I always love it when Gigi visits the Wickeds! She’s an amazing writing and advocate for the writing community. Gigi is one of the co-founders of Crime Writers of Color. It is one of my favorite sites to find great crime fiction! Today, Gigi is here to celebrate the release of The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem!
Gigi: I’ve always adored Halloween, and my costume is always spooky and supernatural. Yes, I was the kid who was a vampire in the first grade! (Truly, and I have the photos to prove it.)
It’s really no surprise that I ended up writing a supernatural cozy mystery series featuring a centuries-old alchemist with a gargoyle sidekick. Nor is it a surprise that I continue to find ways to get additional spooky fun into the books. Last year’s release featured a supposed haunting by a woman who loved riddles. And the new book in the series, The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem, features the spookiest fun to date: topiary in the shape of monsters and a conservatory filled with carnivorous plants—one of which might be a murderer.
I had so much fun researching carnivorous plants. They go way beyond the Venus flytrap from Little Shop of Horrors.
Did you know that carnivorous plants will die if you care for them with nourishing soil? They thrive in inhospitable conditions, so don’t prepare nutrient-rich soil for them—or you’ll kill them.
Carnivorous plants were so fascinating to Charles Darwin that he studied them for years and wrote a book about them. His book Insectivorous Plants was published in 1875. (His hands-on research was with the Drosera species, not Venus flytraps.)
I haven’t tried growing carnivorous plants in real life, but my fictional carnivorous plants in The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem are thriving in a conservatory protected by topiary monsters that might come to life at night. When a murder takes place after a tea club meeting in the conservatory, the body is staged to look like carnivorous plants killed him.
But carnivorous plants can’t really kill… can they?
Alas, I don’t have a carnivorous plant costume for Halloween this year, though I wish I had thought of that ahead of time! Instead, I’m going with my standard costume: a vampire with my custom-made vampire fangs from Gargoyle Statuary, one of my favorite little shops in Seattle.
Readers: What are you up to for Halloween?
p.s. There’s a Halloween book sale taking place today! In honor of Halloween, you can grab the first book the series, The Accidental Alchemist, for only 99¢.
And the new book in the series is available now:
Murder in a conservatory of carnivorous plants. Bewitching topiary terrors. A sabotaged tea shop. Can Zoe untangle the truth before someone close to her takes the blame?
Alchemist Zoe Faust is no stranger to magical mayhem, but when her boyfriend’s new tea shop is vandalized and his special tea blends stolen, she plunges into a baffling mystery to save him. The clues lead Zoe and her gargoyle sidekick Dorian to an eerie mansion high in the Portland hills, filled with creeping carnivorous plants and enigmatic topiary monsters.
When they stumble across a corpse in the conservatory that appears to have been killed by sinister shrubbery, an estranged member of the family is implicated in the murder. Can Zoe use her alchemical skills to catch the real killer while navigating crafty alchemists and killer plants?
Find out more here!
GIGI PANDIAN is a USA Today bestselling and multiple-award-winning author, breast cancer survivor, and accidental almost-vegan. She writes the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, and Secret Staircase mysteries,. Gigi has won Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Derringer awards, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award. She lives in Northern California with her husband and a gargoyle who watches over the backyard garden. Learn more and sign up for her email newsletter (which includes a free short story and free mini cookbook) at www.gigipandian.com.
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