Cape Cod Witch series by J Bean & Chris Palmer, Author Interview

Hi, all, Sher here with a book I’m going to read as soon as I finish unpacking after moving. Yes, it’s taking me this long because there’s nobody home but me and the chickens! I’m not joking though. We moved into a house that came with chickens, twelve free range white leghorns, of which two were forcibly taken by some creature the first time hubby didn’t put the  cluckers back in their coop before dusk. Obviously, there’s a learning curve to everything, from keeping chickens (ranching?) to writing.

Although a mistake in writing won’t kill a living creature, it can sure kill sales, so I sift through bunches of mediocre literature (and some downright awful) to find the good books for my readers. On rare occasion, due to lack of reading time for something like moving, I base my decision on other books written by the same author. I already read a rhyming picture book, My Cape Cod Magic, by the same authors. The best single word description is charming, so I feel confident the same quality will show in their middle grade series.

Don’t take my word for it though. This interview is to help readers decide whether this series is for you and/or your tweens. Let’s face it. I never grew up, so if you still like middle grade as much as I do, you won’t have to think long about whether you’d like to read it too. 

When their wild and free ancestral lands are threatened, three ancient ghosts need one of their clan from the living world. They call the Thistle heir from across the sea to the old country.
Almost-ten-year-old ElsBeth Amelia Thistle, the youngest witch on Cape Cod, has her own need to unearth the family mysteries and to begin in earnest her chosen calling to protect the natural world.
ElsBeth uses the best she knows of science and magic (not so very different from each other, after all). But even with help from a curious cast of magical creatures she befriends, and her spirited classmates who’ve been swept along (including the beautiful but feisty fashionista Veronica, a Wampanoag chief-to-be Johnny, and Frankie, who wants to follow in the footsteps of his prize-fighting Uncle Vittorio), ElsBeth is in way over her magic level — and into older, odder mysteries than she could ever dream — in an adventure just above the surface of reality. 

Includes twenty-two full-color illustrations.


“Suffice it to say that ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties is about as fine a middle school fantasy as you could get: vivid, packed with ghosts and mystery, and yet tempered with an attention to interpersonal depth that is rare and inviting.” – D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Purchase links: 
Amazon         Barnes and Noble             Kobo

Author bios:
In The Cape Cod Witch Series, J Bean Palmer calls upon her family’s long history in New England including a Revolutionary “Green Mountain Boy,” Cape Cod cranberry farmers and artists, and an oft-told family legend that as her grandmother’s ancestors stepped off the Mayflower, her grandfather’s relatives were there to greet them. With a degree in Environmental Science (summa cum laude, University of Maine), the author’s ElsBeth stories reflect a passion and respect for the natural world and its magical kinship.
Co-author Chris Palmer makes some use of his education in philosophy, and his experience as a short-order cook on Cape Cod, a Boston cab driver, and an Internet business executive in California in contributing the poems that are sung or spoken by several characters in the stories. A 14th generation Cape Codder, he and J Bean currently reside in a converted barn on the banks of a western Maine river.
Authors photo:

Social media links:
Annie Palmer, who writes as J Bean Palmer, answered my questions.

1. Why did you start writing?

I wrote a lot as a child and in the business world. But when my first granddaughter was born, seven years ago, to whom the first and subsequent books are dedicated, I wanted to give her a first-birthday gift of a book — even though she couldn’t read it, of course — and then give her a book each year on her birthday. And if I finish my current WIP by May I’ll be on schedule!

2. Why did you write this book (as opposed to another)?

I was inspired to write this book, maybe oddly, by Huckleberry Finn, which I read again not long ago. I love the spirit of the story, and I wanted to write an adventure, in the vein of the classics, and something for both boys and girls. But also with magical elements that presented new realties, and an environmental theme because of my passion and respect for the natural world — influenced, no doubt, by my education and degree in environmental science.

3. Why would I want to read your story? (What makes your book unique or interesting?) 

The ElsBeth stories are set on Cape Cod which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Each village on the Cape is completely unique and you always feel you’ve stepped out of time when you visit there. A reader gets to know the Cape like a good friend when they tag along on the young witch’s adventures.
4. What are your main character’s greatest hopes, biggest fears, or both?

One of ElsBeth’s greatest hopes is to find out some of the family mysteries, including what happened to her mother who’s been missing from her life since just after her birth. She also hopes to develop the skills she knows she needs to protect the natural world, which she recognizes as her personal calling. Her greatest fears have to do uncertainty she is smart enough, and can think things through well enough, to do what she knows has to be done.


5. Is there a message in this book for your readers or is it just meant to entertain

In Book III ElsBeth finds what it means to think for herself, and to take the “long look.” And there is a definite underlying theme of care and respect for the environment. This is not preached but happens to be the personal calling of the main character, ElsBeth Amelia Thistle, the youngest witch on Cape Cod. There is also plenty of  humor. We love to make our readers laugh out loud!

6. What other books have you written for children?

ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties is Book III in the Cape Cod Witch Series. ElsBeth and the Pirate’s Treasure (Book I), ElsBeth and the Pirate’s Adventure, (Book II), The Little Cape Cod With Cookbook: The Secret Recipes of Hannah Goodspell (which won First Prize in the Cookbook category of the 2012 New England Book Festival), and The Little Cape Cod Witch Coloring Book are the other Cape Cod Witch Books. Additionally, we’ve  written and produced My Cape Cod Magic, a beautifully illustrated fine-art picture book for first readers. 

7. Please tell about your WIPs, at least genre and age group, even if the rest is hush-hush.

ElsBeth ventures to the Wild West and gets involved with some Native American spirits who are troubled by what’s happened to their lands. ElsBeth is growing up even more, and she learns she can’t make things right all on her own, even if she is a witch.
I’d like to thank the authors for satisfying my curiosity and yours, I hope. Of course, now I’m even more anxious to get settled into my house and back to my routine of taking book walks. Elsbeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties will be first on my list. In the meantime, remember that I can attest to the charm of the picture book My Cape Cod Magic, so you might want to buy both. Now why does Cape Code remind me so much of panhandle Florida? Except for the weather, the two seem very much alike!

If you have time, please scroll down through recent posts for open giveaways. Thanks for visiting, and please tell me if Elsbeth made it onto your own TBR pile!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


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  2. Thank you, Sher. We hope you enjoy finding out more about ElsBeth’s adventures. The first book in the series, by the way, is well-suited for ages 8-10, Book II for ages 9-11 and Book III for ages 10-12. But adults like them all!

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