Kathy: Daphne Templeton is a free spirited pet sitter. Do you have pets of your own? Have you ever been a pet sitter?
BB: Right now, my pet family includes a dog named Daisy, aka Big Pup; a cat named Potpie; and a hermit crab who goes by Shelldon P. Crabbington. This is actually a small menagerie by my family’s standards! We always seem to attract strays, like Daphne. And I continue to run a small pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care. Word got out that I watch pets, and I thought I’d better get insured and bonded!
Kathy: If you could have any animal as a pet, that you don't already have, what animal would you choose?
BB: My daughter and I are angling for a horse. My husband pretends that he doesn’t hear us.
Kathy: There are lots of dog breeds represented in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB including a basset hound, Chihuahua, and a chocolate lab. Do you have a favorite dog breed?
BB: I swear, whenever I see someone walking a dog, be it a Yorkie, a Great Dane, or anything in between, I think, “Oh, I’d love to have one of those running around the house!” But I’m really a “mutt” person at heart. My current dog is probably part boxer and part pittie, but we don’t really know.
Kathy: There's a dog agility trial in DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB. Dog agility is such fun to watch, when the dogs perform amazingly, or act a little more dog like. Have you ever participated in a dog agility event?
BB: Daisy took agility lessons with my daughter for awhile. She was awesome in terms of following cues – but scared of half the obstacles. It took forever to get her up the A-frame. We let her drop out, but I definitely got ideas for my book during her training.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
BB: I read a lot of cozies, because – aside from enjoying solving puzzles – I love the worlds that my favorite authors create, and I like spending time with the same characters over and over again. They become like friends. Even when I was a kid reading Nancy Drew, I looked forward to the interactions between Bess, George and Nancy as much as the mysteries.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
BB: I write for young adults and pre-teens under the name Beth Fantaskey. But I still usually write mysteries. My book Buzz Kill is about a student reporter who solves her high school football coach’s murder. And my novel Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter is a mystery set in 1920s Chicago. Newsgirl Izzie solves a mobster’s murder and earns a chance to write for the Chicago Tribune.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
BB: The Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries center around a free spirited pet sitter with a Ph.D. in philosophy who solves mysteries with the help of her introspective basset hound, Socrates. Daphne is surrounded by a quirky cast of characters that includes her vintage-obsessed best friend Moxie Bloom, a one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, and handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
BB: Choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child, but I do have a soft spot for Daphne. She is a total klutz who always stumbles into trouble, and she knows that she’s disorganized, but she accepts herself and embraces life.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
BB: Well, I am a pet sitter with a Ph.D. (in mass communication). And pet sitters – like cleaning crews – spend a lot of time in other people’s homes. I could easily imagine walking into a house and finding something amiss. So my little business was the main inspiration.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
BB: As I was writing the first book, I realized that I was laughing a lot. So I sent a few chapters to my agent, just to get her opinion. She asked for more. And more. So we decided we should try to find a publisher. And the series found a great home with Kensington Books.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
BB: · Charles Dickens, because he’s my overall favorite author, and I think the Pickwick Papers is the “coziest” novel ever.
· Alexandre Dumas, because The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite twisty, turn-y story.
· Erma Bombeck, because she took ordinary life and made it extraordinarily funny.
· James Thurber, for the same reason.
I think we would have a good time!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
BB: I have connected with some fellow Kensington authors since joining their fold, so I’m catching up with books by Vickie Fee, Amanda Flower and Lee Hollis.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
BB: Aside from reading, I love to cook and took up canning a few years ago. I also take horseback riding lessons when I have the chance. I’m always a little nervous when I get to the barn, but once I get up on the horse, it’s so fun.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
BB: Hot Italian peppers in oil, Nutella, Chinese five spice and Arborio rice.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
BB: So far, the Lucky Paws series includes three books. The next two are Dial Meow for Murder (October 2017) and Paw Prints and Predicaments (February 2018). And I just submitted outlines for three more potential installments, as yet to be named.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
BB: Connecting with readers is the best. I love it when someone contacts me to say one of my books made them laugh during a rough time – or made them cry when they needed that, too. It’s awesome, and I’m grateful to be part of readers’ lives.
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