Sunday, May 15, 2022

Cover Art - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Vanessa Westermann to Cozy With Kathy today. Vanessa writes the Charley Scott Mystery series. Cover Art is the first book in the series and will be released this week.

Kathy: In Cover Art we meet Charley Scott an artist determined to turn her hobby into a career. Have you done the same?

VW: I think anyone who is passionate about a creative pursuit, whether writing or painting, hopes to one day turn their hobby into a career. I felt very much like Charley, while submitting my first manuscript to agents and publishers. It was a dream come true, when I received a publishing contract!

Kathy: Charley is running a summer pop-up gallery in a lakeside village in Ontario. Do you enjoy artistic pursuits of your own?

VW: I’m much better at painting a picture with words than watercolors, but I love visiting art galleries, like Port Hope’s Inuit Fine Art gallery (, The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vincent Van Gogh immersive exhibit. Pre-pandemic, the Northumberland Hills studio tours, showcasing local artists, were wonderful as well.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

VW: A cozy mystery is a whodunit featuring an amateur sleuth, a distinctive setting and a limited number of suspects. There’s normally a healthy dose of humour and the sleuthing focuses more on interpersonal relationships than crime scene analysis or lab results. In fact, the focus is as much on the sleuth’s world, as on the murder. I wrote Cover Art during lockdown and it was so lovely to write a mystery that has emotional resonance but also features interesting characters, some lighthearted moments and a challenging puzzle.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

VW: At the moment, I’m focusing on writing mysteries with a hint of romance.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

VW: In the Charley Scott Mystery series, artist Charley Scott solves murders in Canada’s cottage country with the help of chocolatier, Matt Thorn, and her dog, Cocoa.

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

VW: One of my favourite characters in Cover Art is Cocoa, Charley’s chocolate Labrador retriever. She loves eating human food, getting into trouble and opening doors, which is a dangerous but adorable combination.

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

VW: The idea of writing a mystery involving death by chocolate was actually sparked years ago. My mom took part in a workshop run by a local chocolatier about how to make truffles and Belgian pralines. She came home with recipes covered in hand-written notes, samples, a chocolate-stained apron and a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into a chocolatier’s workshop. We tried out the recipes in our own kitchen, chopping blocks of chocolate and tempering it to a glossy sheen. Then, later on, I thought about setting that mystery in cottage country, and the series evolved from there.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

VW: I love telling stories and write to entertain others. I can’t wait to get Cover Art into readers’ hands!

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

VW: I would invite Agatha Christie (and hope she brought one of her notebooks with, to share her plotting secrets!), Georgette Heyer, Dilys Winn, and Dorothy B. Hughes.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

VW: I’m currently reading Find You First by Linwood Barclay.

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

VW: One of the best activities to do at the cottage is go canoeing on a quiet lake. The sound of the paddle gliding through the water is the most wonderful thing. I’m still learning how to steer though!

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

VW: Dark chocolate, Red Rose tea, maple syrup, and cinnamon-raisin sourdough bread from my local bakery.

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

VW: I do have plans for future books in the Charley Scott Mystery series! I’m grateful to have received an Ontario Arts Council writing grant, to support the completion of the second Charley Scott Mystery, which I’m working on now.

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

VW: My favourite thing about being an author is creating fictional worlds and getting to spend time with my imaginary friends. 


 Cover Art (A Charley Scott Mystery) by Vanessa Westermann

About Cover Art

Cover Art (A Charley Scott Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Setting - Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada
Cormorant Books (May 17, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 440 pages

Charley Scott is thrilled to be running a summer pop-up gallery in cottage country. Returning to the lakeside village, not on vacation but as an artist, she’s determined to turn her hobby into a career.

But, beneath the surface of this peaceful town, darkness lurks. There’s a history.

Local chocolatier, Matt Thorn, is struggling with his father’s death and his legacy of deception. As Matt plans to expose his father’s secrets, a local is found dead, the result of eating Matt’s chocolates.

Luckily, art is all about perspective and Charley’s always had a keen eye. Can she see past the obvious and find the killer?

About Vanessa Westermann

An avid reader of mysteries, Vanessa Westermann is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, holds an M.A. in English Literature, as well as a Bachelor of Education, and has taught creative writing. Her debut mystery, An Excuse for Murder, was published in 2019. At the heart of all of Westermann’s stories are strong female protagonists inspired by the heroines in her own life. She currently lives in Ontario.

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  1. This sounds so good and I love the cover as we have a red chair just like that one! Wishing you a lot of new followers and also ones who read and review on a few sites like myself. Thank you for giving away a print copy as I am battling RSD and have been for years it is now throughout my body but will not stop me from reading . peggy clayton

  2. This sounds really good and I love your hat.