Sunday, July 14, 2019

Murder's No Votive Confidence - An Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Christin Brecher to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Christin writes the Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery series. MURDER’S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE is the first book in the series and was released last month.


Kathy: In MURDER’S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE we meet Stella Wright who owns the Wick and Flame, a candle shop. I love candles and have a variety. Do you have candles in your home as well?

CB: The inspiration for the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries started with my interest in Nantucket Island’s history in the candle trade during the 18th and early 19th century. As a writer, however, candles are also a beautiful theme to weave into my stories. Often, I light a candle next to me as a write. It puts me in the mindset of Stella – how she works and thinks. The natural light that inspires her now inspires me, too. It’s also magical to read a book by candlelight at night.


Kathy: I love a variety of scents to my candles as well as plain beeswax. Do you have favorite scents?

CB: I’ve learned through the eyes of my sleuth how personal scents are. Aromas trigger memories, which are often why we favor some over others. Isn’t that interesting? Depending on the day and my mood, my choice in scents can range from light and flowery to musky. Some of my favorite blends include bergamot, orange, and amber with warm notes of coconut, vanilla and almond. And I agree with you, too, that sometimes a plain beeswax does the trick. A simple flame is calming and inspiring, a very unique combination.


Kathy: Many years ago I tried candle making. Have you ever made your own candles?

CB: I have! When I first began the book series, I was excited to roll up my sleeves and live in the shoes of my heroine. After some sleuthing of my own, I found a workshop offered by a very cool candle company in Brooklyn, NY, called Keap. One evening, I joined a group around a worktable, where we drank wine and learned about waxes, scents and how to combine them into beautiful candles.

The Keap team made it look so easy, I thought I was a pro when I left. When I tried again at home, however, I found that the biggest challenge was keeping the wick straight as the wax hardens. After a few experiments, I found a little metal holder to keep it steady. I like that making candles is an easy, but really personal, gift to make.


Kathy: I admit, I have had some candles made in certain shapes that I found too beautiful to burn. We still have a turkey candle from the 1970s! Have you ever done that?

CB: I’d love to see that turkey! I think you have a good sense of Stella Wright’s character, because, as the series progresses, she offers candle mold classes. Personally, I’m intrigued by the idea of candles with more than one wick for a brighter glow. Combining my interests with hers, I have imagined Stella making a whale-shaped candle with a spout comprised of several wicks. I have not tried to make it myself, but it feels like a good summer project.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CB: My introduction to cozies was very British, led by Dame Agatha Christie. I love the landscape of a small town and communities which are tightly knit. I’m a crossword puzzle junkie, too, so I think the idea of following clues to solve the crime appeals to my nature.

The more time I’ve spent with cozies, however, I realize that what I like most is the number of strong, smart and successful women who solve crimes, all while keeping their lives together. There’s a tendency to think of cozy mysteries as lighter entertainment, but I think the heroines are super-women.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CB: I wrote another mystery, an art heist. I love kids books and have toyed with a fun romance, too.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CB: The Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries feature Stella Wright, a candle-maker and small business owner, who is a local on the island and part of a large, extended family. As the series unfolds, Stella seeks justice when a massive unity candle she has custom-made for a wedding is used as a murder weapon, and a family-friend is accused of the crime. As a native, she’s plugged into the small community’s information chain, while visitors to the island let clues drop without noticing her. This combination, plus her evolving friendship with Officer Andy Southerland, helps her succeed in solving murders.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

CB: I love all of them. Even the villains. I spend so much time with each character that I always find some connection with them.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

CB: It’s really nice to spend time in Nantucket, even when I’m in New York, and it’s February, and I’m only there in my imagination.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CB: That’s a great question. It’s a really big decision, I think, to make the leap from writing as a hobby to writing as a profession. I think when you’re ready, you know. For me, I first shared the manuscript with friends I trusted. I listened to their feedback, made a million edits, and also got accustomed to the idea that not everyone likes the same thing.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

CB: Can I go all out and have a party-party vs. a dinner-party? Invited would be witty women authors of any genre or century. In addition to raising a glass, I’d challenge us all to find the common threads in our stories and our motivation to write. Definitely included would be: Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, Hellen Fielding, Sue Townsend, Janet Evanovich. And I’d absolutely let Zelda Fitzgerald crash the party.

What would I serve?


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CB: Nancy Thayer’s A NANTUCKET WEDDING. I’d invite her to the party, too.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

CB: I recently took a tap-dancing class. I love the big-band music, and being in an environment where “jazz hands” are welcomed. Right now, I’m enjoying my favorite summer pastime, swimming in the ocean.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

CB: Homebase for me is NYC, the land of food delivery. You will find delivery leftovers any day, for sure.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

CB: I’m working on two more books for the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries. In fact, I recently learned that book two, MURDER MAKES SCENTS, will hit the bookshelves in February 2020.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

CB: I have found beautiful spaces to write and wonderful writers from whom I’ve learned so much. I love editing fellow writers’ work as much as writing my own. It’s a privilege to see someone’s story at early stages.


Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

CB: Thank you so much for having me. I loved your questions – and I really do want to see that turkey candle.

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Review


MURDER'S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE by Christin Brecher
The First Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery

Stella Wright is the Candle Lady of Nantucket Island. Surrounded by friends and her large family, Stella loves her hometown and is happy to provide candles to locals and tourists alike at her shop, the Wick and Flame. Stella's current big project is providing candles for the wedding of Jessica Sterling. Her unique scents have become so popular, several brides have begun commissioning her for their own unity candles. As the wedding weekend is about to commence, the bride's uncle is found murdered-killed by Stella's unity candle. When an old family friend is charged with the crime and brides around the island are cancelling their candle orders Stella knows she needs to step in and help solve the murder. With assistance from her childhood friend on the police force and the new journalist in town, Stella is prepared to uncover the many secrets of the bridal party and bring the real killer to justice.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Nantucket Island with MURDER'S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE. A charming setting, smart characters, a fantastic cat, and unique candles combine to enhance a great mystery. Stella is a fun, down to earth protagonist with mad island skills. The supporting cast is just as interesting, from her family to her candle making students to the visiting movie star and the bridal party. I absolutely adore Tinker, a special cat who also possesses some great skills.

This first Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery has readers using all of their senses. Scent in particular plays a huge part of the story as well as an integral plot point. The smell of salt air mingled with the scents Stella creates for her candles creates a wonderful ambiance. I felt I was right there on the island.

MURDER'S NO VOTIVE CONFIDENCE is a fantastic start to a new series. It's a fast paced adventure filled with excitement and fun. There are lots of undercurrents, especially among the various relationships, that I can't wait to see expanded and explored in future books.

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Murder's No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery) by Christin Brecher

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Kensington (June 25, 2019) 
Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .
Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.
When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.

About the Author


Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.

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