When my grandmother first took me to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California, I was immediately hooked. Here were the stories I loved, brought to life. The Alice in Wonderland Tunnel affected me so deeply that I had dreams of building my own tunnel in our backyard. That was probably too ambitious for a six-year-old!
I loved the animals, the sets, the rides, and the storybook boxes. In addition to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Thumbelina, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and many other nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and works of children’s literature were represented. What a magical place!
Whenever my grandmother took me out, I asked to return to Fairyland. I imagine she got quite sick of it, but she always indulged me.
I worked at Fairyland for several years in my twenties. My first thought when I returned? It was a lot smaller than I remembered. Still, it was a delightful place to be and to work.
These days, in addition to writing a cozy mystery series set at a storybook park, I love learning about storybook parks around the world. Besides several in the U.S., storybook parks may be found in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia.
If you’re ever near a storybook park, I highly recommend you check it out. Be warned, however: Many of the parks require that adults be accompanied by children.
This was my first attempt at a castle cake. It’s meant to be the StoryWorld Castle!
It was really pretty easy to make. The castle door is a miniature chocolate bar, and the turrets are ice cream cones.
Best of all, the cake was delicious! I used layers of both chocolate cake and yellow cake, and I frosted the whole thing with strawberry whipped cream.
I’m not especially good at cake decorating, but I think it’s fun. I might have Ashling take a cake decorating class in a future book.
I’m running another giveaway on Goodreads for “The Princess and the Poison”! It starts on Monday, September 19. It’s open to residents of the US, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
I’m excited for the new Bridget Jones movie. I hope to see it this weekend.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding is one of my go-to books when I need to escape from life and lose myself in a story. I love laughing and crying along with Bridget. “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” by Terry McMillan is another go-to. How cool is it that Stella goes on vacation to Jamaica by herself? I was rather irritated with the movie version, because Stella’s friend joins her on the trip (although I love Whoopi Goldberg!).
If we’re talking favorite books, I have to include Ann Patchett’s “Bel Canto” and “State of Wonder,” as well as “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. I can’t wait for Patchett’s new book, “Commonwealth,” to come out. It’s been getting good reviews.
In general, I read cozy mysteries more than anything else, since it’s the genre I write in. I love discovering new cozy series. I would have never guessed when I was reading Agatha Christie years ago that I would one day be a mystery writer myself!
I love rain. I know, I know. Said like a California native who has never experienced harsh weather. So, I’ll qualify that by saying I love rain when it doesn’t endanger anyone’s life.
I find it much easier to write when the weather is cloudy and rainy. There’s something about inclement weather that inspires creative thought. Of course, this same weather is perfect for reading, too. I like nothing better than to curl up under a blanket and read.
I can’t wait for winter (California winter, that is)!
Storybook Love, my sweet romance novella, is currently an Amazon Countdown Deal. Right now it’s only 99 cents.
Rebecca Charles owns and manages Storytown, a storybook park featuring sets and rides based on classic nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and children’s books. Financial woes lead her to agree to a meeting with Jonathan Eastman III, the vice-president of a popular theme park conglomerate. Almost immediately, Rebecca has second thoughts. How can she give up the storybook park she loves, the place she visited over and over again as a child? But she’s fighting her attraction to Jonathan as much as she’s fighting to hold onto Storytown. Will Rebecca have her own fairy tale ending? Will she and Jonathan live happily ever after?
I confess that I often share bits of my meals with my cat, Sammie. If it’s chicken or fish that’s still hot, I blow on it before I give it to her!
Sammie inspired the character of Dinah in “The Princess and the Poison.” Just like Dinah, Sammie likes to sit with her left leg stretched out for me to admire. She is very proud of that ebony leg.
In the sequel (which I’m currently working on), Dinah is acting stressed and not behaving in quite her usual loving manner. In addition to solving a murder mystery, Ashling has to solve the mystery of her misbehaving cat!
Of course, Sammie never misbehaves! Just kidding. She actually misbehaves quite a lot. But I love her dearly, just as Ashling loves Dinah.