Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Interview with Heather Day Gilbert, Author of Shade Grown (Barks & Beans Cafe Series)

 Today, I’m hosting a new author for me. Meet Heather Day Gilbert, author of the Barks & Beans Cozy Mystery Series.

This post is part of a blog tour by Escape with Dolly Cas into a Good Book (aka Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours).

As part of the tour, I’ve got an exclusive interview with author Heather Day Gilbert. There’s also a limited-time giveaway.

Here’s a bit about the book

Shade Grown by Heather Day Gilbert

Book 8 in The Barks & Beans Café Cozy Mystery Series

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: WoodHaven Press

Publication Date: 11 December, 2023

Paperback: 190 pages

ISBN-13: 979-8987556955



Shade Grown Book Synopsis

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Café, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java...and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

During Lewisburg's popular summer home and garden tour, Macy and her brother Bo discover new aspects of their hometown's history. One of the last homes they visit features a lush commemorative shade garden marking where a Civil War soldier's bones were buried.

As Macy pauses to admire a bed of blue hostas, she glimpses a shadowy shape lying beneath the dinner-plate leaves. It turns out to be the body of famed movie star Cody Franklin, who'd purchased the garden house as a quiet country retreat.

Back at the café, Macy speaks with Cody's distraught sister, who lets slip that she's afraid her brother's killer will target her next. Macy's heart goes out to the bereaved sibling, and she agrees to speak with Cody's local acquaintances in hopes she'll uncover some helpful backstory.

But someone powerful is lurking behind the scenes, and Macy has to zoom in on the killer before everything fades to black.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown...with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Café cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

Interview with author Heather Day Gilbert

Q: What inspired you to start the Barks and Beans Café series?

Heather Day Gilbert: I knew I wanted to write a coffee shop mystery series set in a West Virginia town, with brother/sister sleuths, because I love portraying good sibling relationships.

I'd also heard a lot about cat cafes, but I wondered what a dog café would be like, where people could pet/adopt shelter dogs, and the Barks & Beans Café was born!


Q: What's your favorite thing about writing the Barks and Beans Café series?

Heather Day Gilbert: The characters in this series are very real to me, and I also enjoy working in all kinds of shelter dogs into the café storylines.

I have so many readers who love my sleuth's Great Dane, Coal, but they also comment on the strong characters who tend to recur in the books.

Every time I start writing a new book, it's like stepping back into a place I'm really familiar with and hanging out with friends. Plus, I get to plot twisty mysteries, which is tons of fun. ;)


Q: When you start writing a new cozy mystery book (in a series), what's the first thing you start with? What's the writing process like for you?

Heather Day Gilbert: I start with a long synopsis that outlines the new and old characters, the critical events leading up to the murder (or murders), and the resolution.

I often have a real WV locale that's a hingepin of the setting and that lines up with the title pun (IE: the WV State Fair in FAIR TRADE, or the caverns in COLD DRIP).

I often build my plot/death/setting around the predetermined title, although my upcoming release title KNIGHT BREW was brainstormed (with the generous help of my readers!) around the setting of a Ren Faire.


Q: If your Barks & Beans Café books were to be turned into a series (or movies), who would you want to play Macy and Bo?

Heather Day Gilbert: Great question! For Bo, I've always pictured a muscled redhead like Max Martini, and for Macy, I've always pictured a strawberry blonde like Bryce Dallas Howard.

But if this series were turned into a TV series or movies, I'd just be happy if they managed to find redheads to play the leading roles, since I'm married to a redhead and I think they're fascinating. ;)


Q: You write mystery series across multiple genres (Christian romance, historical mysteries, cozies), can you write more than one mystery book at the same time or do you have to finish one mystery then turn to the other?

Heather Day Gilbert: I tend to be a linear thinker, so I generally only work on one book at a time until completion. I like to be fully invested in that world as I write, especially since I tend to write in first person POV.


Q: In your bio, you mention being an Agatha Christie fan (who isn't?). What is your favorite book by Christie?

Heather Day Gilbert: I love the Tommy/Tuppence books because they portray a healthy marriage (and I just reread BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS, which inspired one of my Barks/Beans mysteries—I won't tell you which, though. ;) Some of my faves are ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE, NEMESIS, and CROOKED HOUSE.


Q: If you could experiment with any writing genre, one you haven’t written in, what would it be?

Heather Day Gilbert: I'm actually working on writing a book in that genre right now—a domestic psychological thriller. I've always wanted to write something along the lines of the non-graphic Hitchcock films, like REAR WINDOW. Here's hoping I succeed in pulling it off!

Limited-time GIVEAWAY 

As part of the blog tour, there's a giveaway for a $10 Starbucks gift card and a softcopy of Shade Grown by Heather Day Gilbert. Use the Rafflecopter link or widget below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Barks & Beans Café series in order:

Book 1: No Filter

Book 2: Iced Over

Book 3: Fair Trade

Book 4: Spilled Milk

Book 5: Trouble Brewing

Book 6: Cold Drip

Book 7: Roast Date

Book 8: Shade Grown

Standalone Novella: House Blend


About the author:

Heather Day Gilbert is an RWA Daphne du Maurier Award-winning author and 2-time ECPA Christy Award finalist.

She enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with unpredictable twists, much like the Agatha Christie books she read growing up.

Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren't afraid to protect those they love. Find out more at

Connect with author Heather Day Gilbert via her Website, Facebook, Twitter (X), Instagram, Goodreads, and BookBub.


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