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Friday, November 17, 2023

It's Feeling Like a Cozy Christmas Mystery 2023: Author Interview with Heather Day Gilbert

What made you decide to write Christmas themed books
As a cozy mystery author, I know readers love holiday books, especially ones with all the warm Christmas vibes!

Could you give a short synopsis on just a couple of your holiday books for my readers?
Cold Drip and Roast Date are cozy mysteries set in the real mountain town of Lewisburg, West Virginia. Cold Drip is set at Thanksgiving (and the mystery is partially set in the caverns), and Roast Date is set at Christmas (during a book club party where the mayor is the victim of foul play). I loved including all kinds of Thanksgiving/Christmas foods and traditions in these mysteries, as well as a variety of shelter dogs, since the Barks & Beans Cafe series is set at a cafe where folks can pet shelter dogs.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? 
One of my favorites is going to a Christmas tree farm to pick out a live tree every year. And the end of RoastDate incorporates a (tense!) scene at the tree farm.

What’s next in writing for you? 

Book 8 in the Barks & Beans Cafe series, Shade Grown, releases December 11th this year! It's actually set in June, though, on a home/garden tour in Lewisburg. It's up for Kindle preorder now. I just released a standalone Barks & Beans Cafe novella, House Blend, in October, and it's on sale for 99 cents for ebooks. With this book, readers can dive into the series and get to know the characters (and pets!) in the series.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given you’d like to share? 
I always tell authors they have to be the biggest believers in their own work—not looking to agents, family, or anyone else for validation. If you truly believe you're bringing a great book into the world, you'll throw all your marketing power behind it and share about it, so your true readers can find you.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
've been writing for over fifteen years now and I've been published for ten, so I've seen all kinds of dramatic changes in the industry during that time. I've learned that you have to be fearless when trying to get your books out there—asking authors for endorsements, submitting to agents/publishers, or even taking the reins into your own hands and independently publishing.

Any last words or tips? 
I'm thankful for every reader who finds and enjoys my books. Loyal readers can give so much encouragement to authors!

Are there any other books that you’d like to tell my readers about?
Book 1 in the Exotic Pet-Sitter cozy mystery seriesBelinda Blake and the Snake in the Grassis also set at Thanksgiving/Christmas, and it's only 99cents on Kindle - but that price is only for a short time.  It's a great way to get a feel for the kinds of clean cozy mysteries I'm writing (I have many teen readers, along with my adult readers!). I shoot for Agatha Christie-type mysteries, which I devoured as a teen.

That's all for today's interview. Though we only covered a few of her books she has great credentials that should encourage you to check out her books. She has won a 
RWA Daphne du Maurier Award as well as being named an ECPA Christy Award finalist two times. 

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