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The Calamity Cafe is the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking

Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition…

Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can’t wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia.

At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her.  Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order.

Includes delicious Southern recipes!



Q: Thanks for stopping by Island Confidential, Gayle. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Any?

A:  Amy Flowers is a young woman who has a serious goal but who doesn’t forget to have plenty of fun. She makes time for her friends and family while hoping to realize her goal of opening her own café.

Q: How much of you is in Amy?  How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

A:  I’m sure there’s a little Amy in me, especially where she was so devoted to her grandmother who is deceased when we meet Amy. And, like Amy, I have a tendency to want to adopt and/or feed animals and people (especially children). Whenever my children were growing up, I was known for my cookies and cupcakes. Even when my son was in high school, I’d have to make and send chocolate chip cookies to his friends.

I’d love Amy if I met her in real life. I think we’d be good friends, but I’d have to avoid seeing her too often because if I didn’t, she’d feed me until I was as big as a house!

Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A:  They do. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed with other series I’ve written (the embroidery series written under the name Amanda Lee, in particular) and that I’m looking forward to exploring in the Down South Café series. I like that each individual book can be read as a standalone but that readers who start at the beginning and continue through the series can enjoy the nuances of watching the characters grow and develop.

Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

A:  Oh, my goodness, I have done it! In my cake decorating mystery Battered to Death (written as Gayle Trent), I killed a man who’d been mean to my son. The man was such a jerk, and I took great joy in beating him over the head with a cake stand and then drowning him in cake batter!

Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

A:  Both. Winter Garden is a fictional town in Virginia, but it’s close to real-life towns: Glade Spring, Meadowview, Abingdon, Bristol. In fact, at my website, I’m including photograph slideshows from various regions. I only have three so far, but I’ll continue to add to it.

Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

A: Maybe Emily Osmet as Amy and Robbie Amell as Ryan. They’d be so cute together. Now you’ve got me excited about this movie! Who can we call to make it happen?

Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

A:  Worst advice: “You have to move to New York or Los Angeles to make it as a writer.”

Best advice: Never give up!




About The Author  


Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Author Links:

Webpage – http://www.gayleleeson.com

Gayle Trent Webpage – http://www.gayletrent.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GayleTrentandAmandaLee/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GayleTrent

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/426208.Gayle_Trent

Purchase Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Books-a-Million – Kobo  



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