Monday, February 10, 2014

Town in a Strawberry Swirl by BB Haywood: Guest Author/Giveaway

Town in a Strawberry Swirl (Candy Holliday Series #5)

The True Stories Behind Cape Willington, Maine 

by B.B. Haywood, author of Town in a Strawberry Swirl 

Welcome to the coastal village of Cape Willington, Maine, founded in 1737. Take a stroll down Main Street. Stop in at the Main Street Diner for a bite to eat, and catch up on the local news. Further along the street, you can visit the Black Forest Bakery for authentic German pastries. Then head down Ocean Avenue to see the historic Pruitt Opera House, the Lightkeeper’s Inn, and Town Park. Later, you can drive along the Coastal Loop for beautiful ocean views and a breath of fresh, salty sea air. And don’t forget to spend some time at the English Point Lighthouse and Cape Willington Historical Museum.

Through the course of five novels in the Candy Holliday Murder Mystery Series, including the upcoming Town in a Strawberry Swirl (available everywhere on Feb. 4th), Cape Willington has served as the setting and background for the series, and often as a character itself. And although it’s a fictional village, it has come alive in many ways, for it is based on real places, and many of its citizens and activities are drawn from actual people and events.

Writing under the pen name B.B. Haywood, we’re the series’ creators, Rob and Beth. In 2004, we decided to work together to write a cozy mystery set in a small village in Maine. Beth had grown up in New England, and both of us had lived in several small towns in New England for more than 20 years. As we began to develop the first novel, Town in a Blueberry Jam, we drew on events from real life and mixed them with fictional characters and events. Beth even used the names of towns we’d lived in to create the name “Cape Willington,” which is a combination Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where we lived at the time; Williamstown, Mass., where Beth grew up; and Hopkinton, N.H., where we lived before moving to Maine.

The village of Cape Willington had its beginnings on scraps of notebook paper stuck between the front seats of our family car. As we drove around Maine and the other New England states, we began to make up the town and the main characters. Beth recently spent some time looking through those scraps of paper, which say things like “Candy Holliday-Halloween,” “sidekick” (who became Maggie Tremont), “baker” (who became Herr Georg), “general store like the one we love in Vermont,” and “Candy selling her blueberry goods to make extra money for the farm.” Portions of Cape Willington resemble such real-life Maine villages as Blue Hill, Boothbay Harbor, and Bar Harbor. We also created long lists of possible titles.

The name “Holliday” came from some pre-made address labels that arrived in the mail one day. After settling on the name Candy Holliday for our protagonist, the other characters fell into place. Henry “Doc” Holliday is loosely based on a wonderful historian Beth met while working at the Portland Head Light museum in Cape Elizabeth, just south of Portland. Herr Georg and the Black Forest Bakery are based on a bakery in a small Alpine village-like shopping center we used to visit in New Hampshire. Once, when we visited Acadia National Park in Maine, someone actually did fall off the cliff trail into the ocean. We were on the beach when the rescue team came and cleared the area. Jock Larson took that same fall in the prologue to Town in a Blueberry Jam.

We had chickens at the time, hence Candy’s “girls.” Beth once saw a woman flossing her teeth while driving! That was the inspiration for Elsie Lingholt, now of hula hooping fame. While looking at homes to buy in New Hampshire, we really did encounter a woman with a bottle collection like Wilma Mae Wendell’s (from Town in a Lobster Stew). And when Beth came upon a local snow plow rodeo, she at first had no idea what it was. As she watched the plows drive a twisty course between orange cones topped with tennis balls and other obstacles, she thought it was more fun than the State Fair. And Wanda Boyle! For now, we’ll say no more about her, except that she is certainly a fun character to write.

So that’s how the people and events we encountered while driving around New England for many years with our family turned into the growing fictional town of Cape Willington, filled with characters we love to write about. We hope our readers love them too, as they follow Candy, Doc, Maggie, Herr Georg, and the other residents of Cape Willington, Maine, from book to book.

