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If You Have A Dead Cereus Craving

Kira Seamon
Kira Seamon Author Interview

Dead Cereus follows a college student with a tendency to attract trouble including the witnessing of a murder. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Oh, thank you for this question! I do love answering it! As I explain in my afterword in the book, I visited the Wellesley College greenhouse complex every day in the winter of 2017. It occurred to me that a greenhouse could be a great setting for a mystery, and once I thought that, I persevered and wrote this cozy mystery overflowing with plants and flowers. The main complex at Wellesley College had five major rooms and a few student nurseries. So I kept the general layout of Wellesley College’s greenhouse as inspiration, but I added in many more rare tropical plants in my story. I always knew that I wanted it to be a “botanical murder”, without using a gun, or something like that, and that the murder should occur in the greenhouse. I wanted it to be a “botanical murder with a plant-based murder weapon”, as I also gave every character a botanical or plant name. I was trying to keep the botanical theme going in as many ways as I possibly could. I also wove in many “botanical jokes and puns”. I wouldn’t want to give away right here where the dead body is found, but suffice to say, it is in a “botanical place”. The placement of the dead body is a highlight at that point in the novel and my editor told me she’s almost 100% sure no one ever did that before, so she thought it was a cool addition to the botanical theme running throughout the book.

What were some driving ideals behind Holly’s character development?

This is such a great question! Holly seems to me very open to input from other people. She can be headstrong at times and once she gets the bit between her teeth, she has a hard time letting go. However, I think she has an endearing quality of being open to input from other people and not disappointing people who mean a lot to her is very important to Holly. Holly’s mentor, Heather, is always trying to encourage her to “be the best version of Holly that she can be.” Subconsciously, Holly is taking it all in. She is very impulsive and has a hard time controlling her outsized emotions, but she is striving to be her best self and wants to make people she cares about proud of her. William is her kryptonite. She literally is crushed by any disapproval from him, and he in turn, also is a mentor to Holly, as well as her boyfriend. He has very high expectations of her, as he knows she is a formidable young woman with a ton of potential. He also knows that her emotions get the best of her and he tries to teach her better ways of coping when it’s crunch time. She is very lucky to have people invested in her character development. She knows this as well, and does strive to learn, nay, grow from her mistakes!

Was there anything from your own life that you put into the characters in your novel?

Haha, this is a great question, because my editors and beta-readers who know me in real life absolutely think I am Holly! So…is Holly me? Well, I do remember when I was 20-24 years old, and I was developing as a new adult, I experienced my emotions very strongly. I would be extremely crushed by disappointments and extremely elated by positive events. My mother was my mentor and she taught me to try not to take everything so seriously…or is it “cereusly”? Haha! So thinking back on how I felt at 20-24, I remembered my own out-sized emotions and thought they could be great for Holly. Holly’s emotions leap off the page and she becomes very vivid to readers.

With William, the inspiration for him came from a trusted dance partner I used to dance with for a couple of years. We had an amazing bond that was almost instinctual. By “instinctual” I mean a bond that almost defies explanation, but is the most amazing closeness to another human being that you can ever find. It’s trusting them instantly without even knowing why and literally being able to read their thoughts. William reads Holly like a book and as he says, “Baby, nothing, I mean nothing, is getting between us. You and I are an inseparable team. There’s no daylight between us.” So I think there are definitely aspects from my own life and experiences that found their way into the book.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am pleased to say that I am continuing the Dead Cereus cozy mystery series and am also developing a Dead Cereus romance series! In this book, William and Holly have known each other for two years. Wouldn’t you like to know how they met? I certainly would…and I have actually no clue right now. William and Holly will have to tell me how they met, (I just bet that is a riveting story!), and then I will write it up and publish it for all of us to read. I hope to release the new books in the spring. If you have a Dead Cereus craving and need more, I got you! More books are on the way!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Holy holly berries! Holly Jackson creates shenanigans on the Olympic level. This mischievous charmer has found herself in many strange messes, but this one takes the carrot cake!
When the rare night-blooming cereus plant is scheduled to open its petals at Shellesby College’s Night Lights Gala, Holly is there-and so is a killer. Events unfold that not only place her scholarship on the line, but also her life…and that of her rival.  Holly finds herself racing the clock to save her arch nemesis, secure her scholarship, and catch a murderer… if she can!
Filled with humor, breathtaking tropical plants, and foods that will make your stomach growl, this is an epic romance and a fantastic, unique mystery rolled into one hilarious story. With all the feels, this novel can’t help but implant itself in your heart and grow into one of your favorite reads. Kira Seamon is the debut author with the killer imagination.
Dead Cereus earned FIRST PLACE in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in the romance category.

Dead Cereus

Holly Jackson, a scholarship student at Shellesby College, has been entrusted with organizing the Night Lights Ball, which will include a number of renowned botanists as well as donors to the college’s greenhouses.  Amidst the father-daughter Berkeley duo, inclined to throw out Holly any chance, at this night ball event Holly must not only save the last thread of her scholarship from snagging but also secure an internship at Boston Botanical College. But will she succeed in evading her tendency to attract trouble this time? Or is she to witness a murder right in front of her eyes, but also to act to prevent another one from occurring?

The author Kira Seamon, who grew up in a greenery infused home in Hawaii, colored the setting of her novel Dead Cereus with diverse greenhouses, an idea she got while visiting Wellesley College in Boston. The enchanting description she gives of botany in her novel seems as natural and explicit as if written while seated in the same place.

Throughout the mystery thriller, the characters reflect human feelings in different ways and emerge as unpredictable at times. There are many delightful botany puns within the witty conversations between William, the admired and brilliant young botanist, and Holly, the impulsive and powerful woman which greatly contributes to the romance thriller. The story turns out to show a significant social transformation in Ivy Berkeley, who transitions from being a stuck cocoon set up by his father and societal norms into a freed butterfly with full wings for flight.

The action-packed story and descriptions of college greenhouse residents, as well as the fresh foods straight from the greenery surrounding the campus do not let the limited setting of the book, in and around the college campus, get in the way. Throughout this enchanting story, readers will enjoy the puns used by the botanists, especially in naming their pets and loved ones.

In a disturbing scene, the author describes a murder which takes place in a greenhouse. The murder, exposed amid the beauty of botany around, gives an upsetting picture, which is both surprising and unusual. By describing the various plants and flowers species in the novel, the author reveals and emphasizes the danger and magnificence of botany while setting the plot in the middle of it. Besides the beautiful illustration of the Cereus flower blooming, there is also a warning of possible fatal damage of plant species.

If you are seeking a humorous romance thriller, or cozy mystery novel, Dead Cereus will herb your enthusiasm with its ardent characters and thrilling plot.

Pages: 243 | ASIN : B09LPJPWSL

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