I'm pleased to welcome Olivia Matthews to Cozy Up With Kathy. Olivia writes the Peach Coast Library Mystery series. MURDER BY PAGE ONE is the first book in the series and will be released next week.
Kathy: In MURDER BY PAGE ONE we meet Marvey Harris, a librarian. Most book lovers love libraries and their librarians. My mom was a page in a library and I once considered getting my Master's Degree in Library Science. Have you ever wanted to be a librarian?
OM: Hi, Kathy! Thank you so much for inviting me to visit with you and your community. I'm excited and honored to be here.
Yes, I absolutely wanted to be a librarian. I worked part time in a couple of libraries. At one of those libraries, I worked the circulation desk and loved it! I loved helping people find and reserve books. I loved recommending books. So fun!
Kathy: In her spare time Marvey makes book-themed jewelry. Is this something you do as well?
OM: Not book covers. LOL! I wish I could draw that well. Marvey makes the pendant jewelry I wish I could make. Ha!
Kathy: Marvey has a cranky cat. Do you have a cat of your own, cranky or otherwise?
OM: Over the years, I've had three cats. One was pretty grouchy. One was so loving, and one could care less if I never came home. Ha! After my third cat - the loving one - died, I decided no one could replace him. It may not seem that way, but my third cat is the inspiration for Phoenix. Phoenix really is loving. He's just having a hard time adjusting to their move from Brooklyn to Peach Coast.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
OM: The mysteries. Ha! I love puzzling out the mystery. I love when justice prevails. I love falling into a story without worrying about grizzly scenes of brutality or torture. I once read a mystery that was wonderful. Strong characters, fast pace, really well written. I couldn't put it down. But there was this really grizzly scene in the book. Years later, I still can't reflect on those characters or that plot without also remembering the brutality of that scene, and I don't like that.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
OM: Thank you for asking. Yes, I do. While I write mysteries as Olivia Matthews, I write romance as Patricia Sargeant and as Regina Hart. If you'd like, you can find out more about my books at PatriciaSargeant.com.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
OM: Thank you for asking. MURDER BY PAGE ONE is the first book in my new Peach Coast Library Mystery series. The key thing I'd like your community to know about my series is Marvey's a reluctant amateur sleuth who's a fish-out-of-water librarian; a native New Yorker who relocates to a small coastal town in Georgia and helps investigate murders with the help of her Librarian Team friends on the inside and her two non-librarian friends on the outside.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
OM: My favorite character is Marvey. She loves being a librarian and is so passionate about libraries. I'm passionate about libraries, too. Libraries are critical to a strong and successful community. Libraries allow all members of a community access to knowledge not just in the form of books and other lending materials. Other services they provide include homework help, job search training, and summer reading programs for students to help prevent "summer melt," which is the loss of critical reading and learning skills studies have shown students experience during summer breaks.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
OM: Yes. This series was inspired by and is a tribute to librarians. I'm blessed to have this storytelling platform. I hope people enjoy escaping into my story world, but while they're with me, there are messages I'd like to share or points I'd like to emphasize. With this series, I'd like to share with people why libraries are so special and why they're important to communities. As you stated at the beginning, readers love libraries, but some haven't considered why we love them so much. Have you ever lived in or have knowledge of communities that don't have a strong library system? Residents of those communities often don't have free access to computers or the internet. They don't have spaces where they could photocopy documents or print them. Library systems need our support because communities need libraries.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
OM: Oh, wow. That was actually a really long journey. I wanted to publish my work because I wanted to share my stories. I've always read, but I fell in love with reading when I was nine years old. I remember hugging BLACK HEARTS IN BATTERSEA by Joan Aiken to my chest and thinking, "One day, I want to write a book that makes me feel as happy as this story makes me feel."
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
OM: Oh, this one is hard. Oh, my word. Only four? Hold on. I need to think. Let's come back to this one.
