Today I'm pleased to welcome Diane Kelly to Cozy Up With Kathy. Diane writes the Southern Homebrew Mystery series. THE MOONSHINE SHACK MURDER is the first book in the series and was released
Kathy: In THE MOONSHINE SHACK MURDER we meet Hattie Hayes, a modern-day moonshiner. While Hattie's 'shine is legal, not all moonshine was...or is. I've been lucky enough to indulge in some family made moonshine when a friend brought some back from a family visit in the hills of Tennessee. Have you ever enjoyed 'shine?
DK: Sure have! I discovered it at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on south Broadway when we lived in Nashville a few years back. My first taste was the apple pie variety. Yummy! I enjoy a shot of the fruity flavors or a dash of them in iced tea, lemonade, or soda.
Kathy: Hattie has a long-haired gray cat names Smoky. Do you have cats of your own? Is Smoky based on any of them?
DK: I’ve had cats in my life since as far back as I can remember. Currently, we have two older cats and two foster kittens. I’ve drawn on various aspects of our real cats in creating the fictional feline. Smoky’s long hair is based on a beautiful, long-haired black cat named Rosa we had a while back. She was gorgeous and striking. Most of my male cats have been absolute sweeties, but I’ve had some female cats who have been more independent, like Smoky.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
DK: I enjoy a good crime caper and mystery, as well as some light suspense, but I don’t like stories that are too stressful or gory. Give me a light, fun escape from the real world any day. I also like to read, and write, about smart women. A little romance adds to the fun, too. Cozies are the perfect blend of all of my favorite things in stories.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
DK: I also write romance, mostly short stories, though I do have a full-length fantasy romance called LOVE, LUCK, AND LITTLE GREEN MEN that features a leprechaun. It was a total twist for me, but a lot of fun to write. It tested my range as a storyteller.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
DK: THE MOONSHINE SHACK MURDER is the first in my Southern Homebrew series. The second will be called THE PROOF IS IN THE POISON, and will release in 2022.
My very first series, which is complete at 12 books, is my Tara Holloway Death & Taxes series. These books feature a federal agent who goes after white-collar criminals, and I drew heavily on my own experiences working in the tax sector in developing the plotlines.
My second series was the Paw Enforcement series, which is set in Fort Worth, Texas. These books feature a female K-9 team who often butt heads, but the dog and her handler always get their man.
My third series is my House Flipper series, which is set in Nashville and stars a female carpenter and her cousin who rehab rundown properties for profit. Problem is, her cat Sawdust always stumbles across a dead body!
I have a fun and funny fourth series called the Busted series, which features a different female motorcycle cop in each book. They have more romance and are a little edgier than most cozies.
Later this year, I’ll launch my new Mountain Lodge Mystery series, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where I now live. My heroine, a woman who is recently divorced and just turned 50, is starting her life’s second act running a lodge. When a yoga retreat goes awry at her lodge, she ends up with a murder on her hands.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
DK: As much as I love all of the fictional people I’ve birthed, I’d have to say my Tara Holloway character is my favorite. She’s sassy, outspoken, and spunky. I admire those traits. She also has a quick wit and is an expert with weapons. I had a lot of fun playing her in my mind while I wrote the books. She’s also the character that landed me my first book contract, so that makes me partial to her.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
DK: For my Southern Homebrew series, the inspiration was living near the Appalachian region and discovering how much moonshine played a role in the area’s history. It began with Irish and Scotch immigrants, and ended up spawning the auto racing industry years later.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
DK: Although I’d still be writing even if I didn’t make money at it, publishing and selling my work enabled me to quit my day job and devote more time to something I love. I’m at my happiest when I’m typing away on my computer, sucked into my story.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
DK: Agatha Christie. Guess that probably goes without saying, huh? Haha.
Carl Hiaasen. I love his funny books!
Jane Austen. I find the sexism in her story worlds frustrating to read about, but as a successful female author she was a trailblazer.
Edgar Allan Poe, because he’s creepy cool!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
DK: DEATH IN BLOOM by Jess Dylan. I host a cozy mystery book club on Facebook with my author friend Melissa Bourbon. Our club is called the Book Warriors. Jess’s book is our June pick. It’s really cute! It’s set in a flower shop, and there’s an adorable corgi involved.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
DK: I love walking my dogs, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and kayaking on flat water (I’m not a daredevil at all). I recently picked up an old hobby of making stained glass. It features into my upcoming book BATTEN DOWN THE BELFRY, in which my house flippers rehab an old church with a belltower.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
DK: Hot Tamales candy. Wasabi peas to snack on. Soy milk and Oat Yeah oatmeal cookie flavored coffee creamer to give my coffee protein and a yummy cookie taste.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
DK: Definitely! After my upcoming releases, I’m contracted for two more books each in my Southern Homebrew moonshine series, my House Flipper series, and my Mountain Lodge Mysteries. I hope to squeeze in a few more novellas in my Busted series in between. My Busted series is also currently being produced in audio format, and should be released soon. Hooray!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
DK: Seeing where my imagination will take me. It’s so fun to come up with crazy and creative ideas, and to see how I can fit them into worlds that require a certain level of reality. I love mulling over what if …?
The First Southern Homebrew Mystery
The Hayes family has been making moonshine since Prohibition and Hattie Hayes is keeping up the tradition. Hattie sells a variety of her fruit flavored shine as well as her Granddaddy's Ole-Timey Corn Liquor at her newly opened Moonshine Shack. When a dead body winds up in front of her shop, next to a broken bottle of Hattie's Moonshine, Hattie finds herself as both a prime suspect and a possible future victim. Now Hattie will have to prove her innocence or she may wind up in the clink herself, unless the murderer finds her first!
I enjoy wine and spirits off all kind and was thrilled to discover a new mystery series featuring moonshine! I've enjoyed some legally produced shine and I've been lucky enough to have some family brewed stuff decades ago! I know if I was in Chattanooga I'd be heading to Hattie's Moonshine Shack.
The first Southern Homebrew Mystery gives us an unlikable victim, a
variety of suspects, and a capable police force, as well as a chill cat and an
irascible grandpa! It also gives us Hattie, a feisty protagonist with savvy business and marketing skills. Logically, I must question some of her techniques, she gives away an awful lot of moonshine, but I can overlook the business aspect as I am more interested in the murder. And a good murder it is, with plenty of avenues for investigation, which Hattie pursues in order to "help" the police and clear her name.
Family pride, friendship, romance, and a little hooch make THE MOONSHINE SHACK MURDER a fun start to a new series.
The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly
About The Moonshine Shack Murder
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (July 6, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.
The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.
The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.
Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.
About Diane Kelly
Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries. Find Diane online at DianeKelly.com, on Twitter and Instagram @DianeKellyBooks, and on Facebook at her Author Diane Kelly page.
Newsletter signup: http://www.dianekelly.com/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/