If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.


WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fat Cat Author Janet Cantrell/Kaye George


A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect
opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None
bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their
delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through
their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights.

But what he finds is murder. One of the top contenders in a butter-sculpting
contest has been killed, and Chase is churning on the inside when she sees
Quincy’s handsome veterinarian, Dr. Mike Ramos, being led away by the police.
With a little help from a kitty with butter on his whiskers, Chase needs to find
the real killer and clear the doctor’s good name…
Janet Cantrell

Released yesterday, Fat Cat Spreads Out is the second book in the Fat Cat mystery series authored by Janet Cantrell (aka—Kaye George) and published by Berkley Prime Crime. But it is not this writer’s first series. Those of you who know her other pseudonym, Kaye George, also know she writes the Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery Series, the Imogene Duckworthy mystery series, and the People of the Wind mystery series, featuring a tribe of Neanderthals. The first in this series, Death in Time of Ice, garnered a nomination for an Agatha Award last year.  

Quincy, the fat cat character, has a weight issue. That would be bad enough, but he also has the mentality of an escape artist. Combined, those two issues cause no end of trouble for his owner, Chase, a young business woman who is co-owner of Bar None, a bar cookie shop with her surrogate grandmother, Anna Larson.

Please welcome Janet Cantrell (Kaye George) to WWK.                                                E. B. Davis

Your setting is Minneapolis. Is it located in a real Bunyan County? Is the county named after Paul Bunyan? I loved Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox, as a child. How did these characters and stories come about? Were they really legends?

Minneapolis, of course, is real. The Dinkytown neighborhood where the Bar Non dessert shop is located exists, too. But I made up Bunyan county. I named it after the local legendary characters. There are lots of tales of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the blue ox. I heard them growing up in nearby northern Illinois, where many of the local Swedes vacationed in Minnesota. Since Paul was a logger, the stories most likely started among loggers. They do hard, sometimes almost superhuman work, and they’re isolated from cities and towns for long periods of time. I picture them sitting around a campfire, or maybe even in a camp kitchen, at night, bragging about their own feats. I imagine there was some exaggeration and the stories grew from that. At least I like to picture that happening.

At the Bunyan County Fair, when Quincy escapes (again), he is drawn to the building where the
butter sculptures are in progress and unfortunately where a murder has just occurred. Why is Chase motivated to find the killer?

The police latch onto Dr. Michael Ramos, since he is found with the body when the victim’s wife sees him there and starts screaming. It could be that he was in the butter sculpture building to retrieve Quincy, who was getting his licks in by the sculpture the victim had been working on. But Chase thinks there might be something else. She doesn’t believe he killed the man. How could she? She’s very interested in the heart throb veterinarian with the chocolate brown eyes, even if he does nag her about her cat’s weight.

Larry Oake, the victim, is a famous butter sculptor. But I thought his wife, Elsa, was a more interesting character. The reader is simultaneously sympathetic to her and also greatly annoyed by her. Chase has the same reaction. Why?

Elsa comes on pretty strong. She is demonstratively grief stricken. Maybe a little too much so? Chase intensely dislikes her repeated assertions that Mike Ramos is her husband’s killer.

I know sculpting in ice and sand are common but not butter. Is butter sculpting a big event in Minnesota?

Butter sculpture is a huge event at fairs! I didn’t realize this until I did some background research on it. Butter Cow contests are very common and there are people who are at the top of this field, just like those who excel at other fair attractions: hotdog eating, pickle making, salt lick carving, hay bale tossing, hog calling, and many other weird and wonderful things.

Elsa’s pet causes everyone trouble except Quincy. Why?

I wanted Quincy to have an animal friend, since he’s had none so far. The pairing of a bird and a cat seemed unlikely enough to be interesting, and I have actually know cats with bird friends. Usually big birds like Lady Jane Grey, who aren’t easily eaten by a cat.

The story has many complications. One is the theft of The Picky Puss Cat Food necklace, which will be worn by the cat, who wins the custom contest held at the end of the fair. Patrice, Mike Ramos’s cousin, a kleptomaniac, took the necklace, but lost it. Why does Mike try to protect her so much?

She’s his cousin, he’s grown up with her, and he loves her. He knows she’s not a bad person, just a woman with a compulsory need to snatch things. She’s been trying very hard to overcome it, but isn’t quite there yet.

Why does Chase think the murder and the theft are related?

Mainly because the two things happen so close together. She has a hunch, too, just based on her subconscious assessment of things that are going on.

One of Chase’s murder-solving techniques is observation. What makes Chase a good observer?

Having been unjustly accused of a crime in the time just before the first book starts, she is interested in seeing justice done. She’s also smart enough to know what she sees and hears and draw conclusions. She doesn’t like to go crashing into situations, but to wait and see what’s what.

Chase’s unconscious mind has her humming appropriate show tunes. Are these plot points? Do you use music to plot your stories?   

In the story, Anna Larson, who raised her, was crazy about musicals and took her to them often. The author also loves musicals and wanted to use them to match the mood of what is going on at the time.

Other suspects are a father and son, who I’ve deemed the Black Russians. What motive do they have?

It’s not clear at first, but the reader needs to pay attention to what sets off the father. It has to do with the stolen diamond cat collar.

Chase has two complications away from the county fair. One is a passive/aggressive pregnant store clerk, Inger. Why does Chase put up with her?

She truly feels sorry for the woman, pregnant and turned out by her parents. Once again, Chase comes down on the side of justice. It’s simply not right that her parents are not supporting her after Inger’s boyfriend was killed overseas in the military before they could get married.

