CF: Yes! I started taking piano lessons when I was seven and joined the band in sixth grade as a percussionist. I went on to get a degree in Music Education, switching my focus from percussion to vocal music partway through. I also learned how to play the guitar in college. Now, I’m the lead singer/guitarist/music arranger for my church’s praise band. I taught school for a while and loved the music aspect of it, just not the teaching kids aspect of it! I’ve written an original song for all of my Java Jive series books. The sheet music will be included as bonus material with each book.
Kathy: After her two-timing fiancé ruins another career choice, Juliet takes refuge in Nashville and becomes the manager of a coffeehouse. Are you a coffee fan?
CF: I LOVE coffee. In researching for this series, I bought my own espresso maker and learned how to pour latte art. And I never pass a Starbucks without grabbing a Caramel Macchiato.
Kathy: Is Java Jive based on a real coffeehouse?
CF: No, it’s not based on any one specific coffeehouse. However, I did a lot of research at some fabulous coffeehouses in Nashville’s Midtown area where my series is set. Research is a great excuse for a vacation.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CF: I’m not a very serious person, so I was immediately drawn to the lightheartedness and humor of cozies. I also was a huge Trixie Belden fan growing up, and cozies are basically Trixie Belden Mysteries for grown-ups.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CF: I’ve got a more forensic-based mystery series I’m developing. I have to be much more serious when I’m writing that one! I’ve taken a couple of criminalistics classes at a local university to make sure I have all of my procedures correct. I tried to write a chick-lit romance story a few years ago, but I couldn’t get it to work. Without a murder to solve, my characters didn’t seem to have a purpose.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CF: The Java Jive series follows Juliet Langley, washed-up singer turned coffeehouse manager, as she navigates life in Nashville. She expected the heartache of living in Music City without being able to participate in the music scene, but she never dreamed she’d be tripping over dead bodies and chasing killers.
The Lizzie Hart series follows Lizzie Hart, a copy editor with no filter, as she gossips, snoops, and even chick-fights her way to sleuth out killers lurking in her small town.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CF: I hate to play favorites, but if pressed, I guess I’d have to admit I have kind of a crush on Pete Bennett. I love wisecracking man-children. I’m married to one.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CF: I have a couple—Juliet’s stage fright is an issue my daughter deals with every time she performs. She’s a fantastic singer, but her nerves always work against her. It’s a very real problem for some performers, and it can be horribly debilitating. I’m hoping both my daughter and my character can overcome their fears. And dear old Gertie is based on my Aunt Bernice. That lady was a firecracker.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CF: My husband had read my first book and urged me to do something with it. Once I published the first one, I was hooked!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CF: Edgar Allan Poe, for obvious reasons, although it would probably creep me out to talk to him. Dr. Bill Bass, the director of the body farm at the University of Tennessee, who co-writes the Body Farm Series. The concept of a body farm absolutely enthralls me. Julie Campbell, the creator of the Trixie Belden Mysteries series. I’d like to thank her for sparking my interest in mysteries as a child. And finally, Billie Letts. I’d love to pick her brain about how she always managed to get her characters to jump off the page and into her readers’ hearts.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CF: I am currently beta-reading The Enclave by my author friend Jami Deise. It’s like a modern-day version of The Stepford Wives, set in a retirement community for the über-rich in Florida. Jami and I have the same snarky sense of humor, so I love reading her books.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CF: I love to travel, play the guitar, sing, make jewelry, cook, and watch movies. I also love to entertain—there’s always a party at my house!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CF: Chocolate, coffee, wine, and about ten half-empty boxes of cereal.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CF: Yes! Java Jive book two, Mug Shot, comes out in April. And Random House Alibi has just contracted me for two additional books in the series!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CF: I love it when a story comes together! My favorite part is the very beginning, where I daydream constantly about a new idea for a book. My mind goes nonstop, and the possibilities are endless.
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