Friday, March 10, 2017

Purr M for an Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome T.C. LoTempio to Cozy Up With Kathy. T.C. writes the Cat Rescue Mystery series. PURR M FOR MURDER, the first book in the series, will be released March 14, 2017.

Kathy: In PURR M FOR MURDER Sydney McCall and her sister, Kat, run a local animal shelter. Animal shelters do such important work. Have you ever volunteered or otherwise helped out your local shelter?

TCL: Not volunteered per se, but I have done a bit of fundraising and donated autographed books for them to sell to raise money for the shelter. And of course I’ve done my part by adopting my cats over the years from rescue groups and animal shelters!

Kathy: When the sisters get involved with murder Toby, a savvy orange tabby, is there to help out. Is Toby based on a real cat?

TCL: Yes, Toby is based on my own orange and white cat, MAXX. Maxx is what I call my “gentleman cat”. He is always very respectful and he loves to curl up next to mommy and snooze. Don’t’ get near him at food time, though, because then he turns from Dr. Jekyll cat into Mr. Hyde!!!!! Nothing separates Maxx from his food!

Kathy: My family currently consists of 5 cats, 2 rats, and a horse. Do you have furry (or feathered, finned, or scaled) family members?

TCL: The aforementioned Maxx, and his brother ROCCO. ROCCO is a feisty, twenty-five pound black and white tuxedo who provided the inspiration for my Nick and Nora mystery series. ROCCO is also the owner of his own blog, which he allows me to help him with (seeing as I have opposable thumbs for typing and he, sadly, does not)

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TCL: I’ve always been a big fan of mysteries in general. They’ve always been my favorite ever since I devoured my first Nancy Drew book at age ten. After that I graduated to the “hard stuff” – Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie – and naturally gravitated to the cozy genre when I became a staunch devotee of Murder She Wrote.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TCL: I actually started out writing horror, but that changed when I was told that unless you were Stephen King, there was no market for it. I’ve published a few horror/supernatural suspense books at a small press, and I’ve also self- published three romantic supernatural suspense novels under Toni LoTempio. I did write a novel about a vampire slayer who’s allergic to vampires, but so far my agent hasn’t been able to sell that one yet. J

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TCL: I’ll talk about the new one first. The Cat Rescue series debuted from Crooked Lane this month. It centers around the McCall sisters, Sydney and her sister Katherine, also known as Kat. Syd returns to her hometown of Deer Park, North Carolina after a bad break up to help her sister run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Syd’s only in town a few days before stumbling across a corpse - Trowbridge Littleton, who recently vowed to close down Friendly Paws, the animal shelter run by Syd’s sister, Kat. With Kat high on the suspect list, Syd has to investigate a colorful roster of Littleton-haters, much to the consternation of Detective Will Worthington, her ex high school crush.

The Nick and Nora mystery series from Penguin/Random House centers around Nora Charles, an ex-true crime reporter who’s returned to her hometown of Cruz, California to take over running her late mothers specialty sandwich shopper and instead finds herself solving mysteries with the aid of a chubby yet dapper tuxedo cat named Nick!

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

TCL: I love whatever character I’m writing about at the time but if I had to pick one, I’d pick Nick the cat. There is so much of my own cat ROCCO in him that I find it impossible not to love him.

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

TCL: For the Nick and Nora series, it came to me watching a Thin Man movie on tv. For the Cat Rescue series, a coffee house was the original locale, but that changed when my publisher decided he wanted a series set in an animal shelter – cue the rewrite.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TCL: Well, Penguin and Crooked Lane made me an offer I couldn’t refuse LOL. If you’re asking about the self-published ones, they were stories that I’d tried to interest an agent in but couldn’t, and I wanted to get them out there.

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

TCL: Hmmm…definitely JD Robb (Nora Roberts), Earl Stanley Gardner, Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. That would make quite a group, wouldn’t it??????

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

TCL: I just finished Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs and I’m getting ready to start Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James. In addition to writing books, I also write a suspense column for Night Owl magazine and I am also one of their cozy mystery reviewers.

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

TCL: Besides writing, I enjoy reading, collecting antique books, playing with my cats and watching old movies or series on television. I also like to swim, and I used to bowl before my back went out on me.

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

TCL: Iced tea, Almond milk, leftover Chinese, turkey TV dinners

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

TCL: Book 2 in the Cat Rescue series is completed, and I have Books 3&4 outlined in the expectation that the series will continue on! J

Right now the future of the Nick and Nora series is still up in the air, but I do have books 4-7 completed. They will certainly see light of day--there just might be a short break while we get our ducks in a row.

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

TCL: Definitely the camaraderie I share with fellow mystery authors, and the wonderful fans that I meet! They make writing all worthwhile!



The First Cat Rescue Mystery

After finding her fiance in bed with her secretary, Sydney McCall quits her job and moves back to North Carolina to help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter. Syd is planning a major event with the cats at a local bakery and everyone agrees it's a wonderful idea. Everyone, that is except the town Scrooge. Trowbridge Littleton is a rich, arrogant bully who happens to own most of Deer Park. When he threatens to not only shut down the event, but the shelter itself, Kat sees red. Syd decides to pay Littleton an early morning visit in order to reason with him, but finds her sister there as well and together they find his dead body.

With dreams of Nancy Drew and a one time desire to be a homicide detective, Syd aims to use her natural investigative instincts solve the crime herself. Aided by a wandering cat who finally chose his human, Syd begins to sort through the suspects, digging up far more dirt and many more motives than she ever imagined! Will she be able to clear her sister or will her former high school sweetheart arrest Kat for murder?

PURR M FOR MURDER is a delightful start to a new series. Personable characters, charming cats (including an extra special one) a nefarious victim, and a slew of viable suspects make this first book in the cat Rescue Mystery series a winner.

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  1. I really enjoyed the interview and the synopsis of "Purr M For Murder". Love the animal shelter setting and also Toby the cat. Looking forward to reading the book.