Sunday, May 21, 2017
A Perfect Manhattan Interview & Giveaway
I'm pleased to welcome Tracy Kiely to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Tracy writes the Nic and Nigel Mystery series. A PERFECT MANHATTAN MURDER, the third book in the series, was released earlier this month.
Kathy: In A PERFECT MANHATTAN MURDER Nic and Nigel Martini attend a Broadway production. Do you enjoy the theatre?
TK: I do! The first show I ever saw with a production of Annie at the Kennedy Center. I was about nine, and I fell in love with everything about it. I remember I had just gotten the Dorothy Hamill haircut and wasn’t sure about it. Then I saw the theater program, and I noticed that the lead actress (Andrea McArdle) had the same cut. As silly as it sounds, I suddenly thought I had the coolest haircut in the world. For several weeks after that, I danced around the house singing, “It’s a Hard Knock Life” much to the detriment of my parents’ sanity. I am not blessed with the ability to carry a tune. I am not even blessed with the ability to drag a tune. (As for the dancing, well, I’m just glad YouTube didn’t exist then.) Luckily, my desire to belt out show tunes faded over time, but not my love of the theater.
Kathy: Although I rarely make them myself, I do enjoy a good cocktail. When I was younger my drink was the bourbon Manhattan. Do you prefer bourbon or a blended whiskey in your Manhattans?
TK: I have to admit, I’ve never had a Manhattan. I’m not a big fan of hard liquor. I guess you could say that I’m in an exclusive relationship with Chardonnay.
Kathy: What, to you, makes the perfect cocktail? Do you have a favorite?
TK: Okay, so despite my previous answer, Chardonnay and I have taken a few breaks over the years. When we were in the British Virgin Islands a few years back, I discovered the Pain Killer. Maybe it was the locale (warm sun, good wind, and great sailing) but it made for a pretty perfect cocktail. (Pusser’s Rum, coconut cream, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a pinch of nutmeg.)
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TK: Like a lot of girls, I grew up reading Nancy Drew. From there, I moved onto Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters. By then, I was hooked. I always knew I wanted to be a writer; it never occurred to me to write anything other than a cozy.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TK: No, but I hope to try my hand at a chase thriller – something similar in tone to the movie Charade.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
TK: My books are an updated twist of The Thin Man movies (and by extension, Dashiell Hammett’s book of the same title). As you might have already puzzled out, they feature Nic and Nigel Martini – she’s the ex-detective and he’s the wealthy socialite, as well as Skippy, their feisty Bullmastiff. (For you Thin Man fans, Skippy was the real name of the dog that portrayed Asta in the movies.)
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TK: I think Nigel is my favorite character. He has the kind of easy confidence that I wish I’d been born with.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TK: I’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel, and then one day I remember thinking, “Well, shut up and do it.” My first attempt failed (as so many first attempts do), but I decided to keep trying until I got it right. It took almost seven years, but I finally made it. It just goes to show, that you should (to quote Winston Churchill) never, never, never give up!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TK: Ohhh! Well, after I hired a caterer (see answer below about what’s in my cabinet), and had both the house (and me) professionally tidied, I would invite Elizabeth Mertz, (Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels), Dorothy Cannell, David Sedaris, and Jasper Fforde. And then I would make sure that somebody filmed the whole thing, because no one would ever believe me.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
TK: I am currently reading THE WHITE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TK: Are shoes a hobby? I say yes, but not everyone agrees with me. I guess, my second answer would be sailing. Most weekends (if there’s wind), we try and fit in a sail. Sans wind, I love watching old movies. Anything featuring Cary Grant or directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and I’m happy.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TK: You can always find Double Stuff Oreo cookies (my 13-year-old loves them), a box of thin spaghetti, Earl Grey Tea, and almond milk in my house. I realize that none of these items even remotely go together, which is why most evenings you can find me speeding through the aisles of Safeway searching for something to make for dinner.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TK: I’ve been toying with an idea for a standalone for over twenty years. When my husband and I were still dating, I would take the train from Washington, DC to visit him in Baltimore. On those rides, I came up with a Hitchcockian plot of sorts, involving a switched bag, mistaken identity, and a missing item for which all too many people are willing to kill to obtain. I think I’ve finally figured out what this mystery item is, and I’m ready to start writing. (For those of you keeping track at home, that’s twenty plus years to figure out a McGuffin; you can see why I gravitate towards cozies.)
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TK: I think it’s talking to fellow authors and meeting other mystery fans. They’re a fantastic group of people, and I’ve made a lot of great friends.
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