I'm pleased to welcome Chrystle Fiedler to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Chrystle writes the Natural Remedies Mystery series. Dandelion Dead is the fourth book in the series and was released September 27th.
Kathy: Willow McQuade is asked to cater an event at an organic winery in Dandelion Dead. Do you enjoy wine? What's your favorite type of wine?
CF: We’re lucky out here on the North Fork of New York, because the local wineries are very good and becoming more and more popular which is of course, what prompted the idea in the first place! I do enjoy a nice glass of Pinot Noir out in my backyard as the sun is setting, enjoying time with my two dachshunds, Wallander and Murdoch!
Kathy: While many people consider dandelions weeds and a scourge of their lawns, dandelions are quite nutritious and can be enjoyed in salads and even wine. Do you enjoy dandelions?
CF: Yes, I have a new appreciation for this humble plant after writing this book! Not only are they packed with nutrients, they are everywhere. Now that Fall is here, they’re gone but I’m already looking forward to next Spring to greeting them in my yard, and the rest of my plants in my garden. Next year, I plan to plant more herbs including my fave lavender, along with rosemary, sage and thyme. I’ll be able to make a fresh salad and cook with herbs from my own back yard and garden. What could be better?
Kathy: Willow has a medicinal herb garden. What must have plants do you recommend for a person starting out growing and using herbs?
CF: I think the herbs I’ve just mentioned are a good place to start. Use organic soil and fertilizer to avoid any toxins and grow them in the ground, in raised beds or pots. There is also a technique using what looks like a wagon wheel -- http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/how-to-grow-herbs.html#.V-1CzZgrLP4 -- where you plant seeds in each space and it makes for a simple and easy herb garden. I think the closer we are to the earth, the better it is for our souls and for all living things.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CF: I like the way reading cozy mysteries makes me feel, like the world is safe and things will all work out in the end. It’s very appealing to me as a writer – since as I write I’m there – and reading others work.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CF: Yes, I have written/co-written 7 non-fiction books so far. My latest is a Vegan beauty book and it’s a lot of fun: http://www.robertrose.ca/book/compassionate-chicks-guide-beauty and just out. It’s my favorite so far, along with all of my books with herbalist Brigitte Mars. Next up is a book about holistic ways to treat chronic Lyme disease. All of the experts I’ve worked with have been my teachers in natural health. I hope all of my books help people improve their health and the quality of their lives.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CF: The natural remedies mystery series is an outgrowth of my writing and reporting on natural cures as a journalist. My protagonist is naturopathic doctor, Willow McQuade who has inherited a health food store, Nature’s Way from her late aunt. The series revolves around her crime solving capers with her ex-cop, and recent animal sanctuary founder, Jackson Spade and her ex-boyfriend, TV producer, Simon Lewis, who opens a winery in this book.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CF: I love Willow, Jackson and Simon -- The Three Musketeers as they like to call themselves -- but if pressed it has to be Willow. She’s my alter ego and she can say things I want to say to the reader within the context of a fun mystery.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CF: It would have to be my mother, Marion. When I was growing up, she always reached for natural cures, like cool black tea for a sunburn --I’d often take baths in it after the beach – along with arnica for bump and bruises, homeopathic cures for colds, and topical treatments like calendula for cuts. She was doing yoga and going to retreats decades before it caught on in the mainstream. She’s a wonderful role model and great teacher.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CF: Publishing your book -- especially with one of the big companies like Simon & Schuster -- gives my book a wider audience. I wanted to share what I’d written with the most readers possible.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CF: I’d love to have Shakespeare over of course, and Winston Churchill, who was a great leader, and writer. For more modern authors I’d have to invite J.K. Rowling and M.C. Beaton of the Agatha Raison series. All of them are British, which isn’t a coincidence as I am a complete and total Anglophile and will be traveling to the U.K. next May to research a new book and see the sights!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CF: I’m really enjoying catching up on the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. Agatha is prickly, difficult, speaks her mind, and is always chasing after unavailable men, but she also is smart, capable, and a terrific detective. Plus the series takes place in one of my favorite parts of the world, the Cotswolds. You can be sure I’ll be visiting there as well on my visit!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CF: I like to read mysteries and watch mysteries on TV including Midsomer Murders, Sherlock, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Death in Paradise, Miss Fisher’s Mysteries, Father Brown and Grantchester. I have Roku now, so I have an abundance of choices. Acorn TV is awesome for British mysteries and drama! I’m also an avid gardener and love English roses!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CF: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CF: I’m hoping that the series will continue as I enjoy writing them. I’m also working on a new idea that’s totally different, and I’m very excited to write it. It takes place in NY and England, so I’ll do more research next year when I go visit.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CF: Writing takes you into the action, so while I’m writing, I’m right there!
Dandelion Dead: A Natural Remedies Mystery
Business is blooming at Nature’s Way Market & Café, and shop owner, holistic doctor, and amateur sleuth, Willow McQuade has never been happier. Her new medicinal herb garden is a hit, and so is her new book, she’s in love with ex-cop and animal sanctuary founder Jackson Spade, and enjoying teaching seminars about edible plants and natural remedies.
But everything changes when Willow’s old boyfriend and TV producer, Simon Lewis, winemaker David Farmer, and his wife Ivy, ask her to cater a party at Pure, their new organic vineyard, to kick off North Fork’s Uncorked! week and the competition for Wine Lovers magazine’s $200,000 prize. Pure’s entry, Falling Leaves, is the favorite to win, and the wine flows freely until after Simon’s toast when smiles give way to looks of horror. Ivy’s twin sister, Amy has been murdered! Turns out, the poison that killed her was actually meant for David. But who wants him dead? A rival vintner? Or someone closer to home? This time the truth may be a bitter vintage to swallow.
CHRYSTLE FIEDLER is a freelance journalist specializing in natural remedies, alternative medicine and holistic health and healing, and is the author of the Natural Remedies Mysteries series. Her many consumer magazine articles have appeared in USA Today’s Green Living, Natural Health, Remedy, Mother Earth Living, Spirituality & Health, and Prevention. She is also the author/co-author of seven non-fiction health titles including the Country Almanac of Home Remedies with herbalist Brigitte Mars, and The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty with Vegan Beauty Review founder, Sunny Subramanian. Chrystle lives on the East End of Long Island, NY in a cozy cottage by the sea.
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Dandelion Dead: A Natural Remedies Mystery (Pocket Books) Out 9/29 Available for pre-order NOW!
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