Monday, October 7, 2019

Coastal Corpse - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Rena Leith to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rena writes the Cass Peake Cozy Mystery series. Coastal Corpse is the second book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: Cass Peake has a ghostly roommate. Do you believe in spirits? Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

RL: Yes, I do believe in spirits. One of the houses I lived in as a child was haunted. I frequently go on ghost tours when I’m visiting a new city. I have captured orbs on film and have toured local haunted houses. Recently, on a business trip to Seattle, I stayed in a haunted hotel, the Arctic Club. I experienced very cold temperatures in my room. When I turned the temperature up, it went down instead. While I believe in spirits, I’m also practical and I needed to sleep that night. I called down to the desk and had them send a maintenance guy up to the room to check on the air conditioning. He said that floor and particularly that room had a lot of complaints about the cold. He changed the filter and sprayed some WD40 on the mechanism. The room started to heat up. I asked if it was an old system. He said, no, it was a new one. Hmmm…

Kathy: In Coastal Corpse Cass is looking forward to Halloween? Do you enjoy this holiday?

RL: My two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. The third book in my series is set at Christmas. I do love a good chill whether from spirits or snow.

Kathy: What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Halloween?

RL: I decorate, of course, but I really get into the whole milieu. I live in a resort area that does ghost trolley tours and house tours. Last year at Halloween I went to several lectures on supernatural literature and music of the Victorian Age. This year I plan to do most of these:

• Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour

• Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tour

• Ghost Walk with Craig McManus

• Graveyards, Ghosts & Mansions Combo Tour

• Historic Haunts House Tour

• Murder Mystery Dinner

• Phantoms of the Physick Estate: The Curse of H.H. Holmes

• Phantoms of the Physick Estate: Victorian Spiritualism House Tour

• Scarecrow Alley at the Physick Estate

• Séance at the Physick Estate

• Tales from the Dark Side (of Victorian Life) at Nauti Spirits

• Tea & Confessions: An Expose of Victorian Spiritualism

• Tombs, Tunes & Tales with Professor Gravesounds & Mary Shelley

• Victorian Killers & Monsters in the Cafe

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

RL: Reading Nancy Drew as a child. I became a huge fan of the best of the authors, Mildred Wirt, who was quite an adventuress in her own right. Of Agatha Christie’s books, I always preferred Miss Marple. Cozies appealed to me because they were books in which women solved the mysteries. They were adventurous, self-sufficient, and smart. In so many male-dominated genres, women are appendages.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

RL: My two published short stories are fantasies. I’ve completed a fantasy YA novel that’s unpublished, and I’m working on a science fiction romance.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

RL: My Murder Beach series is about a woman who discovers who she is while thwarting a murderer and reconnecting with an old love. Perhaps her awakening is a little later in life than most. She finds she’s been asleep to her own potential yet understands the irony of having a ghost as an agent of her coming alive.

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

RL: Doris the ghost is loosely based on my mother, who was a wild child when she was young, single, and living in Chicago and New York. Doris is so much fun to write because she’s so uninhibited and spirited. She serves as a counterpoint to the more restrained Cass.

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

RL: The Pacific Ocean was my inspiration. I’m drawn to bodies of water and can watch and listen to waves for hours. John Fowles once said that his inspiration for The French Lieutenant’s Woman was the vision of a woman standing alone at the end of a quay staring out to sea. I often drove to Half Moon Bay when I lived in California, walked along the beach, and stared out to sea. On one of these occasions I had a vision of a man’s dead body lying in the surf with moonlight illuminating the scene and glittering off the waves.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

RL: I worked on it for a long time with a writing group. One of the other writers, Margaret Dumas who also has a series with a ghost, sent me an email to let me know that she thought my book was just what The Wild Rose Press was looking for in a call for submissions they’d sent out. I submitted the manuscript, and they liked it!

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

RL: Dorothy Macardle, the Irish author and political activist, who also wrote ghost stories, such as The Uninvited.
Shirley Jackson, author of The Haunting of Hill House, possibly the best ghost story ever written.
Dorothy Parker, one of the greatest wits of the last century who, when asked to use “horticulture” correctly in a sentence, said, “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.”
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, because her books were the first in many years that made me stay up all night to finish them, and, yes, I stood in line with the elementary school kids to get the next book when it came out at midnight.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

RL: Janet Finsilver’s Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. I thoroughly enjoy her Kelly Jackson cozies. I also enjoy Victoria Houston’s Loon Lake mysteries, and pretty much anything Margaret Dumas, Juliet Blackwell, and Ann Parker. My TBR pile is pretty tall!

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

RL: Indoors, I love to knit and crochet. Right now I’m putting together a Halloween jigsaw puzzle. Outdoors daylight, I love to walk along the shore and explore new places. I found a monument to Revolutionary War tea burners in Greenwich, New Jersey. Who knew! Outdoors nighttime, ghost hunting, of course!

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

RL: Hummus, cucumbers, eggs, and wine.

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

RL: Oh, yes. I’m working on the third book in the Murder Beach series set at Christmas on the Northern California coast. I’m also researching a new series set on the east coast.

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

RL: I’m all about the story. Everyone has a story. My favorite thing is finding a story to tell and giving each character his or her own story. Novels are intertwined stories, and writing is weaving and braiding stories together. That’s what I enjoy doing.


Coastal Corpse (A Cass Peake Cozy Mystery) by Rena Leith

About Coastal Corpse

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (September 30, 2019) 
Print Length: 183 pages 
Happily settled in her cozy cottage with its resident ghost, Cass Peake looks forward to Halloween. Then another corpse is found on her beachfront. With the support of family and her ghostly roommate, Cass investigates. To her dismay, she finds the murder victim handled her goofy neighbor's trust fund and he was in dire need of money. The suspect list grows with a former husband, another needy relative, and a maybe shady accountant who suddenly disappears. To top it all off, rumors circulate about treasure hidden in Cass's cottage.
Detective George Ho doesn't like his ex-girlfriend snooping around. Despite that, sparks still fly between him and Cass. But superstitious George has no idea Cass's home is haunted. Can Cass solve the mystery and renew the romance with her ghost-adverse ex?

About Rena Leith

I currently live in Cape May County in New Jersey after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area with my Maine Coon cats Sierra and Ginger. I attended Clarion Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy at Michigan State University and sold a story I wrote there to Damon Knight for The Clarion Awards anthology. I wrote technical manuals in Silicon Valley and also published several poems and science articles as well as a couple of chapters in Research & Professional Resources in Children’s Literature: “Piecing a Patchwork Quilt.” I’ve also taught English in high school and community colleges.

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Purchase Link - Amazon

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  1. I would love to win and read/review this book. Thanks for the chance!

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