1) Tell us a little bit about yourself--both something we learn from [the story] and something that readers might not guess?
Well, up until a year ago I used to be an investment banker in New York City. I honestly thought I was happy with my life; things were really great. Although I grew up in up in the Hamptons, I lived most of my adult life in New York City and never dreamed I’d live anywhere else. That was before I caught my then fiancé, Jeffery Plank, an up-and-coming celebrity chef and owner of Sizzle, engaged in a very compromising position with his pastry chef, Mia Long. That, um, really set me off, you know? I mean, it was my birthday! And that’s what I get—a ghastly image burned into my memory that I can never shake? Anyhow, little did I know that Jeffery actually did me a favor that night. After anger baking a dozen gourmet cupcakes and throwing a few of them at the wall, I then drank a bottle of wine and did a little internet shopping. To my great surprise the next morning I woke up and realized that I had put an offer on an old yet beautiful lighthouse in Michigan. My offer was accepted. Having sobered up quite a bit, I was in half a mind to back out of the deal. Yet there was something about that old lighthouse that spoke to me, and I knew that I just had to have it. It was then I decided to shift my life plans and open a bakery in my newly purchased lighthouse in a small Michigan town called Beacon Harbor. I secretly love it there. I’m also fascinated by the resident lighthouse ghost, Captain Willy Riggs. Oh, and my giant Newfoundland dog, Wellington, that I tell people sleeps in his own bed at the end of mine? Most nights he’s cuddled right up right next to me. Dog hair and drool are my sworn enemies, but I’ve already lost the fight.
2) How did you first meet your writer?
Well, it was in 2019, when Darci Hannah was looking for the right protagonist for a new series she was writing. Her first cozy mystery series, the Very Cherry Mystery series, had just been canceled due to the publisher, Midnight Ink, closing its doors. Darci was focused on writing her 3rd book in the series but was advised by her agent to take a hard turn and come up with a new series. Since Darci is fascinated with lighthouses, baking, dogs, and the paranormal, she was looking for a protagonist who could navigate the demanding world of her imagination. That’s when I popped up. I mean, I take financial risks for a living, I have a passion for baking, and I’m an independent woman with a pretty sweet dog. Sure, I could have better taste in men, but I’m learning the hard way. And let’s face it, with a name like Bakewell, how can I not be Darci’s number one pick for a baker protagonist?
3) Want to dish about him/her?
I will say that Darci is fun to work with. She has a great sense of humor, is easy going, and stays remarkably positive and cheerful, even when things aren’t quite going her way. She’s an optimist which can sometimes be annoying, but I think it’s because she’s grateful to be doing the things she loves, like writing fiction, or baking for her family and friends. Like me, she has a solid work ethic, and loves dogs. In fact, she’s so nutty about her pups, Ripley, the golden retriever, and Finn, the springer spaniel, that she even makes her own dog food. How crazy is that? Her boys have even mistaken the dog food for leftovers and have eaten a bowl themselves. According to them it was not bad, but a little bland. How they could mistake the dog food for leftovers is a mystery for another day. Honestly, I enjoy being one of Darci’s characters. I know that every day will hold a new adventure for me. And if I find myself in a tricky situation, I know that Darci has my back.
4) Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
I think it’s because I live in a renovated lighthouse right on the shores of Lake Michigan, and own the Beacon Bakeshop, a charming lakeside bakery and café that is swiftly becoming the favorite place for residents and tourists alike to gather for their morning coffee and a delicious baked good. It’s a great place to be and makes for a fun story. I also have a healthy respect for the lighthouse’s resident ghost, who has a way of warning me when danger is brewing on the horizon. Although trouble does seem to find me, I’ve learned that with the help of my outrageous friend, Kennedy, and my hunky neighbor, Rory Campbell, who I’m currently dating, we have a knack for finding the baddie.
5) Who's your favorite character? Why?
Although I have some great characters to work with, my very favorites are my best friend from NYC, Kennedy Kapoor, and my hunky neighbor, Rory Campbell. I’ve known Kennedy since college. She has a quick wit, is a tad self-absorbed, but she always up for anything. She has a vibrant spirit and a go-get-them attitude. Besides the fact that she always makes me laugh, I also know that Kennedy has my back. As for Rory, let’s just say that I’m still trying to figure him out, which I find intriguing.
6) Who's your least favorite character? Why?
I’m new to the town and really haven’t met anyone that I don’t like. But there is one woman who is really beginning to annoy me, especially at the holidays. Her name is Felicity Stewart. Felicity thinks she’s the human embodiment of Christmas Spirit and Yuletide splendor just because she owns a year-round Christmas shop called the Tannenbaum Shoppe. Her shop is pretty cool, but it doesn’t give her exclusive rights on Christmas. She’s totally over-the-top! This year she single-handedly coerced the town into hosting a town-wide Christmas cookie competition, one she believes that she’s going to win. Every shop in the town is required to have a special Christmas cookie that shoppers will vote for to help boost foot traffic during the run-up to Christmas. It’s a fun idea, but I own a bakery. I already make tons of cookies, along with all the other baked goods I keep on our shelves. All the extra baking is taking a toll on me. Besides, things are getting competitive in the town and it’s crushing our holiday spirit. Felicity will do nearly anything to make it into the live Christmas cookie bake-off. However, even if she does make it, I don’t think her best cookie could hold a match to what I have up my sleeve.
What's next for you?
Word on the street is that next summer there’s going to be a blueberry festival in Beacon Harbor, and I can’t wait!
About Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off
Tucked away inside an old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, bakeshop café owner Lindsey Bakewellis ready to make her first Christmas in town shine bright. But her merry plans crumble fast when murder appears under the mistletoe . . .
With the spirit of the holidays wafting through the Beacon Bakeshop, Lindsey thinks she has the recipe for the sweetest Christmas ever—winning the town-wide cookie bake-off. Unfortunately, striving for a picture-perfect December in Beacon Harbor is a lot like biting into stale shortbread. Low on staff and bombarded by visits from family, Lindsey can barely meet demands at work, let alone summon the confidence to face fierce competition . . .Self-appointed Christmas know-it-all Felicity Stewart is determined to take the top spot in the bake‑off, and she’s not afraid to dump a little coal in everyone’s stocking to do it. Just as the competition heats up, everything falls apart when the judge is found dead—and covered in crumbs from Lindsey’s signature cookie!
Solving a murder was never on Lindsey’s wish list. But with her reputation on the line during the happiest time of the year, she’ll need to bring her best talents to the table in order to sift out the true Christmas Cookie culprit.Includes Delicious Recipes!
About Darci Hannah
Cozy mystery author, Darci Hannah, is a native of the Midwest and currently lives in a small town in Michigan. Darci 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 her furry pals, Ripley and Finn, or concocting her next cozy mystery, she can be found wandering around picturesque lakeside villages with her hubby, sampling baked goods and breaking for coffee more often than she should.