What inspired the idea for your book?
I began writing You Can’t Candle the Truth when we first went into lockdown. Like so many people, I was really looking for a means of escape, but I was also looking to create something I’d never explored before as a writer, which was a paranormal mystery. My love of candles (I have a bit of an obsession) also played a huge role in bringing Hazel Wickbury and the town of Crucible to life.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
Well, without giving away any spoilers, I learned how deadly nature and the world around us can be. There are a lot of everyday items and products I had no idea were so lethal! I also learned that my character Hazel Wickbury is not a witch…but she is very special!
If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?
I would spend SO much time in Hazel’s candle shop, A Wick in Time. I’d convince her to make me some specialty candles using my favorite fragrances. I am in love with magnolia and bergamot scent pairings! I’d also want to head over to Cold Cauldron Brewing with Hazel, her aunt Poppy, and their friends to test my trivia skills and see if our team could take home first place.
What does it mean to you to be called an author?
Being called an author means someone recognizes the time, energy, dedication, and love I have put into crafting an engaging story. There is so much of my lifeforce in the novels I write; it’s amazing to see a part of me out there in the world, being read and appreciated by friends, family, and strangers alike.
How do you define success as an author?
For me, there are many ways to define success.
Success is finishing a manuscript.
Success is having a book published.
Success is getting my first review.
Success is getting more than one review.
Success is having a reader email you about how much they love your book.
As I encounter different hurdles in the publishing industry, success is all about learning how to overcome challenges I am faced with and appreciating the victories, big or small, that come my way.
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?
This is a great question! For manuscripts I actually finish, the characters have always come first. For all the “Chapter Ones” saved on my computer or scribbled in my notebook, the plot came first. So clearly, I need to be able to identify with my characters to succeed in writing a book.
As an author what do you think makes a good story?
Relatable, flawed characters who are still likeable. I think readers need to be invested in the characters above all else to really enjoy a story. You could have the most clever mystery of all time, but if your characters fall a bit flat, that greatness will be lost.
What has been your favorite reader feedback?
I love hearing about how much readers enjoy the strong, meaningful relationships between my characters. In You Can’t Candle the Truth, my protagonist Hazel is best friends with her aunt Poppy, and readers have shared with me how special and unique they find this bond. It’s not a relationship dynamic you come across every day in the mystery world, so it was really fun for me to explore. I’m delighted readers are enjoying Hazel and Poppy’s connection.
How do you interact with your readers?
I’m a social media butterfly! Or at least, I try to be. I love interacting with readers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I try to share as much as possible regarding my writing world (and pictures of my dog), and I love connecting with readers! I also send a newsletter once in a blue moon. They may not be frequent, but I always try to share a short story or fun writing update.
How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
I try to end all my writing sessions still having more to say. I don’t write until all my ideas are down on the page; I purposefully stop myself when I reach a point in the story where I know what needs to happen next. I say to myself, “I know what I’m going to write, but I need to stop for the day.” Sometimes, if I’m worried I’ll forget what I have in mind, I’ll jot a quick paragraph, reminding my future self what is meant to happen next. I find that if I write until my brainwaves and ideas are all down on the page, I have a harder time restarting the next day.
Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?
I am a big video gamer. A lot of people find that surprising, but video games aren’t just for kids and teens. I love escaping to different worlds where I can be a hero. It’s a great way to unwind and separate myself from my writing. I also love Broadway musicals and try to see a show every chance I get.
Name three fun facts about you or your work.
#1 I love to sing.
#2 I’ve been inside one of the Great Pyramids.
#3 I have four different mystery series in the works—what can I say, I love a good murder!
If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go?
I’d love to go on a road trip across Europe with Mildred Wirt Benson, more commonly recognized as Carolyn Keene. Mildred penned some of the first Nancy Drew books. I know a lot of mystery writers credit Nancy Drew as to why they love mysteries, but Nancy has truly been my role model since I was seven years old and still is to this day. My dad used to read Nancy’s adventures to me before bed; I can still hear his impression of Bess Marvin saying, “Nancy!” clear as day in my mind.
