Book Series Binge: Q&A with Eve Calder on Cookie House Mystery Series
By Crime HQApril 7, 2020
Describe the first time you pictured Kate McGuire in your head.
In my mind (and my very first, toss-away draft), I showed a bit of Kate’s life in Manhattan—including that one momentous day when the restaurant where she’d worked for two years shuttered (embezzlement), she lost her tiny, homey apartment (gone condo), and she broke off her engagement (cheating fiancé). In my mind, that bit was all in black-and-white.
Then, when it opens with Kate McGuire in Coral Cay, the scene is suddenly technicolor. Bright sunshine, vivid colors, exotic scents—a totally different world. Even the air—humid with a cool breeze right off the ocean—feels new.
So while we might see Kate stranded on Main Street with a creaky, broken-down car and no job, we know something really good is coming.
Would you like to live in the setting you created for the Cookie House Mystery Series?
Definitely! Coral Cay combines things I’ve loved from some of my favorites towns—in Florida and elsewhere. It’s a working small town with a book store, a market, restaurants, shops and of course a bakery—the Cookie House. Everybody knows everybody, and you can walk or ride a bike nearly everywhere. It’s thoroughly dog friendly, with water dishes outside most of the shops. And since it’s a cay, there are sandy beaches and turquoise water in every direction! I’d move there in a heartbeat—occasional murders or not.
How has Kate changed since you began the series?
Kate’s coming into her own. Sugar and Vice picks up after she’s been in Coral Cay for a few months. She’s getting to know everyone in town, but it’s still fresh and new.
When the series opened with And Then There Were Crumbs, she was all about finding a high-dollar pastry chef position at one of the resorts across the island and just transplanting her Manhattan life to Florida soil.
But by the time Sugar and Vice begins, her perspective has changed. She’s a junior partner in a small-town bakery, not making a ton of money, living over the shop, and loving it.
Oliver, the town dog, has taken up residence there with her. And she can’t imagine her life without him, either.
In New York, her days were pretty much long hours at work and time with her fiancé, Evan. In Coral Cay, she’s part of the community. The celebrations, the gossip, the problems, the intrigue and—this time around—the island’s annual Pirate Festival. For Kate, it’s like a glass of cool water after a trek through the desert.
Has Kate changed in unexpected ways since Book 1?
In Sugar and Vice, she’s getting better at reading people and picking up on the small details that others might miss. She doesn’t even notice she’s doing it. And with everything going on in Coral Cay right now, it puts her in the middle of the action.
In this book, Kate and Sam Hepplewhite (the founder and senior partner of the Cookie House), are finding their rhythm running the bakery together—kind of like a father and daughter.
As a result, she’s convinced him to try a few new things. One of which—a cookie-of-the-day contest—actually succeeds a little too well! (Which leads to a few complications.)
As does the discovery of a skeleton in the backyard of her friend Maxi’s flower shop next door.
And in Sugar and Vice, the readers get to meet a blast from Kate’s past: her ex-fiancé Evan Thorpe. He’s handsome, wealthy, charming—and totally not what Kate wants anymore. (And Oliver doesn’t like him at all!)
Describe Kate in one sentence.
A woman who stopped waiting for “someday” and completely changed her life.
How would Kate describe herself?
Just your average, cookie-loving pastry chef.