Monday, May 11, 2015

Author Q&A, Recipes & Giveway: At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor (GIVEAWAY CLOSED)

I am pleased to welcome author Mary Ellen Taylor to Always With a Book. Her latest book, At the Corner of King Street, is now available. I'll be reviewing the book here on the blog in a few weeks. Today Mary Ellen discusses her new book, which is the third in her Union Street Bakery series and then shares some recipes with us!!! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

Mary Ellen Taylor Talks About AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, Alexandria’s Old Town and No End to Recipes . . .

Welcome, Mary Ellen!

AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET is set in Virginia in Alexandria’s historic Old Town as are The Union Street Bakery and Sweet Expectations What drew you back to Old Town as you setting? 
Years ago, I lived in Alexandria and during my first days there I fell in love with Old Town. Bordered by the Potomac River and minutes from Washington, D.C. this oldest part of the city is not only alive with tony shops and fantastic restaurants, but its centuries old buildings and cobblestone streets offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past.  It’s the history, architecture and ambiance that first drew me in and that I can’t get enough of—though charming little shops also have their appeal. Strolling along King, Union and Prince Streets it’s almost impossible for me to not create another story set there. 

What is your protagonist, Addie Morgan’s, connection to Alexandria?  When the book opens she lives with her almost-fiancĂ© several hours away in Virginia’s wine country. 
Time-wise, Addie’s connection there is tenuous.  She and her sister Janet were only there briefly, living with their Aunt Grace at a time when their mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder, couldn’t care for them. For Addie, it has always loomed large, a three month oasis in an otherwise chaotic, disorderly life in which she always felt responsible for making things right.  She remembers that time as “delightfully predictable.” 

Why is she back? 
Addie returns to, as she would say, clean up another mess created by the women in her family, who, lore says, suffer from a curse handed down for more than two centuries through the maternal side of her family.  Janet has just given birth to a baby girl and is hospitalized, unable to care for herself let alone her baby. She needs weeks of treatment; Grace is too frail to take over and social services is having trouble placing “Baby Morgan” in a foster home.

You take us back to the city’s earliest days, weaving in the fictional letters of two women living very different but intersecting lives. Is the first time you’ve let the voices from the past become such fully realized? Why are their lives so important to Addie’s story? 
There were bits of the past woven into The Union Street Bakery as well as Sweet Expectations but this is the first time the past has a “voice.”  I’ve always believed that the present and past are tightly woven together and that people in the big scheme don’t change over time.  We all want love, to take care of our children and to live full lives. 

In AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, the letters were the best way to capture the voice of women long forgotten by history.  I wanted the reader to understand the origins of the curse and see that actions, or the wishes of three women in 1750, had a ripple effect through time.  And just as choices made hundreds of years ago called a curse upon the Shire women so do Addie’s present day actions have the power to break it.

You introduced the McCrae family in your first novel and brought them back in Sweet Expectations.  Are they in your latest?
AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET is very much Addie’s and her family’s story. The Union Street Bakery is, of course, irresistible, as are the McCraes, and Addie can’t resist stopping by. She gets reacquainted with Daisy and also reconnects with Margaret. Margaret ends up stepping in with advice and then lending a hand to revive Aunt Grace’s flagging salvage business.  She’s with Daisy when they discover the first of the witch bottles.

Witch bottles? What are they? And how do they fit in the story? 
Hundreds of years ago the fear of witches was very real.  We forget that in the colonial era and even before that, death was always close.  Women wishing to protect their families against evil or even to curse others created these bottles, often under the light of the full moon.  The bottle was often filled with sharp objects designed to attack the evil and it was also filled with items close to the creator—buttons, strands of hair, bits of clothing, herbs and even blood. 

When the bottle was filled it was buried by either the front door of the cabin or by the hearth—both open portals that left the home open to attack by evil spirits.  There are very few intact bottles remaining.  When I was doing my research I found reference to one that is in a museum in Maryland.  As I studied the bottle the pieces of the story came together and I was off and running.

You first took readers to Old Town Alexandria with you in The Union Street Bakery. For AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET you’ve left the bakery behind. Does this mean no new recipes for readers? 
Absolutely not!  I’ll be posting several over the next months on my blog and via social media. As mentioned, Addie wastes no time before stopping by for a Union Street Bakery fix. And not long after, Margaret McCrae comes by bearing sugar cookies.  They’re made from the recipe in the back of The Union Street Bakery. (I’ve recently shared that one again.)  There is, however, a recipe—or actually instructions—tucked into the back of the next book that shows readers how to make their own witch bottles…if they dare.

Where can we find out more about you and what you’re up to? 
I post updates, photos and recipes and check in often on Facebook so there's lots of info there.  And my site is always open for business.  Plus, as my calendar continues to shape up for the end of 2015 and into 2016, I expect to have a number of opportunities to visit with readers and other writers.  Event listings can be found at

Thanks for having me! •  •  @METBooks

Mary Ellen Taylor
A Berkley Books Trade Paperback Original/Fiction
May 2015/$16.00 ($18.00)
978-0425278253 · 0425278255

Contact: Joan Schulhafer, Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting,, 973-338-7428
Berkley Books Contact: Kayleigh Clark,


Here are some Recipes Mary Ellen Taylor was gracious enough to share with us...ENJOY!!! 

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 cup of softened butter
½ cup sugar
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yoke
1 teaspoon rum or rum extract
2-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup large chocolate chips
1 cup small chocolate chips

Cream together the softened butter and sugars. Add the egg, egg yoke (it helps if they are room temperature). Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chips. Scoop cookies onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter (Mom uses pure Irish butter)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of whole milk
1 teaspoon of lemon extract
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt 

Cream together the sugar and butter until it’s fluffy.  Add the eggs, milk and lemon extract.  Mix well.  Into another bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly incorporate the flour into the butter mixture.  Spoon evenly sized dollops of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  


Thanks to
Joan at Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, one reader can win a copy of  At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the form by May 18th.

Form closed

 This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends May 18th. 

Good Luck!!!


  1. I think this book sounds good. I know that I have the first book, The Union Street Bakery, on my Kinidle but haven't read it yet. Maybe this will be a nudge. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I read the second and really enjoyed it...still need to go back and read the first and of course, need to read this latest one, too!

  2. I have the first two you mentioned, and I'm looking forward to this third book. I love all the covers of her books.

    1. Yes, the covers are all very nice. I read the second, and need to still read the first and now the third.


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