WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."
Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.
Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.
Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!
KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sofie: It wasn’t any particular series of books that influenced me, it was mostly the fact that I like cats and that I’ve known some pretty quirky ones.
EBD: I doubt many of our readers missed the book, but just in case, could you give us the hook of the first book?
Sofie: The books are set in Mayville Heights, Minnesota. Kathleen Paulson is the head librarian at the Mayville Heights Free Public Library, who relocated from Boston to oversee the renovations of the library building for its centennial. When she discovers the body of conductor Gregor Easton, she becomes a person of interest to the police. And, of course, ends up trying to catch the real killer with some help from her cats, Owen and Hercules. These cats have some very unique abilities.
Sofie: Sleight of Paw will be out September 6th. This book is set in February as Mayville Heights celebrates Winterfest. When former school principal, Agatha Shepherd is killed, Kathleen, along with her cats, Owen and Hercules, get involved in another murder.
EBD: Your main character, Kathleen Paulson, has cats and is a librarian. Are those two of your own characteristics?
Sofie: I’m not a librarian, but the library has always been one of my favorite places. The library I used as a child was a Carnegie library, just like the Mayville Heights building. Librarians are some of my favorite people—they know everything. It doesn’t matter how obscure the question is, I’ve never been able to stump one—and I have tried.
I had cats as a child, but I don’t have a cat now because my husband is allergic to them. And I still manage to have some wonderful cats in my life. KC was my neighbor’s cat. She came for breakfast every morning and she’d often sneak back for a nap in my office. A couple of years ago KC and I had surgery at the same time. She was wearing a cone and I was wearing a cast. We were a sad looking pair for a while.
When she got sick and had to be put down, I think I cried more than her owners.
EBD: The series is set in Minnesota and your main character is a Boston transplant. Have you lived in both locales?
Sofie: I haven’t lived in Boston, but my niece just finished her graduate degree in Boston, so I’m lucky I can pick her brain. I haven’t lived in Minnesota either, but it’s such a beautiful state that I’d like to. I discovered this video about Red Wing, Minnesota, and I was so taken with Red Wing I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in the books.
EBD: I grew up in a smaller town where everyone was related to everyone else, so the relationships you draw are believable. What is it about small towns that fascinate you?
Sofie: I grew up in a small town too, and one of the things I like about small places is how well people get to know each other. I like those connections. I like being part of a bigger community.
I’m also intrigued by the idea that while it’s almost impossible to keep anything secret in a small town, people will keep your secrets if you’re part of the community.
EBD: Your secondary characters are memorable. How did you conceive of them?
Sofie: Rebecca has elements of my next-door neighbor, who is just as sweet and just as stubborn when she sets her mind to something. Maggie has my real-life crush on Matt Lauer. We both love art, although Maggie is more talented than I am. The cats have bits of every cat I’ve ever known. Pretty much everyone else is just a creation of my imagination. I do have a thing for names, though. If I like your name, it’ll probably show up in a book at some point. For example, Andrew is named after a friend of mine, although he didn’t go on a fishing trip and marry a waitress in a fifties diner—at least as far as I know.
EBD: Did you set out to write a paranormal cat book due to the mystical qualities of cats in general, or was it a more practical decision of honing in on a specific paranormal ability the cats’ possessed to provide clues to your main character?
Sofie: I do think cats are very intelligent and I like their slightly mysterious demeanor, but the particular paranormal abilities that Owen and Hercules have were actually the suggestion of my editor.
EBD: How many years did you write before your first book was published? How many manuscripts had you queried prior to its publication?
Sofie: I came third in a poetry writing contest in third grade—I’ve been writing for a long time. I wrote a lot of short stories and one very, very bad novel, none of which were published or deserved to be. My first published book was a memoir. It was the first full length manuscript I queried. I’d had a decent number of articles and reviews published by that point.
EBD: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
Sofie: Read, read, read. And write, write, write.
Read everything. It’s a great way to learn about the craft of writing. And I think it’s good to read things outside of your favorite genres once in a while. And write. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s any good. Just write. Everything can be re-written. (Thank goodness.)
EBD: Do you really home-bake kitty treats? Sardine flavored?
Sofie: Not only did I make kitty crackers I actually tasted them. I would have taken them over to the cat across the street for a taste test but it was raining. They were pretty good. In all fairness, I should say that I’ll eat things other people probably wouldn’t. My daughter made brownies with peas in them for a school project and I ate them. They were good too