The second problem is her website designer, Tanner, who is broke, and keeps wanting her to have an interactive website. What does Chase decide?

Chase feels certain that a web presence will do the shop good. Anna, of the generation that did
just fine without it, doesn’t agree. Dr. Ramos, Mike, suggested Tanner to her, which is good enough for her.

When Chase finds a second murder victim at the fair, why doesn’t she assume the murderer is the same perp?

There isn’t any discernable connection between the two victims, or the murder methods.

Is Mike romantically challenged (are we missing backstory) or is his interest a payback for Chase’s valor?

It’s going pretty slowly for them, isn’t it? I hope things heat up a little in the future.

How does Chase redefine Quincy’s weight problem?

Weight problem? He eats the healthy cat treats she makes for him, the Kitty Patties that encourage him to eat his dry diet food. And at one point he his weight was down! He's not really fat, Chase says. He just needs more exercise.

How do you write four series, Kaye?

As Anne Lamott says, Bird by Bird, or one word at a time. I only work on one at a time when I’m doing a first draft. After that, I can work in some editing on another project. I pretty much wrote the 3 Fat Cat books straight through, although I worked in one other between the second and third. The second book in the Cressa Carraway series was almost finished, just needed some confusing details cleaned up. I’d been away from it long enough to see it more clearly, clean them up quickly, and turn it in as I was waiting for Fat Cat edits. Right now I’m doing the second People of the Wind book. I thought it would take me ages since the first one, Death in the Time of Ice, was very slow going, but it’s not that bad. I hope to finish it by the end of the year if not before. Then, who knows? To answer your question succinctly, it’s kind of hard.

What is the best news you’ve had so far in 2015?

That Fat Cat at Large was a national bestseller its second week out of the gate. I’m hoping the readers of the first book will do the same for the second—and the third!

Thanks for the interview! You made me dig for some of those answers.

Thank you, Janet/Kaye. Kaye updated her website recently. If you haven't seen it, please go to: http://kayegeorge.wix.com/kaye-george. Give Kaye a shout, and then visit her Janet Cantrell website.

21 comments:

Warren Bull said...

Hi Janet/Kaye, Thanks for stopping by WWK. Four series, Wow. You must be able to focus.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Janet/Kaye – best wishes for a very successful second in the series. I keep trying to get a second series off the ground without success, so am very impressed with four.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

I've read some of Janet/Kaye's books, and I love them.

When my kids were young, we lived in the midwest and went to endless county fairs, complete with butter sculptures and similar fair attractions. Now that we live in Pennsylvania, I've gone to several state fairs, and they always include a butter sculpture.

I'm impressed with your ability to juggle four series. I'm especially looking forward to the next People of the Wind book.

And I'm planning to move Fat Cat Spreads Out to the top of my TBR list.

KB Inglee said...

I thought all state fairs had butter sculpture. Well, maybe not Delaware.
Fat Cat two is in the mail. I will have to try my new found dog treat, one Doggie will actually eat, on the cats. If it works I will let you know.

Kaye George said...

Thanks for coming by, Warren, Jim, Kathleen, and KB! I admit it's going slowly lately since I got off the fast pace of the Fat Cat books.

I don't remember butter sculpture at fairs in Illinois when I was little, but maybe I was always too interested in the animals to notice them.

Shari Randall said...

Love your delightful Fat Cat books, Janet/Kaye! Please keep them coming. The covers are adorable - have you ever met your cover artist?

Kaye George said...

I haven't, Shari, but that would be fun!

Kait said...

Congratulations Kaye! I pre-ordered, now I can't wait to get into the book.

Kaye George said...

Thanks, Kait! Hope you like it.

Grace Topping said...

Kaye, you never cease to impress me with your level of activity and ability to juggle so many projects at one time. I loved "Choke" and look forward to reading your new series. Wishing you continuing success with your writing career.

Kaye George said...

Thanks so much, Grace! I do like to stay busy.

E. B. Davis said...

I can't imagine writing four series, but in addition, you cover all the social media, too! Then there is everything else you do for the Guppies, and home. Hand over some of that energy! Thanks for the interview, Kaye!

Kaye George said...

You're welcome, E.B. I often don't FEEL like I have a lot of energy. Just slogging along.

I'm basking in all these nice compliments!

Polly Iyer said...

I, like the others, am in awe of you writing four series. You must be ultra-organized. I'm having trouble keeping one series going. 'Course I have stand-alones in between. But four series would put me in a constant state of panic. Cheers to you, Janet/Kaye/Judy. I so admire you.

Kaye George said...

Did I say I was NOT in a constant state of panic? I thought that's how it's supposed to be.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Janet/Kaye, I am so looking forward to the second Fat Cat mystery. Thanks for being such a fabulous writer and true inspiration!

Kaye George said...

Your check's on the way, Paula.

Gloria Alden said...

Janet/Kaye, I bought your first Fat Cat mystery at Malice, but haven't had time to get
to it yet, but I am looking forward to reading it. I've enjoyed your other series but
can't imagine even writing two series let alone writing four. Do you ever have time away
from the computer or time to read?

Kaye George said...

I'm on the computer a LOT, but I'm always reading when I'm not. I spend too much time on the computer and most of it is not writing.

Kara Cerise said...

Your Fat Cat books are fun and Quincy is a gem!
I'm amazed that you can juggle four series and write short stories. You are an inspiration.

Kaye George said...

Thank you, Kara!