I'm pleased to welcome Rebecca McKinnon back to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Rebecca writes the Octavia Fields Mystery Series. MURDER TO MY EARS is the first book in the series and will be released next week.
Kathy: In MURDER TO MY EARS we meet Octavia Fields. She could be considered a modern day hippie in that, among other things, she's fairly nomadic and doesn't like commitments... or shoes. Do you share any of her unique traits?
RM: You’re starting with the hardest question! While Octavia is definitely her own person, there’s so much more of ME in this character than in any other one I’ve written. I (usually) wear shoes when I go places that expect them, but I prefer no shoes. I’d love to wander the world the way Octavia gets to! Octavia and I also have music in common. And while Octavia owns her violin shop, I worked in one for a couple of years. I feel like Octavia is similar to who I could have become if my life had gone in a different direction.
Kathy: Aerie Pines, where Octavia spends her summers, is classical music central and home to the Aerie Peaks Symphony. Do you enjoy classical music? Who are some of your favorite composers and/or pieces? (I'm more of an opera fan, but love Ravel's Bolero among others.)
RM: I love Bolero, too! I grew up on classical music, and some of the pieces are so much a part of me that I hear them and it’s like my soul is breathing. That’s a very Octavia thing to say, and it may not make sense, but it’s the best way I can describe it. In the book, Octavia plays one of my favorites: Harold in Italy. But there are so many pieces I love that I could list them all day.
Kathy: Octavia is a violist. What made you choose this instrument for her? Do you play any instruments?
RM: Like Octavia, I’m a violist. Not only did it feel like the natural thing to have Octavia pick up the instrument I know best, but personality went into the decision as well. There are exceptions, of course, but musicians tend to be drawn to an instrument based on their personality. That’s something I wanted to play with a little bit.
Kathy: Octavia directly speaks to the reader at times. What made you decide to break the fourth wall?
RM: I can’t take credit for that decision. That was all Octavia! It’s not something I’d normally consider, but with her personality it felt like it worked, so I let her keep it.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
RM: I love the puzzle of a mystery. Cozy mysteries drew me in as a reader with the lighter feel and the fact that they gave me a chance to participate in the investigation without needing the degree in forensic science some mysteries leave me feeling I need in order to solve the puzzle myself.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
RM: Since I write for myself first, I have a hard time staying in one lane. I like to go wherever my imagination takes me. That said, I’ve been trying to settle in with the cozy mysteries. Other books I have include a vigilante origin story, a time-travel romance, steampunk, a YA trilogy with some definite romance and a splinter world, and some shorter stories in a variety of genres that I did for a podcast.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
RM: Octavia’s series is all about taking that quirky side character we all love and putting her in the spotlight as the main character. My other cozy series, the Clear Creek Mysteries, has a backdrop of a yarn store—but it’s really all about community and friendship, and the ways people support the friends and family they care so much about.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
RM: My favorite character changes depending on my mood. But I really love Detective Price. He’s very genuine, in a way I don’t think many people are.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
RM: I knew I wanted to do a series that had classical music as the backdrop, because music played such a big role in who I’ve become. Since cozies like to have small, tight-knit communities, I decided the camp-type setting would be perfect. Aerie Pines was created as kind of a cross between some of the different summer music programs I’ve attended.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
RM: I always worry when I start a new project that no one will want to read it. But I have an amazing friend who helps me get past that and reminds me that I’m writing because the stories need to break out of me—and that every story deserves to be told. Because I wouldn’t have been brave enough to share it without her, MURDER TO MY EARS is dedicated to her.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
RM: I think any of the big names I can think of at the moment (Agatha Christie) would thoroughly intimidate me! I have a group of author friends who get together every so often, and I think I’d be happier sharing a meal with them than anyone else, even if there are 8 of us instead of 4.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
RM: ROYAL REBEL by Heather Frost
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
RM: I’m a knitter, and I love to play in the garden and make messes in the kitchen. I also really love going on adventures (even if I have to turn a trip to the grocery store into one)!
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
RM: Cheese, bread, fruit, popsicles.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
RM: I definitely have more Octavia coming. I also have some other irons in the fire that I can’t talk about yet.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
RM: I love getting to play with my imaginary friends all day.
The First Octavia Fields Mystery
Murder To My Ears (An Octavia Fields Mysteries) by Rebecca McKinnon
About Murder to My Ears
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Independently Published (June 30, 2023)
Print Length: 260 pages
Octavia Fields should know better than to judge things by their appearance. After all, most people don’t expect a nomadic hippie to be a classical violist—let alone one who runs a seasonal music shop at Aerie Pines, the summer home of the Aerie Peaks Symphony.
But when her business season starts off on the wrong note, it’s obviously the persnickety concertmaster’s fault. If he hadn’t turned up dead—leaving Octavia to find his body— she wouldn’t have to deal with the handsome detective who isn’t sure what to think of her impressive arrest record.
With symphony members cornering Octavia to pass on “evidence” by way of sotto-voce rumors, it shouldn’t surprise her to learn the helpful musicians aren’t the only ones who believe Octavia’s helping with the investigation. When a threatening letter arrives, it’s clear the killer thinks she’s playing harmony to the detective, too.
When the detective doesn’t appear to be making progress on the case, Octavia decides it’s up to her to solve the mystery—before the killer hears their cue to silence her!
About Rebecca McKinnon
Rebecca McKinnon enjoys playing with her imaginary friends and introducing them to others through her writing. She dreams of living in the middle of nowhere but has been unable to find an acceptable location that wouldn’t require crossing an ocean.
Website/Social Media Links:
Website – https://rebeccamckinnon.com/
Purchase Link – Amazon -a Rafflecopter giveaway