout the series.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I’ve visited the town of Lewisburg many times with my husband, since it’s not far from me. The Greenbrier Resort (also near there) will also play a large role throughout this series, and we were able to stay overnight there for our twentieth anniversary. Lewisburg is a quaint small town with many interesting locales where I can set mysteries…for instance, the WV state fairgrounds is there, so Book 3 (Fair Trade) will have a fairground theme.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
As mentioned, I’ve visited the town and taken numerous photos of the houses and shops there, so it’s an easy reference as I describe places. I made sure the cover artist included the Appalachian mountains in the background of each cover, because it’s important to me to represent West Virginia well (it’s my home state). Also, I’ve talked with Great Dane owners and researched Danes, as well as dog and cat cafes such as Barks & Beans. For this book, I researched the drumming and other classes offered at the spiritual center. And I researched quite a few other things I can’t tell you about or I’ll be giving spoilers. 😉
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Just that I hope they’re able to check out this new series that combines some of my favorite things—dogs, coffee, family, and a mystery that’s tricky to figure out! 🙂
Thanks for answering my questions, Heather, and good luck with No Filter, the first book in the Barks & Beans Cafe Mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Heather Day Gilbert: Heather is an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries set in her home state of West Virginia. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect what they love.