Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Cat Cafe Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Cate Conte to the blog today. Cate starts her Cat Cafe Mystery series with the release of CAT ABOUT TOWN.

Kathy: In CAT ABOUT TOWN, Maddie meets an orange tabbie and opens a cat cafe. Are you a cat fan yourself?

CC: I am! I’ve been doing cat rescue for a long time, and have had cats of my own for more than 20 years. Actually, the cat on the cover of CAT ABOUT TOWN is modeled after my orange tabby JJ - short for Junkyard Johnny, who’s the inspiration for the aptly-named JJ in the book.

Kathy: I currently have five feline companions (Calumet, Licorice, Mariusz, Annabella, and Mystic) as well as a rat and horse. Do you have any furry friends?

CC: I do - a schnoodle named Shaggy, the aforementioned Junkyard Johnny, and a couple other feline pals!

Kathy: I have heard there truly are cat cafes, although I have never been to one. Is Maddie's cafe based on a real one or purely a part of your imagination?

CC: They are totally real. A cat cafe is like a coffee shop, but with cats AND coffee. And pastries. And you can hang out with a cat or two. The cats come from local rescue organizations that decided to partner with the cafes. That means people can adopt them if they’d like.

The first one originated in Japan in 1998, and over the years, they’ve migrated to the US, typically in urban areas. New York, San Francisco, Boston—they’re now more common than not, and gaining in popularity.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

CC: It’s a great genre. When you find a series you like, it’s like visiting old friends every time there’s a new book out, which I love. And in the end of every book, things usually work out well for most of the cast, which is also comforting.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

CC: I’m working on a suspense novel that I would love to get out into the world.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

CC: The Cat Cafe Mysteries feature Maddie James, a young entrepreneur who finds herself back on her childhood home, Daybreak Island, Massachusetts. After a strange series of events, she finds herself the proud owner and operator of a cat cafe—and a murder investigator.

The Pawstively Organic Mysteries are centered around Kristan “Stan” Connor, a corporate bigwig turned small town organic pet food chef, who also finds herself solving a rash of murders in her new town of Frog Ledge, Connecticut.

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

CC: JJ, of course. And Grandpa Leo! He’s a lot of fun and the bond between him and Maddie is really special. I had a similar bond with my grandpa, and it’s like having a piece of him back when I write a scene with Grandpa Leo.

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

CC: All the cats and cat rescuers I’ve worked with over the years. I hope the pet rescue themes I write about help people see how important this work is.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

CC: I always wanted to publish my books. I had a couple of books that I’d written and was trying to get published when the opportunity came up to write the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, which I was super excited about. After that, the Cat Cafe series opportunity came up.

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

CC: This would be a fun party - Dennis Lehane, Megan Abbot, Tana French, Lee Child.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

CC: SINCE WE FELL - Dennis Lehane

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

CC: Sure! I love to do yoga, and I’ve been getting really into meditating. I’m also planning to learn a martial art, because why not? I’ve always wanted to do it. And, reading - of course.

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

CC: Coffee, almond milk, potato chips, kale! How’s that for a combo?

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

CC: The sixth book in my Pawsitively Organic series, PURRING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE, will be out in October, and I’ll be working on the seventh book, due out next year. Right now I’m wrapping up book two in the Cat Cafe series.

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

CC: Meeting and interacting with all the readers. It’s so awesome to know my writing has reached so many people.



CAT ABOUT TOWN by Cate Conte
The First Cat Cafe Mystery

Maddie James has left her juice bar in San Francisco in the capable hands of her business partner as she returns to Daybreak Island in New England to be there when her grandmother dies. After the funeral Maddie is concerned about her grandfather, especially when she discovers he's not doing well financially and the chamber of commerce leader is trying to coerce him into selling the family home. Maddie's not about to let anyone threaten her family and warns the man off, publicly. It's only a few hours later, as she chases after her new cat friend, that they come across his body, murdered in a tent on the Food Stroll. Maddie realizes she could be the number one suspect, but could her grandfather, the former Chief of Police, really be suspect number 2?

Familial love with an interesting dynamic, secondary characters with depth, and an orange cat you can't help but love combine with humor to make a fine mystery. CAT ABOUT TOWN is a solid start to a new series. When the mystery is solved we are left with plenty of avenues still to explore and, indeed, a new beginning prepared for the next book.

Cate Conte has created a wonderful world for her Cat Cafe Mystery series. An insulated island that gets jam packed with tourists in the summer months yet becomes nearly desolate in winter is the perfect place for murder. It's a place where neighbors know each other, but not necessarily the strangers. It's also a place with varied ideas about growth and a place where people could get desperate. I look forward to seeing and learning more about the secondary characters, especially Damian and the Leopard Man. But my favorite aspect of the book is JJ whose charm is completely captivating!

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  1. I have never had the pleasure of visiting a cat cafe, however, I did get to be in a used bookstore that had cats and a couple of comfy chairs. It was wonderful. Love the idea of the series setting. little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

    1. I haven't visited a cat cafe either, but I sure would like to!

  2. Love that your own JJ is both the star & model of the book.

  3. Great interview! I really enjoyed the description of the book. Looking forward to learning more about JJ and the cat cafe.

  4. Great interview! I really enjoyed the description of the book. Looking forward to learning more about JJ and the cat cafe.

  5. Looking forward to meeting Grandpa Leo, Maddie, and of course the gorgeous orange cat on the cover!