Spotlight: Rachael Stapleton Visits to Talk About Cozy Time Travel Mystery, TEMPLE OF INDRA’S WITCH!

Today, fellow author Rachel Stapleton is stopping by to talk about her latest book!

Hi, Rachael! Welcome back to the MLB blog! :)

Hello! Thanks for having me.

My pleasure! Let me ask a few questions since you're here...

All right.

Can you tell us a little about your book? When did it come out and where can we get it?
Temple of Indra’s WITCH, the fourth book in the Time Traveling Bibliophile Book Series just released in February. Temple of Indra’s LIES, the third book, released the month prior. Please go check them out on Amazon. As well as the new branded and rewritten versions of Books One and Two: Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Temple of Indra’s Curse

Nice! Such a great cover...

Congrats on your recent release! :)

So, what inspired you to write this book? How did you get into writing cozy time travel mystery?

I joke when I call the series cozy-time-travel-mystery because obviously this is not really a genre. It's just my way of attempting to fit into a box when I clearly don't. I began writing time travel over ten years ago because I loved history, and embraced fantasy. However after years of writing, I had trouble playing it straight -- I love to laugh and I delight in the chance to solve a murder. Most of my other WIPs were cozy mystery in nature and so it would bleed over when I wrote the next book in the series. Time travel novels tend to be romantic and while mine is to some extent -- it isn't my favorite part. I don't want to dwell on the emotional relationships. My favorite part is all of the crazy plots they find themselves in. So, this is what I've come to call my writing. It's a blend of history, magic, murder and comic relief. I hope you like it!

As a writer who tends to cross genres, I can totally relate. :)

So, tell us...what, do you feel, sets your book apart from other books in the genre? 

Well, you don't really see a mix of time travel and cozy mystery so I think that definitely makes it unique.

What a fine point!

Please give us a teaser or two of this book if you can.

