I'm happy to welcome Esme Addison to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Esme writes the Enchanted Bay Mystery series. A SPELL FOR TROUBLE is the first book in the series.
Kathy: In A SPELL FOR TROUBLE Aleksandra Daniels returns to Bellamy Bay, North Carolina to stay with relatives she hasn't seen in 20 years. Last October I visited relatives I'd never met before in Poland. Have you ever reunited with family?
EA: What a coincidence! I'd love to hear how the experience was for you. Last year, I went to Poland for the first time and met my husband's grandmother and uncles and aunts and cousins. It was a wonderful experience full of good food, hospitality and fun conversations. I hoped to capture that type of warmth in my series. I am pretty close with all of my family, so I can't recall a reunion quite like one Alex Sobieski has in the story.
Kathy: How did you decide upon using the Mermaid of Warsaw to inspire your paranormal mystery?
EA: I wanted to find an aspect of Polish history or folklore to add depth to the mystery. When I found the mermaid myth, I was literally done! Look no further. Like many, I am fascinated by mermaids (also fairies and other mythical creatures) and knew I absolutely had to figure out a way to add mermaids to the story.
Kathy: Being of Polish descent I absolutely love all of the Polish culture you instilled in the book. My mouth was watering when your characters were munching on kolaczki and pączki. I also love so many savory dishes. What are some of your favorite Polish foods?
EA: I try to write in all of my favorite dishes, or at least ones I've eaten my self. When I was pregnant, the dill potato soup was a craving. I couldn't get enough. When we were in Warsaw, there were so many pączki shops to try - love those donuts. And my mother-in-law makes the best cakes from scratch. All kinds with fresh apples or blueberry. And there's a coffee-like cake with a stresuel topping. Borscht, cucumber salad... I don't eat meat anymore but when I did fresh kielbasa with onions!! There's so much to love about Polish food.
Kathy: Ciocia Lidia runs an herbal apothecary shop. I would love to visit this store and can see myself being a regular customer. What about you? Do you use herbal remedies?
EA: Yes, I love herbal remedies! I make absolutely everything I can for myself and my family. I started 12 years ago when my middle son was born with allergies and I wanted natural products in the home. I make my own face masks, toothpaste, bath salts, and oil blends. And for remedies: cold syrups, ear drops, salves for eczema, irritated skin, etc. I've been to a few herbal apothecaries, and I'm always in heaven like a kid in a candy store. )
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
EA: The settings and the themes! I first discovered cozies when i returned from a vacation in Napa and wanted to read books about wine and with vineyard settings. I found Ellen Crosby's Wine Country mystery series and was hooked. After that, I realized that I could travel to places I wanted to go in these books, and I could "eat delicious food" and learn about interesting hobbies and occupations while reading. I loved the concept. And the mystery-element recalled my childhood love for Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown and my desire to go on adventures. :) When I read cozy mysteries, I can do that.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
EA: Nothing published yet, but yes I have stories in various stages: synopses, partial manuscripts, and completed, spanning speculative women's fictions and several psychological thriller ideas. My interests are pretty eclectic.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
EA: A SPELL FOR TROUBLE is based on the Polish Mermaid of Warsaw myth. After her father dies (her mother passed when she was little) and she quits her job, Alex Daniels travels to Bellamy Bay, NC, from NYC to reconnect with her aunt and two cousins. While there she discovers an interesting secret in her family about her heritage. And then there's a murder... her aunt is charged, and she of course has to figure out whodunnit.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
EA: I love all of my characters, but I really like Kamila. Kamila is a police woman. She's pretty, tough and no-nonsense, a bit of a tomboy. She's not happy that she has magical abilities and refuses to practice on ethical grounds. But she also loves her family and is proud of them, so she has a lot of internal conflict. I look forward to digging deeper into her psyche as the series progresses.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
EA: My husband's family - my mother and father-in-law who are Polish. I love to learn about new cultures, the history, the food, the folklore... when I met my husband I immediately began to learn everything I could about the people, the land, the history... and when I decided to write a cozy, I knew I wanted to capture the love, warmth and hospitality that I'd seen in the family I'd married into. For a long time, before this story was sold and it was just an idea the working title for the manuscript was Polish Family Cozy to give you an idea of my focus.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
EA: I've been a writer since I was a child. I wrote my first story in 6th grade and never stopped. My father told me I should set and achieve the goal of being a published author, so it's always been something I wanted for myself. I've written four unpublished novels as an adult. This one is just the first one to be published.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
EA: I would invite Helen MacInnes, Agatha Christie, Octavia Butler and Percy Bysshe Shelley - four of my favorites.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
EA: I am currently reading IT CANNOLI BE MURDER by Catherine Bruns and listening to THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING by Alexis Henderson.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
EA: Reading, writing, traveling to the beach and mountains, visiting historical sites (ancient civilizations, Civil War, Revolutionary War-era), cooking/baking, making herbal remedies and visiting craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and meaderies.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
EA: Organic half-and half (for coffee), coffee beans, avocados and good cheese
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
EA: Yes! Book 2 in the Enchanted Bay mystery series publishes next summer, and I'm working on a new mystery series (no mermaids this time!).
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author? Besides getting paid to do what I love?
EA: Creating a well-written story for readers to enjoy. Hearing that someone loved your story is the best ever.
If you missed it, you can check out my review here.