Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Good, The Bad, & The Interview

I'm pleased to welcome Rebecca Adler to the blog today. Rebecca writes the Taste of Texas Mystery series. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE is the second book in the series and will be released November 1st.


Kathy: I lived in Texas for 10 years and one of the things I miss most is Tex-Mex food. What is your favorite Tex-Mex dish?

RA: Obviously, I'm a huge fan of Tex Mex. My new favorite is chile rellenos. Ah, the sweet savory flavor of chiles and oaxaca cheese fried in a light batter. Delicioso!


Kathy: In THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE, Broken Boot is hosting the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Is this festival based on a real one or is it purely a product of your imagination?

RA: The Homestead Days Music Festival is loosely based on Waco's Homestead Fair at Homestead Heritage and Kerrville's Texas Heritage Music Day; but, yeah, it's mostly a product of my imagination.


Kathy: Do you enjoy country music? Who sets your toe a-tappin'?

RA: I listen to all kinds of music including country. When I'm writing, it's instrumental bluegrass and the legendary Chet Atkins. Driving in the car, I'm inspired by Ricky Scaggs, Rascal Flats, and the great Willie Nelson.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RA: I love to write in what I call a first person, chatty voice. And I prefer writing stories light on romance and violence. A cozy style fits my personality.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

RA: My first novel was a sweet contemporary romance published by The Wild Rose Press called PLAY IT LOUD. Plus I have more sweet romantic stories published in Texas-themed anthologies.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

RA: The Taste of Texas Mysteries are centered around Josie Callahan, her long-haired chihuahua Lenny, and her family in Broken Boot, Texas. After a broken engagement and a lay off, Josie's left the big city with her tail between her legs looking for a place to regroup. Her family's restaurant, Milagro, provides both the safety of home and a surprising number of narrow escapes.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

RA: It's like choosing your favorite child...impossible. I will say that in this particular book Lenny, the long-haired chihuahua grew in my esteem.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

RA: I'm inspired by the breathtaking vistas in the high desert of Texas' Big Bend Country and the surrounding communities of Alpine, Marfa, and Fort Davis. When it comes to books, Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mysteries are favorites. And I never miss Longmire on Netflix.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

RA: I need to write with an end goal or deadline in mind. If I didn't have a series of publication deadlines, it would be difficult for me to find time to write.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

RA: Alan Bradley, Mary Stewart, Elizabeth George, and Dick Francis.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RA: Just finished reading A TRAITOR TO MEMORY by Elizabeth George. That woman can plot!


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

RA: I'm a middle school theatre teacher who loves to direct musicals and plays...and write books.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

RA: Guacamole. (Seriously.) Popcorn. Humus. And cheese.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

RA: The third book in this series, CINCO DE MURDER, comes out next November. Josie and Lenny will take us on another adventure as they hunt down the villains out to ruin the good name of Broken Boot, Texas.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

RA: I started out as an actress; but you can't hold a performance in your hand. I love knowing that I can find my work online, in libraries, and in bookstores. It's a bit nerve wracking that my mistakes will always be on view, but gratifying as well.


Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

RA: I loved spending time with you, Kathy. Hasta la vista!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Review - THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY

Review





THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY by Ellen Crosby
The Seventh Wine Country Mystery

It's a wintry February and the Montgomery Estate Vineyard is working on its upcoming Valentine's celebration as well as creating their first sparkling wine. Lucie and Quinn still haven't moved in together and their relationship may best be described as complicated-and things are about to get even more complicated! A surprise walks in in the guise of Gino Tomassi-a major California wine mogul who is also Quinn's cousin-a fact Quinn kept from Lucie. There's no love lost between the cousins and relations get even worse when Lucie discovers some of their family history that may have serious ramifications. A past which includes a possible murder, a president's indiscretions, and more than one case of "who's the father" serve to create new chaos and a serious threat to Lucie. There's more than one puzzle from the past to be solved here. Will Lucie be able to unravel history's threads to discover the true tapestry of the past? 

