I'm pleased to welcome Lena Gregory to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Lena writes the Bay Island Psychic Mystery series. Death at First Sight, the first book in the series, was released last week.
Kathy: Cass Donovan leaves her psychiatric practice to open a psychic shop. While there is quite a difference in some aspects of these two professions, there are also many similarities. How can being a psychiatrist influence being a professional psychic?
LG: Years of training as a psychiatrist have allowed Cass the unique opportunity to delve into people’s minds, giving her insight into how they think. She spent her entire career studying people, learning how to interpret the gestures and “tells” that give away what’s on their minds at any given time. She is very good at “reading” people and uses her instincts and her training to provide fairly accurate pictures of their lives.
Kathy: Have you ever had a reading from a psychic?
LG: I have had a reading from a psychic, and she was amazing. I know many people who have gone to her, and all of them agree. Not only was she remarkably accurate, but she left me with a feeling of peace that is unusual for me. Just between us, I’m typically pretty high-strung.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite form of divination?
LG: I am interested in all forms of divination, and Cass uses many forms. She is fond of color readings, finding them very peaceful, but often resorts to her crystal ball when all else fails. Of course, Cass isn’t really psychic, at least…not yet.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
LG: My agent was the first to introduce me to cozy mysteries, and I fell in love with them after reading my first one. I enjoy reading and writing series’ so cozy mysteries were perfect for me. I love the small town feel, and I love getting to know the characters throughout each book. Each time I start another book, it feels as if I’m hanging out with old friends.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
LG: I started out writing romance, but I enjoy mysteries more. Then I wrote a young adult fantasy series, which I enjoyed, but I really feel like I’ve found my niche with cozy mysteries. I am currently working on my second cozy series.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
LG: Bay Island Psychic Mysteries is my first cozy series. After a string of unfortunate events, Cass Donovan leaves her psychiatric practice in New York City to return to her hometown of Bay Island. She opens a psychic shop on the boardwalk and sets out to enjoy a peaceful, uneventful life. Though she’s not actually psychic, years of psychiatric training allow her to “read” people with a fair degree of accuracy. As the series progresses, a number of unexplained events have Cass questioning her assessment of her abilities.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LG: I love Cass, but I’d have to say my favorite character to write is Bee. He’s fun, but he’s got some deep, dark secrets.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
LG: I live on the east end of Long Island, and that inspired my ideas for the setting. As far as the story itself, I’ve always been fascinated with psychics and with the idea of communicating with those who have passed on. I’ve always wondered if any of them are real, or if they are just very intuitive.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
LG: I’ve always been an avid reader, often reading as many as three to five books a week. When my youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night, I decided to give writing a try, and I loved it. After I wrote my first story, I started researching how to get published. It was definitely more…involved than I expected.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
LG: Margaret Mitchell, JRR Tolkien, Nelson DeMille, and Nora Roberts.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LG: I just started Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
LG: I love spending time with my husband and kids, and I’ll pretty much do anything they are doing. I taught dance for many years, so when my daughter was in high school, I choreographed and co-directed her musicals. Now, my youngest son is in kindergarten, and I’m coaching soccer for him. I also love big dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs are my favorite breed.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
LG: Diet Pepsi, Dove dark chocolate, ice cream, and salad—gotta have something healthy.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
LG: I’ve already completed the first three books in the Bay Island Psychic Mystery series, and I’d love to write a fourth. Right now, I’m working on the first book in another cozy mystery series called The All Day Breakfast Café.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
LG: I absolutely love release day. I get so excited when I have a new book coming out, and this time, I’m doing my first facebook party, so I’m excited but really nervous about that.
DEATH AT FIRST SIGHT by Lena Gregory
The First Bay Island Psychic Mystery
Cass is a natural at reading people, but sometimes she gets a bit extra when giving psychic readings to her clients. Seeing a shadow during a regular client's reading makes Cass more than a bit uneasy. Her feeling of dread increase when confronted by the woman's overbearing mother, Marge, and seeing her client's philandering husband roaming around town with another woman. These feelings are validated when Cass finds Marge's murdered body in the theatre. But did Cass see danger for Madge, Ellie, or herself as the Sheriff is determined to find Cass guilty of murder! With her good friends supporting her and a sexy stranger showing up wherever she turns Cass is determined to find answers.
Gregory assembles a good assortment of characters in DEATH AT FIRST SIGHT. At the forefront we have a trio of friends: the happy go lucky woman married to a member of law enforcement, the flamboyant man with a darker past, and a psychiatrist turned psychic who doesn't actually believe she has any psychic abilities. We also have the downtrodden wife, the slimy abusive husband, the vitriolic mother, a sexy stranger, and an assortment of townsfolk, all with their own stories.There's a lot of information hinted at, showing us that we're just starting to scratch the surface of the truths in Bay Island.
There's a lot more darkness than light here. We have domestic abuse and lots of secrets buried in the past that are primed to rise to the surface. I enjoyed the bits about divination the author sprinkled in, especially appreciated Cass's knowledge and use of crystals and I'm intrigued by her color reading, a form seemingly more in tune with her days as a psychiatrist. Of course, I'm in love with Beast and hope he can train Cass quickly!