I'm pleased to welcome Tonya Kappes to the blog today. In addition to her Magical Cures Mystery series, Tonya writes the Ghostly Southern Mystery series, the first of which, A Ghostly Undertaking, was released February 24th.
Kathy: Do you believe in ghosts?
TK: Yes I do. I believe there are spirits more than ghosts.
Kathy: After an untoward accident Emma Lee Raines is able to hear ghosts. Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?
TK: I have had an experience with a ghost/spirit that lasted for five years when I owned a home in the historic district of our community. In fact, I was interviewed by on of the host of the Travel Channel’s TV show Ghost Adventures about it. It was a ton of fun!
Kathy: Emma Lee Raines is an undertaker. I went to high school with someone who wanted to be an undertaker-and it wasn't the family business. Do you know any undertakers? Have they influenced Emma?
TK: I grew up in a small town similar to Sleepy Hollow and there were two funeral homes run by two local families with kids my age. So I do know how families take part in it. Today I have a friend that is an undertaker and her family owns the funeral home. Her son is even in mortuary school now!
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TK: I like the small town feel, the close connections, and the light
mysteries in the cozy genre. I thought I wrote cozy, but my publisher
informed me my novels are mystery and that is how they shelve them at
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TK: I started my writing career in the women’s fiction genre but dead bodies continued to show up. It wasn’t until one of my friends, Melissa Bourbon~cozy author, said to me “hello, mystery author.” Ha!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.A Ghostly Southern Mystery series was so much fun to write. Emma Lee Raines is an undertaker and owner of Eternal Slumber Funeral Home in the small southern Kentucky town of Sleepy Hollow. Of course everyone knows everyone and gossip travels fast. Emma can communicate with people who have been murdered and they haunt her until she can get them to the Great Beyond, Big Guy in the Sky! Plus she dates the hunky sheriff, jack Henry Ross, which adds a little spin on how she can investigate without people in the town thinking she's nuts!
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TK: Oh! I love the quirky characters the best. All of my novels has that one strange bird. Those are the characters that I can let anything happen with and it be okay. Not so much for the main character.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TK: All the names in the series are from my past. Ruthie, the ghost, was taken from an old neighbor of mine who was very feisty for 90 years old. In A Ghostly Grave, Chicken Teater is the ghost and he is male. In real life I knew a Chicken Tudor, female bootlegger from my hometown!
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TK: Years ago I was telling a story to my book club and one of them said I should write a book. My hubby had been telling me that too. It was those two people who encouraged me to follow my dreams. A little encouragement goes a long way.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TK: I have four boys (21,17,17 and 15). I have little time for hobbies between sporting events. Reading and writing takes up any free time I have.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TK: Weight Watcher Brownies, String Cheese, and plastic containers of cotton candy.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TK: HarperCollins is releasing the first four books in the series this year. That way there is NO waiting a year between books. I’m thrilled they are doing this!
A Ghostly Grave (3/31)
A Ghostly Demise (8/19)
A Ghostly Murder (9/28~which is a Monday because I’m doing an event that day put on by HarperCollins in Chicago.)
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TK: Meeting my readers. I host a lot of reader events all over the United States. In October I rented out a murder mystery train in Toledo! I’m so excited because it’s turned into a mystery weekend for me and my readers! Murder on the Toledo Express! Doesn’t that sound fun? I’m fortunate because my publisher is behind me all the way.
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