Winston Churchill once said, "A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble." The same can be said for THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY.  This fast paced mystery makes the heart race as threats come from everywhere from several possible suspects. My imagination was definitely stirred as more and more secrets from the past became exposed. My wits certainly became more nimble as I attempted to keep up with Lucie as she discovered more and more; the present threats seemingly hinged in the past.

Ellen Crosby has crafted as fine a mystery as the wines Quinn creates for the Montgomery Estate Vineyard. Well developed flawed characters and intricately layered storylines form this complex multidimensional mystery. I appreciate the way Crosby blends secrets from the past with threats in the present to create a richly nuanced story. I raise my glass of sparkling wine and toast Ellen Crosby as I eagerly await the next installment to this wonderful series.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

An Interview with an AC Cobra

I'm so pleased to welcome Vinnie to Cozy Up With Kathy today. If you've read any of Tonya Kappes' Spies and Spells Books, you'll know that Vinnie is Maggie Park's familiar. GET WITCH OR DIE TRYING is the latest book in the series and it was just released this week!


Kathy: You are a very unique familiar. Do the other familiars treat you differently since you're a car?

V: We don't have a lot of interaction since I have my own place in the garage. They all have to live in the house and I just mind my own pistons. 

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being a 1965 red AC Cobra in Historic Old Louisville, Kentucky?

V: The attention! What man doesn't love to be loved on, rubbed on and taken pictures of? 


Kathy: How did you come to be a familiar in the first place?

V: Maggie Park has always been a handful. She likes to play hard and work harder. She's not one to sit by and make potions for the family diner, The Brew. She keeps her nose into everything and loves to be on the go. The only way her family was able to truly keep an eye on their spitfire was to give her a cool car. . .and there I am!

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being a familiar?

V: I take real pride in keeping Maggie safe. 

Kathy: What's the most difficult thing about being Maggie's familiar?

V: Sometime she doesn't listen when I feel danger and she flips on the manual switch making it difficult for me to do my job. 


Kathy: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

V: I love to keep my chrome shiny and interior fresh. I love when the mechanic buffs me to a high shine and cleans my battery. 

Kathy: If you had the ability to change anything about yourself would you? And if so, what would you change?

V: The ability to have an eject button in the passenger seat. Sometimes Maggie doesn't have a good sense of male figures. She thinks they are all sweet and nice when I know they are there for one thing. I try to tell her about men, but she doesn't listen, so I have to take matters into my own hands. Sometimes I take them on a little joy ride to give them a little scare or heat their seat up to sizzling. 


Kathy: Are you able to share any hints as to what Maggie is up to now?

V: Now that she's become a full time employee at the Interpol of SKUL as a citizen spy, I can only imagine what shenanigans she's going to get us into.

***************************************************************************

Synopsis

When a few women end up dead and the only thing they have in common is SKUL special agent Mick Jasper, he is immediately under investigation and stripped of his badge. SKUL hires Maggie Park not only because of her ability to blend in with society when undercover but her uncanny ability to know things she shouldn't.
 

Little does the agency know that Maggie is a witch and has special powers she uses to her advantage to clear special agent Jasper's name and hopefully bring the real killer to justice before the killer figures out who she really is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby. This book is the seventh in the Wine Country Mystery series and will be released November 1st.

 Lucie and Quinn still haven't moved in together and their relationship may best be described as complicated-and things are about to get even more complicated!

It's a wintry February and the Montgomery Estate Vineyard is working on its upcoming Valentine's celebration as well as creating their first sparkling wine. A surprise walks in in the guise of Gino Tomassi-a major California wine mogul who is also Quinn's cousin-a fact Quinn kept from Lucie. There's no love lost between the cousins and relations get even worse when Lucie discovers some of their family history that may have serious ramifications. A past which includes a possible murder, a president's indiscretions, and more than one case of "who's the father" serve to create new chaos and a serious threat to Lucie. There's more than one puzzle from the past to be solved here. Will Lucie be able to unravel history's threads to discover the true tapestry of the past?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dying for Strawberries: An Interview & Review GIVEAWAY TOO!


