Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
It is my pleasure to welcome Heather Day Gilbert
to Escape With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a West Virginia born-and-bred author, and I set my Barks & Beans Cafe series in the nearby city of Lewisburg. I’ve been married for 25 years to a handsome redhead, which is why you’ll see redheads popping up in all of my books. 😉
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
-I’m one of those scary Enneagram 8s. (We’re not as bad as we seem–just protective!)
-Besides mysteries, I also write Viking historical novels, since I’m allegedly related to Eirik the Red. I was actually interviewed about my main Viking character (based on a real Viking woman) on the upcoming Templars show (Episode 4) that will be streaming next year on Amazon Prime. This is so cool!
-One of my fave foods is Jimmy John’s subs, and I can put them away, let me tell you.
What books/authors have most inspired you?
Hands down, it would have to be Agatha Christie. I named my dog Agatha. 😉 She’s my fave comfort-read author, and I love her wit.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend 1-2 days plotting my entire mystery in a synopsis format, but that doesn’t mean I’ll strictly stick to it. I look up terminology and details as I go along, since I write contemporary mysteries (trust me, you do NOT want to see my Google search bar!)
Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?
I feel like I don’t have time for it, because I’m always on a deadline. I’m the kind of person who just sits down and writes while I watch the story come to life in my head.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I’ve been published since 2013, and I’ve had 5 agents along the way. It takes a lot of resilience and the ability to get back to your feet even when you feel your dreams have been repeatedly smashed to the ground. Being strong-willed certainly doesn’t hurt, but you also have to know your goals and pursue them relentlessly.
I always tell new writers they have to believe in their writing more than anyone else, enough to wholeheartedly pursue it and promote it, because sometimes even the people who are supposed to be in your corner will let you down (and you’ll have to say no to projects that don’t line up with your values). You have to believe your writing will bring value into the world.
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I enjoy playing video games, speed walking, reading twisty books, and hanging out with my husband and four children.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
Norway and Iceland, to see the Viking museums
What is next on the horizon for you?
Editing book 2 in my co-written Christian Viking historical series (releasing in June 2023), writing a secret project under a pen name, and working on a Christian YA novel later this year. Then I’ll return to my Barks & Beans Cafe series, and book 8 will likely release by the end of 2023. For those wondering, I have ten books planned in the series (unless sales skyrocket, at which point I’d consider more. LOL!). I bolded that, not Heather 🙂
Thank you Heather for visiting today.
Now keep reading for my thoughts about Roast Date.
About Roast Date
Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
7th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
WoodHaven Press (December 20, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250
Digital ASIN : B09Z8NYHX9
BOOK SEVEN in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!
Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.
After much cajoling, Macy gives in to her neighbor, Vera, and agrees to come to her book club’s Christmas party so she can share about the cafe. While public speaking isn’t Macy’s thing, she wants to brighten Vera’s lonely holiday season…and she can sell a little house blend on the side.
When a lively book discussion spirals into a public roast of the mayor—who happens to be sitting in their midst—things get uncomfortable. Soon afterward, the mayor shows up dead in Vera’s bathroom, and no amount of gingerbread cookies or eggnog can restore Vera to the club’s good graces. ‘Tis the season for Macy to find the murderer, or else Vera might be taking a long winter’s nap in a jail cell.
Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.
Macy and her brother Bo Hatfield own and operate the Barks & Beans Cafe and are decking it out for the holidays. It is a place where you can stop in for a cup of coffee and fall in love with a dog from the local shelter and have a new pet just in time for Christmas. You may also catch a glimpse of Macy’s lovable Great Dane, Coal.
Vera has wanted to have Macy speak at her book club for a while and Macy has finally agreed to attend the club’s Christmas party. A little nervous Macy knows it is important to Vera that she be there and Bo will be happy if she sells some of their house blend.
Macy’s part of the evening goes well but the book discussion gets out of hand with people turning it into a roast of the mayor. Mayor Goldie Keaton was leading the discussion but left the room rather than engage with the group’s innuendos. Sadly she is later found dead in the bathroom. The police arrive and Macy is shocked that Vera is at the top of their list of suspects. She is not going to let her go down for someone else’s crime. She intends to find the merry murderer before Santa Claus comes to town.
I really enjoy the relationship Macy has built with her neighbor Vera. Bo is right there to help her out too which is good because she is going to need both of them in her corner to get her out of this mess. We learn a lot more about Vera in this story. I liked that she became the central character but not that she was the prime suspect. I was unsure about one thing Macy was doing but was so happy when it worked out.
Bo and Summer’s relationship is moving along nicely as is the relationship between Macy and Titan. These core characters are so well-crafted and continue to develop in each new installment of this series. They are surrounded by great secondary characters like Vera, baristas Milo and Bristol, and Bristol’s mom Della. We meet some quirky new characters as well. And I can’t forget Macy’s Great Dane Coal, Bo’s kitty, Stormy, and Vera’s dog Waffles.
The murder investigation had epic twists and the story had a very rapid pace. I started reading and just couldn’t stop. I always enjoy tagging along with Macy as she follows each clue and tries to make all the clues fit together. A second death turned things a little inside out but Macy stuck with it until she literally faced the killer. I was startled at this reveal and lost my breath for a moment as the exciting saga played out.
What brings me the most joy when reading books in this series is the relationship between Macy and Bo. Working with family doesn’t always work out but Macy and Bo make it work and it seems almost effortless. They have family traditions that I love. They share secrets and have each other’s back at all times. They have a strong bond that can’t be broken. I really appreciate the way the author has written these characters and the situations she puts them in and am excited to see what she has in store for them next.
Roast Date is the seventh book in this wonderful series. We are left with a bit of a cliffhanger at the end and there are some exciting things set to happen too. I really wish the next book was right around the corner but it, Shade Grown, won’t be released until next December. I have trust and faith in Heather Day Gilbert that the wait will be worth it. But I am going to miss these characters, human, canine, and feline.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About Heather Day Gilbert
Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”