by Kathleen Costa
This week we are reviewing a perfect mystery for your Halloween reading, Witch: A Doyle Witch Cozy by Kirsten Weiss. We also have a fun interview with Kirsten. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a $5 Amazon gift card, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Witch: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery The Witches of Doyle by Kirsten Weiss
Review by Kathleen Costa
Sister! Sisters! There were never such devoted sisters!!
First published in 2016, Kirsten Weiss penned a very exciting trilogy set in the small, mountain community of Doyle, California. The Witches of Doyle introduced the Bonheim sisters: triplets Karin, Jayce, and Lenore. Orphaned at birth by the death of their mother and raised by their Aunt Ellen, the three sisters have very different personalities, temperaments, and abilities, and with Bound, Ground, and Down, each sister takes turns as the center perspective in the trilogy. Growing up they have kept their magical talents hidden from neighbors, well, most neighbors, but they’ve not been shy about using some magic and a few spells. However, it didn’t ensure life to be devoid of drama, curses, and dead bodies that greatly affected them and the town. The trio often worked together to hone their skills, protect each other, and pretty much fight any menace that gets in the way. Although some may find the series reminiscent of the popular show Charmed, Kristen has gone beyond the basic similarities to create an engaging and realistic experience for fans. But, as I learned, it is hard to end at three, so Kirsten has continued the series.
Witch: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery earns 5/5 Spellbinding Mystery…Clever Fun!
Jayce, one of three Bonheim sisters, is relieved that life has settled down. Her coffeehouse restored, a curse lifted, her relationship with knees-weakening Brayden a joy, and her sister recuperating, but there’s that niggling sense, a vision, a warning, and the odd couple across the street. But it’s learning of a friend’s “grizzly” death that brings back fears. Alex Mansfield, the local forensic scientist, is found suspected victim of a bear attack, but a witness refutes that premise. Karin is very concerned. She had told her sisters about her belief a gateway to Fairyland had been opened, a disturbing event if true, so to ease her mind Jayce promises she and their sister Lenore would look into Alex’s death. This could be an unfortunate animal attack or a person bent on revenge, but it also could be something otherworldly, and that’s what makes the sisters worry.
Cool! I have become a big fan of having witches, magic, and strange creatures in my cozies, and this book and series will be a delightful addition to the list I have enjoyed. I am a newbie to Kirsten Weiss’s Witches of Doyle world, but enjoying her writing style in The Quiche and the Dead from her Pie Town Mystery series, I was eager to start reading. She made it easy to join in providing enough references to background and character connections to keep me engaged, but also made the original trilogy very intriguing and “need to read” worthy. Her descriptions of various environments, appearances, and Jayce’s inner thoughts added to the engaging first-person narrative, and the banter, with some humor, was also entertaining. The characters seemed well-developed as many, especially the sisters, have been part of the series from the beginning. I enjoyed the normal sister dynamic which not only included love and protective support, but a bit of disagreement of perspective…just like real sisters! The magic is there out in the open, but it isn’t treated in a hocus-pocus juvenile manner. It is as real and natural as one can get.
And “as real as it can get,” describes the delightful bonus included in each book of the series. Kirsten Weiss has provided readers with a spell for fans to explore. In Witch, Kirsten gives fascinating information about “Cloaking and Glamour Spells…two sides to the same magical coin. Both spells change people’s perception of you because they change your perception of you.” I am working on my inner magic…can you see me?
Our Guest…Kirsten Weiss
Author of the Witches of Doyle Mystery series
KRL: It is great to have with us Kirsten Weiss, author of the very entertaining Witches of Doyle Mystery series, celebrating the new release of the fourth book, Witch: A Doyle Witch Cozy Mystery. Can you give us a mini biography for Kirsten Weiss? Who is she and what influenced her to become a writer?
Kirsten: I wanted to be a mystery writer since I was a kid and picked up my first Nancy Drew. Actually, first I wanted to be a girl detective, but soon I realized that wasn’t super realistic. So, I landed on writer. But until a few years ago, writing was more of a side gig or hobby. I’d been working overseas for decades, and when I came home, I found I didn’t really fit in to traditional jobs – or at least any I could find. So I turned to writing more seriously, and I’m very happy I did. I love writing, and I love that it’s now my profession.
KRL: Is there a reason you chose to write mysteries? You have several books that seem a traditional cozy with humor, and others that focus more on magic and the paranormal. What is about mysteries that interested you?
Kirsten: Mysteries were the first stories that really captured my attention. My mother was a big garage sale shopper, and it seemed most garage sales at the time had old Nancy Drews available. I later graduated to Agatha Christies. But I also grew up reading fairy tales and Greek myths, and these have influenced the paranormal aspects of my writing.
KRL: In 2016, the first book in your Witches of Doyle, Bound, was released followed by Ground, and Down. Then Wits End, and this year Witch, and in late October Fey will round out a very engaging series. Can you give us some background into how the series started?
