Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Go Organic! An Interview with Liz Mugavero

I'd like to welcome Liz Mugavero to the blog today. Liz writes the Pawsitively Organic Mystery series. A Biscuit, A Casket, the second book in the series, was released in April.

Kathy: Kristan "Stan" Connor bakes organic pet treats. Why go organic for our furry family members?

LM: What our pets eat is just as important as what we eat. Just like our own food, if we’re not paying attention to ingredients and how things are made we’re doing ourselves - and our pets - unknowing harm. Organic and local is always better. Plus, we’ve had so many incidents over the past few years with treats made in other countries getting our pets sick that there are very few non-homemade items I’ll feed. As a result, the cat/dog food bill is a little crazy….

Kathy: I understand you have a house full of animals (so do I). Do your pets enjoy bakery treats, organic or otherwise?

LM: Here’s to a house full of animals! Although I hope yours aren’t as messy as mine…. My schnoodle, Shaggy, loves bakery treats. She loves just about any kind of treat, but over time she has become picky and she knows the good stuff. When we go through a drive-through and someone hands her an off-the-supermarket-shelf cookie, she accepts it graciously then spits it out when we’re out of sight. But she devours the organic, fresh-baked treats. My other dogs are a tad more picky. And the cats are REALLY picky, but sometimes I get lucky! 

Kathy: Stan has a Main Coon. Is Nutty based on anyone in particular, a composite, or a unique fictional cat?

LM: Nutty is based on my own Maine coon cat, Tuffy, who was a stray living in the neighborhood. He was hanging around in the yard a lot, and finally began coming around for dinners. Then breakfasts and dinners. One night he didn’t show up, and he was “missing” for a few days. When he finally returned he’d been injured. After a vet visit and some discussion about what it meant to be an indoor cat, he moved in. He’s actually got a story coming out in September in a rescue anthology (I helped him write it). 

Nutty had a lot of the same background, although Nutty has some digestive issues, which are the catalyst for Stan’s cooking and baking organic. Tuffy doesn’t have those problems - as a matter of fact, he prefers junk food!

Kathy: A Biscuit, A Casket takes place at Halloween. What made you decide upon a holiday themed book?

LM: I love Halloween. I don’t think I made a conscious decision to write a holiday themed book, but rather it just seemed perfect to have a body found in a haunted corn maze like my dead dairy farmer, Hal Hoffman. Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday and I think it’s the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery. Plus, there’s just something so special about fall in New England, and I wanted to capture that in a book. 

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

LM: Cozies are just so much fun. You can have murder, laughs and food all in the same chapter. Plus, I love the communities that cozies take place in, and often wish I could move to one of these little towns and have these people as friends. 

Cozies also appeal to me, as I think they do to most people, because justice always prevails and every story has a happy ending. Who doesn’t want a happy ending? Especially since we don’t always get them in real life.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

LM: I am a fan of thrillers and dark mysteries as well. I have a book that loosely fits that description that I wrote before this series got picked up, and I’m now working with my agent to get that published as well. More to come, hopefully!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

LM: The Pawsitively Organic Mysteries feature Kristan “Stan” Connor, a corporate PR executive who suffered a job elimination. Humiliated, she decided she’d had enough of the corporate and city life and picked up and moved to tiny Frog Ledge with her Maine coon cat Nutty, and in the process she realized her true calling was baking organic treats for furry friends. And solving murders. 

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

LM: I enjoy writing about all the characters in Frog Ledge, but I have to say I’m partial to Char Mackey. Char is a New Orleans native transplanted to Connecticut, and even twenty years later she’s kept her southern flair. She’s a lot of fun and she loves to cook and eat yummy southern food! I love that she keeps hoping a drive-through daiquiri business will pop up in Frog Ledge. If I know Char, she might just get her wish someday!

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

LM: My pets and my rescue work, definitely. It was like fate when I was able to combine both my passions - animals and fiction writing. In one of my past lives as a reporter, I’d sometimes get to write about the plight of animals, like the time I did a series on feral cats in the town I covered, but to be able to work rescue and health themes into my fiction is a dream come true.  

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

LM: I’ve wanted to be a published author since I learned how to read. When the Pawsitively Organic series came to me, I’d been trying to publish for quite a while before that. Some of those books are still kicking around and I have every intention of getting back to them. I love the idea of my books entertaining people, and I like knowing that I’ve created a place people want to visit over and over with people they would love to hang out with. It’s such a great feeling.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

LM: Dennis Lehane, J.D. Salinger, SARK, Louise Hay. Can you imagine that party?

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

LM: I have a number of books going at any given time. It all depends on my mood. Right now, I have R.J. Ellory’s Saints of New York on my nightstand, my Wicked Cozy Author blog mate Edith Maxwell’s ’Til Dirt Do Us Part on my Kindle, and LynDee Stephens Walker’s Buried Leads on iBooks.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

LM: Not surprisingly, I read - a lot. Lately I don’t have as much time to do that as I’d like, but I squeeze it in wherever I can. Since it’s summer, I love visiting famers’ markets in the area. And I love taking my dogs out to walk the green, just like the one in Frog Ledge. 

And on Wednesday nights from October through January, you can find me watching American Horror Story - my absolute favorite twisted show. 

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

LM: Vanilla flavored almond milk and spinach for my green smoothies, potato chips and coffee.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

LM: Yes and yes! I recently submitted a proposal for books four, five and six in the Pawsitively Organic series, so fingers crossed that they will continue. And I mentioned above the book I’m making some edits on, in the thriller genre. Very excited about both of those projects. 

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

LM: I get to spend time with imaginary people, tell stories and meet amazing readers every day, both in person and via social media. What’s not to love?


For more information about Liz Mugavero check out the following links!

Webpage: www.lizmugavero.com
Blog: www.wickedcozyauthors.com

1 comment:

  1. I have read both books in the series. A review is on Amazon and WordPress