I'm pleased to welcome Sharon Farrow to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Sharon writes the Berry Basket Mystery Series. The first book, DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES, is being released today!


Kathy: In DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES Oriole Point, Michigan is celebrating its first annual Strawberry Moon Bash. Is this festival based on a real one, or purely a product of your imagination?

SF: The resort towns along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan are filled with year round special events ranging from the Goose Festival to the Whoville Parade. However, there has never been a Strawberry Moon Bash. When I was plotting DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES back in 2014, I needed to come up with a unique strawberry festival. Then the news stations began talking about something called a Strawberry Moon.

I learned that the full moons of the year were given names by many Native American tribes: e.g. Harvest Moon in September and Snow Moon in February. Because strawberries ripen in June, the full moon for that month was known as a Strawberry Moon. But the Strawberry Moon of 2014 fell on Friday the 13th, making it a rare event. June’s full moon would not occur again on Friday the 13th until 2098. Since my fictional village of Oriole Point is smack in the middle of Michigan’s fruit belt, a Strawberry Moon Bash seemed the perfect way to mark the occasion. And given what occurs at the Bash, far more pertinent than anyone could have guessed.


Kathy: I love all kids of fruits, especially strawberries. I remember when I was a kid my mom and I would go strawberry picking and she would make a fantastic strawberry pie along with freezer jam. Do you have any special strawberry memories?

SF: When I was a toddler, we visited my grandmother in New York. My most vivid memory of that long ago visit was the white cloth decorated with strawberries that covered her kitchen table. I fell in love with that tablecloth, and subsequently anything with a strawberry motif. Decades later, I chose a wallpaper dotted with strawberries for my first apartment. And I currently have a crystal strawberry keychain. But my love of strawberries is not purely aesthetic. I had several bouts of tonsillitis as a child. The only good thing about being sick was that I was allowed to eat as much strawberry ice cream as I wanted. From an early age, I associated strawberry ice cream with feeling better. For many years, it was the only flavor ice cream I would eat. I also have similar feelings about orange marmalade. . .but that’s a whole other story.


Kathy: What's your favorite way to enjoy strawberries?

SF: Fresh from the farm market and at the peak of their ripeness. I’ve eaten an entire container of fresh strawberries standing over the sink. Of course, I was at the sink because I only meant to rinse the berries, then put them in the fridge. But I find it impossible to eat just one strawberry. Sometimes only a whole container will do.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

SF: Trixie Belden and her Bobwhite Club. I discovered the Trixie Belden books when I was eleven and became an instant fan. I can’t count how many times I reread each book in the series. Years later, Miss Marple, Aurora Teagarden, and a host of intrepid female amateur sleuths caught my attention. But Trixie Belden will always have my heart.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

SF: While I currently write cozy and historical mysteries, I’ve been published in romance and fantasy. I spent three years as a staff writer for Natural Awakenings Magazine, and had a one-act play produced off-Broadway back in the 90s. I’m also the editor of the Michigan travel website lakeeffectliving.com.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

SF: Set in the lakeshore town of Oriole Point, Michigan, DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES is the first book in the Berry Basket series. Named after Jacob Marley by her Dickens’s loving mother, thirty-year-old Marlee Jacob is far nicer than her Dickensian namesake, but has a work ethic just as strong. A former TV producer in NYC, Marlee’s career was cut short by a scandalous murder trial. Now Marlee is back home, surrounded by friends, family, and lots of tourists. And she’s engaged to a handsome orchard grower. Happy to be running her berry themed shop, it all seems lovely – until murder makes another appearance.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

SF: I enjoy including former Russian beauty queen Natasha in any scene. She’s glamorous, outspoken, superstitious, and often inappropriate. I see her as a combination of Gloria on Modern Family and a Russian version of a Kardashian. And it’s always fun trying to figure out how to fracture her English.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

SF: I often visit a shop in the neighboring town of South Haven called The Blueberry Store. Even though strawberries are the focus of my first Berry Basket book, they’re tied with blueberries as my favorite berry. So an entire store filled with blueberry items seems too good to be true. When I first thought about writing a cozy set along the lakeshore, I kept thinking of The Blueberry Store. Only I decided to expand the premise to include every sort of berry and berry product. Blackberries take center stage in Book Two, BLACKBERRY BURIAL, while blueberries get their moment in Book Three.



Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

SF: A few years ago, a friend and fellow author Meg Mims and I decided to collaborate on a historical mystery series, which we sold under the pen name D.E. Ireland. However we also had separate writing careers. While having lunch with my agent at a Malice Domestic conference in 2014, he asked what I was working on besides the D.E. Ireland books. When I mentioned the Berry Basket cozy I was writing, he asked, “And why is that book not on my desk right now?” Three months later, it was. Not long after that, Kensington bought the series.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

SF: Ray Bradbury, because he’s been my writing inspiration since I was a teenager. If he was at my dinner table, I’d serve him extra helpings, ask for his autograph, and thank him for every short story and novel he’s ever written. Agatha Christie, because I’d love to know how in the world she came up with all those marvelous plots. And could she please help me with my next book. Jane Austen needs to be there since I think she would be droll and witty and make me laugh and spill food over my dinner party dress.

Finally, I’d be happy to sit next to George R.R. Martin. I’d grill him (nicely) about the world building in the Song of Ice and Fire saga, discuss my favorite Game of Thrones characters, and ask him to please hurry and write the last two books in his series. Then, during our decadent dessert, I’d exact a promise from Martin that he will never kill off Daenerys and Tyrion.



Kathy: What are you currently reading?

SF: I came late to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. But after falling in love with the Outlander TV series, I am now making my way through the novels. I’ve just started DRUMS IN AUTUMN, although I can’t imagine it will top VOYAGER, which is my favorite so far. I’m also reading Julia Buckley’s A DARK AND STORMY MURDER, which has a lovely Daphne du Maurier feel to it.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

SF: Writing two series and working at a gallery doesn’t leave much time for hobbies. But I do love photographing the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan. I’ve probably taken about 5000 photos of lake sunsets. And don’t get me started on how many lighthouse photos I’ve shot. I also use many of these photos on the travel website I run.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

SF:Almond milk, muenster cheese, frozen blueberries, gluten-free bread. Those items tell you that I stay away from lactose, and gluten makes me feel bad. Also that I love blueberries to such a degree, I stock up on frozen so I can eat them all year. And I assume muenster cheese is a staple in everyone’s fridge. If not, we need to talk.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

SF: I’ve just given my editor BLACKBERRY BURIAL, which will be published in 2017. Now I have to get right to work on Book Three. I also co-author the Eliza Doolittle/Henry Higgins Mysteries under the pen name D.E. Ireland. Those books are based on the George Bernard Shaw characters who appear in PYGMALION and MY FAIR LADY - only we’ve turned them into sleuths. The third book in our Agatha nominated series, GET ME TO THE GRAVE ON TIME, will be published in November.



Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

SF: Meeting a reader who has enjoyed my books. There’s a lot of criticism and snarky comments on the internet now. But when a person goes out of their way to let you know your story entertained or moved them, it makes all the work and occasional frustration worthwhile. As I mentioned earlier about my dinner party guests, I’d love to have met Ray Bradbury so I could have told him how much his novels and stories meant to me. I wanted to say Thank You. Trust me. That’s all any author hopes to hear.

************************************************************************

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries. Visit Sharon at sharonfarrowauthor.com, on Facebook @SharonFarrowAuthor, or Twitter @SharonFarrowBB.



With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and The Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.

Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan. Between running The Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the thirty-year-old hardly has time for her fiancĂ©, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

************************************************************************

Review

DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES by Sharon Farrow
The First Berry Basket Mystery


Trouble is brewing in Oriole Point, Michigan. Natasha, the former Russian beauty queen, has had another vicious fight with her abusive husband and has disappeared. The scandal that led Marlee Jacob to return to her hometown is commemorating the one year anniversary of the event with a new tell all book, which accuses Marlee of being complicit in the murder. And Natasha's husband Cole has just dropped a bombshell on the small business owners of the town. While running the Berry Basket and preparing for the town's first Strawberry Moon Bash, Marlee decides to look into her friend's disappearance-and winds up getting bashed herself before stumbling across a murder victim. Can Marlee find Natasha and solve the murder before someone stops her for good?