If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
So many things! First, I would try skydiving. Once I survived that, I would finish all the unfinished manuscripts that have built up over the years. I have so many stories I want to tell the world, but you know the saying… “so little time!”
As far as first-in-series books go, “You Can’t Candle the Truth (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries Book 1)” has a lot to recommend it. Hazel and her aunt Poppy are the last of the Glenmyre line of witches. They live in the uber charming small town of Crucible which is supposedly protected from evil happenings by Glenmyre power and though most of the old knowledge in their family is lost, each woman has a special gift that sometimes seems to be as much a curse. When a local man dies before his time and his fiancee is accused of his murder the ladies set out to clear her name.
I can already tell that I will enjoy visiting with shop owner Hazel and picking her brain for the secrets of candle-making. Crucible is peopled with great characters and has so much history bubbling to the surface. Most importantly, Sarah E. Burr knows how to tell a story. Her mystery is full of twisty turns, some dead ends, some just plain fun.
I read a copy of this for free from Kindle Unlimited, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Read Mre From Sarah E. Burr
Guest Post: A Sneak Peek at a ‘Your Way Today’ with Coco Cline, from Trending Topic #Murder
“Hi, everyone! Celebrity lifestyle blogger Coco Cline, here. When I’m not busy consulting with my clients, hanging out with my studdly boyfriend and my fabulous besties,…Keep reading
Candlemaker Hazel Wickbury has a secret. She knows when someone is going to die.
Welcome to Crucible, a small town with a storied history. Founded by five prestigious families, Crucible has been tucked away in upstate New York for centuries under the protection of a shield enchantment cast by Jedidiah Glenmyre, Hazel’s revered ancestor. The enchanted barrier is meant to protect Crucible from anything bad ever happening to the town. No crime, no awful weather, no natural disasters…a haven from the greater world.
Until the heir to a billion-dollar company is found dead in his home. With the help of her uncanny power, known as a “whim,” Hazel realizes foul play is involved. But more than being concerned about a murderer running loose and Jedidiah Glenmyre’s protection shield deteriorating, Hazel and her aunt Poppy are worried the town’s kindhearted art teacher will be charged with the sinister crime.
Hazel and Poppy team up with an internationally acclaimed mystery author visiting Crucible to figure out who had it in for the victim. Their fledgling investigation has them questioning if long-time friends have turned into foes and whether blood is really thicker than water.
Determined to prove her friend innocent, Hazel is ready to shine a light on the real killer…if they don’t snuff her out first.
Purchase Links: Amazon – GoodReads Link
Sarah E. Burr lives near New York City. Hailing from the small town of Appleton, Maine, she has been dreaming of being Nancy Drew since she was a little girl. Since she wasn’t stumbling across any crime scenes in corporate America, Sarah left her career in healthcare technology to write mysteries of her own.
You Can’t Candle the Truth is Sarah’s first foray into the paranormal cozy genre, and there’s even more murder and mystery in the works for Sarah. #FOLLOWME FOR MURDER, first in the TRENDING TOPIC MYSTERIES, shines the spotlight on a social media PR expert after she discovers a dead body in her clients’ store, forcing her to untangle a web of secrets in her small, beachside town. This title is expected in February 2022 by Level Best Books. Sarah is also the author of the Court of Mystery series, where murder is always a royal affair for her heroine, Duchess Jacqueline.
Sarah attended Elmira College and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy & Religious Studies. She loves to weave these themes into her writing. When she’s not spinning up new stories, Sarah is off seeing Broadway musicals, reading up a storm, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee. She is represented by Blue Ridge Literary Agency.
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Wow!! This is such a beautiful post – thank you so much for hosting me. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed getting to meet Hazel and the world of Crucible!