Dublin, Ireland, 2031

It wasn’t quite nine in the morning but Dublin’s Creative Quarter was already buzzing. I waved to my neighbor who ran the café across the lane and stepped inside Mysterious Adventures in Ink. The bell above the door jingled and my business partner and best friend, Leslie Lovari, shifted her position on the ladder in front of the book shelves.
“Happy Tuesday!” she sang out in her bubbly yet monotone voice.
“Maybe for you.” I grimaced. My head ached and my body was in a pre-caffeine fog, aggravated by the cat carrier I juggled along with two vanilla chai lattes and a container of cold eggs.
“Better put those down before you have an accident,” Leslie said.
I took her advice, then dragged the table of featured books outside, and flipped the sign to open. Leslie, now hanging dried herbs from the rafters, looked cute and perky in a floral slip dress. Ever since I’d met her, she’d been fascinated by three things—plants, books, and food—so I wasn’t surprised to see a half-eaten sugary cupcake in her hand.
“What are you eating?”
“Choco-coco. You should try it.” She licked the last of the shredded coconut from her fingers.
“You know I don’t like sweets.” I swallowed hard, worried that my drool might betray me. Besides who eats cupcakes for breakfast? My inner adult prevented such behavior; mind you, with Alana working at the Cupcake Shoppe part-time, I had been indulging a little too often, which was strange, considering I’d never had a sweet tooth before.
I turned away from the treats and surveyed the inside of the shop. I’d modeled it after a bookstore from London circa 1920. It was a throwback to the Victorian era with wide-planked floors, velvet drapes, and antique shelves.
“Something wrong, Sophia?” Leslie asked, climbing down the ladder.
“I have a headache.”
“Again? Try letting your hair down.”
I carefully plucked the elastic loose, freeing my long dark hair from its messy bun. “I can’t even remember what it feels like to sleep through the night anymore.”
“You’ve been getting those headaches for a month now. Did you try the sleeping pills?”
“I did. I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment soon.”
Leslie gave me a sympathetic look and made a beeline for the cat carrier. “Come here, girl.”
She didn’t pretend to like animals but she loved my black cat, Daphne, which was why I bothered toting the feline along twice a week—Leslie’s shared custody privileges.
The jangling of the bell brought our attention back to the front of the store. My teenage daughter, Alana, had burst in, cheeks flushed, holding a white-and-pink bakery box. 
“Mum!” she barked, mobile phone glued to her ear.
“Yes, dear?”
“Ah, praise the almighty. I thought ye’d gone deaf.”
I frowned and shook my head. At least she had graciously taken the time to pause and acknowledge me—a rare occurrence these days. “Very funny, Alana.”
“Well, I was callin’ after ye like a mad woman…oh, hey, Les,” she added sweetly. “Mrs. Walsh sent these over.”
I made a mental note to ask Leslie about the voodoo she obviously worked on my daughter. It was the only explanation I could come up with on why she was nice to her and not me, since we both bossed her around.
“Are those the new mint buttercreams?” Leslie demanded.
Alana nodded. “Peppermint patties. There’s a lemon tart in there for ye, mum.”
I looked at the counter where Alana had set the bakery box next to the last one. The Walsh’s slogan daintily sprawled across the top: A little magic in every bite.
I rolled my eyes. “Rather like heroin. These things are more addictive than cigarettes and coffee.”
“Definitely,” Leslie said with a grin. “But don’t worry, I’ll share.”
I turned to Alana, who was now furiously texting somebody. “What is it you wanted, dear?”
“Hannah needs me at the shop—back in two shakes.”
I shook my head, looking at the Grandfather clock next to the stained-glass window. It was ten past nine. “Weren’t you just there? Besides, you’re supposed to be working here.” Alana was far from lazy, but she’d been bailing on her shifts at the bookstore ever since she started working for the Walshes’ bakery. “What does she need?”
“How should I know?” Annoyance flashed in Alana’s young eyes. “She said she needs to show me somethin’.”
“That’s vague. Something as in…porn, drugs, a new dress?”
I could tell Leslie was fighting to keep from laughing.
Not my daughter, though. She rolled her eyes and more than likely readied her insults.
“Fine. Go! But I want you back…” I looked up at the jingle and realized she was already gone.
“Grrr…What is it with that damn sugar shop?” I asked, turning to Les.  “I just don’t get it. Why would she rather spend her time sweating over those hot ovens?”
“Is that a real question?” Leslie mocked. “Hell, I’d live there if I could and I’m part-owner here.”
“Yeah, well, you’re a sugar addict with a tape worm. Alana’s like me, she doesn’t even like sweets.” I paced the length of the store and almost tripped over an empty box. I looked up and saw more. “What’s with all the boxes?”
“Come here and I’ll show you.” Leslie led the way to the back of the store and handed me a book titled Doorway to the Occult.
“It’s a book on the ancestry of the Ouija board,” I said, stating the obvious.
She looked at me with a guilty grin. “Welcome to our new Witchcraft Section.”
I picked up another and read the title aloud: “The Truth about Wicca. This one looks expensive.”
“It was an online request.”
I frowned. “It’s a little early for Halloween.”
“Maybe some people are genuinely interested in the occult year-round.” She stroked Daphne, who gave a little purr in return.
I shrugged. “Still, you thought that warranted a dedicated section?”
Normally I didn’t question Leslie’s decisions. She was an amazing business partner, but there were a lot of new books and we needed to spread our purchases out.
“The book looked interesting so I ordered a copy for the store in addition to the client’s requests and boom—in came this whole shipment. I called the distributor. Apparently one of the warehouse staff made a mistake and it wasn’t worth the money to ship them back so we got a free load of books on magical traditions. Our lucky day, right?”