Kirsten: I had an idea of writing a fun trilogy of witch mysteries, each book told from the perspective of a different witchy sister. But when I sat down and actually began writing, the first book took a more serious turn. I completed the trilogy story with Down, but I enjoyed it so much, I decided to write more, focusing on Jayce’s point of view. She’s the most lighthearted of the three sisters, and I wanted to inject more humor into the stories. But Fey ended up being the funniest of the five books.
KRL: On your website, you provide some marvelous free goodies: the Kitchen Witch Challenge, Fortune Telling Challenge, Riga’s Wheel of the Year and downloads, and some wallpaper downloads. With Elizabeth Barton and connected to the magical themes in your Riga Hayworth Mystery series, you also provide a class on Everyday Magic. Can you expand on your “magic” focus? What got you interested in all things practical magic?
Kirsten: When I joined the Peace Corps, I took with me a deck of Tarot cards. I figured I’d have a lot of alone time to learn how to use them, and I was right. But what I didn’t expect was the rabbit hole Tarot took me down. The symbols in “classic” Tarot decks reach into alchemy, hermeticism, Grail mythology, and more. I wanted to understand all of it. At the same time, I was living in Eastern Europe, which is steeped in superstition and mysticism. In short, I learned a lot of history and theory.
When I returned to California and began writing, I wanted my stories to be grounded in “real” magic as it was and is practiced today. Fortunately, where I live in California is jam packed with astrologers, pagans, druids… pretty much every type of magical practitioner you can find. I began interviewing them and made friends with several.
In the case of the Everyday Magic class, my friend Elizabeth Barton had so much knowledge to share. I kept urging her to put together an online class so it wouldn’t get lost. Finally, she looked at me and said, “You know, that’s a great idea. But I’m never going to do it on my own. Why am
KRL: We know you write, but do you get a chance to read? Is there another author who inspires you or one you might consider a professional or personal hero?
Kirsten: I love Ian Rankin, who writes the Inspector Rebus mysteries set in Edinburgh. Charlaine Harris is also one of my favorites – I hope she writes more in her Midnight Texas series!
KRL: So many authors speak of connecting with their fans. Do you have any online events, bookstores, or conventions coming up?
Kirsten: I will be at the High Desert Steam expo in Reno, Nevada, November 17 and 18!
KRL: So many authors say writing is all encompassing, but do you have any favorite hobbies you enjoy?
Kirsten: I’ve recently learned how to make little bound books, and I’m really enjoying the physical side of the bookmaking process. I’m not sure what to put inside these little books yet, but I’m working on it!
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Kirsten: I have an MBA and worked in international economic development for years. Most of that work was in microcredit, and it was very rewarding. But I’m very happy to be home in the US.
KRL: Your bio says, “never met a dessert [you] didn’t like.” Anything specific?
Kirsten: I’ve got a real sweet tooth, so I don’t think I’ve encountered one I don’t like. But my favorites are bread pudding, strawberry-rhubarb pie, and pretty much anything chocolate.
KRL: Ok, here’s something fun, Kirsten…Rapid Fire!
Ready! Set! Go!
Coffee or Tea? — Tea, especially pumpkin spice chai. Yes, I love all things pumpkin spice, and I’m not ashamed!
Dog or Cat? — Do I have to choose?
Carnivore or Herbivore? — I’m a flexitarian, though I usually don’t eat much meat.
Pie or Cake? — Pie! I’ve actually got a cozy mystery series set in a pie shop.
Picnic or 5-star Restaurant? — It depends on who I’m with!
Print/eBook or Audio version? — I’ve converted to ebooks. My bookshelves are just too full.
Theater or Wait for the DVD? — I rarely go to the movies. Now it’s all about waiting for it to show up on Amazon Prime or Netflix.
Favorite Actor? — Cary Grant. Back in the day, stars knew how to be stars.
Favorite Actress? — Bette Davis. She gets the prize for Something About Eve.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? — Pina Colada. I prefer sweet to bitter.
Beachfront Property or Cabin in the Woods? Give me the ocean air!
Active or Cuddling in a Comfy Chair? — You’re more likely to find me in a comfy chair.
Finish these sentences:
If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be – Charlaine Harris. I’d love to talk writing and writing careers with her!
If I had just one wish, it would be — I’m a writer! My wish has been fulfilled.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be — no one. My life isn’t perfect (no one’s is), but I can’t imagine living someone else’s.
KRL: This has been great connecting with you. We’ve covered so many topics and had some fun, too. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Kirsten: Did I mention people can get free short stories and other goodies in my newsletter at KirstenWeiss.com?
Thank you, Kirsten, for joining us and sharing a little about yourself and your books.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Witch and a $5 Amazon gift card, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “witch,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 20, 2018. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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