Today Lindsey Bakewell is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off, the latest novel in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery series.
Welcome, Lindsey. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hi, I’m Lindsey Bakewell, a former Wall Street investment banker turned small town baker. Living in a small, lakeside village is quite a change of pace for me and my Newfoundland pup, Wellington, but I have to say that we both love it here. However, since moving to my renovated lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, and running my own bakery, I’ve also discovered something interesting about small towns. They may seem picturesque, idyllic, and friendly on the surface, but even in this charming village murder still happens. The story I’d like to share with you today is about the second time I’ve been forced to put on my sleuthing hat to do a little snooping around. This cozy misadventure happened during our town-wide Christmas festival. In fact, if I were to give it a title, it would be MURDER AT THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKE-OFF, because, yes, a murder really did take place, right in the middle of our live, very competitive Christmas cookie bake-off. I was trying to pull-off the perfect Christmas for my family and friends, and what happed instead? My sugar plum visions got derailed by a snarky Christmas diva, a pack of cookie-nappers, and an egotistical cookie judge. However, and not to give away the ending of my story, but let’s just say that the true spirit of the season prevailed.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Well, of course the writer, Darci Hannah, thinks she’s in charge of what I say and do as she sits at her desk with her two dogs beside her and a mug of reheated coffee, pecking away at her keyboard, trying to convince me to climb the circular stairs of the light tower in the dead of night to engage the resident ghost, the first lightkeeper, Captain Willy Riggs, but sometimes I’m just not having it. I’m like, “Hey, Darci, I’m tired from getting up at three in the morning to bake all these treats you want me to keep on the bakery shelves. I don’t want to talk with a ghost. How about he just visits me when I’m asleep? Can we do that?” Also, Wellington, although totally adorable, is a lot to take care of—especially since he’s in the lake all the time and drools incessantly. And don’t get me started on my bestie, the influencer diva herself, Kennedy Kapoor! Talk about a handful! Kennedy has a way of derailing Darci’s best laid plans as she writes, because Kennedy is confident, self-absorbed, and totally outrageous. Oh, and did I mention that I’m also super attracted to my hunky, ex-navy SEAL neighbor, Rory Campbell? I insist on having more scenes with him. I mean, I can just pop next door any time I want, you know? But Darci keeps sending him out hunting, and ice fishing all the time. However, she can’t keep him from popping into the bakery to be with me or stopping him from helping me out when I’m investigating a murder! Then there’s my parents, my gracefully aging supermodel mother, Ellie Montague Bakewell, and my awesome dad, who I take after most. I love my parents, but do they really need to keep showing up in Beacon Harbor when I least expect it? Like all well- meaning mothers, I think Mom has a way of bending Darci to her will. I can just hear her now. “Hey, I need to visit my daughter and she keeps ignoring my phone calls. Make that happen, Darci!” And she does. However, as much as I’d like to dictate what I do, for the most part I know that Darci has my back, and at times that’s a very comforting thing to know.
How did you evolve as the main character?
Well, I popped into Darci’s imagination one day when she was thinking up a new main character for a new mystery series she was writing. Darci was on the phone with her younger brother who was working at a firm on Wall Street at the time. He was looking out the window and describing the scene to her. She thought it must be really cool to live in a thriving city like New York, and work in a really cool office in a high-rise building. Then, however, Darci realized that she’s a mom to three sons and lives in a small town in Michigan. She’s pretty good with numbers, but she’s no banker. She is, however, a pretty good baker. She decided to create me to bridge the gap between both worlds, and experience life in a small village after having a successful career. Also, she made me buy a lighthouse sight unseen because she has this fascination with lighthouses. She also is pretty convinced that most old lighthouses are haunted, so viola! My lighthouse is haunted too, lucky me. However, I’m eternally grateful to her for giving me Wellington, my loveable Newfi. He really is the best. Darci and her husband once owned a Newfi, and now I’m living the dream too. But, oh! All that drool!
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I do. I can’t hold down this fort alone if you know what I mean. Besides having some truly fun characters in the village, and a great supporting staff at the Beacon Bakeshop, I also have an outrageous best friend, Kennedy Kapoor, who is an Englishwoman of half Indian descent. Kennedy is not only smart and confident, she’s also beautiful. We met in college, and now she’s one of the top fashion influencers in the country. She lives in NYC, but she spends a lot of time in Beacon Harbor with me as well. Then there’s my hunky neighbor Rory Campbell. He’s a recently retired navy SEAL who lives in the log home just around the point from my lighthouse. Rory’s trying to write a military thriller, but he loves hanging out at my bakeshop in the mornings. He also is invaluable to me when we’re trying to find a murderer. Let’s just say that Rory has skills.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I live in an old, renovated lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan. One half of the large lighthouse houses my living quarters, with a full second story for not only my bedroom but a few guestrooms as well. The other half of the lighthouse contains my bake shop and café, the Beacon Bakeshop, with spectacular outdoor seating in the warmer months. As you can imagine, my home is not only cozy and romantic, but it’s utterly dramatic when a winter storm blows in. And let me tell you, there’s no better place to look at a sunset or snuggle in to read a good book than up in the lightroom. Yes, it might be haunted, but it’s utterly magical too.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
If you’re in the mood for fun Christmas cozy mystery with engaging characters, descriptions of delectable Christmas cookies, humorous dialogue, and plenty of intrigue, then look no further. MURDER AT THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKE-OFF is the book for you. You’ll not only get to meet me and my loveable pup, Wellington, and all my friends in Beacon Harbor as well, but you’ll also have a front row seat at our Christmas cookie bake-off. This mystery is full of Christmas cheer as well as a hefty dose of Christmas shenanigans. However, there are some truly yummy recipes in the book as well that you won’t want to miss. Hope to see you there!
Thank you for answering my questions, Lindsey, and good luck to you and your author, Darci Hannah, with Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off, the latest book in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Darci Hannah: Cozy mystery author, Darci Hannah, is a native of the Midwest and currently lives in a small town in Michigan. Darci is a lifelong lover of the Great Lakes, a natural wonder that inspires many of her stories. When Darci isn’t baking for family and friends, hiking with her furry pals, Ripley and Finn, or concocting her next cozy mystery, she can be found wandering around picturesque lakeside villages with her hubby, sampling baked goods and breaking for coffee more often than she should.