Today Cate Kensie is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Danger at Dunhaven Castle, the first novel in the Cate Kensie mystery series.
Welcome, Cate. 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 Cate Kensie, star of the Cate Kensie Mysteries, a cozy mystery series. Well, maybe I’m not the star. That honor probably rests with my dog, Riley, who gets A LOT of attention from readers (and I can understand why!).
My series follows me from my humble beginnings as an American college professor to my current position as Countess of Dunhavenshire, Scotland, and mistress of Dunhaven Castle! I inherited the castle from a relative I never realized I had: Lady Gertrude MacKenzie. I didn’t think I had any relatives after my parents died, but it turns out I did and just as my career stalled, I inherited the castle, moved to Scotland and the rest, as they say, is history.
Little did I know I’d inherited a castle with a secret! And WOW what a secret! The castle, along with the timepiece passed on to me by Gertrude, allows us to TIME TRAVEL (see Book 1 if you want to know how we figured that out!). When I say us, I mean myself and my estate manager, Jack Reid. Only Reids and MacKenzies know about the secret, and we’re supposed to protect each other and the secret.
Since discovering the anomaly, Jack and I have been time traveling to solve a few mysteries. First, when my ancestor was accused of murder in 1856 and second when someone robbed my family of heirloom necklaces in 1925.
This time around, though, I’m not sure what to make of things. You see, I’ve just found the journals of my ancestor, Douglas MacKenzie, the castle’s builder. And not a moment too soon! We’ve been experiencing a few… oddities with the time rips that allow us to slip into other centuries. Put that on top of the crippling nightmares I keep having and we’re smack dab in the middle of another set of mysteries.
I really hope I can figure out who the man chasing me in my dreams is and how Douglas mastered time travel before disaster strikes! Maybe you can help!
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
I’m not sure either of us control what happens! Life kind of happens to me and I relay it all back to her to write down! I hope you enjoy my stories. I usually do, at least after they are over. Sometimes they’re stressful to live through! That’s how I know Nellie doesn’t really control what happens to me! I’ve been shot at, almost drowned, slipped back in time without realizing it and more! She’d NEVER let anything happen to me. After all, I’m named after her grandmother, Catherine!
How did you evolve as the main character?
Great question! I started out pretty backward and introverted. I spent most of my time alone (and I liked it just fine, no complaints!), but now that I’m a Countess, I can’t really hide myself away. Mrs. Campbell, our town’s librarian and historical society president, really loves showing off the castle and I can’t say I blame her. She’s already planned three parties on the estate and they’ve come off really well.
I recall slipping into my evening gown before the New Year’s Eve gala and thinking how different my life had become. Only one year before, I’d fallen asleep before the ball dropped in Times Square in a pair of sweatpants with Riley curled at my side. A year later, I was meeting and greeting lords and ladies along with our townsfolk at VIP event in my own castle!
I’m still not sure how well I’m doing at this Countess thing, but I’m hoping I’m making the transition from shrinking violet to sociable host!
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Before I moved to Dunhaven, I was pretty much on my own, outside of my little black and white dog, Riley. He is definitely my best friend, sounding board and boy, does he love Scotland!
Since we’ve moved, I’ve got a whole new set of friends to share my life with! First, there’s Jack Reid, my estate manager. He knows about the secret and, though he doesn’t love time traveling as much as I do, he is great to share adventures with. He’s fun, funny and he always looks out for me.
Then there’s Bailey! While Jack and I were busy solving a murder mystery in 1856, my buddy, Riley, was busy solving his own mystery! He found his new friend, Bailey, in a folly on the property. Bailey ran away from a local farm. The farmers offered for me to adopt him, and I readily accepted. It’s great that Riley has a new puppy pal!
And, of course, there are the Frasers, Charlie and Emily, my groundskeeper and housekeeper and our newest addition to the castle, Molly. Molly was a friend of my from my college professor days and the department secretary for my department. She just moved to Scotland to become my housekeeper-in-training after a nasty bit of luck. I hope she loves it here as much as I do.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Dunhaven Castle and its grounds are simply stunning! The castle itself is beautiful and pretty big, too! I’m not sure I can count the number of rooms even if I tried. My favorite ones are the sitting room off the foyer and the library. I just love the tartan curtains and all the heavy, dark woods there. I love the tearoom, too. It’s so bright and cheery. And, of course, I love my bedroom suite with its chaise lounge near the fireplace in the sitting area.
My other favorite spot is the loch out back. Riley, Bailey and I love to walk to it and then lounge on the bank and watch the clouds roll by. And when the water is still, I can see the reflection of the castle in it!
P.S. If you’d like to see pictures of my home, check out the Members Only area at www.nelliesbooknook.com. I’ve got tons of pictures posted of my house and the grounds!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I’d honestly say this is one of my most exciting adventures so far! Even if you haven’t read any of my other stories, you can jump right into this one. And if you like some of the side characters that pop up on this story, there’s another entire series with them for you to dive into!
I hope you’ll join me for my latest mystery, I’d love your help in solving it! And I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting Riley and Bailey, too!
Thank you for answering my questions, Cate good luck to you and your author, Nellie H. Steele, with Danger at Dunhaven Castle, the first book in the Cate Kensie mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Cate and her author, Nellie H. Steele by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram and Tiktok pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available online at Amazon.
About Nellie H. Steele: An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.
An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies! A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.