OK. I'd invite Beverly Jenkins. She's a wonderful conversationalist and her historical romances brings the past to life through engaging, three dimensional characters. Oh, no. Only three slots left. Kathy! Oh, my word. This is really hard. Priscilla Oliveras. She writes romance with a Latin flavor and I love experiencing and learning about other cultures. Kelley Garrett has a wicked sense of humor. that comes through in her mysteries. Oh, no. Oh, no. Running out of spots. SG Wong has a really sharp mind and you can tell that through her mysteries. And Farrah Rochon's contemporary romances are fun and energetic just like her. All of these authors are still with us. Thank God. And I encourage everyone to read their work. You can thank me for the recommendations later. Ha!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
OM: One of the books I'm currently reading is RISE OF THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste. It's a young adult fantasy. Yes, young adult. Age is nothing but a number, and a good book is a good book. I'll have you know I still read comic books, too. Ha!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
OM: Right now, my biggest hobby/interest is sleeping. I'm on deadline with my next Peach Coast Library Mystery book, working on a proposal for the one after that, getting my taxes together, and I'm working on a super-secret project. The struggle is real. Ha! But I'm sorry to say I don't have as many hobbies as I used to. I used to crotchet, sew, bake. The only "hobby" I've maintained is exercising and that's more for my health.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
OM: LOL! I'd rather name four items I wish I always had in my fridge or pantry: Ice cream. Chocolate bars. Cake. Pie. Oh, OK. I'll throw in a salad for healthy eating. LOL!
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
OM: Thank you so much for asking, Kathy. Yes, I'm working on the second book in my Peach Coast Library Mystery series. This one is MURDER OUT OF CHARACTER. There's a serial killer in Peach Coast! And I'm working on the proposal for a third book in the series. Let's join hands and think positive thoughts that one will be accepted, too.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
OM: I love storytelling. I really do. I love creating the characters, and the world and reality they live in.
Kathy: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
OM: Kathy, thank *you* so very much for allowing me this opportunity to visit with you and your community and for putting up with my cheeky answers. Happy reading!
The First Peach Coast Library Mystery
Librarian Marvey Harris may be a transplant to Georgia from New York City, but even she knows when someone says "bless her heart" it's not a good thing. Attending a book signing with local man-about-town Spence Holt, Marvey is happy to support her new best friend, Jo, who happens to own the bookstore. While the other authors are setting up, new author and the recipient of those "bless her hearts" is conspicuously out of sight, preparing her own books in the back storage room. Fed up with the woman, Jo goes to hurry her up, with Marvey and Spence tagging along. Instead of a showboating author, however, they find a dead one. While the deputies have Jo in their sights for the murder, Marvey knows she's innocent. Marvey, along with Spence and her fellow librarians, plans to provide the deputies with better suspects. Will their assistance be accepted, or will a killer put a stop to their snooping?
With a spunky protagonist, a close knit group of friends and co-workers, a charming locale, and a darn good mystery, there's a lot to like about the debut Peach Coast Library Mystery. Marvey is smart, determined, caring, and a dedicated librarian. Her Brooklyn fish out of water works well and seeing her acclimate to small town Southern living is amusing. I love the fact that she is creating a dictionary of Southern sayings. I also smile at her catch phrase, "Do you have a library card?"
I had one major issue with the book, however. The victim was killed in the back storage room of a bookstore, but the killer would have had to pass everyone in the bookstore as there was only one entrance. That could never happen. Not the killer walking past everyone, but the fact that a store would only have one means of entry. Talk about a fire code violation! There was an easy solution as well, simply have the back door alarmed or somehow blocked. Despite the inner building code officer inside me shaking her head in disbelief, I was able to continue on and really enjoy the rest of the story.
MURDER BY PAGE ONE is a charming debut mystery that promotes friendship and libraries. I can't wait to return to Peach Coast for some scrumptious peach cobbler and Marvey's next mystery.
Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery by Olivia Matthews
About Murder Page One
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing (March 23, 2021)
Print length: 328 pages
If you love Hallmark mystery movies, you’ll love this cozy mystery with humor, intrigue, and a librarian amateur sleuth.
Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange...and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.
After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?
This first in series cozy mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.
About Olivia Matthews
Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant, a national best-selling, award-winning author. Her work has been featured in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.