When Stella’s friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it’s the perfect setting for the town’s annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property—once used as a candle-making shop—adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack’s dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .
While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket’s intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed—leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .
LKBR: Thank you for joining us today, Christin.
CB: Thanks so much for having me!
LKBR: Please tell us a bit about 15 Minutes of Flame.
CB: In Stella Wright’s latest case in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, she is on the trail of two murders, one from the past and one from the present, all while helping the island’s Girl Scouts prepare for their Halloween Haunts fundraiser.
LKBR: What are you plans for this series?
CB: At this point in the series, Stella is finding her way in life as well as through murders, and I’m enjoying her journey. Because of her cases, her relationship with her mother has evolved, her ambitions with her business are growing, and even her love life has been touched. It’s amazing how finding and honing a new skill can change you, and I’m as excited about Stella’s future cases as I am about how they influence her choices in life.
LKBR: Are you working on any new projects?
CB: I’m working on Stella’s next adventures! I also have enjoyed smaller writing projects with the goal of staying connected with readers during these uncertain times in which we live right now. For example, last spring I reached out to the readers on FB to stay connected, creative and cozy. Readers sent me words to challenge me, and I included all of them in a short story called Don’t Wine, which you can find at . It was a group project we all enjoyed!
LKBR: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
CB: I was a mom of young children when I first ventured into writing. We were living in London for a couple of years, and I decided to try something out of my comfort zone, something I might not have tried during my busy life back home. I actually have been thinking of those days lately, because our stay-at-home life last spring was similar. In the same spirit of taking up a new challenge, I’ve started playing golf, a sport which, for me, has made writing look easy!
LKBR: Was getting your first book published everything you thought it would be? The feelings? The process?
CB: The most exciting moment of having my first book published was the launch party we had at my neighborhood book store in NYC, the Corner Bookstore. I’ve been going to that store since it opened in the 1978. Back then, my parents opened a house account and I experienced the wonderful freedom of choosing a new book and heading home with it after school. When my first book launched there, I felt old and young all at once, in the best of ways.
LKBR: How did you handle it when changes were made to your first manuscript? I don’t have a thick skin, so I know how I would have felt.
CB: I remember when I joined my first writing class at the local Y and my classmates read my work. I had a mini panic attack that I wasn’t expecting. I’d worked in the corporate world for years where there was a lot of pressure to perform, but something about the intimacy of reading my work was much more emotional. For any aspiring writer reading this, however, I’d say to push through that first moment of fear. Now, I’m not satisfied unless I see red marks all over the page.
LKBR: What is your favorite part of being a writer?
CB: For me, writing a novel has many different stages and I love them all for different reasons. At first, I spend time imagining – how fun is that? I have a job where I need to sit around imagining worlds and people and stories! The second stage for me is the hard part: Roughing through a first draft. To keep myself energized, I often work in cafes in my neighborhood where I know I’ll see friends. Sometimes I bounce ideas off of them, which I love. And when the draft is finished, I feel like I’ve reached the peak of a mountain. The final stage is editing, and I hole myself up for days for a more surgical approach to the words. I feel like a sleuth solving my own mystery at that point as I comb through the story and characters.
LKBR: Have you ever read a book that has stayed with you long after reading it?
CB: Mysteries in general give me tremendous comfort. I spent my childhood summers on Nantucket, visiting Mitchell’s Book Corner on Main Street, tucked in the children’s section, checking out the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys selections. As an adult, when we were living in London, I poured through every Agatha Christie novel in a cozy living room that looked over a quintessential London garden. The list goes on! I love solving the riddles of each case along with the characters, but I also love how the genre as a whole conjures memories of special moments in my life.
LKBR: Why are reviews, good or bad, so important to authors?
CB: A good review is always good for business, but a bad review can be constructive criticism if you’re willing to take it that way.
LKBR: On what sites do you recommend readers leave their reviews?
CB: Thank you for asking. I’m still new to the business, but I’ve quickly learned that leaving a review on Amazon and Barnes & Noble is REALLY helpful in supporting an author. That said, cozy readers are part of a real community, so when they leave a comment on FB or IG with even a little “loved it!” other readers listen. That sort of grassroots support is really special.
LKBR: If you could spend one hour with a reader, what would you want to talk about?
CB: A very timely question! I actually spent two hours last weekend with an amazing book club from Dallas, the Cozies and Coffee group, and I just love talking to readers. I loved hearing about what worked for them, along with what didn’t! I welcomed their input on what they’d love to see in future novels – and was delighted that many of their thoughts aligned with seeds I was trying to plant in the current books for future stories. And I also loved hearing about some of the readers’ aspirations to write.
LKBR: Thank you so much, Christin for letting us get to know you better!
CB: It’s been a pleasure! Thanks for the opportunity to get to know your community better. Stay well, everyone!