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March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season.
To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanor. It’s a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.The maple sugar expert’s death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson’s murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.
Q: Amanda, welcome back to Island Confidential! Re-introduce us to your protagonist, Kelsey Cambridge.
A: Kelsey Cambridge is a historian and the director of Barton Farm, a living history museum located in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley. The Farm is struggling to stay afloat, and Kelsey will do whatever it takes to keep it open even hosting big events, like the Maple Sugar Festival, that get her into a lot of hot water. She is also divorced and a single mom of a precocious five-year-old boy named Hayden.
Q: How much of you is in Kelsey? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
A: There is always a little bit of me in all my protagonists. In the case of Kelsey, I love history like she does, and I worked a living history museum when I was in college. I knew then that it would make a great setting for a mystery novel. If I met Kelsey, I know that we would be friends. We have the same sense of humor. However in a lot of ways, I’m more like her best friend Laura Fellow than I’m like Kelsey herself.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: My characters definitely change as a series goes on. In the case of Kelsey, she’s healing from a messy divorce and is wondering if she will ever be able to trust another man again.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: Yes, I’m not saying who.
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: The setting is based on a real living history museum in Ohio, so the setting is close to fact. I took liberties in the way Barton Farm is owned and operated and how much freedom Kelsey as the director has. She needs freedom to sleuth. I don’t think the director of an actual living history museum could get away with as much as she does.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: Kelsey Cambridge—Olivia Wilde; Chase Wyatt—Chris Pratt; Detective Brandon—Christina Hendricks; Gavin Elliot—Andrew Garfield.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: The best advice was from the very talented Heather Webber who also writes as Heather Blake. She told me once many years ago. “Always be writing something new.” She said this because the publishing industry changes so rapidly you need to have something ready in order to adapt to those changes.
The worst advice was from a well-meaning high school English teacher who told me not major in English in college because I would never find a job. I changed my major three times my freshman year because of that one comment, but in the end, I majored in English because I wanted to write and knew that degree was going to help me achieve my dream. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to him.
Q: Where can readers follow you?
A: My main website is amandaflower.com, and you can follow me on Facebook,Twitter , Goodreads, Pinterest, or Instagram.
About The Author
Amanda Flower is an academic librarian and the Agatha Award-nominated author of Maid of Murder, the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, and the India Hayes Mysteries. She also writes the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries under the name Isabella Alan.