Kathy: Mary Catherine inherited her family’s psychic abilities. Have you ever had a reading from a psychic?
RM: No, but I have attended what an evening with a psychic. She gave messages from loved ones to some of the audience. She gave me one from my mother, Georgia. She mentioned something she would not have known in the message. I do believe they are just across the shore. My mother was a big fan of fortune-tellers.
Kathy: The Russian and Aunt Sophia is described as a madcap cozy mystery novella. Do you enjoy watching screwball comedies such as Bringing Up Baby or What's Up, Doc?
RM: I love comedies such as Seinfeld, Taxi, Cheers and reading Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey.
Kathy: How is writing a novella different than writing a full length novel? Do you find one more challenging than the other?
RM: It did not start out as a novella. I had 50,000 words and decided to enter the 2017 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Contest. No more than 20,000 words. It was challenging but in the process I learned to let go. Readers don’t need to be spoon fed. I am glad I did since it was chosen as a quarter-finalist. My editor suggested publishing it as a novella. So I did.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
RM: I read mysteries of all sizes and types. It was just natural.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
RM: No, not at the moment but I would like to write in women’s fiction and set the book in the 1950’s.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
RM: I love the fact that readers tell me they laugh out loud when reading my books. I think PatZi said it best when Feisty Nuns came out. I like to think my books are a fun read but also contain intelligent observations.
“Rita brings to cozy mysteries a sharp intelligence and a delightful ability to capture characters. Her main character, Mary Catherine Mahoney, MC for short, is one you won't forget. Feisty Nuns is the third book in a series that blends a bit of psychic abilities with a myriad of plot twists and intelligent observations. A great read!” PatZi
PatZi Gil Creator/Host
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Also the judge’s commentary from the 25th Annual Writers Digest Self-Published contest:
“Feisty Nuns” is a fun mystery, with characters readers will care about and enough humor to have them laughing out loud on almost every page. The characters, particularly MC and Velma, are well-drawn, and even minor characters are distinct and not cliché or superficial.
Readers will root for the right people and be glad that the “good guys” win in the end, and particularly that MC sails off into the sunset with Theo (and Izzy). The nuns, with the exception of Sister Clarissa, are all ones some readers will wish they’d had in school.
The author also isn’t afraid to tackle the very real issue of nuns and their position with the Catholic Church in a realistic and informed way.
Judge’s Commetary from ScreenCraft:
Quarter-Finalist in the 2017 SCREENCRAFT Cinematic Short Contest – Judge’s Commentary:
"The Russian & Aunt Sophia is a very unique and delightfully quirky tale of mystery and murder. The locations are vivid and fun, the characters are engaging, and the plot is very solid and effective. The Russian & Aunt Sophia would work immensely well as a cinematic adaptation." SCREENCRAFT
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
RM: I love Aunt Sophia and Aunt Anna – they are a combination of my mother, Georgia.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
RM: Yes, my mother. She was born in 1926 and she had a dream to become a star. She was asked to sing with big bands but my grandmother put her foot down. She went on to raise three children and care of an extended family as a single mother in the 1950’s. She never gave up her dream. She became a public access TV producer in Tampa, FL and is remember to this day.
I hope someday my books will make it to the big screen and my mother’s dream will come true.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
RM: I retired as a CPA with the Treasury department and had to keep busy, and that included my brain. It was on my bucket list. I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to go the indie route.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
RM: Michael Connelly, Carl Hiaasen, Sue Grafton, Robert Crais
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
RM: The Case of the Dearly Departed by Jim Stevens. A Richard Sherlock Whodunit.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
RM: I have taught group fitness since 1991. I taught all types of classes at the University of South Florida (my alma mater) and currently teach for Tivity Health SilverSneakers.. Walking on the beach and taking Zumba.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
RM: Eggs, Coffee cream, canned chicken and tuna. Boring but healthy.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
RM: Yes I would like to write a book about a single mother in the 1950’s, a lot like my mother. Also a fifth book in the Mary Catherine Mahoney mystery series.
RM: Socialization. When I retired I lost a chunk of my social world.