I'm pleased to welcome Amy Hueston to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Amy writes the Canine Confections Mystery series. PAWS FOR CONCERN is the first book in the series.
Kathy: In PAWS FOR CONCERN Samantha winds up adopting a dog under unusual circumstances. Do you have dogs of your own? How did they enter your life?
AH: Yes, I do. Our neighbor got our big dog from the Humane Society. When he didn’t work out for them, we got him. Thank goodness. He’s a big baby and we couldn’t adore him more. We got our little guy from a 94-year old woman who was moving into a home where he wasn’t allowed. She wanted to make sure he wound up with people who love him as much as she did and I can safely say we do.
Kathy: Samantha Armstrong has just opened Canine Confections, a dog bakery. Is your shop based on a real canine bakery?
AH: No, but I am excited because Three Dog Bakery had their Master Chef create recipes just for my Canine Confections series. They were the first bakery back in 1989 and they make high-quality goodies, so in that respect, it’s the same.
Kathy: Do you bake, either for dogs or people?
AH: Yes! I love to bake. I love to cook, too. I bake all kinds of things and love to try new things. I like baking from scratch for that fresh taste. And I like to use organic or at least healthy-ish ingredients because it tastes yummy and makes me feel better. Things like fresh whipped cream instead of canned or Cool Whip, and organic chocolate and ripe bananas. And for my dogs, I cook up marrow bones and then re-use them by filling them with plain yogurt and peanut butter, maybe a hint of honey, then slip it into the freezer. I had been buying another bag of rawhide chips and realized how white they looked and thought, “Wait a minute … do I want to give these bleached things to my boys?” So they pretty much expect a little healthy delicious treat every night after dinner but that’s alright, it makes me happy to spoil them.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
AH: I like to take a break, sip a hot cocoa with marshmallows and relax into the cozy mystery, knowing nothing gory or too awful is going to happen. I love humorous books, too. Janet Evanovich, Tim Dorsey, like that. So I like cozies that have humor in them.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AH: Yes. I have a suspense out finding a happy home through my agent right now that I really love. I wrote it so that if you read it a second time, there are a lot of clues throughout that you’ll probably miss the first time around. It’s like a puzzle. It’s a lot darker than my cozies but there’s still humor in it, too from time to time.
I actually love suspense, thrillers and horror. Really twisty psychological stuff. Getting into someone’s head and reading or writing about them. Fun!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AH: It’s called A Canine Confections Mystery series and although a lot of cozies have bakeries and dogs, this one is a DOG bakery. This means there are plenty of dogs around and in book 2, a cat enters the picture too. The locations of the dog bakery is on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. It’s sunny, splashy and ritzy. My protagonist is new to the town of Palm Beach. She moves into a cozy cottage on her Aunt Mary’s estate, right next door to her aunt’s mansion. PAWS FOR CONCERN is the first in the series. PAWS FOR ALARM is due to come out in the fall, and the 3rd in the series, PAWS OF DEATH is due to come out at the beginning of 2021.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AH: Yes. Her name is Bethany. She’s the snarky, uppity one of the group and it’s so much fun writing her.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AH: Visiting Worth Avenue and Palm Beach numerous times, reading Lawrence Sander’s Archy McNally series, loving all things food and dogs and other books where people are up to no good … these were my inspirations.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AH: I’m a singer and it’s so much fun to see people feel a lift or get something from hearing me sing, whether pleasure or an escape or whatever, so I thought it would be so much fun to do the same with my writing.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AH: I don’t want to think too hard on this because I’ll drive myself crazy if I do. Okay, top of my head: Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, William Shakespeare, Janet Evanovich. Cool question! Thanks for the imagery!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AH: I just finished Shari Lapena’s An UNWANTED GUEST.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AH: Sure! Hiking with my dogs, or being with my dogs anywhere is top of the list. Reading, baking, cooking, playing piano (I don’t count singing as a hobby since I do it for a job), movies.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AH: Free-range eggs, organic milk, soy-free chocolate chips, gluten-free flour.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
AH: Yes, Book 2 in A Canine Confections series is PAWS FOR ALARM and Book 3 PAWS OF DEATH will be released in the near future.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AH: I love the experience of the when my characters “talk” to me from behind the stage curtain. And I’ve met the most wonderful people in the publishing industry, agents, publishers, writers, bloggers, readers, tech-y people. Also, I’ve gotten such great feedback from people who tell me how much they enjoyed PAWS FOR CONCERN and that’s pretty amazing. I had a taste of it because I’ve written what are essentially cozy mysteries for Woman’s World Magazine (that magazine at the checkout counter at the grocery store), but I couldn’t be happier and more appreciative when readers find me and write to me to tell me they’re going to be reading my future books. To think I made someone happy or feel a little relief from a bad day is deeply satisfying. Wow, that sounds corny, but I actually really feel this way.
