FARMINGTON — A gift for a granddaughter has grown into an award-winning series of books for a Farmington couple.

Jo-Anne Bean Palmer and her husband, Chris Palmer, have released “ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties,” book three in their Cape Cod Witch Series of magical adventures for children ages 8 to 12.

Before the first birthday of granddaughter, Amelia, in 2005, Jo-Anne wanted to write a book for her. The feedback from family and friends was good, she said. She decided to write a book for each birthday.

Since then, the couple have released seven books. The eighth is expected by Amelia’s birthday in May.

The stories follow the “magical world of a good little witch who clearly has a calling to protect the natural world,” Chris said.

The environmental aspect and ElsBeth’s growing into that calling reflect a magical kinship between magic and the natural world, he said.

It also relates to Jo-Anne’s major in environmental sciences, he said.

Jo-Anne, daughter of Robert and Glenys Gould Bean, graduated from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington in 1973 and the University of Maine at Farmington.

She said she always loved writing and was a voracious reader. Writing was put on the back burner while she pursued a career in environmental sciences. After changing careers, she found she had more time to take writing seriously, she said.

A former Cape Cod resident, Chris attended Colby College in Waterville before a career in computer software. A child of two English teachers, he developed interests in writing poetry.

“We both also had to write a lot in our jobs,” he said.

After living in the West and the South, the couple returned to Cape Cod. They moved to Farmington in 2011, Jo-Anne said.

They live in a renovated barn bordered by the Sandy River and a large cornfield. The barn was originally a storage facility for the Gould canning factory on the Intervale, she said.

Writing under the name J. Bean Palmer, Jo-Anne is credited as the creator of the stories. Chris initially contributed as reader and editor but then co-authored, adding his poetry to the stories.

“He’s being modest,” Jo-Anne said. “Some of the most beautiful writing in the books are his work.”

In addition, Chris works as a translator via Skype helping people in China, Japan and Russia translate American cultural expressions, he said.

For the first book, “The Cape Code Witch and the Pirate’s Treasure,” Jo-Anne used photos from local publications in Cape Cod. A family member encouraged her to improve the artwork.

She discovered the work of juried fine artist Melanie Therrien, who at the time was living a mile from Jo-Anne’s granddaughter, she said.

Now each book in the series includes more than 20 original, full-color illustrations by Therrien, owner and operator of Wicked Illustrations Studio and Gallery, an art education center in Auburn, she added.

In this latest book, ElsBeth Amelia Thistle returns to the Scottish Highlands, her ancestral home, Chris said. The family roots of both authors go back to Scotland and a large castle owned by his relative, Count Cahoon.

The book was awarded Honorable Mention at the 2013 Midwest Book Festival. In December, “ElsBeth and the Pirate’s Adventure,” book two, was also awarded an Honorable Mention by the Midwest Book Festival and the London Book Festival. These awards follow others.

Their book, “The Little Cape Cod Witch Cookbook,” is available at Sandy River Farms and hard copies of their first book are available at Devaney Doak and Garrett Booksellers and at amazon.com.

The others are available in digital markets worldwide for all major ebook readers, Chris said.

More information is available at www.capecodlittlewitch.com

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