Yesterday you were able to see a spotlight and enter a giveaway about BED AND BREAKFAST AND MURDER, the first Fiona Flemming Cozy Mystery. Today you get the interview! I'm pleased to welcome Patti Larsen back to Cozy Up With Kathy.
Kathy: Fiona Fleming inherits a bed and breakfast. Have you ever had dreams of owning such an establishment?
PL: I haven't, though my oldest sister ran an inn for several years, so I drew on memories of helping her for the inspiration. Confession time: I really, really hate to clean (poor Fiona!) and I'm a terrible cook. And I'm an introvert...
Kathy: You live with a multitude of pets, a do I. I currently have 5 cats, 2 rats, and a horse. What types of animals call you mom?
PL: We're on the same page! Six gorgeous kitties, two pugs and a horse of my own all hold my heart and walk all over me. I'm a total softy and would have a house full. Good thing my husband loves them as much as I do.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
PL: I've wanted to write books since I was very young, but the series that triggered my need to put pen to paper at last was the Nancy Drew Mysteries. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy, so reading about a daring adventurous young woman with a knack for getting into--and out of--trouble really appealed to me. I spent years writing other genres. The chance to dive into cozies made me so happy and still does. I'm craving writing my next one.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
PL: The voices in my head seem to be all over the place, from age to genre. I love YA paranormal and have a large number of books in that category, but I also write post-apocalyptic, horror/thriller, urban fantasy, science fiction, LitRPG (literary roll playing) and police procedurals with supernatural elements. Oh, and one lonely romance...
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
PL: Fiona Fleming moved away from Reading when she graduated high school and did her best not to look back, but ten years, a failed relationship and not a hint of a career later and she's floundering in New York City. The death of her grandmother grants Fee a new start--she's willed Iris's bed and breakfast, Petunia's, as well as her pug of the same name. Or is she? Two weeks after returning home she's reconnecting with her parents--a retired sheriff dad and school principal mother--her old best friend and considering dinner with the handsome new lawman when the death of a real estate developer who claims ownership of her B&B sets Fee off on an investigation to clear her name.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
PL: I adore Fee. She's funny and quirky and awkward. She has this way of running words together in odd connecting sentences that makes me laugh as I type. She's distinctly herself and has a temper to match her red hair, though she's quick to put her foot in her mouth when she's not thinking straight. There's a sense of seeking to her, looking for more, for home. I tend to write about families, about characters who form strong bonds with those around them and Fee is no exception.
Though, honestly, I adore Petunia the pug. I have two of my own and their adorable clown-like good nature outweighs their bad behavior. Most of the time.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
PL: I wanted a strong female who had flaws, unafraid to try things, brave but scared at the same time. We're not perfect and it frustrates me when characters seem to be. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of the appeal, I think. Fiona came from that need for someone to cheer for while shaking my head at her at the same time.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
PL: I've been craving the life of a full-time writer from the age of twelve. There was a time I thought that dream would never come true and I'd almost given up on it. I had a chance to do what Fee did, to move to the big city. But, in my case, i was told to write for television instead of the books I love. I gave novel writing one last try in 2009 and never looked back. Now with over 80 titles in publication, I'm so glad I made this choice.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
PL: JK Rowling is top of my list. I respect her so much, not just as a writer and a creator, but as a business woman and a powerhouse. She's incredible and I truly hope to meet her someday.
Second is David Eddings. He's passed away, much to my regret. I never had the chance to meet him. He wrote the first series I truly fell in love with, a heroic fantasy collection called The Belgariad. At least every other year I reread them all from start to finish and I cry at the end every single time.
Number three would be Mary Shelley. I'd love to talk to her about her creation of Frankenstein, but also find out what it was like to be a woman writing in a man's world. How she managed to succeed when it was so hard for her to do so.
Last, though it's hard to distill the list to just four, I'd love to have dinner with Stephen King. He's fascinating and his grasp of the human condition never fails to amaze me.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
PL: I'm so excited, actually! One of my favorite series just grew by one and I'm itching to read it. Book seven of the Peri Jean Mace Ghost Thrillers (and mysteries), Crossroads, will likely take me away from work in short order and I'll have to read it from start to finish in one sitting.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
PL: I love to ride, of course. My darling Gypsy Vanner gelding, Fynn, is a treasure and one of the absolute joys of my life. I don't get to spend nearly enough time with him but he's happy in a field with six of his best friends so I know he's in good hands (hooves?). I also teach and perform improv theater, sing and I'm the co-creator of the Lovely Witches Club and the director and writer of the webseries of the same name. And I read Tarot on occasion, though I try to keep it to a minimum.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
PL: Guacamole and eggs, best pairing ever. Chocolate, naturally. And coffee. Because coffee makes things happen.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
PL: Fiona is far from done. Originally I thought there were twelve in her series--one book per month spread over three of her years. Then she informed me, because she's bossy that way, there are thirteen. And then--bossy again--she said there might be even more. So yes, she's around for a while yet and I'm delighted. Three books in and I can't wait to write number four.
As for the rest of my work, I tend to write in series, so I have three others on the go at the moment. It's busy, but I'm prolific and I love them all so how do I tell them no?
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
PL: Everything. Honestly. All of it, every single thing. I love writing, outlining, editing, marketing, finding new ways to reach readers. Talking to readers. Public speaking, teaching... all of it.