Thursday, July 19, 2012

ParaCozyMysMo - Bailey Cates - Magical Bakery Mysteries

Please welcome Bailey Cates to The Qwillery as part of ParaCozyMysMo! Bailey writes the Magical Bakery Mysteries.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery!

Bailey:  Thanks for inviting me to visit!

TQ:  Writing quirks! What are some of yours?

Bailey:  Hrm. Well, there's the writing candle. At the beginning of a writing session I light a candle (or relight if the one from the day before didn't burn down). The candle sits at the southern corner of an arrangement of small objects representing air, fire, water and earth. Kind of a little writing altar on the edge of my desk, I guess.

Then there's the hour glass that I use to time writing sessions. My butt is glued to the chair as long as the sand (bright lime green!) is running. It's how I keep focused.

Unless I'm rewriting or figuring out plot or character points -- then I wander! All over the house, in the yard, muttering under my breath -- or at full volume without even realizing it. Something about moving around helps me solve problems. Hearing my own voice, too.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers?

Bailey:  My reading tastes are all over the place, but in order to keep my answer somewhat focused I'll leave out the nonfiction and cookbooks (I LOVE reading cookbooks) and focus on mysteries. I love Kat Richardson's Greywalker series (usually considered fantasy, but I still think they're paranormal mysteries), Laurie R. King (Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books), Craig Johnson (western mysteries), and of course, I love Charlaine Harris -- all of her series, not just the Sookie Stackhouse books.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Bailey:  Used to be totally pantser, but then I ended up doing a lot of rewriting as things changed and I had to go back and fix up the earlier bits so everything made sense and flowed well. A good thing to focus on in any book, but especially mysteries with clues and red herrings, etc. But now I write two series and am working on a standalone, so I don't have time to waste. Also, one of my editors likes a detailed synopsis of what I'm working on, so that's my compromise. It's not as detailed as an outline, but detailed enough that I know what happens next, who did what and how, how subplots weave into the main plot, etc.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Bailey:  Juggling so many projects can be challenging, but not really in a bad way. For example, right now I'm working on revisions for my second Magical Bakery Mystery, reviewing page proofs for my sixth Home Crafting Mystery, drafting the third Magical Bakery Mystery (as yet untitled), and I have the first hundred pages of another project due to my editor in six weeks. But all of these tasks are different stages in the writing/publishing process and require different skills/parts of my brain -- as do blogging and promotional work, teaching classes, developing recipes, etc., so while I'm certainly busy it doesn't feel draining.

TQBrownies and Broomsticks is your first Magical Bakery Mystery. What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?

Bailey:  Fantasy/paranormal and mystery go so well together! Plus, once upon a time I took some classes in herbal medicine. Over time I learned that my instructor was also a druid priest. A real one. He really knew his stuff when it came to the science of herbal medicine, but he also used herbs as a major part of his Craft. I was fascinated! Add that I think anyone who cooks well is pulling off a bit of magic, and you get mysteries about a baker who uses herbal magic in her yummy recipes

TQ:  Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?

Bailey:  Both. However, I avoid world building too much, meaning that I research real magical practices -- Wiccan, pagan, Celtic, gypsy, voodoo, druids, tarot, divination, spell work, moon magic, even feng shui. Since my protagonist, Katie Lightfoot, is a hedgewitch, I'm particularly interested in what real practitioners of herbal, kitchen and garden magic believe and do. However, I'm perfectly willing to make something up if it fits the story and weaves in with the other aspects of magic.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Magical Bakery Mysteries? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research.

Bailey:  I do a LOT of reading about magical practices, as well as researching online. The books are set in Savannah, Georgia, so I spent some time there to gather details and ideas, and met some wonderful people who continue to advise me when I have questions. I've talked to fire fighters (one of my characters is a fireman), reporters (ditto), and toured a local bakery to ask questions about realistic day to day work there. I visit plant nursery sites to find out what's in bloom, what plants are native, etc. I use Google Earth to virtually walk around places in Savannah where I've set a scene.

