I'm pleased to welcome Amber Camp to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Amber writes the Horse Rescue Mystery series. Canter With A Killer is the first book in the series and was released last year.
Kathy: In Canter with a Killer we meet Mallory Martin who runs a horse rescue in Arkansas. Why choose a horse rescue instead of a different animal rescue?
AC: Horse rescue has always been a passion of mine. I love traditional cozies that take place in a bookstore or bakery, but I don't know a thing about how those businesses run. "Write what you know," they say, so I chose something I know quite a bit about. We don't have an official rescue, but we do have several rescued horses and I've worked in and around rescues nearly my whole life.
Kathy: I have always loved horses, although I didn't take lessons until I was in my 30s. I rode Hunter/Jumper. Do you ride? What style?
AC: How exciting! I've always thought Hunter/Jumpers were so elegant. I'm not riding at the moment for medical reasons, but when I do, I ride western. I primarily trail ride but my daughter and I are hoping to compete in local shows sometime in the near future.
Kathy: I owned an Off-Track Thoroughbred named Harley. Although I don't see myself owning another horse, if I did, it would certainly be an OTTB. In the meantime I do support an OTTB adoption group that gives retired racehorses another chance to be winners. Do you have a favorite breed of horse?
AC: I don't have a favorite. I love everything equine. We currently have twelve and one of my daughter's horses is an OTTB mare, Mira. She is the sweetest horse and we have all fallen in love with Thoroughbreds as well.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
AC: My late mother introduced me to cozies as a young adult. I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and I read everything from horror to romance. I call cozies my 'comfort genre' because I can come back to it like you would a comfort food or a soft blanket. They're warm and happy and you never have to worry about how they're going to end.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AC: I do. I've played around with urban fantasy and romance. Currently I'm plotting a thriller, a paranormal cozy mystery, and a dark fantasy romance. I don't know that I'm going to try publishing any of those, but I enjoy writing them.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AC: The Horse Rescue Mystery series follows Mallory and her volunteers-turned-employees Tanner and Ashley as they try to navigate the complicated work of horse rescue and occasionally help solve a murder or two.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AC: Biscuit. Hands down. He was inspired by a donkey that my aunt and uncle had when I was growing up, and he will always have a special place in my heart.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AC: Several of the horses were inspired by horses throughout my life, but other than that, there wasn’t a specific inspiration. I’ve taken a lot of liberties with the geography in my book as well. Hillspring is loosely based on several towns in Northwest Arkansas, and I changed the natural features to suit my story.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AC: I've wanted to be an author my entire life. It's my oldest dream, but I didn't get serious about it until I lost my job in 2020 due to Covid cutbacks. I figured that was as good a time as any to pursue my bucket list.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AC: What a great question! I would love to spend a dinner party getting to know Nora Roberts, Charles De Lint, Ellery Adams, and Neil Gaiman.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AC: I’m reading Beach Read by Emily Henry, Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry, Verity by Collen Hoover, A Wicked Yarn by Emmie Caldwell, and The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AC: I love hiking, kayaking, making jewelry, painting, and taking long drives on country roads.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AC: I HAVE to have bagels, cream cheese, popcorn, and I have an unhealthy addiction to Monster energy drinks.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
AC: Book two in the Horse Rescue Mystery series is tentatively due out in Fall of this year. I have seven sequel ideas, two are pretty well plotted. I sincerely hope that I am fortunate enough to write this series for a long time.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AC: All of it! Seriously, I love every step of the process, from first draft to final copy. I’ve written all my life, so getting to do any of this is just a dream come true.
Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)
by Amber Camp
About Canter with A Killer
Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Mollie Cox Bryan, Amber Camp’s debut novel will have you galloping through the pages, as a horse rescue owner races to find a killer and clear her name.
Mallory Martin left her marriage and her unfulfilling job to move back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas, and start a horse rescue. It’s everything she’s been missing, with paddocks of happy horses and one very quirky donkey. But when her cantankerous neighbor and longtime critic, Albert Cunningham, is found murdered in his fancy show barn, Mallory becomes suspect number one. Since Sheriff Grady Sullivan is ignoring all good sense and focusing only on Mallory, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Aided by her best friend, Lanie, and rescue volunteer Tanner, Mallory races headlong into the investigation in search of the real killer. But horses and murder aren’t the only thing on her mind when she meets Albert’s handsome son, Braydon. Sparks fly, and soon she’s got a new boyfriend. But there’s a case to be solved, and she redoubles her efforts to learn the truth.
The suspects mount quickly. There’s Albert’s girlfriend, Kathleen, who was on the farm when he was murdered; organic farmer Heather Rogers, who accused Albert of contaminating her creek; and Philip Atwood, who’d been trying for a right-of-way across Albert’s farm. None of the evidence is holding up though, and Mallory learns that she'll need to take the reins on this investigation if she's going to clear her own name.
About Amber Camp
Amber has lived in Northwest Arkansas for twenty+ years, working as an RN at a rural hospital in the area. She has a menagerie of animals that includes dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and what has been described as the Mule from Hell, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration. Writing has always been a focus in Amber's life, something she describes as "food for my soul." An avid reader since grade school, she enjoys multiple genres and is always looking for new authors to add to her favorites. Amber is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
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