I acknowledged her with a lift of my chin. “It does cramp the space, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. They’ll sell in October.”
“I’m going to move amulets back there. That should draw some of the right people.”
“We’re relying on amulets to draw people? Is this in the official business plan?”
Leslie barked out a laugh, which was actually more of a squeal given Leslie’s pitchy voice. She walked to the front counter and grabbed one of the coffee cups.
“I think you need this.”
I held my hand out, accepting it gratefully.
“I was thinking more along the lines of merchandising, smarty pants. It’s June. People will want the amulets for Solstice to read the future. If we place the amulets near the books, then maybe customers will be inclined to grab a book, too.”  She set Daphne on the floor.
Peeling back the plastic tab on my cup, I inhaled the sweet, vanilla scent of the latte. My headache finally subsided and, feeling relaxed for the first time in hours, I allowed myself to believe that today would be better. Apparently not: a dark shadow darted in and out of my peripheral vision, setting the cat in motion. Daphne sprang onto the counter, knocking over a copy of The Satanic Bible.
“What the hell was that?” I bent to pick up the thick, black book, and spilled a few drops of my coffee down the front of my shirt.
“Damn it!”
Leslie scoffed. “Relax. The bird is on the outside of the glass. The delivery guy said it followed the truck here. It’s been hanging out since yesterday morning.”
She handed me a damp cloth and I dabbed at my chest. Luckily my shirt was dark and patterned.
“Why is it just hovering there, beating its wings against the glass?”
As if on cue, the bird landed on the window sill.
I took the first sip of my latte, closing my eyes and waiting for the caffeine to power my bloodstream. The cat mewled at the bird as if she could reach it through the glass, making my head pound again.
“That’s enough, Daphne. Come here!” I scolded, which might have worked if she’d been any other animal, but she was a declawed black diva. I turned to Les, who sighed, and clapped her hands fiercely together, calling the cat’s name. Daphne sprang down from the shelf and purred at Leslie’s feet.
Clearly Leslie’s magical voodoo charm extended to more than just angry teenagers.
“There you are, pretty girl,” Leslie said, bending over. “Now you leave that birdie alone,” she told her, in a tone that brooked no argument.
“It’s a black bird,” I said, eyeing it through the window.
“You own a black cat, but you have something against black birds?”
“I-I mean it’s a raven. Aren’t they a sign of death?” I was growing more frazzled.
“No . . . I don’t think so.” She shook her head. “They were cursed for not returning to Noah’s ark…but…actually…they are associated with darkness.”
I frowned, not that Leslie noticed; she was now frantically searching through one of the new piles; on the prowl for a book to quote from, I was sure. Her nerdiness knew no bounds. If she wasn’t reading a book, she was usually writing about what she’d read in her journal. It was an endearing and yet predictable quality.
“Here it is. Both witches and the Devil were said to take the shape of a raven.” Leslie picked up another book, this one black and gold, “The raven symbolizes the void—symbolic of the black hole which draws in all energy toward itself and releases it in new forms.”
“That doesn’t sound terrifying at all.” I snorted. “No reason to fear the random void sucking energy that’s stalking our window. Speaking of which, why aren’t all of the drapes pulled back? Are we afraid of the light? Should I expect a section on vampires next?”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea. We could do it for Halloween and use that beautiful castle painting that Alana did to add ambiance,” Leslie scoffed. “Transylvania and all it has to offer.”
“Don’t you dare,” I protested. Still, I did like her idea. We’d joked about doing a Halloween castle tour forever. Unfortunately, we hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe this year. “We’re at capacity now.”
“I know, I know. Time for a break! You want a cupcake?” Leslie said, getting to her feet.
“No, I’ve got my coffee. I overdosed on those cupcakes last night. Mrs. Walsh,” I said through gritted teeth, “loves to send my favorite kind home with Alana after her shifts.”
“That bitch! How dare she try to be nice?” Leslie mocked.
“Oh, there’s more to it than that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember how I told you Cullen’s Da has a new girlfriend?”
Leslie’s mouth kicked up in a reluctant smile. “Mrs. Walsh?”
“Yep.” I returned her smile.
“Cullen can’t expect his dad to remain celibate.”
“Celibate, no. I think what Cullen objects to is the fact that the woman is Alana’s employer. She’s widowed and so Móraí introduced the two, coincidentally after one of Alana’s shifts.”
“What does Alana think?”
“How should I know? She barely speaks to me.”
Leslie wrapped her arms around me. “She’s still giving you a hard time?”
“Understatement of the year—I’m officially in the running for worst mom in the world.”
“Oh please, don’t be so dramatic. You’ll never beat out that reality mom who encouraged her daughter to pose nude.”
“That’s a relief,” I said sarcastically.
“Alana’s turning sixteen, that’s all. Teenagers know best,” she said with a chuckle.
The beating returned but it was now coming from the other window. I crossed the store and pulled back the heavy velvet curtains. Behind them was a pair of eyes, and I jumped back, startled.
“No more caffeine for you,” Leslie said.
I stepped away from the window, just as the door jingled. In walked the woman I’d seen through the glass.
“Sophia! It is you.”
“Hello?” I said, taken aback.
Daphne scrambled down from the shelf and shot to the back of the store, in a hurry to catch whatever imaginary creature she was chasing. I drew my attention back to the front. This woman looked familiar.
Mysterious Adventures in Ink. What a clever name.”
I nodded.
“Have you forgotten me already?”

