I'm pleased to welcome Tom Drennan to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Tom writes the Thor McGraw Mystery series. Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder, the first book in the series, was released this past week.
Kathy: Thor McGraw has a “gift”. What made you decide to add a supernatural touch to your mystery?
TD: I started off in the SF and Fantasy genre and walked happily and with arms wide open into the mystery genre where I belong. The supernatural touch is the magic shamrock that stuck to my shoe along the way down the path.
Kathy: In Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder Thor has to deal with “the two things he dislikes most in life -- his annoying neighbor and a cats”. Cats are a staple in many cozy mysteries and are generally regarded quite favorably. In reality are you a cat person? Or would you prefer to keep your distance?
TD: I share a few things with Thor -- one being a FURocious allergy to cats. So I keep my distance. Though, I do enjoy writing about the little furballs!
Kathy: Have you ever had a truly annoying neighbor? Did that experience give fodder to writing Thor’s relationship with his neighbor?
TD: No one, including myself, has ever had a neighbor like Mrs. Charlotte Plum (from Thor McGraw and the Ice Man Murder). She is nosey, pushy, presumptuous, and in-your-face annoying. She’s such fun to write and makes me (and hopefully my readers) laugh!
Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?
TD: Mysteries are what I enjoy the most. What better genre is there to deliver a clever puzzle and a good laugh?
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TD: I’ve done some science fiction in the past.
Kathy: Tell us about your series
TD: I could not hope to describe the series better than the incomparable Sharon Shinn, author of the Elemental Blessings series, does for my back cover blurb… “A dad, a cat, an unsolved case, and a fresh murder all combine in a charming froth of a mystery by Tom Drennan. Add in a tenacious cop, a beautiful blonde, and a supernatural family gift for crime-solving -- or is it a curse? -- and you have this fun and fast-paced debut novel.” The series promises to explore Thor’s relationship with his young daughter, his ex-wife, and, of course, Cheops, the cat -- all the while honing Thor’s crime solving skills. There will be mysteries to solve, a tiny zap of the supernatural, and lots of laughs along the way!
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TD: Sabrina (Bree) McGraw. She’s Thor’s daughter and she steals most of the scenes where she appears. When writing, if I think things are slowing down all I have to do is put Sabrina on stage and things happen. Much of what Thor does is motivated by his love for his daughter and his need to protect her. Plus, she’s loosely based on my fifth child so how could she not be my favorite character?
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for the series?
TD: I first started writing Thor McGraw a long ways back, when I was a younger man. “Write what you know” was the familiar adage of the day. I had spent a few years getting a post graduate degree from Boston College and had loved my days at the college and in the city. Fast forward ten or fifteen years and I was back in my hometown, the father of five children whom I absolutely adored. “Write what you know.” And so Thor McGraw was born. As I write Thor, I draw inspiration from Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, with a touch of Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, and there’s a dash of Zachary Levi from the TV series Chuck. But, there’s a little bit of me in Thor–celebrating my children, embracing a good laugh, bumbling about enough to make my wife and friends slap their heads in disbelief, and sneezing when I am anywhere near a cat!
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TD: Apart from being a pretty good mystery this book has a lot of fun and laughter. As an Irishman I know fun and a good laugh are meant to be shared.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TD: Homer - How many tales could he tell us that have been otherwise lost forever?
A. A. Milne - what a wonderful mind, so clever and enchanting!
Louise Penny -- if I could invite fictitious characters Inspector Gamache would be at the top of the list!
J. K. Rowling -- what imagination!
Kathy: What are currently reading?
TD: I usually read several things at the same time. Currently..
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TD: I enjoy mysteries, superheroes, baseball, and a good laugh
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TD: Licorice Pipes for celebrating special events
Caffeine Free Diet Coke (I do not drink and I do not smoke, but open a vein and pour in the soda!)
Popcorn for watching MidSomer Murders or Foyle’s War or Agatha Christie
Small candies, hidden and then doled out sparsely, but with great love to my grandchild
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series of a new series?
TD: Yes, there is a second Thor McGraw book in the works. You’ll see it in 2016!
Kathy: What’s your favorite think about being an author?
TD: The people! I love my writing group, the Alternate Historians -- Rett MacPherson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Deborah Millitello, Marella Sands, Sharon Shinn, and Mark Sumner. Such accomplished writers! And I enjoy working with such talented artists as my cover designer, Scarlett Rugers! And best of all I love my readers!
Tom has generously offered a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky reader. To be eligible simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us if you'd like to have a supernatural gift. Leave your comment and e-mail address no later than 11:59 pm EDT Wednesday, September 2 in order to qualify.