Today, I’m so pleased to host author Darci Hannah, who’s latest book Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, first in a new series, was released on February 23rd. Darci is giving away one copy each to two lucky U.S.-based commenters below. If you haven’t heard about it yet, once you read the description, you’ll be as excited about it as I am.
Take it away, Darci!
A huge thank you to Barbara Ross, and all the wonderful Wicked authors for inviting me to their blog. It’s such an honor getting to share my passion for cozy mysteries as well as my enthusiasm for my newest cozy, Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, with you. This is the start of a new series for me, and I’ve managed to pack all my favorite elements into this one—a stunning lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan, delicious baked goods, an adorable Newfie named Wellington, an untimely murder, and a resident ghost! Oh, and plenty of humor. Can’t forget the humor. I don’t know about you, but laughter is about the only think keeping me sane these days.
You might be asking yourself, “Wow, um… that’s a lot to pack into a little cozy mystery.” To which I would reply, “It is. And I apologize. It just kind of happened that way.”
You see, and this is in no way an excuse, but I started my writing career in historical fiction. My first novel, The Exile of Sara Stevenson, was set in a remote Scottish lighthouse on Cape Wrath. The novel had a gothic flair. It had a mystery in it as well, and, ‘spoiler alert’, a ghost story. I learned a lot writing that novel, and it really sparked my passion for old lighthouses. Living in Michigan, we do have quite a few lighthouses to explore—124 to be exact. Yet of all the lighthouses I’ve visited since living here, the one that really spoke to me was the Point Betsy Lighthouse in Frankfort, Michigan. The setting was not only romantic but also spectacular. And it had a plethora of lighthouse lore. Really, the moment I saw it I knew it would make the perfect setting for a cozy mystery. Lucky for me, when I set out to start a new cozy mystery series, the old lighthouse popped into my head and taunted, “Go ahead. Write me a story.”
Now, as for ghosts, all I can say is that if you’ve climbed as many winding lighthouse stairs as I’ve climbed, you might begin to believe in the local lore too. It also helps to have a brother who, as a hobby, was a paranormal investigator.
Although I have a healthy amount of skepticism regarding ghosts, there’s just something about the unknown that intrigues me. Naturally, when my main character, Lindsey Bakewell, purchases a Michigan lighthouse on the internet (which, by the way, you really can do!) I figured it would be haunted. (Aren’t all lighthouses haunted?) Enter Captain Willy Riggs, whom I modeled after a picture of one of the first keepers of the Point Betsey Lighthouse. Unbeknownst to Lindsey, he’s never left. Wait until Lindsey finally figures that one out!
Weaving baking, humor, and dogs into the mix was a given for me. I love to laugh, love to bake (I sometimes make baking videos to entice readers to try a recipe!), and love dogs. Years ago, my husband and I had a Newfoundland. I still love the breed but I now have Ripley and Finn. They’re the best. Shedding, yes, but not so much drool. And let me tell you, they love the fact that I bake. Ripley and Finn have happily sampled some of my best flops!
Readers: What’s your favorite lighthouse? And does it come with a ghost story? Do tell! Two lucky U.S.-based commenters will receive a copy of Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop.
Darci Hannah is a lifelong lover of the Great Lakes, a natural wonder that inspires many of her stories. When Darci isn’t baking for family and friends, hiking with furry pals, Ripley and Finn, or working on her next cozy mystery, she can be found wandering around picturesque villages, sampling baked goods, and breaking for coffee more often than she should. To connect with Darci, please visit: www.darcihannah.com