I'm definitely interested to find out where this story goes! ;)

Let's try another question, okay? 
I'm sure readers are curious about your next writing project. Can you tell us what you've got cooking up now or is that a secret?

Yes, I'm working on The Bohemian Murder Manor at the moment.

"All around the Vianu house, the killer chased the people. And after them in double haste, Pop! goes the weasel. It’s birthday time and to celebrate Nana and Mallory Vianu of the family-owned-and-operated lakeside Bohemian Manor Resort have hired an outside event planning company to run, Night of the Occult, a murderous mystery game festival. It will be an unparalleled weekend in the Victorian mansion—where for a change—even some of the employees get to take part in the clues, costumes, and red herrings."

Wow! It sounds great!

We look forward to seeing what happens with your next book.

Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us about Temple of Indra's Witch, Rachael!

Thank you for having me here!

Of course! 

Readers, you'll just have to pick up a copy of this cozy time travel mystery!

Here is the blurb.

There’s a BLOOD MOON on the Rise…

Sophia Marcil closed the book on magic long ago, when she married Cullen O’Kelley and opened her beloved shop in Dublin. She’s taking life one page at a time until an old acquaintance darkens her doorstep and reminds her of a grim prediction made sixteen years ago—one that involves her daughter, her grimoire, and that threatens time travel once more. Since cursing Sophia more than five-hundred years ago, the witch has become disillusioned with life and she’s ready to return to 1494, where her enmity began. Sadly, her attempt to open the portal goes up in smoke, taking Sophia with it. Cullen believes his beloved time-traveling bibliophile could still be alive, but a local historian warns she may still be in jeopardy. The answer to her whereabouts lies in a fifteenth-century castle—all he has to do is navigate time using the grimoire. Of course, he’s not the only one searching: Sophia’s daughter is determined to tag along, and she’s leading the witch right to them. Cullen is desperate to save his wife from the noose, but is a deal with the devil necessary? The witch claims there’s no time like the present to re-write the past, but can the woman who once cursed them be trusted to hold the pen?

What people are saying about Rachael Stapleton's books:

This book has a little bit of everything in it – mystery, suspense, romance, time travel and mysticism. It is bound to appeal to nearly everyone!
~Storeybook Reviews

This book was so good I bought all three and can’t wait to see what is next for Sophia as like any great book it left you wanting to know more.
~Community Bookstop

Wow! That was such a unique book.
~Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales

This was a fun read, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
~The Book’s the Thing

The author has a great way of story telling that will grab the reader from the start of the book and hold their attention until the end.
~Sleuth Cafe

Purchase Links:

Add it to your Goodreads TBR list!

This book looks great! We'll be sure to check it out!

About the Author:

Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers. To learn more about Rachael Stapleton, visit her online at:


Rachael's Books:


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