I'm pleased to welcome Karoline Barrett to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Karoline writes the Bread and Batter Mystery series. Bun for Your Life is the first in the series and was released November 17th.
Kathy: Setting plays such an important part of a book, especially in cozy mysteries. I am a proud resident of Western New York and love reading books set in my area. Why is this area the perfect location for Bun for Your Life?
KB: Cozy mysteries are typically set in small towns, and upstate New York is dotted with small, picturesque towns and farms. Since my family is from there, I’m familiar with the area, which made it easy to build my fictional town of Destiny based on towns near Seneca Lake.
Kathy: People who only think of NYC when New York is mentioned are missing out on so much, including the fact that New York is really an agricultural state and we're one of the top states in apple production! No wonder then that the co-owners of Bread and Batter Bakery are preparing for Destiny’s annual Apple Harvest Fair. What are some of your favorite things about fruit and harvest festivals? You are so right about people thinking of only NYC when they hear New York. I love buying homemade jams and jellies, homemade breads, cakes, and the right-off-the-farm fruits and veggies at these festivals – items you can’t find at your grocery store. I also like the arts and crafts vendors. And, you can’t beat the outdoors on a crisp, sunshiny autumn day!
KB: Molly and Olivia sell not only baked goods, but tote bags and t-shirts. Why branch out? (Mind you, I'm quite apt to buy shirts and totes from companies I like myself!) Lots of people, including me, love souvenirs, so why not? It’s good advertising for their bakery—Bread & Batter—they add something special to the ambience, and they’re fun.
Kathy: Is Bread and Batter Bakery based on a real bakery?
KB: No, it’s totally a product of my imagination.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
KB: The small town setting, the mystery, and the characters, who are usually humorous or quirky; people readers can identify with.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
KB: My first book, The Art of Being Rebekkah, is women’s fiction and was published in 2013 by E-Lit Books. I also have a romance I work on when I have the time.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
KB: My Bread & Batter series revolves around Molly Tyler who, with her best friend, Olivia Williams, owns Bread & Batter Bakery in the fictional town of Destiny, New York. When murders send the bucolic town where she grew up into a tizzy, Molly steps in to whip up some answers, despite the disapproval of the town’s handsome new detective.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
KB: Oh, this is a hard one! I’ll say Molly because the story is told from her point of view. But, all the characters have their own endearing qualities. Well, maybe not the bad ones…
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
KB: The small towns I’m familiar with in upstate New York that are surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards. It’s such a peaceful area, and the people are all so friendly. And I love small, independently owned bakeries, so I had to include one of them in my series.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
KB: Some people say they write only for themselves, which is fine, but I wanted to share my books with the public. I want people to enjoy reading about Molly and Olivia, Detective Sean Corsino, and the rest of the gang in Destiny, as much as I enjoyed writing about them.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
KB: Shirley Jackson, Janet Evanovich, Sylvia Plath, and Ann B. Ross.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
KB: I’m reading A Body in the Belfry by J.B. Hawker; I promised her I’d review it.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
KB: Reading, beach time, photography, and traveling with my husband.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
KB: 1. Eggs
2. Coke (I’m a total Coca Cola addict!)
3. Fruit (recently picked apples with my husband, so lots of those right now!)
4. Yellow rice
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
KB: I do! Raisin the Dead, the second book in my Bread & Batter series, is coming April 19, 2016.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
KB: People telling me they love my books and asking when the next one will be out!
Bun for Your Life by Karoline Barrett
The First Bread and Batter Mystery
Molly Tyler and her best friend, Olivia Williams, own the Bread and
Batter Bakery in central New York. Molly gets into an argument with
local orchard owner Calista Danforth over booth location for the local
apple festival; a nasty argument witnessed by a good looking newcomer to
town. When Calista is later found murdered, strangled with a Bread and
Batter t-shirt, the good looking newcomer comes back. Turns out he's the
town's new homicide detective! Molly is determined to "help" the
detective. Whether she's getting involved to save herself from a murder
charge or distract herself from her ex-husband's actions, remains to be
Bun for Your Life is a lighthearted mystery set in a wonderful locale. Molly starts the series with more thoughts to the past than the future. Through the book she grows and realizes the past is just that, nice, but the past and there's much more to Molly's life. The search to clear her name of the murder charge leads Molly to much more, including relationships, new and old, history, and above all, new beginnings.
Filled with humor, Barrett creates a pleasurable first entry in a promising new series.