The oddest bit of information I've come across so far (and there are plenty of cool, odd things about Savannah, her history, and hauntings) was just last week while doing research for the third in the series. In 1958 a B-47 bomber collided with another plane and dropped an H-bomb into the swamp! Woops. Thing is, it's never been found! How crazy is that?

TQ:  Tell us something about Brownies and Broomsticks that is not in the book description.

Bailey:  The book description doesn't talk about the spell book club. It's a real book club, but all five (six, including Katie) members are witches and they focus on studying spell books. These ladies range from young to old, and have different magical specialties. So Katie has help from several different quarters when it comes to learning about her craft -- and solving mysteries.

TQ:  In Brownies and Broomsticks who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Bailey:  Katie Lightfoot is probably the easiest to write for the simple reason that the story is told from her point of view and I had to get to know her very well before even beginning the series. The hardest ... well, none felt particularly hard, but Cookie Rios, the youngest member of the spell book club, keeps fighting me. Mostly in minor ways, and it's clear she's a bit of a rule breaker. It looks like that's only going to get worse in future books.

TQ:  Which character in Brownies and Broomsticks surprised you the most?

Probably Margie Coopersmith, but not because she does anything all that surprising -- she simply surprised me by jumping onto the page so effortlessly. I love her and Katie loves her, despite the fact that they don't have much of anything in common. When things are crazy and dangerous and magical, Margie grounds Katie with her normality.

TQ:  What's next?

Bailey:  Lots of upcoming releases! The sixth in the Home Crafting Mystery Series, Deadly Row to Hoe, which I write as Cricket McRae, will hit bookstores the first week in November, 2012. The second Magical Bakery Mystery, Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti, releases January 1, 2013. The third one (untitled) will come out in the fall of 2013, and I'm working on a non-cozy, non-paranormal mystery set in Montana which is slated for the fall 2013 catalog as well.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Bailey:  Thank you! What great interview questions -- so much fun to answer!

Magical Bakery Mysteries

Brownies and Broomsticks
A Magical Bakery Mystery 1
Obsidian, May 1, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages


Katie Lightfoot’s tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah’s quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy’s cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren’t just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben’s name and find the real killer.

Bewitched Bothered and Biscotti
A Magical Bakery Mystery 2
Obsidian, December 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

No cover available yet.


As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse.

The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he's missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man's life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.

The Home Crafting Mysteries - Cricket McRae

About Bailey

Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She studied philosophy and English, as well as apprenticing with a master herbalist for a year and has had jobs ranging from drivers license examiner to soap maker to localization program manager for Microsoft. These days she sticks close to home where she writes two mystery series, gardens, bakes, and concocts teas and tinctures for family and friends from the stash of herbs stored in the corner cabinet of her office. Bailey also writes the Home Crafting Mystery Series as Cricket McRae. For more information about Bailey, please visit her website or check out her blog, The Lightfoot Chronicles. You can also find her on Twitter @writerbailey and on Facebook as Author Bailey Cates.

The Giveaways

There is a giveaway of Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery 1) with this interview. You can also enter to win the Grand Prize by using the Rafflecopter. The comment you leave to enter to win Brownies and Broomsticks may also be used to enter to win the Grand Prize. Both Giveaways are open internationally.

To Enter to Win a Copy of Brownies and Broomsticks

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery 1) by Bailey Cates. The novel is generously provided by Penguin.

How:  Answer the following question:

What is your favorite pastry? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.  You must also leave a way to contact you. Entries without contact information will not be counted.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

To Enter to Win the Grand Prize

How:  Fill out the Rafflecopter

Terms and Conditions

1) There will be one winner of the Grand Prize.

2) The Grand Prize is separate from any giveaway associated with individual author visits during Paranormal Cozy Mystery Month.

3) You must leave a way to contact you with your comment. If you do not leave a way to contact you, your entry will not be counted.

4) The Grand Prize Giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address.

5) Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

6) Giveaway Terms and Condition are subject to change at any time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My favorite is brownies, believe it or not, but the ones with peanut butter chips in them! Mmmm..

  2. Hmmm, I guess my favorite pastry would have to be a danish. I love brownies, but I think I would pick the danish over the brownie!


  3. I love the idea of a little writing altar on your desk!

    My favourite pastry - chocolate croissants. So very unhealthy but a great start to the day of you're feeling a little hungover! :-)


  4. I think all pastries are my favorites. But I do tend to lean towards anything made with chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. Except, maybe, bacon.

    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  5. Thanks for having me here, Qwill!

    Melissa -- you'll have to try the peanut butter swirl brownie recipe in the back of the book. ; >

    Rebe -- I love a good danish with gooey cream cheese and fruit.

    Mel -- Chocolate is good for you! And the nice thing about croissants is that a little goes a long way. In theory, at least...

    April -- I recently ran across chocolate covered bacon. I have to say it was kind of awesome. ; >

  6. Brownies, the chewy, moist kind.

  7. Add my name to the chocolate croissant lovers. And a hangover is not a prerequisite for enjoying one.

    Great interview, Cricket/Bailey. You have certainly been busy! Do you ever have a hard time keeping your alter egos straight? :-)

  8. My favorite pastry? Hmm... I do love a good cheese danish! This series looks great!
    debbie at burdeen dot com

  9. My favorite pastry is a chocolate eclaire. Yummmmy!

  10. My favorite pastry is a cherry cheese danish.

  11. My favorite pastry is the napoleon. Thank you.


  12. Brownies are my favorite, especially the cake like ones! I love the titles and covers to this series.

    mlawsono17 at hotmail dot com

  13. My favorite pastry would, I think, be Ultimate Pumpkin Pie--it's a regular pumpkin pie, but with a layer of apple jelly (though I've also had it with apricot and it's not bad that way) on the bottom, between the crust and the filling.

    helenaksberg at gmail dot com

  14. All these comments are making me hungry! Lots of chocolate and Danish-y goodness indeed. Gotta say that Ultimate Pumpkin Pie sounds pretty awesome, too.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone, and thanks to Qwill for hosting me today and for the great giveaway!

  15. Count me out because I already have the book and I am almost done finishing it :). I love the series it and I hope there is many more to come. I love Katie and Lucy. Also like he hunky fireman Declan all of the characters. You write very well and I can picture all of them in my head clearly. I cant wait until December and shall be counting down the days. Keep the books coming, you made me a fan. :)

  16. My favorite pastry is hard lately. I can't have gluten. I used to love a good cannoli.
    debby236 at gmail dot con

  17. My favorite pastry was....hmmm.... brownies and choco chips.

  18. I love a gooey flaky pastry filled with and almond paste and thin drizzles of sugary icing over the top (makes me giggle just thinking about it). Of course the ultimate is cake is so many ways. What could be more magical than that smell of fresh baked goods. Thank you for the fun sharing today.

  19. I'm french and I confess you have a lot of wonderful pastries. The first I think about the the Paris Brest, love it!


  20. I like cheese danishes.


  21. Pastry... to cook or to eat?

    I actually really love to make pastries for other people. Scones with lemon curd or guava or dried bing cherry & dark chocolate, baklava with almost any nuts and real butter and honey, all kinds of sweet treats!

    For eating, I actually prefer a more savory style "pastry" barakas, spanikopita, piroshky, etc.

    - lavendersbluegreen(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. My fav. pasty is a warm blueberry pie, tasty.
    What a great idea for some interesting sounding book eh.
    Bewitched Bothered and Biscotti is so unique for a title.
    dayle b at telus dot net

  23. My favorites are the ones with chocolate :>

    xlacrimax at gmail com

  24. My favorite pastry is baklava---YUM.

  25. I cannot (will not?) name a favorite pastry -- I love them ALL!!!!!


    Ms. I-have-a-very-sweet-tooth


  26. My favourite pastry is chocolate covered croissants.


  27. My favorite pastry is apple pie.