Monday, February 3, 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Town in a Strawberry Swirl by B.B. Haywood

Please join me in welcoming B.B. Haywood (author duo, Beth and Robert Freeman) to Debbie's Book Bag today! B.B. is here promoting her boo, Town in a Strawberry Swirl. This guest post focuses on the town of Cape Willington and the stories behind it. Enjoy! The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Town in a Strawberry Swirl, see details at the end of the post.

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. 

Book Details:

Town in a Strawberry Swirl (Candy Holliday Mystery - Book 5) by B.B. Haywood 

Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425252469
ISBN-13: 978-0425252468

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

B.B. Haywood on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Town in a Blueberry Jam (2009), Town in a Lobster Stew (2011), Town in a Wild Moose Chase (2012), Town in a Pumpkin Bash (2013), Town in a Strawberry Swirl (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, Town in a Strawberry Swirl, courtesy of the author's website.


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…


B.B. Haywood delivers readers another story in Candy Holliday series. Town in a Strawberry Swirl is the fifth book in the series and finds the town of Cape Willington once again preparing for a festival. This time it's the Strawberry festival and readers are treated to some scrumptious recipes to go along with their clues. Haywood's knack for writing small town hi-jinx is one of the charms of this series and her engaging characters will soon seem like old friends to new readers, and neighbors to the rest of us. A great addition to a wonderful series!

What I liked:

I have really enjoyed the themes and festivals that B.B. Haywood comes up with for this series from the git go. Being a  Type 1 Diabetic, I eat a lot of fruits that have natural sugars and strawberries are among my favorites. So the theme of this books festival was right up my alley. I liked the fact that recipes are also included in the back of the book. Let me just say you've got to try the Pasta with Strawberry, Leeks and Fennel, very tasty. 

This is the fifth book in this series and Haywood is starting to have quite a following. Her characters are so well written that fans of the series often consider each book like a visit from old friends or neighbors. I think readers feel that way because the author has a way with characterization. Each character whether it be a lead or a secondary character has an integral part in the story. If they are in there, it isn't for show, they have a part to play. Haywood creates a lot of backstory for each character and that makes a reader feel like they know these people and care what happens to them.

I also think a really strong point for each of the books in this series is the town of Cape Willington itself. I want to live in a town where there is a festival or celebration just about every season or perhaps every month. I think that would be great fun. Haywood instills camaraderie and community spirit into the townsfolk, and the small town charm is simply overflowing.

Town in a Strawberry Swirl is among my favorites of the series. The mystery itself was very entertaining and held my interest well. It is a clue based mystery and Haywood leads readers on a merry chase to be sure. Though there are hints about who the real killer is throughout the book, it does't become abundantly clear until near the end. I didn't get stumped on this one and the end is very satisfying.

What I didn't like: 

Lydia kind of grated on my nerves a bit as a suspect. I could see why the author would want to have her involved, and how that added to the overall plot of the novel, but the scenes with her in them were a bit too dominated by her character. Probably just a pet peeve, so don't take my word for it. Read the book!

Bottom Line:

This was a great addition to the series. I look forward to each one of the titles in this series coming out and the preview of Town in a Sweet Pickle only whetted my appetite for all things B.B. Haywood. Town in a Strawberry Swirl features another interesting festival and all of the great characters readers have come to love. Can't wait to read more from Candy, Doc and the rest of the gang!

Town in a Strawberry Swirl will be available from booksellers on February 4th. Pre-order is available now.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

B.B. Haywood is the author of the
national bestselling Candy Holliday murder mystery series, including Town in a Wild Moose Chase, Town in a Pumpkin Bash, Town in a Lobster Stew, and Town in a Blueberry Jam.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Town in a Strawberry Swirl by B.B. Haywood.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 17th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your favorite recipe featuring strawberries.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Karen B said...

I love strawberries best when eaten out of hand, followed by slicing on cereal, ice cream and tossed salads. They make a wonderful garnish. Favorite recipe? I have none!

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I am a big fan of both strawberry shortcake and strawberry/rhubarb pie but unfortunately I don't have recipes for either of them.

penney said...

This sounds really good thanks for the reveiws.
I would have to say it is strawberry pie from Marie's Callendars, it's one of our favorite.

Carol N Wong said...

Love strawberried so much that I have them every morning with Greek yogurt, cold cereal and blueberries. They are one fruit that I could never get tired of.

Rita Wray said...

Love strawberry shortcake.

Sue Farrell said...

I like the locally grown stawberries just gently washed and popped right in my mouth.

Barbara T. said...

Strawberries dipped in chocolate.

lag123 said...

Strawberry cake

lag110 at mchsi dot com

cyn209 said...

I'm not fancy.....I love eating strawberries as is!!!!

Dotty Kelley said...

Strawberry Shortcake...don't have a recipe though.

Unknown said...

Keep it simple, just put a couple of strawberries in a glass of champagne.

Brooke Showalter said...

I love strawberries just about any way you can include them. They're delicious just as they are! I love strawberry shortcake.

Carol M said...

I enjoy eating strawberries on cereal. I wouldn't turn down a piece of strawberry cheesecake either!

Unknown said...

Big strawberries stuffed with sweetened cream cheese. Kind of like bite-sized strawberry cheesecake.

Linda said...

Definitely strawberry short cake or strawberry daiquiris!

bn100 said...

strawberry bars

Anita Yancey said...

I love strawberry shortcake with whip cream. This book sounds great. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Karin said...

I like strawberry shortcake....or just about anything with strawberries! Mmmmmmm!

skkorman said...

I'm allergic to strawberries so I never eat them, but I certainly would love to read about them!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net