I'm pleased to welcome Arlene McFarlane to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Arlene writes the Murder, Curlers Mystery series. MURDER, CURLERS, AND CREAM is the first book in the series and is being released today!
Kathy: In MURDER, CURLERS, AND CREAM we meet Valentine Beaumont, a beautician. How
did you decide upon this profession for your protagonist?
AF: First, thank you, Kathy, for hosting an interview! My protagonist’s profession? That was an easy one. They always say “write what you know.” My background was in the beauty industry. I owned and operated a full-service salon, and when I decided to write a series, I knew Valentine would be a beautician!
Kathy: Did you draw on any previous hair appointments of your own for the story?
AM:Life in the beauty salon can be very entertaining. Ask any stylist! But while I had many interesting clients and appointments, the crazy goings-on in my stories are purely fictitious.
Kathy: Valentine gets into some wacky situations. Why is it a good idea to add
humor to mysteries?
AM: Honestly, I write what I like to read, and that is humor. Plus, I think the mystery becomes more amusing, certainly lighter, when humor is added.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
AM: That’s a good question. I wish I knew the answer. I guess in part, straight romance didn’t do it for me, nor did historicals or paranormals. Plus, by nature I’m a bit of a sleuth. I can usually tell you who dunnit in a movie after the opening scenes, I’m a natural at figuring out life puzzles and discovering why something works the way it does, and have always been able to find missing items when others can’t. It’s a gift.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
Kathy: Tell us about your series. (Please describe your series in a sentence or
AM: One sentence? My series is about a beautician who solves crimes using her tools of the trade, despite her wacky family, crazy staff, and romantic mishaps. How’d I do?
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AM: My favorite character. Hmm. That’s a tough one. Max is hilarious. Phyllis is, well, Phyllis. But I’d have to say Valentine is my favorite character. She’s got spunk and style, and she’s got a soft heart and strives to do her best in every situation.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AM: I love Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr books and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. And I love the humor of Sophia Kinsella. I’d have to say those three were my biggest inspiration to write mystery and humor.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AM: After years and years . . . and years of striving to be traditionally published, I thought it was time to move on. Over and over again, agents and editors told me there wasn’t a market for my book or they couldn’t connect with my characters. So with the rise of many successful indie books—and with nobody else wanting my series—I self-published.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in
any genre, who would you invite?
AM: Ooh, this is a delicious question! Naturally I’d invite Janet Evanovich, Lawrence Block, Liliana Hart—another favorite, and Stephen King. Can you imagine the dialogue at the dinner table?
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AM: I’m often reading 2 or 3 books simultaneously. Mostly a few minutes here or there whenever I have time to pick one up. Generally, they will be cozies. Right now, I’m reading one of Lawrence Block’s Burglar books.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AM: I used to play piano professionally, so when I find time I love to sit and play.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AM: Fruit. Veggies. Juice. Chocolate.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new
AM: Yes. Book 2 of the series, MURDER, CURLERS, AND CANE, will be out next year. Followed by book 3, MURDER, CURLERS, AND CRUISES. And hopefully more to come!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AM: Writing. LOL Actually, it’s true. I can’t wait each day to get back into Valentine’s world.
Arlene McFarlane is the author of the Murder, Curlers series. Previously an aesthetician, hairstylist, and owner of a full-service salon, Arlene now writes full time. When she’s not making up stories, or being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, cat-mom, or makeover artist, you’ll find her making music on the piano.
Arlene is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Toronto Romance Writers, SOWG, and the Golden Network. She’s won and placed in over 30 contests, including twice in the Golden Heart and twice in the Daphne du Maurier.
Arlene lives with her family in Canada.
“Smart, Entertaining, and Laugh-Out-Loud Funny!”
Liliana Hart, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Addison Holmes Series
MURDER, CURLERS, AND CREAM
Valentine Beaumont is a beautician with a problem. Not only has she got a meddling mother, a wacky staff, and a dying business, but now she’s got a dead client who was strangled while awaiting her facial.
With business the way it is, combing through this mystery may be the only way to save her salon. Until a second murder, an explosion, a kidnapping, death threats, and the hard-nosed Detective Romero complicate things. But Valentine will do anything to untangle the crime. That’s if she can keep her tools of the trade in her bag, keep herself alive, and avoid falling for the tough detective.
In the end, how hard can that be?
MURDER, CURLERS, AND CREAM
“You wound a perm rod around a man’s what?” Detective Romero stood in the middle of my Mediterranean-styled salon, hand on his gun hip, legs spread wide. His deep voice was laced with cynicism, and his blue eyes pierced me with a look that said now he’d heard everything.
I know it sounded outrageous, but good lord. It’d been several years since “Local Beautician Valentine Beaumont Uses Perm Rod to Curl Murderer’s Gonads” made front page headlines in the Rueland News. Was I ever going to live that down? It was an awful picture of me they’d run too, considering I was soaked in mud and covered in cuts and bruises.
Besides, there was another crisis at hand. I mean, a dead body had just been removed from the facial bed in Ti Amo—one of my treatment rooms, not thirty feet down the hall. Didn’t this detective, in his faded jeans and brown plaid shirt, think that was a little more important?
I pulled at my tight-knit top, trying not to let him get under my skin. “For the record, that perm rod saved me from being knifed to death. Anyway, it sounds worse than it was.”
“Worse than it was! Lady, that’s about as worse as it can get for a man.” He blew out a sigh. “I’d love to hear the full story on that one day.”
I smiled sweetly. “If you’re nice to me, maybe one day I’ll tell it.”
He glared at me, probably not certain if I was being sarcastic or sincere. Frankly, I wasn’t sure about that myself.
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RELEASE DAY ~ NOVEMBER 8, 2016
Barnes & Noble: http://bn.com/w/1124913689