I'm happy to welcome Stan Charnofsky to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Stan write the Charlotte Smart Mystery series. ACCIDENT is the second book in the series and was released last month.
Kathy: In ACCIDENT Charlotte's brother, Greg, flies in from California to celebrate her 70th birthday. Have you ever done something special for a "big" birthday?
SC: Ah, a big birthday! When my twin and I turned seventy, my daughter, Kim, planned a birthday party for us at her home in Ventura, and surprised us by inviting our old baseball coach at USC who had a chauffeur drive him there. He was once voted College Baseball Coach of the Century!
Kathy: Charlotte is asked to look into a hit-and-run accident, that may not be so accidental. Have you ever discovered something was actually planned when you thought it was just happenstance?
SC: What I think of is when African American students at CSUN marched over to the administration building to insist that the football coach be fired for mistreating a "brother." It turned out to be a planned confrontation.
Kathy: Greg continues to have an interesting love life. Why do you think it's important to show that older people can enjoy romantic encounters and indeed have interesting lives?
SC: Older age does not mean a loss of passion. One novel I wrote is called Old, and the protagonist is in love with a much younger woman.
Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?
SC: Well, my elderly sister, Charlotte, lived in a retirement village in PA and I decided to make her a heroine in my novel, Charlotte, when a fictional friend dies mysteriously. My heroine was about seventy, and my sister, Charlotte was ninety-nine.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
SC: I published another novel called Religion, where a man, who considers himself an atheist, meets a woman who teaches religion at a community college. They care about each other, but the woman has a secret that keeps her from committing.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
SC: Charotte solves a mystery at her village when a woman dies, and the doctors decide it was simply old age. No one dies of old age! Charlotte helps the local detective solve what turns out to be a murder. Then in my second in the series, called Accident, Charlotte is invited to cross the Delaware into New Jersey to help discover if the hit and run death of a child was an accident or not. The third in the series, Broadway, is when Charlotte is invited to NY City by the family of a woman who is shoved down some stairs and badly injured, the police claiming she slipped and fell.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
SC: This is easy. Charlotte is my favorite character. She is a modern-day Ms. Marple, amazed at her own ability with technology.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
SC: My sister, who never solved any crimes, was my inspiration. She was active in helping people of all ethnicities as she lived into her nineties.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
SC: The answer to that is historical and I don't think I can answer it with a decision. Having written novels for the last forty years, I believe I figured it would be nice if people could read them.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
SC: One of my favorite authors was Howard Fast, who wrote over forty novels, several made into movies: Spartacus, Freedom Road, Citizen Tom Paine, et al. I also would invite Hemingway, though his personal life was awful. Another author I admire and wish I might have spent time with was Mya Angelou. She was a brilliant woman and poet. Her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a classic. I believe I would have enjoyed spending time with Frank Loesser, who wrote the brilliant musical Guys and Dolls. He was known as a tyrant, but a genius.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
SC: I just finished The Law of Innocence, by Michael Connolly. It was somewhat repetitive but a grand courtroom drama. Prior to that I read Julie Andrews' autobiography, called Homework. What a remarkable entertainer!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
SC: I enjoy Scrabble, and believe it or not, often have played by myself, right hand against left hand. I subscribe to The Week magazine, and love doing their crossword puzzle. I am proud of myself when I actually finish the puzzle!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
SC: Ice cream, angel hair pasta, Prego sauce, crumbled Feta cheese, onion bagels, decaf coffee, etc.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
SC: I am just about finished with a novel I call Going, Going, Gone. It is a baseball/mystery/romance story. I combine a young man's passion for athletics with his interest in a romance with a woman whose father has been murdered.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
SC: I love being creative. I still attend a writers' group once every two weeks where we critique each other's work. At my age, being able to be active by inventing new tales keeps me young!!!
Accident (The Charlotte Smart Mystery Series) by Stan Charnofsky
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series
Setting - Pennsylvania
Publisher: Hawkshaw Press (September 22, 2021)
Print length: 174 pages
Charlotte returns to solve another case in the second installment of the Charlotte Smart Mystery Series.
Greg Smart, Charlotte's brother, has flown in from California for his big sister Charlotte’s 70th birthday. Charlotte, the previous year, solved a murder when Greg visited her at her retirement village.
The police officer who took a shine to her during the prior case has just asked Charlotte to take a look at a baffling hit and run “accident” that has left one victim dead. Charlotte weeps to discover that the victim is a child, and the second victim, the child's older sister, is injured. Charlotte agrees to help immediately, and as soon as the two meet the child bonds with Charlotte who takes her under her wing. Charlotte will not let this child be hurt again. Meanwhile Greg continues to have an unexpectedly interesting love life while he and Charlotte work together to help to piece the child’s life and family back together by bringing a murderer to justice.
About Stan Charnofsky
Stan is a wonderful man. He just turned 90, and he just retired from teaching at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), and was their oldest and longest-serving faculty ever. He taught marriage and family counseling, and was once, briefly, a Yankee, and was also, for about 10 years, the baseball coach at CSUN. He is a lovely man with many students indebted to him. He also wears butterflies. Many decades ago students started gifting him with butterfly pins; he has hundreds, and every day he pins one on. I know he is older but he is still writing and is a vital and lovely person.
Website - https://stanthemanwrites.com