I'm pleased to welcome Ruth J. Hartman to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Ruth writes the Bookshop Kitties Mystery series. DIAL M FOR MEOW is the first book in the series and was released today!
Kathy: In DIAL M FOR MEOW we meet Christy Bailey, a children's book author who moves to help her aunt in her bookstore. Have you ever moved to help out a relative or friend?
RJH: Hi Kathy, thanks for having me! I've lived in Indiana all my life and have never moved to help someone out, but I've traveled places to help my parents and siblings when they've needed it.
Kathy: Milton and Pearl are Christy's cats, and the inspiration for her children's mystery books. Are these two clever felines based on real cats, or are they completely fictional?
RJH: Milton and Pearl are fictional, but their personalities are a lot like the three cats I have now! Lots of mayhem and spunk! Sometimes just watching mine give me ideas for whatever scene I happen to be working on. :)
Kathy: While Green Meadow, Indiana may be a lovely town, its residents certainly aren't! Why choose to fill your fictional town with so many horrible residents?
RJH: While there are a few characters in Green Meadow who are grumpy, most are great! Plus, some of the grumpy ones are also quirky, which adds flavor to the book :). My main characters are loving, kind, and sweet. They're the ones who will continue on into future stories. :).
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
RJH: I've always loved to read mysteries! Also, growing up, one of my favorite TV shows was Murder She Wrote, which was a cozy mystery in television form. The first mystery I ever read was Mary Higgins Clark's "The Cradle Will Fall." And while her books are more visual in showing you the actual murder, cozy mysteries give you the suspense without the gore, and the main characters are often quirky and fun. Plus, cozies often have the bonus of pets in the stories!
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
RJH: Not anymore. But in the past, I wrote several historical romances, contemporary romances, as well as a children's book, and a memoir. I loved writing all of them, but cozies are by far my favorite!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
RJH: The Bookshop Kitties Mysteries take place in a small town in Indiana, where Christy, the main character, and her cats, Milton and Pearl, go to her Aunt Betty's bookstore to help run it. In the stories, Christy writes children's mysteries with Milton and Pearl as the main characters, but in book one, you see them beginning to actually help solve a murder that Christy discovers when she first gets to town.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
RJH: While I love all of my characters, Milton and Pearl are by far my favorites! I've always loved cats, so writing about them is one of the things I enjoy most. And since two of my cats are siblings that we got as tiny kittens and like to do everything together, it was great to write about Milton and Pearl doing the same thing.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
RJH: I combined my love of felines with the fun I had writing a children's book, "Murphy in the Paw-Paw Patch", with a cat as the main character. Any story about cats is fun for me!
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
RJH: While I love the writing process, getting to share it with others is awesome! It makes my day when a reader tells me how much they loved my story.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
RJH: Mary Higgins Clark, Georgette Heyer, Craig Johnson, John Grisham.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
RJH: Right now I'm re-reading I'LL BE SEEING YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. I love her books and they're some of the few that I've read more than once.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
RJH: One of the things I most love to do is take walks with my husband. There's an amazing trail a mile from our house that we take advantage of as often as we can. Along with sunshine and exercise, we're sometimes treated to sightings of hawks, owls, and blue herons.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
RJH: Diet Mountain Dew. Chocolate. Makings for pizza. Salsa. (Hmmm, not much healthy food in there!!)
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
RJH: Yes! I already have a synopsis in mind for book two for the Bookshop Kitties Mysteries. And I have two other new series that will also be out this year as well.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
RJH: I love making people laugh! One of my favorite ways to do that is through writing.
The First Bookshop Kitties Mystery
In a town full of nasty people, who killed one of the nastiest?
After her louse of a boyfriend drains her bank account Christy Bailey is ready to leave him and the city of Philadelphia behind. Packing up her cats, Pearl and Milton, the inspiration for her children's mystery series, the trio head for Green Meadow, Indiana to help in her aunt's bookstore. Instead of a warm welcome Christy finds a cold dead body and an unconscious aunt. With her aunt a suspect and her cats threatened, Christie begins her own investigation. Will Pearl and Milton help her uncover the truth before it's too late?
The first Bookshop Kitties Mystery ticks almost all of the boxes for a great cozy mystery-notably smart cats, a comfortable bookstore, a nearby bakery with delectable descriptions of its treats, as well as the murder of a not so nice person. However, I found myself not liking most of Green Meadow's residents. Unlike most cozy settings it wasn't one in which I wanted to spend time. I did like Christy and her relationship with her aunt. Her clingy friend however was a tad too...clingy.
My favorite characters were Milton and Pearl. I really enjoyed seeing them uncover clues and quietly lead Christy to the proper path in her investigation. While my cats would be aghast at the pair's willingness to be pampered in public, I did like seeing them glory in the adulation of their fans.
DIAL M FOR MEOW combines clever cats, cantankerous characters, and bookish interests with murder in a new cozy series.
Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries) by Ruth J. Hartman
About Dial M for Meow
Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery 1st In Series
Setting - Green Meadow, Indiana
Gemma Halliday Publishing (January 10, 2023)
Number of Pages: 153
When children’s book author, Christy Bailey, receives a call from her aunt Betty to help out at her bookshop, she drops everything to go. Christy packs up her two cats—Milton and Pearl, the stars of her children's mystery books—and leaves busy Philadelphia for tiny Green Meadow, Indiana. The timing of the call is perfect, as Christy’s letch of an ex-boyfriend has just cleaned out her savings, leaving Christy with a pile of unpaid bills and a desire to start over. And what better place to do that than a charming small town in Middle America?
But when Christy reaches her aunt's bookshop, instead of small town hospitality she finds a dead body! Even worse, her aunt is passed out in the corner, hands covered in blood. The dead woman is an old frenemy of her Aunt Betty, and while Christy knows her aunt is innocent, the local detective isn't so sure. With Milton and Pearl prowling for clues, Christy is determined to find the real killer and clear her aunt's name... before her story ends in tragedy!
About Ruth J. Hartman
Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people's recliners. Not that the cats couldn't get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else's. Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying. Ruth's husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at Ruthjhartman.com.
Purchase Link - Amazon
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