Sunday, August 22, 2021

Murder at the Magic Cakes Cafe - An Interview & Review

I'm pleased to welcome Rosie Reed to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rosie writes the English Village Witch Cozy Mystery series. MURDER AT MAGIC CAKES CAFE is the first book in the series and was released earlier this year.

Kathy: MURDER AT MAGIC CAKES CAFE features a café and all manner of supernatural beings in the English countryside. Which aspect most appealed to you when creating this series, the paranormal aspect, the foodie aspect, or the English countryside setting?

RR: All of them really! I’m very sensitive to my surroundings, so I get overwhelmed by how beautiful the English countryside is, and I love writing about all the greenery, flowers, aromas, and wildlife as a setting for the series. One of my favourite things to do in real life is share tea and cake with a friend, so the food and café aspect really resonates with me. As for the paranormal, I’ve been a life-long fan of humorous fantasy writer, Sir Terry Pratchett, and I’m very inspired by all the magical settings and creatures he came up with in his Discworld series.

Kathy: When Evelyn Eldritch is struck by lightning, her magical abilities are ignited. Have you ever wanted to have supernatural powers?

RR: Oh absolutely! Throughout the series, Evelyn often uses her magical powers to help DI Taylor solve murders by, for example, using the Lock-picking spell, Strength spell, and Shielding spell. But one thing I will say about Evelyn is that she also uses her humanity, empathy, and logic too. One of my main themes in the series is ‘coming home’ – accepting yourself for who you are. This is something magic can’t help with; it’s a very human experience.

Kathy: Maiden-Upon-Avon is a quaint English village that is also home to werewolves, witches, and vampires. If you could be any of these types, which one would you choose to be?

RR: It would be so much fun to be a witch, ohhh the power! The reason I love writing this series so much is that it’s only limited by my imagination – which is very vivid indeed!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RR: I’ve always loved puzzles and mysteries. I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie for a very long time. I was previously writing romance, but after I suffered creative burnout, I took some time to just read – and I read all of Agatha Christie’s novels! Then I thought, hey I could write my own murder mysteries. I started reading cozy mysteries, especially paranormal, and I realised that I’d finally discovered the genre I was meant to write!

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

RR: As I said, I was previously a romance writer. I jumped on the ‘steamy billionaire’ romance genre several years ago, and I was doing okay. But really, my heart wasn’t in it, and it eventually led to creative burnout. I am glad I wrote all those romance novels though, because I learnt a lot about the craft of writing and also about self-publishing – all of which is helping me now. But saying that, I never want to burnout again, so I’m taking things at my own pace, and I will only ever publish a book in this series when I feel it’s ready.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

RR: The English Village Witch Cozy Series follows the adventures of novice witch Evelyn Eldritch, as she comes to terms with her magical powers, solves murders, and slowly melts the steely wall around the heart of Detective Inspector Alex Taylor! I’m currently writing Book Six – MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER, and Book Seven keeps trying to push itself into my brain! I love writing these books – I actually started the series to protect my mental health during the 2020 lockdown, and the series is still keeping me sane now!

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

RR: I have huge affection for Evelyn. She’s a bit clumsy and bumbling, but she’s kind-hearted – and she solves murders! I also have a crush on DI Taylor! ;)

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

RR: I’m a compulsive daydreamer, and I often turn real situations into stories in my mind. These characters have been with me in one way or another since I was a teenager, and this is how they’re currently expressing themselves. My aim is to give myself and readers a little holiday from reality in the lovely English countryside. I love the ‘controlled danger’ of murder mysteries, where justice is always done. I want to feel safe and secure in Maiden-Upon-Avon, enjoying the journey and adding humour and fun. It’s this ‘escapism’ that keeps me inspired.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

RR: I was enjoying writing the series so much that I wanted to share the enjoyment and escapism with other people. If readers enjoy my books, then that’s fab. But if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s okay too. I’m inspired by a quote by Bob Dylan, who says ‘It’s for myself and my friends that my stories are sung.’ This is exactly how I feel. My ‘friends’ in this context being the readers who enjoy my books. If I keep writing for myself and for those people, then I will enjoy the process.

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

RR: Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett would definitely be there! Also, I would love to chat to MC Beaton, the author of the Agatha Raisin books, as I love those. And Stephen Fry would have to come too. I started reading his novels in my late-teens, and I’ve recently been enjoying his Greek Myths trilogy.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RR: I’m re-reading all of Agatha Christie’s Poirot books at the moment, and I’m up to Black Coffee. I’m also re-reading all Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I’m up to Wyrd Sisters. My favourite books in that series are the ones that feature the city watch because they tend to be murder mysteries. I’m also reading a lovely non-fiction book called THE GENTLE MARKETING REVOLUTION, which is totally in line with how I currently feel about self-publishing and marketing. Be gentle and kind.

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

RR: Obviously I love reading and writing! But I’m also a massive music fan, and I enjoy swimming and yoga.

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

RR: Lots of different types of tea, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, a few tins of butterbeans, and some chocolate for a treat.

