Sunday, December 1, 2013

Murder, Krista Davis Barked!

I'm thrilled to welcome Krista Davis back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Krista first visited in December of 2012 and we talked about her Domestic Diva Mystery Series. That series is still going strong, but today we're going to discuss her new series, the Paws and Claws Mystery series, the first of which, Murder, She Barked, will be released Tuesday!

Kathy: Nowadays it seems that publishers no longer market their books, or if they do, just do the bare minimum. An author is left to her own devices to get the word out and promote her own books. While the concept of word of mouth promotion has been around, probably since the first books were published, now there appears to be a more organized method of getting fans to spread the word about books they like. It’s called a street team. Authors find people who enjoy their books and encourage them to spread the word and thus market the book. For the Paws and Claws Mystery series you put together a very unique team, of which my Sam is a member. Will you tell us what made you decide to add these special members?

KD: I was looking around for a clever promotional item and fell in love with bandanas. It wasn't until I was taking photos of my own dogs wearing the MURDER, SHE BARKED bandanas that it dawned on me that dogs are sort of the original street team, running along streets and barking. Suddenly it all came together. I love receiving photographs of dogs and cats in their bandanas. It's the most fun I've ever had promoting a book!

Kathy: I have a full house. At the moment, I have a dog, 3 cats, 7 rats, and a horse. Do you have a furry family (or feathered, finned, scaled, etc.)?

KD: That's so funny, because I call my little family a full house – three dogs and two cats.  I have a Jack Russell Terrier, a golden retriever, a mostly black lab mix, an ocicat and a calico cat. And yes, they all get along beautifully. I even saw the calico cat lick my golden's nose recently!

Kathy: I’m thrilled that you include recipes in your books and even more excited to see recipes for our animal friends. How are these recipes developed? Do you have taste testers for the pet recipes? (Sam wants me to let you know he’d be more than happy to help you with this task!)

KD: Sam is welcome at our house anytime!

Until recently, I had a dog with severe food allergies. When he was finally diagnosed, the vet said to take him off all commercial foods immediately. He was allergic to corn, soy, wheat and rice, and if that wasn't enough, after a lot of trial and error, I realized that he was also allergic to root vegetables, meaning no carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts or beets. Oof! She gave me basic information on cooking for dogs, and I really had no choice.

There are some limited ingredient commercial foods on the market now, but there weren't back then. So I had to learn to cook for my dogs. I was nervous about it, of course, but dogs are omnivores like we are. There are a few foods that they absolutely should not eat, but the truth is that they can eat most of the foods that we should be eating: barley, lentils, apples, pears, watermelon, Swiss chard, spinach, green beans, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, the list goes on and on. So when it came to recipes for dogs, I had no problem at all because I had been cooking for my own dogs for years! They are my taste testers but I have to admit that they aren't very picky.

Kathy: What was the inspiration behind Murder, She Barked?

KD: I wanted to write a series involving dogs and cats, and I kept reading articles about hotels offering special amenities for dogs, like meals, plush robes and special beds. A lot of people are traveling with their pets. There are even some ranches and camps where you can vacation with your dogs. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a town that catered to animals and their people. Imagine the interesting kinds of people who would live there!

Kathy: I love the idea of a pet friendly town like Wagtail. Would you like to live in such a town?

KD: Absolutely! What fun to be able to take our dogs and cats everywhere with us. Wouldn't it be great to go out to dinner and take your dog along? I also love that Wagtail has a pedestrian zone and is a golf cart community.

Kathy: Two of my favorite characters in the book are Twinkletoes and Trixie. Are they based on real animals?

KD: They are! Someone dumped my poor little Buttercup on our street one day with eight puppies that weren't hers. She was darling but so afraid. She overcame everything except her fear of confined spaces. She still won't go into small rooms. But she has that spunky Jack Russell spirit. She's always alert, the first to bark, and she flies to investigate everything. She was perfect for the character of Trixie.

My calico kitten came from a hoarding situation. She's the nosiest cat I've ever had. She jumps into everything– boxes, bags, empty pots on the counter! She examines everything that comes into the house very carefully. Recently she learned to open cabinets. I'm going to have to keep an eye on her!

Kathy: Murder, She Barked has some unlikable characters. Before I even met him I didn’t like the Ben. (Sorry, anyone who would care more about a car interior than rescuing an animal isn’t worth the time of day in my book!) And there’s one character who I hope becomes a murder victim sooner, rather than later. Is it a conscious decision to add these types of characters primarily to create conflict?

KD: It's not so much to create conflict as to be somewhat realistic. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that there are always people in our lives who have their own agendas. It doesn't always mean they're evil, but they have different priorities and that can complicate life.

Kathy: I really enjoyed Murder, She Barked and look forward to seeing what happens next. How long will we have to wait for the next installment in this series?

KD: Thank you so much. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! The next book in the series (as yet untitled) will be out next December. My Domestic Diva Mysteries will be released each June and the Paws & Claws Mysteries will come out in December.

To celebrate the launch of MURDER, SHE BARKED, Krista’s dogs and cats are looking for dogs and cats to join their street crew. They’re giving away Murder, She Barked bandanas to two lucky dogs or cats who leave comments here today (it’s okay if their people leave comments for them)! Photos of winners (hopefully wearing their new Murder, She Barked bandanas) will be posted on Krista’s website ( and on Pinterest ( so your dogs and cats can share with their friends.


Krista Davis’s new series for animal lovers debuts on December 3rd, with MURDER, SHE BARKED. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and cupcakes. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats. The Diva Frosts a Cupcake is the seventh book in her Domestic Diva Mystery series. Three of those books have been nominated for Agatha awards and three have made the New York Times Bestseller list.


  1. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wonderful interview, I enjoyed reading it! Thank you for sharing. This new book sounds wonderful.

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