Colbie Summers has moved back in with her father, a place she left with no intention of ever returning. When her father grows ill, Colbie knows she has no choice but to pack up her 12-year-old son, their cat, Trouble, and her gourmet cat food business and go back to the tiny town of Sunnyside, CA.
While Colbie expected that things might be complicated, she certainly never expected the complications to lead to murder. When police suspect her of murdering one of the other women in the Sunnyside Power Moms trade show, Colbie realizes that in order to save her name, her business, and her son, she needs to find out who the real killer is and that might include getting into a little trouble!
How did the deal with Lyrical Underground come about? Why another name?
When my agent was in San Diego for a conference, I took her hiking in Torrey Pines State Park, which was probably a mistake since she’s in amazing shape. I let her do all the talking while walking up the steep hills!
I’d had ideas about a single mom moving back in with her grumpy father, living next door to the pretty chickens, and together we came up with the idea of her starting Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food. Once I completed the proposal, she sold it to Lyrical Underground.
I wrote the Chocolate Covered Mystery series under the name Kathy Aarons because it was a writer for hire contract. Kathy Krevat is my real name.
The story takes place in the small community of Sunnyside, CA to the east of San Diego. Is Sunnyside a real place or did you model it after another town in a similar location?
It’s a fictional town in a similar location to the real Lakeside, California but is completely made up. I grew up in a small town and used some of those memories to create Sunnyside. I actually avoided visiting Lakeside so that it wouldn’t influence my writing.
Colbie moves back to Sunnyside and her childhood home after her father’s second bout of pneumonia to take care of him. But she and her father don’t have the best relationship after she left home pregnant at age eighteen. How would you characterize their relationship in the intervening thirteen years?
In one word, difficult. They had different views on many issues, but underlying all of that was a genuine love for each other, and a frustration that the other one didn’t understand them and was judging them. Colbie visited regularly once her son was born, so that he would know his grandfather, but he usually left earlier than planned after arguments.
How and why did Colbie develop Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food?
When Colbie was the manager of an apartment, she found an abandoned kitten, Trouble, and adopted her. Trouble had digestive issues, so Colbie cooked food for her. Her friends began requesting the food for their own cats, and then their friends, in an ever widening circle. So she started packaging and selling the food, eventually graduating to farmers’ markets. In The Trouble With Murder, she’s hoping to get her products into local health food stores.
Would you say Colbie is in transition?
Absolutely! She’s on the verge of so many life changes in terms of family, business, life style, and community.
Colbie joins the Sunnyside Power Moms (SPM), who are home-based business owners. What types of services do they provide?
This was such a fun part of writing this book! Besides the “normal” home businesses of Beeswax Candles and Mommy and Me exercise classes, I included Spicy Parties selling lingerie and “adult” products, The Lice Club Lady, and mobile pet grooming.
After a booth show of the SPMs, Colbie finds one of their member’s body—the victim of murder. Why did Colbie become a suspect?
She found the body and then a significant clue was found at her home.
To exonerate herself, she decides to investigate SPM members. Why are they all so reluctant to talk with her?
Besides the fact that she’s the newest member of the group, it’s public knowledge that Colbie herself is a suspect, and they believe she’s trying to get that label off of her onto one of them.
When she questions the life coach member under the guise of seeking help, she finds the coach’s questions very interesting (as did I). Have you ever hired a life coach?
No, but I have friends who did and the process was very helpful to them.
Horace, one of her dad’s neighbors, makes negative assumptions about Colbie’s thirteen-year-old son, Elliott. Why do people do that?
I don’t know but I really dislike it! For some reason, older generations like to denigrate younger generations. I’m not sure if it’s so they can feel better about themselves, but it’s one of my pet peeves. If someone on social media talks negatively about Gen Xers or millennials, I unfollow them. I volunteer with young people and find them to be actively dedicated to the common good far more than what is portrayed in those kinds of generalizations.
In Horace’s case, he saw a police car in front of their house and drew his own conclusions.
Trouble likes good-cop Norma. Do you think animals can gage people’s character?
Perhaps not all of them, but Trouble can. Growing up, I had a pony who was very gentle with people who were tentative about riding, but if someone got on and started showing off, he’d walk (or gallop) under a branch of a tree (same branch every time) and knock them off.
What’s next, a Gourmet Cat Food novel or a Chocolate Covered novel?
The Trouble With Truth comes out in August 2018!
Awesome questions! Thanks so much for having me visit!