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

RR: The thought of not writing the English Village Witch Cozy Series fills me with dread, so I know there are plenty more books in that series to come! Also, I’m currently working on a fun spinoff series for Evelyn’s senior witch, sex-mad granny, Joanie. As well as that, I’m planning a series featuring Evelyn’s cousin, Ruby, who is the assistant to a cranky witch private investigator in Marvelton – the magical land beyond the Standing Stones Portal. I will keep writing these books as long as I enjoy them!

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

RR: Definitely writing. I’m a compulsive daydreamer, and I would be writing my stories whether I was publishing or not. In the Gentle Marketing Revolution, I was asked to come up with my definition of success, and I realised that success for me is getting an email from readers who I’ve never met before, saying they’ve enjoyed my books. That feeling of proud excitement is worth more than money to me. I know myself how it feels to enjoy a book or film, and if I can give that enjoyment to other people, then that’s truly magical! 



The First English Village Witch Cozy Mystery
Life changes after you get struck by lightening. At least it does for Evelyn Eldritch. After that electrifying event Evelyn receives a phone call informing her the birth mother she never knew has just died and Evelyn has inherited a cafe in the English countryside. Happy to get away from London and her annoying older sister for a bit, she takes her nephew and heads to the quaint village of Maiden-Upon-Avon. But something is off about the town and its residents. When she learns it's possible her mother was murdered, Evelyn decides to suss out the truth, even if it means taking on a hunky detective and some scary villagers.
There's a lot going on in MURDER AT MAGIC CAKES CAFE. Almost too much. It's as if the author thought of almost every wonderful thing she wanted to put into her book and did it...and then added the kitchen sink. It's a bucolic English village, she owns a bakery/cafe, she discovers she's a witch, there are vampires, werewolves, and possibly ghosts! There's also romance. Evelyn is gobsmacked by the detective inspector and it's practically love at first sight between her nephew and her birth mother's assistant. Yet for all of these details, there's not much follow up. We don't get much baking, we don't get much backstory about the other supernatural beings, although the journalist and his wife are a cute couple, and we only get a smidge of Evelyn's training as a witch. I also was a bit dismayed at the prologue. Every Tarot reader worth their salt knows that the death card doesn't mean a literal death. While true in this case, other options should have been presented and Marilyn shouldn't have assumed someone was to die that very night!
If you don't think too hard, the first English Village Witch Cozy Mystery is an enjoyable read. The characters are interesting and if you get past Evelyn's snarkiness, she makes a fine protagonist. I love how Evelyn and the birth mother she never knew use the same euphemism. There are some heavier aspects that are more in tune with a traditional mystery, the detective's drinking problem and the reason behind it, for example, but everything else screams cozy...almost too much.

Fluffy, but fun MURDER AT MAGIC CAKES CAFE is a good escapist read.


 Murder At Magic Cakes Cafe (English Village Witch Cozy) by Rosie Reed

About Murder At Magic Cakes Cafe 

Murder At Magic Cakes Cafe (English Village Witch Cozy)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: ‎ Independently published (March 1, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 307 pages

In a flash, she had magic. Can she use it to solve a mysterious death in her family?

Climbing a tree in a thunderstorm was always going to be a stupid idea, but when Evelyn Eldritch is struck by lightning, her magical powers are switched on. And she didn’t even know she was a witch!

When Evelyn learns that her biological mother has died under suspicious circumstances, she makes a journey to the quaint village of Maiden-Upon-Avon, where the residents consist of werewolves, witches, vampires and one annoyingly handsome-yet-gruff policeman. But who should she suspect? Who can she trust?

And if juggling her magical training, her mother’s café, and the town’s eccentric residents wasn’t enough, another body turning up at the local cricket match shows she’s definitely in well over her pointed hat…

Murder at Magic Cakes Café is the first book in the adorable English Village Witch Cozy series, set in the beautiful English countryside. If you love plucky heroines, small-town whodunits, and a touch of retro nostalgia, then you’ll love Rosie Reed’s fun and flirty tale.

Buy Murder at Magic Cakes Café today. It’s simply electrifying!

Note from the author: Writing this series kept me sane during the very strange year of 2020. I do hope you’ll enjoy escaping into the beautiful surroundings of Maiden-Upon-Avon and having some fun with Evelyn and all the other magical beings who live there! Each book is set in a different season of the magical year - beginning with spring in Book One. You can enjoy a gentle journey around the village, whilst Evelyn tries to solve the murder. So, treat yourself now by taking the phone off the hook of life, and soaking awhile in the bathtub of the English countryside!

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About Rosie Reed


A Little About Me I love writing, daydreaming, and creating stories. I often write for fun, even when I'm not planning on publishing. But it's also wonderful to share my stories with you! I'm a massive Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett fan, so writing paranormal mystery comes instinctively! I love the understated gentle charm of cozies, and it's always such a pleasure to spend time in the company of the wonderful sleuths and magical characters that my fellow authors create. Writing the English Village Witch Cozy series helped to keep me sane during the very strange year of 2020. Evelyn and Alex have done a tremendous job of protecting my mental health, and it's my pleasure to share this comfort with you. I do hope you’ll enjoy escaping into the beautiful surroundings of Maiden-Upon-Avon, and having some fun with Evelyn and all the other magical beings who live there! So treat yourself now by taking the phone off the hook of life, and soaking in the bathtub of the English countryside for a while!  

Purchase Links - Amazon US - Amazon UK

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