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 won FIRST PLACE in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in the romance category.
“Seamon is a master at creating atmospheric settings, and cozy mystery lovers will find it easy to fall under her spell. An appealing, witty heroine, a gem of a leading man, and well-constructed setting and plot make this one a must-read for both mystery lovers and fans of chick-lit literature. Readers will look forward to more of Holly and William’s adventures.” ~ The Prairies Book Review
“Human drama, individual struggles, love, secrets, and wit and romance abound, and the atmospheric setting and tight plotting keep the reader engrossed. Layered, nuanced plotting and engaging characters power a lighthearted, witty mystery. Seamon is an author to watch.” ~ The BookView Review
“Interesting characterizations, humorous, multilayered plot twists, and an old-fashioned sweet romance make this book an appealing read for romance and mystery enthusiasts, who will undoubtedly want to see more work from this debut author.” ~ RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books
Targeted Age Group:: 22-65
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was born and raised in Hawaii amongst the plethora of tropical flowers and plants. It was indeed Paradise and I enjoyed the year-round summer weather. When I later moved to Boston, I eventually started to miss all the greenery and flowers during the harsh NewEngland winters. This became especially pronounced in the winter of 2017. I had heard about the Wellesley College greenhouses from a friend and thought this might be a great time to check them out. I was enchanted when I stepped through their doors because here were the flowers of my youth growing heartily despite the bitter cold outside! I found myself going there every day; it became the highlight of my day. I talked to master horticulturalist DavidSommers, and he showed me the different Latin names of the plants and what they were commonly called. I took my dad with me every day, and he would fall asleep on the bench in what I called the “Tropical Forest Room” in the book. This bench was tucked away off the path, literally sitting amidst the tall Guadalupepalm and the giant white bird of paradise plant. The bench had very comfy cushions, and Dad would fall asleep beside me. Even though David and other staff were around, the place was often deserted, and sometimes I didn’t see another soul for the entire duration of my visit. I remember thinking one day, This place would be a good setting for a mystery book—it’s so mysterious. About ten minutes later, with my dad snoring beside me all the while, the thought came to me: Do I need to be the one to write that mystery book about the greenhouses? Well, once the thought took root, (pardon the botanical pun), there was no going back. Alas, the Wellesley College Greenhouses in that iteration are no more. As luck would have it, right before it was scheduled to be razed, their prize Queen of the Night night-blooming cereus plant was set to bloom! David invited me to their bloom party, and it was a true highlight of all my experiences there at the greenhouses. That night, I couldn’t wait until David opened the greenhouses, and from the first moment I set foot inside, I was greeted by the most beautiful scent ever! Literally bouncing off the walls now with excitement, I yelped in pleasure when I saw them for the first time.. This was my first experience with the blossoms. They really do open rather quickly, almost like watching a time-lapse film in real-time. They are of the softest silken feel, and they look breathtaking. I left around 10:00 p.m., and David said that by the morning, they had totally wilted. I took photos of them, but I also purchased exquisite photos David took during his many years at the college.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Oh, these characters were such fun to create! I was influenced by the English Christmas carol, the "Holly and the Ivy", as my book is set in a greenhouse, and I gave all my characters botanical or plant names! I know this Christmas song, so I decided to feature Holly as the protagonist, and gave her a rival in Ivy. William (based on the Sweet William flower), is the ingenious master gardener at the greenhouses, who loves Holly very much. Since the book is also set on a college campus, I needed a professor…or two, or three! I also created a few mentors for Holly. Daphne and Heather are amongst the closest friends she has there. There are a few adorable animal characters too! We have a chipmunk named Huckleberry, an adorable beagle puppy named Sweetpea, and an amazing carrier pigeon named Snapdragon.
“Hey, we’ll let Huckleberry enjoy his lunch. Speaking of something, if you are in a better mood now, come with me to the Rainforest Room. I have something to show you. I wanted to wait until you calmed down because it means a lot to me, and I hoped you might be happy for me. Here, come with me.”
He led her back to the previous room, which had amazing, rare rainforest plants in it.
“Check this out!”
He tossed her a magazine that said Horticultural Digest on the cover. Holly neatly caught it and opened it up to the dog-eared page.
Blaring across the page in huge font was the title: WILLIAM SMITH, THE RAINMAKER OF SHELLESBY COLLEGE’S FAMOUS RAINFOREST ROOM. It was a five-page spread with big glossy photos of the Rainforest Room sprinkled throughout the article.
“Five, count ‘em, five pages! That’s my record. Until now, they’ve only given me four. Check it out: I’m the Rainmaker, baby! Let it rain, let it rainnnn!”
William stomped around in make-believe puddles on the floor. He picked up a garden hose lying along the side of the room and held it upright like an umbrella.
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again.”
Holly squealed with laughter and applauded.
William jumped up on a large over-turned pot and shifted the hose to now play air guitar while he repeated the verse.
“William, there is no air guitar in that song!”
“There is now, baby!”
Holly exploded again in laughter, clutching her sides.
After a few more seconds of air guitar, William jumped off the pot and lowered his voice considerably.
“Thank you, thank you very much,” William said in his Elvis impersonation.
He now held the garden hose like a microphone and said, “My next song is dedicated to my beagle, my very own hound dog, my Sweetpea. Sweetpea, girl, this is for youuuuuuu.”
He now launched into Elvis’s famous “Hound Dog.”
“You ain’t nothing but a hound dogggg.” With this, he also twirled the hose by holding it tight two feet from the nozzle, then twirling the nozzle in little circles above his head like a lasso.
“Work it, William! Work it!” Holly screamed in laughter.
He did some choice hip swivels as he sang “Hound Dog,” sending Holly into peals of laughter.
“William, stop! Stop! Where are you? I can’t see I’m crying so hard!”
William dropped his voice even lower and more dramatically.
In his best Elvis voice, he said, “Well, if you can’t find me darlin’, I’ll find you.” He dropped on one knee and gently picked up her hand.
“Thank you, thank you very much,” he said in Elvis mode.
“My next song, I dedicate to my one and only, to my Holly-Dolly. Little prickly pear, this one’s for youuuuuu.”
He now launched into Elvis’s famous “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”
“Take my hand, take my whole life, too, for I can’t help falling in love with you.” With that, he gave her hand a soft kiss.
He then jumped up onto an empty potting table and spun around once on his butt, then pushed himself the length of the entire table, and slid off the far end.
“Loose, footloose!” William picked up his garden-hose microphone again and kept singing. “Kick off the Sunday shoes . . .”
He sang the entire song, and then Holly exploded in appreciative applause.
He was breathing heavily and had a million-dollar smile on his face.
“Hoo-wee, that was fun! I am so sweaty now, hoo-boy!”
He splashed some water on his face, and then shook his hair.
“William! When are you going to enter that karaoke contest at the coffee shop in town? They’re paying $1,000 to the winner of their contest. No one can beat you! That was unbelievable!”
“That was fun.” William laughed. “Are in a better mood now?”
“How can I not be? You are THE best!”
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All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.