NOTE: Other titles in the national bestselling series include Town in a Wild Moose Chase and Town in a Pumpkin Bash. All are available in print or as ebooks from Berkeley Prime Crime. Large print editions of all the books and an audiobook of Town in a Blueberry Jam are also available. For more information on the series, visit 


Town in a Strawberry Swirl can be purchased here

About Town in a Strawberry Swirl: In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father and occasionally stepping in to solve a murder or two….

Summer has arrived! But as the community gears up for another festive strawberry-picking season, the villagers are shocked when local berry farmer Miles Crawford is found dead in a hoophouse near his strawberry fields. Rumors have been swirling around about a secret real estate deal between Miles and Lydia St. Graves. And now Lydia is missing after she was seen fleeing the scene of the crime….

When Henry “Doc” Holliday becomes involved in the mystery, his daughter Candy finds herself caught in the jam as well. But things turn very sticky when Lydia suddenly reappears and asks for Candy’s help in finding the true murderer….

GIVEAWAYDo you have a favorite spot in New England? Tell us by noon EST on February 14, and you will be entered to win a copy of Town in a Strawberry Swirl. U.S. entries only.


Kaye Killgore said...

Unfortunately I have never been to New England. However, from the number of books I've read set there, I feel like I should be acquainted with it. So, I don't have a favorite place, but would love to visit some day.

NoraA said...

We have two favorite New England places that we visit. Depending on our mood and budget we love to go to P-town on Cape Cod or Providence, Rhode Island. They both offer lovely ocean views and things to do.


Rita Wray said...

I have never been to New England but I have heard lovely things about it.


Unknown said...

Ellsworth and Bar Harbor (all of Mt. Desert Island), Maine are major favorites of mine. Love the locations and the people.

My Recent Favorite Books said...

I havent been to New England yet, but its on my list of places to visit!
This series sounds great!

Karen B said...

I haven't been to New England since the late 50s but I loved all the history in Boston and the beautiful fall colors all the way up to Nova Scotia,

Book of Secrets said...

Sadly, I've never been to New England, though I would love to visit, especially in the fall. I've always been drawn to books set in Maine.

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...

I love reading about the real-life stories behind fictional characters and places. This series is new to me - thanks for the introduction!

Denise said...

I love boston!

Unknown said...

I reside on the west coast and haven't yet had occasion to travel to New England, though Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are all on my list of places to visit. May I say that Castle Rock is one of my favorite fictional Maine towns?

Sue said...

The only place I've been in New England is Boston. That was many, many years ago---but I do remember the excellent seafood restaurants.

holdenj said...

I really liked Rockport. It was up the coast from Boston, so I think it counts as New England! I love all the fresh seafood!

Ellie Wright said...

I haven't been to New England but have read so many mysteries set there. I love them because the towns sound so different than our Texas towns. I'd love to visit someday., said...

I have never been to Maine so no favorite place, but would want it to be a Historical place. I enjoyed reading how you came up with the series. And, I would love to win your mystery book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

cyn209 said...

I was recently in Martha's Vineyard & I LOVE it there!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Mom2TeenTwins said...

Bar Harbour was lovely. My sister lived in Presque Isle for years and it was cold!

Unknown said...

I have never been to New England. I do hear a lot about Martha's Vineyard. Some day would like to visit. This cozy series sounds good.

Anita Yancey said...

I have never been to New England. But I have always want to see Maine. I always fall in love with that area when I see it in a movie or read a book about it. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Carol M said...

I've never been to New England but I've heard that it's beautiful in the Fall. I do have a friend there that I would like to visit someday.

mittens0831 at aol dot com

Sharon Braswell said...

I have never been to New England, but I love the fictional settings I read about, especially Cabot Cove in the, "Murder She Wrote" series! I think I would enjoy a vacation there! Thanks for the Giveaway!