I'd like to welcome Colleen Helme to Cozy Up With Kathy. Colleen writes the Shelby Nichols Adventure series. Deep in Death is the 6th book in the series and was just published in July.
Kathy: If you just read the synopsis of Deep in Death, you could easily think you were about to read a thriller instead of a cozy. How did you decide to make the story cozy?
CH: My main character, Shelby Nichols, may be a private investigator (she has her own consulting agency), but she is also married and the mother of two kids. This makes her softer and less gritty than other P.I.s. Also, all of the books in my Shelby Nichols Adventure series are infused with lots of humor which gives them that cozy feel I love.
Kathy: From The Godfather and Goodfellas to the Sopranos and from Al Capone and Lucky Luciano to the Gottis, America has always had a fascination with the mob.What do you think are the reasons for its popularity?
CH: In some ways, I think the mob represents the wild west. They are kind of like a law unto themselves. I think the fascination comes because they deal out their own form of justice and aren't afraid of getting caught. How can they be so nonchalant about taking the law into their own hands? It's all about power and money...things that so easily corrupt, and how they handle it.
Kathy: Uncle Joey is also known as Joey “The Knife” Manetto. If you were to have a nickname, what would it be?
CH: I think I'd like to be called Pepper. To me that implies something that isn't bland, has a lot of energy, and is a great soft drink.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CH: When I began the first book in the series, CARROTS, I had no idea what genre it would be. I just had a story I wanted to write. Once I finished, I still wasn't sure where it fit, and it took me awhile to figure it out. That's why the series is called "Shelby Nichols Adventures" rather than "Shelby Nichols Mysteries." I didn't even know it would become a series at first, but I couldn't let Shelby go, and she just kept getting into more and more trouble. I think the series has evolved and I couldn't be happier with where it is going.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CH: Yes. My first published books are romantic fantasy novels. A stand-alone, Songbird, and Flame of Destiny with its sequel, The Relic.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CH: A perfect combination of humor and wit with just the right amount of murder and mayhem make this cozy mystery series a must read. Once you start you won't want to stop.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CH: Yes - it's Shelby! Like I say in my bio, she is the epitome of everything I wished I dared to be. Although I have to say, after writing about reading minds, I've decided I would NEVER want that ability. Then of course, I also have a soft spot in my heart for Ramos... He's like my dream man...hehehe.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CH: Actually, the inspiration came when I was at the grocery store getting carrots. I'd heard about a bank robbery inside the store and wondered what that would have been like if I'd been there. My imagination took off and I started CARROTS the next day.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CH: Once I started writing, that was always my goal. But it has been a long, hard, road!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CH: That's a hard one!! There are so many that I love! First on my list would be C.S. Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia hold so much wisdom. I've loved everything by Jude Deveraux. Another favorite has been Catherine Asaro with her science fiction world building. Finally, Richard Castle, since I'm such a fan of the show. (LOL - just kidding - although I did get my picture taken with Nathan Fillion)!!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CH: I just bought Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story) by Lyla Payne that I'm looking forward to reading. I love to find and support new indie authors, and I've heard some good things about this book.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CH: I love to play the piano, go on bike rides, dabble in watercolor paintings, play card games, and go on walks. I recently learned how to play pickleball and I love it!! I have some favorite TV shows that I like to watch on Netflix and Hulu, like Castle, Bones, Leverage, and Person of Interest. My favorite vampire show was MOONLIGHT which was only on for one season...but I loved it! (and bought it)
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CH: Diet Cherry Pepsi, chocolate covered marshmallow bears, popcorn, fresh fruit (to balance out the other stuff)
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CH: Yes! I am currently working on book seven in the Shelby Nichols Adventures, and I'm about half-way done with an Urban Fantasy novel, but it's kind of on the back-burner right now.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CH: Connecting with my fans and getting good reviews. They are really what keeps me writing!
For more information about Colleen Helme and Deep in Death check out the following links:
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