CN: I've always loved London (AND been fascinated with the genre of British detectives in Victorian London...thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I'm sure!) I'm also fascinated with mythology, and when I had the thought of putting a somewhat neurotic, quintessentially British detective smack in the center of the Egyptian afterlife...well, it struck me as a situation with a lot of potential for fun.
Kathy: Historical mysteries require an extra special brand of research. What's your favorite method to research this time period?
CN: I'm old-school, so I go straight to books. I order histories from Amazon, and I also use the library at the university where I teach. You'd be amazed at the obscure historical moments that scholars have written dissertations on!
Kathy: I've always had an interest in Egyptology and was delighted to see that Anubis is a character in your mystery. Have you always been interested in Egyptology as well?
CN: I've always loved all mythology: Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Vikings, Mayans...I'm fascinated by them all. In fact, Barnabas' next adventure will take him to Valhalla and the Nine Worlds of the Vikings, and the one after that has him working with the Mayans.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
CN: Well, I like mysteries and thrillers, but sometimes you need something a bit more lighthearted. Cozy mysteries are perfect for those times. There's excitement, but you also know that nothing truly awful is going to happen.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
CN: I like to throw some fantasy/mythology into almost everything I write. I see no reason why a cozy mystery has to be confined to the world as we know it!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
CN: Barnabas is an adorably neurotic character, who gets terribly nervous when things aren't just so. So, when he's thrown into the mix with a pack of slightly crazy Egyptian gods, he has a bit of difficulty adjusting, to say the least! Luckily, he has his trusty assistant Wilfred with him to help him solve the case.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
CN: Definitely Barnabas. He's got an anxiety disorder, for sure, but he manages. It's not always smooth, and he's definitely not cool, but he keeps trying, and that's what's important.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
CN: Not really, the idea just came to me one day: why not insert a Victorian detective into a mythological setting? I chose Egyptian mythology for the first book because there are so many gods and goddesses, which gave me no shortage of characters to chose from. The idea is for Barnabas to go to a different afterlife with each book.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
CN: There was never a question of NOT publishing. I couldn't just leave Barnabas and Wilfred to languish in the depths of my computer, could I? They needed to go out and meet the world.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
CN: Janet Evanovich, because she's hilarious. Leo Tolstoy, because he's not. What would those two talk about? Could she get him to lighten up, or would he have her mired in a quagmire of bleak social observations? Third would have to be Stephen King, to add some scariness to the mix (although he does have a quirky sense of humor too, doesn't he?) Lastly would be Clive Barker; his imagination is so vivid and delighfully odd, so I'd love to see what he'd make of the conversation between the other three!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
CN: "The Raven Boys", by Maggie Stiefvater. It's the first book of hers I've read, and it's really great.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
CN: I have a horse that I got from a rescue farm, and I love to hang out with her. When I got her she was all skin and bones, and now she's so spoiled that she'll only eat apples that are organic, and then only if they're sliced just so. It makes me so happy that she's come this far; I think it means I've done something right!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
CN: I'm a vegan, so this might be a weird list. Cabbage, homemade ginger-beet juice, tofu, and vegan "bacon" from Sweet Earth .
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
CN: Oh yes! Barnabas' Viking adventure is coming out September 4 of this year, and his Mayan adventure should be next year. After that I'm not sure where he'll go, but I know he'll go somewhere!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
CN: Seeing a review on Amazon from someone that loved the book. It's so surreal to me that people I don't know are reading what I wrote, and that they like it! Every time I see a new review I run over to my husband and read it to him. It never gets old (well, to me, at least..he might have a different opinion on that!)
BARNABAS TEW AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING SCARAB
by Columbkill Noonan
by Columbkill Noonan
The First Barnabas Tew Mystery
Barnabas Tew had visions of becoming the next Sherlock Holmes. Apart from having an amiable assistant and a kindly landlady, Barnabas Tew was, sadly, nothing like Sherlock Holmes. In fact, he simply wasn't a good detective at all. However, he did have one satisfied customer who recommended his services. Unfortunately, said services were recommended to Anubis, Egyptian god of the dead, who had no problem bringing Barnabas to the Underworld to solve a kidnapping. Now Barnabas and his assistant, Wilfred, have to deal with a variety of difficult gods in order to prevent the destruction of the world!
I love this delightfully different book. I have always had an interest in Egyptology and enjoy the Victorian time period. Connect these two, add some humor and a mystery and I'm sold! One of my favorite things about the book is the humor. I was chuckling at the situations, and the dialogue, more than once, had me laughing out loud. Great characterization humanizes not only our detectives, but the assortment of gods they encounter. As silly as things sometimes get, there remains a depth of feeling. Barnabas and Wilfred try their best and we admire them and root for them to succeed and be happy.
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