The First Canine Confections Mystery
Bankrolled by her wealthy aunt, Samantha Armstrong is ready to open her canine bakery among the swanky stores in Palm Beach, Florida. With fake smiles and whiffs of condescension, Samantha isn't greeted with open arms. Instead of a grand opening she's met with a dead body in her shop. What was the owner of the patisserie doing in her bakery and who would want to kill her? Does someone want to run Samantha out of business before she even begins? Could someone be targeting the merchants on Worth Avenue? Is the killer one of their own? With the friendliest dog ever, Samantha is determined to save her business, and her aunt's investment, even if it means confronting a killer.
I enjoyed my first foray into Palm Beach with Samantha. I love the concept of an elegant pastry shop for dogs, and while her fellow shop keepers may not agree, I think it's a perfect fit for the neighborhood. Samantha is a likable protagonist. While she's a bit too trusting, she's aware of that fact and though she may have misgivings she still gives them the benefit of the doubt. I like the fact that her aunt is entertaining a romantic relationship with the detective and I adore Sweet Pea, the sweetest dog ever.
It's always interesting to catch glimpses of the lifestyles of the rich and famous and readers get to do just that in the first Canine Confections Mystery. I enjoy seeing how the other half lives, with gated mansions, cocktail hour, and servants. Even trust fund babies have business issues and it's interesting to see how power and connections work in this close knit community.
PAWS FOR CONCERN is a quick fun read. Several suspects and a questionable motive make for a puzzling mystery, although I admit to being pretty sure of the killer's identity prior to things clicking into place for Samantha. I look forward to seeing further developments at Canine Confections and getting to know the Palm Beach elite even better.
Paws for Concern (A Canine Confections Mystery) by Amy Hueston
About Paws for Concern
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Donelson Press (August 22, 2020)
Paperback: 264 pages
Life is good for Samantha Armstrong. She left her cheating boyfriend, settled into her cozy cottage on her Aunt Mary’s Palm Beach estate and is finally opening Canine Confections, her dream dog bakery on the ritzy Worth Avenue.
But Samantha’s happy new life goes doggone crazy when Palm Beach resident and pastry shop owner Whitney Goodwin is found dead on Canine Confections’ floor, whisking Samantha into the middle of a murder investigation. The only bright spot is that she finds herself adopting Whitney’s loveable dog Sweet Pea.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the shopkeepers on Worth Avenue are the target. Samantha’s impatience won’t let sleeping dogs lie. She takes it upon herself to move things along by padding around town with Sweet Pea and sniffing out clues to clear her name and Canine Confections’ reputation—before it is too late …
Includes a recipe from Chef Sarah Deters at the test kitchen of Three Dog Bakery, the original bakery for dogs!
About Amy Hueston
Author Amy Hueston writes mini-mysteries for Woman's World when she isn't writing mysteries and suspense books. Paws for Concern is the first book in A Canine Confections Mystery series.
My CD Download on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Talk-Love-Amy-Hueston/dp/B08C252M8D