Friday, January 19, 2024

Deadly to the Core - An Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Joyce Tremel to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Joyce writes the Cider House Mystery series. DEADLY TO THE CORE is the first book in the series and was released this week.

Kathy: In DEADLY TO THE CORE we meet Kate Mulligan. After being in a terrible accident that killed her husband, Kate has a lengthy recovery, both physically and emotionally. Why was it important to add these factors to her story?

JT: Good question! Honestly, I’m not sure. I wanted Kate to be starting over but didn’t want to do the usual divorced or lost job route. As I thought about who I wanted Kate to be, it sorted itself out.

Kathy: Kate has inherited her great uncle's orchard and is planning, not only on keeping the orchard going, but starting a cidery. I love cider and have been fortunate to visit a few local cideries. Are you a cider fan?

JT: I love cider so much I make my own! I started fermenting cider in my kitchen just before the pandemic hit and everything shut down. It really came in handy. I’ve made 31 batches varying between one and four gallons at a time. I experiment with adding different fruits to the secondary fermentation. My favorite is pineapple. I’ve take a break but I’m due to start another batch soon.

Kathy: What made you decide on a cidery for your mystery series?

JT: Tax deductible visits to cideries? Seriously, it made sense. I was making cider at the time, and my previous cozy series featured brewing beer, so why not?

Kathy: Kate has no worries about turning the property's old barn into her cidery, after all, she's no stranger to carpentry, having done a renovation of her first home with her husband. Are you as adept with a nail gun?

JT: My husband is the nail gun person, but I have used it on occasion. We finished the interior (actually we’re still working on it twelve years later, lol) of our log home. He installed all the tongue and groove and I sealed it all. He’s in the process of making the trim for all the rooms now.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

JT: I love mysteries in all forms but writing cozies comes naturally to me.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

JT: I stick to mysteries. I also write historical mysteries set during WWII.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

JT: So far, I’m only contracted for the first book in this series. I’d love to write more about Kate and her cidery. My previous series was the Brewing Trouble mysteries featuring Pittsburgh brewmaster Max O’Hara. My historical series written as Joyce St. Anthony is the Homefront News Mysteries. It features Irene Ingram, who becomes editor and chief of her father’s newspaper when he becomes a war correspondent during WWII.

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

JT: I love all my characters!

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

JT: Not really.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

JT: I like sharing my stories with other people.

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

JT: I always have trouble with this question. It’s so hard to pick four! How about Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart to start with. Reading all their books as a teen is probably why I became a writer. One of these days I’m going to write something with a governess, lol.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

JT: Right now I’m reading NOTHING. EVERYTHING by Pittsburgh author Virginia Montanez. It’s women’s fiction which is a little different than what I usually read. It’s really good.

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

JT: I don’t really have any hobbies. During the day, I’m usually writing, cleaning, or doing laundry. Most evenings I hang out with my husband. Sometimes we’ll go out to eat or to the local brewery with friends.

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

JT: Beer, cheese, nuts, chocolate.

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

JT: I want to write more books in both the cider series and the historical series, but that depends on the publisher.

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

JT: Probably meeting readers and hearing how much they liked what I wrote. 



DEADLY TO THE CORE by Joyce Tremel
The First Cider House Mystery

Kate Mulligan is ready for a new start and inheriting her great uncle's farm gives her the perfect opportunity. Grieving the death of her husband and recovering from the physical trauma she suffered in the accident that killed him, Kate has thrown herself into opening a cidery. Fortunately, she has Carl, her uncle's farm manager to help. In fact, most of the town's folk want to help, remembering Kate from her childhood visits and loving her late grandmother and great uncle. Finding Carl's murdered body leads Kate to question almost everything. Will she succeed in opening her cidery? Or will a killer drive her out?

DEADLY TO THE CORE is one of the best new series openers that I've read. I loved just about everything about it. Kate is a great protagonist. She's strong and capable while still grieving. She approaches life with eyes wide open, she's wary and not overly trusting. She makes one major miscalculation at the end of the book, but for the most part she's quite savvy and knows her mind. Marguerite is a fantastic best friend and I love the progression of Daniel from too friendly neighbor whom she doesn't quite trust to... well you'll get no spoilers from me.

The first Cider House Mystery is a book about loss. The majority, if not all, of the characters are dealing with some sort of loss and how they deal with it shapes not only them, but the mystery itself. It's a more mature mystery whose characters have been through a lot. That being said, it's an uplifting story showcasing dedication, hard work, and community. Along with good food and drink...and recipes!

Fantastic characterizations and a well plotted mystery make DEADLY TO THE CORE a stunning debut in what I hope will be a long running series. 


Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery) by Joyce Tremel

About Deadly to the Core

Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Pennsylvania
Crooked Lane Books (January 16, 2024)
Hardcover: ‎ 250 pages

Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Julie Anne Lindsey, when Kate Mulligan inherits her great uncle’s fruit orchard, she quickly realizes that apples aren’t the only thing that can have rotten cores.

After losing her husband in a terrible car crash, thirty-five-year-old Kate is left to pick up the pieces of her life alone. Although she has physically recovered, she worries her spirit never will. But when she learns that she has inherited a fruit orchard in a small town just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from her great uncle Stan, she takes this as an opportunity ripe for the picking. Kate knew immediately what to do with it: open a cider house. Her hopeful plans fall far from the tree when she finds the body of the orchard manager, Carl Randolph, leaving her to figure out who is at the core of this murder.

She had been in correspondence with Carl, who had agreed with her brilliant idea of opening a cider house. But not everyone is so quick to buy what she was selling—Uncle Stan’s lawyer, Robert Larabee, paints a less rosy financial outlook of the orchard’s past, present, and future.

Kate discovers that Carl had large, unexplained deposits to his bank account and it becomes clear that either he was blackmailing someone, or someone was paying him to keep quiet. Meanwhile, Kate and her neighbors receive offers to buy their property from a mysterious buyer. And there’s more than meets the eye with the neighboring orchard owner, Daniel Martinez, although Kate can’t quite put her finger on if it’s sweet or sour.

Will she be able to pick out the bad apple among the bunch before it’s too late?

About Joyce Tremel

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. In addition to the Cider House Mysteries, she wrote the Brewing Trouble Mysteries. As Joyce St. Anthony, she writes the Homefront News historical mysteries. She lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats named Hops and Lager.

Author Links: 





Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - - PenguinRandomHouse 

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  1. This cozy mystery sounds captivating and intriguing. I enjoyed the wonderful interview and look forward to this book greatly.

  2. Congratulations on the book! It sounds so good and I love the cover.