Secrets abound in DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES. In fact, everything revolves around secrets, and everyone has them. There are even secrets that I don't even think the characters know they have. It's when the secrets come out that even more trouble erupts. The book makes you ponder-is it worth it to keep secrets? Do you have any secrets you'd do anything to prevent coming to light? How far would you go to keep them hidden?

DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES has a great setting and lots of unique characters. While I get a bit annoyed at Marlee's attitude at times I appreciate what she's trying to do. I love Tess and Natasha is a hoot! I'm a huge berry lover and I particularly enjoyed all the strawberry treats mentioned in the book. I'm eager to read about the future berries features at the Berry Basket...and the future murders.

Recipes included.

******************************************************************************

The author is graciously offering a print copy of DYING FOR STRAWBERRIES to a lucky reader. Simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us what your favorite berry is! Feel free to share a memory or recipe as well. Add your e-mail address and comment no later than 11:59 pm EDT Thursday, October 27, 2016 in order to qualify! US addresses only, sorry. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Act of Murder Interview

I'm happy to welcome Mary Angela to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Mary writes the Professor Prather Mystery series. An Act of Murder is the first book in the series and was released October 15th.


Kathy: Having worked on a college campus for many years, I know the intrigue and drama that can be found there. Have you had similar experiences and did they influence An Act of Murder?

MA: Yes, I’ve found college campuses to be worlds within themselves, which, to me, is inherently intriguing. They play by their own rules and follow their own traditions. Certainly that mystique influences An Act of Murder.


Kathy: You and your protagonist, Emmeline Prather, are both English professors. Do you have a favorite period in literature? Or a favorite "classic" author?

MA: That’s a hard question! So many of my favorite authors crop up in the Modernist period, especially the 1920s, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and E.M. Forster. I am equally fascinated, though, by the Transcendentalist period. Recently, I had a chance to travel to Concord, Massachusetts, so had you asked me this question then, my answer might have been Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Kathy: In An Act of Murder a student dies while working on the fall musical. My undergraduate degree is in theatre. Do you enjoy musicals?

MA: I adore musicals! I first saw Les Misérables at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Chanhassen, Minnesota, many years ago, but I distinctly remember the effect it had on me. After reading the tome the entire summer (pre-children days), I attended the performance and cried during the majority of it. More recently, I saw an outstanding production of Mary Poppins by the Sioux Empire Community Theatre group. My daughters were thrilled to see their tap teacher play a chimney sweep.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

MA: I was originally drawn to cozy mysteries by their distinctive settings. I love learning about new places and professions, and it’s wonderful to escape to a place like a West Coast winery or an East Coast clambake when I’m landlocked here in the Midwest.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

MA: Yes, I write short stories, and I am also interested in writing a new children’s series.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

MA: The Professor Prather Mystery series is set on a quiet college campus in the fictional town of Copper Bluff, SD. My protagonist and her sidekick are both English professors, but that’s where their similarity ends! They are both smart, compassionate people; they just see the world differently, which makes their banter terrifically fun to write.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

MA: Gosh, I can hear each of the characters singing his/her own praises as I try to answer this question. I suppose it’s like my children; I don’t have a favorite. They are all special to me in their own ways.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

MA: Yes. As an undergraduate, I attended a small university much like the one in Copper Bluff, and despite its quaint exterior, it was filled with fiercely intelligent, competitive, and passionate people. That contrast is what I’ve attempted to capture in An Act of Murder.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

MA: I decided to publish An Act of Murder because I think the book is a beautiful place to park your mind for a few hours—at least it has been for me. The characters are unforgettable and propel me every day to write their stories.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

MA: Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald would have to be at the top of my list because of all the crazy stunts they pulled at dinner parties—and everywhere else. Besides, I know Scott could make me a mean Gin Rickey! I would also invite Dorothy Parker, who knew the Fitzgeralds and was herself a great wit, and Agatha Christie, my all-time favorite mystery writer.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

