CEA: I do like to bake but I’m not especially good at it! What I end up with rarely matches the picture in my head (kind of like writing!)
Kathy: Kayla is creating orders for the holidays. What are some of your favorite dishes to make during this season?
CEA: I’ve always loved making sugar cookies for the holidays. This year, I’m going to attempt a chocolate peppermint Bundt cake.
Kathy: Kayla is a Highly Sensitive Person. What exactly is a HSP?
CEA: HSPs make up about 20 percent of the population (I am an HSP myself). We deeply process sensory stimuli and easily become overstimulated. We are adversely impacted by things like loud noises, scratchy fabrics, and florescent lighting. We quickly get stressed by too much going on, criticism, and performing in front of others. On the plus side, HSPs tend to be creative, conscientious, and compassionate, and we have strong positive reactions to art, music, and nature. Most HSPs are introverted but a certain percentage are extroverts.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CEA: I’ve always loved mysteries. Like many mystery writers, I devoured the Nancy Drew books when I was younger and, later, Agatha Christie’s work. Sometimes I find mysteries too violent (HSPs have a hard time with violence) and I love that the murders in cozies take place off stage. Plus, there is usually a huge emphasis on food, and the relationships between the (often quirky) characters are paramount (there’s almost always a love story, besides). And pets! Usually the characters have the most adorable pets.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CEA: Years ago, I wrote a romance novella that was published by the now-defunct Wild Child Publishing. I’ve also written a lot of short romances, a number of which were published by Woman’s World magazine. I’m currently working on a psychological thriller.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CEA: Peppermint Cream Die is the first book in The HSP Mysteries; next will be Stabbed in the Tart and Sourdough Dead. In all the books, Kayla will have to fight her natural tendency to avoid stress as she helps solve the murders that keep popping up!
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CEA: I think my favorite characters are the cats, Sugar and Flour. They are partly based on the cats I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with, and they are so much fun to write.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CEA: I’m constantly looking to educate myself about being an HSP, so I’ve read numerous books and blog posts about the trait. At some point, it occurred to me that an HSP might make a good amateur sleuth. Yes, there is the problem with stress and overstimulation, but HSPs notice a lot and usually are good at reading other people’s emotions.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CEA: My last book didn’t sell well enough for the publisher to continue the series. I thought at the time that I would switch over to writing thrillers but then I got the idea for an HSP amateur sleuth. I suggested the idea to my agent and we went from there.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CEA: What a good but difficult question. I’m going to choose Agatha Christie, Charlotte Bronte, Gilly Macmillan, and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CEA: I’m reading Invisible Girl, a thriller by Lisa Jewell.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CEA: Reading is my favorite hobby and always has been. I used to knit but haven’t done it in a while. I enjoy watching TV and movies and cuddling up with my cat, Rainn. I’m a true introvert!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CEA: Coffee, cat food (ha, ha!), salad fixings, baking supplies
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CEA: I’ve written Stabbed in the Tart and am currently writing Sourdough Dead. I’m not sure if I will write more in this series or not. As for a new cozy series, I would need to think of a good hook. If I come up with one, I probably will go for it.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CEA: I think my favorite thing is that it’s been my dream since I was 4. I am truly living my dream!
Peppermint Cream Die (A HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Mystery) by Carol E Ayer
About Peppermint Cream Die
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (October 13, 2020)
Paperback: 190 pages
Kayla Jeffries, home bakery owner and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), has arranged her life just so to avoid stressful overstimulation. The California oceanside community in which she lives proves the perfect venue for the quiet and peaceful existence she desires. She happily spends her time baking, walking along the beach, and spending time with her close friends.
But when Kayla discovers her elderly friend Trudy Dillingham has been strangled, she vows to do anything she must to help bring the killer to justice, including overcoming the stress and sensory overload involved in playing amateur detective. Using her HSP talents of attention to detail and ability to read other people's emotions, Kayla eventually cracks the case, all the while juggling two cats and a dog, non-stop orders for the Christmas holidays, and a budding relationship with handsome restaurateur Jason Banks.
About Carol E. Ayer
Carol Ayer, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), lives halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento with her cat, Rainn. When she’s not writing, she’s reading mysteries and thrillers or watching movies and cooking shows. As a native Californian, she visits the ocean as often as possible.