MA: I am reading Salem’s Cipher, which is more Da Vinci Code than cozy. But so far I love all the strong female characters. I’m also reading The Golden Age of Murder (non-fiction) and would highly recommend it to fans of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Finally, I’m reading Silence for one of my English classes. A new film is coming out about the novel this December.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

MA: I love to read, of course, but I also love to travel and bake. I especially love to bake with my kids during the holidays. Besides adding to my waistline, baking adds to the quality time I spend with my daughters.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

MA: Ketchup, noodles, pistachios, and sprinkles. My husband and youngest daughter are ketchup fiends, and my oldest daughter is very finicky, so I make a side of plain noodles with every meal. I admit I love to eat pistachios while reading late at night, and the sprinkles? Well, everything is better with sprinkles.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

MA: I am working on the second book in the Professor Prather series, Passport to Murder, right now. It’s been great fun to spend time with the old characters and meet some new ones as well.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

MA: I love the act of creating. When I walk downstairs to write, my daughters say I’m “going down into the rabbit hole,” and in many ways, they’re right. I feel a lot like Alice in Wonderland, escaping to a wonderful world of make believe.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Killer Closet Interview

I'm happy to welcome Paula Paul to the blog today. Paula starts a new series with A KILLER CLOSET.


Kathy: Irene Seligman leaves her job as a district attorney to open an upscale consignment store. Do you frequent consignment stores, upscale or not?

PP: I rarely frequented consignment stores until my agent, Irene Kraas, got me interested in them. She lives in Santa Fe while I live in Albuquerque, and there are a number of upscale consignment shops in Santa Fe that we visit. I have discovered some good buys on quality merchandise in those stores!


Kathy: Setting plays such an important part in a novel. What makes Santa Fe, New Mexico, the perfect location for A Killer Closet?

PP: Santa Fe is a wonderful location for any story because it is so unique. It is an Old-World town in the modern western U.S., complete with narrow, unplanned streets, ancient buildings, and thriving vestiges of an ancient culture. It is the capitol city of New Mexico with all of the intrigue, power, and corruption of politics. It is the center of the three major cultures of the state—Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo. Each culture has its distinctive traditions, and the mix of the three makes life interesting. Santa Fe is known as “The City Different” because life styles, architecture, and city government are unlike any other place in the world.


Kathy: Your Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series is historical, while A Killer Closet takes place in present time. What made you choose a present-day setting?

PP:I wasn’t specifically planning a modern-day setting for my next book. It’s just that the inspiration for the story demanded a setting in the present.


Kathy: What was the specific inspiration for this story?

PP: As I mentioned, my agent likes to frequent consignment stores. One day when we were making the rounds, she mentioned that she would like to open an upscale consignment store in Santa Fe. My reply was, “Sounds like fun. You could call it Irene’s Closet.” She did some research and found that it would be difficult to make yet another upscale store of that kind in Santa Fe profitable. My reply this time was, “But Irene’s Closet doesn’t have to die. I could write a cozy mystery series about a woman who opens a consignment store in Santa Fe.” She jumped on the idea and had me write a proposal which she sent to my editor at Random House/Alibi. Now, at last, we have Killer Closet, the first book in a series. Irene’s Closet is a thriving business in the world of cozy mysteries.


Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Irene?

PP: My plans for Irene’s future will require her to stay in Santa Fe and interact with her crazy mother, Adelle, her young friend Angel, and the sexy lawyer, P.J. Bailey. She may become a prosecutor again as she was in New York while Adelle runs the store. Or, she may never return to law and continue to run the store. I think her relationship with P.J. will evolve. Angel, with his quirky background and close ties to the old Spanish culture, will remain an influence in Irene’s attempts to solve more mysteries.


Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

PP: I am working on the next book in the series in which Irene and the others become involved in a murder related to the theft of a valuable Native American artifact. I am introducing Juanita Calabaza of Kewa Pueblo, who sells her hand-made jewelry on the plaza of Santa Fe in front of the old Palace of the Governors.