Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

An Interview with J. C. Kenney by E. B. Davis

Murder takes a page out of a killer’s playbook when literary agent Allie Cobb becomes her Indiana town’s number-one bestselling suspect . . .

Running the family literary business while preparing for her best friend’s wedding, chairing a park planning committee, and getting her rescue cat to bond with her boyfriend’s golden retriever doesn’t leave Allie Cobb much time for crime-solving. But when the guy who stood her up the night of her high school senior prom is killed and dumped in a pile of mulch, Allie’s suddenly the prime suspect.
It’s insulting enough that gambler, drunk, and all-around lowlife Georgie Alonso was found on the site of the memorial park honoring Allie’s deceased father. Now she’s fighting to clear her name and hold off a rush to judgment. But politics, decades-old secrets, and a slew of high-profile suspects make dangerous bedfellows as the eve of the park’s grand opening draws nearer. She’ll have to nab a killer soon, before her storybook life gets a bad ending . . .

I read J. C. Kenney’s first book in the Allie Cobb mystery series, A Literal Mess, earlier this year, but Grace Topping beat me in getting an interview with him. A Genuine Fix continues Allie’s adventures in her small hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana where she took over the literary agency started by her late father. Because the population is under 3300 people, everyone knows each other and their business, which makes for interesting circumstances in the case of murder.

Allie’s sidekick is her tortoiseshell cat, Ursi. Her boyfriend’s work keeps him out of town except on the weekends. Her sister runs a restaurant/pub. Her best friend trains for her trail runs. Her brother is the town’s superintendent of the parks department. Her mother is the local doctor. In short, Allie is the only one who doesn’t have a typical job, and her best friend is too busy. Allie can arrange her work to suit murder investigations.

When Allie finds the body of a guy she had bad experiences with in high school, and, of course, everyone knows about them, she becomes the number one suspect. The Chief of Police is her sister’s ex-husband, which can make dealing with him problematic. But Allie also has her cozy side and creature comforts that take the edge off her investigative discoveries.

Please welcome back J. C. Kenney to WWK.                                  _____                                     E. B. Davis

Sloane, Allie’s best friend, is marrying Allie’s brother, Luke. Does that make Allie uncomfortable? If anything happened, she’d probably lose her BF.

She couldn’t be more thrilled. Sloane’s had a crush on Luke for years and Allie’s always thought they would make a great couple. Allie also wants Sloane to be happy. If Luke makes her happy, Allie’s all for it.

They go to the Brown County Diner, where the pie varieties are seasonal depending on what fruit is in season. Does Indiana have cooking apples? Green and so tart sugar must be added. They don’t taste good to bite into. Like Rambos?

Indiana definitely has cooking apples, but they don’t come into season until September. My wife has an apple peeler/corer that she uses to make apple pies and cobblers. Her apples of choice for cooking are Galas.

Angela Miller, the diner’s owner, is running for mayor against the incumbent Mayor Larry Cannon. Why is Allie supporting Angela’s campaign against Larry?

I get into this a little bit in Allie Cobb book 1, A Literal Mess. The Millers and Cobbs have been family friends for decades. When Allie was in high school, she babysat Angela’s children. While she respects the job Larry has done as mayor, she thinks the world of Angela. It’s not so much being against Larry as being for Angela, in a big way.

Sloane is a professional trail runner. Is there such a thing? Does it pay?

There is! You can find more about trail running at Elite level trail runners can make a living at it, often through endorsement deals. Sloane knows she’s unlikely to make much money at it, but she’s very good with her money. She’s fortunate in that as the sole heir of a best-selling author, she doesn’t have to rely on her trail running income to get by.

Allie finds the body of murder victim Georgie Alonso at the park, which will be named after Sloane and Allie’s fathers. What did Georgie do in high school that contributes to the suspicion that she murdered him?

All through her school-age years, Allie had a thing for Georgie. She was attracted to his bad-boy attitude, despite knowing he would never be interested in a quiet, bookworm like she was. When they were seniors Georgie asked Allie to be his date for the prom. The night of the event, he stood her up, then made fun of her about it the next school day. Word got around town how he humiliated her, which made things even worse. Allie never forgave Georgie, so that’s one reason she’s a suspect in the murder.

Matt Roberson, the police chief and Allie’s ex brother-in-law, makes Allie take two tests to help her prove she couldn’t have committed the murder. What were they and how did they prove she couldn’t have committed the murders?

One of the pieces of evidence in the case is a heavy-duty lock that has been cut open with a bolt cutter. The murderer cut the lock to gain access to a truck that was used in the murder. Matt doesn’t believe Allie is the murderer, but since she found the body and had a bad history with the deceased, Matt wants to thorough in ruling her out as a suspect. The way he does this is by giving Allie a similar bolt cutter and lock and having her demonstrate whether she can cut through the lock. She’s unable to do it, despite her best efforts, which is all the evidence Matt needs to clear Allie.

What caused Allie and her sister, Rachel, to have such a bad relationship?

Rachel is two years older than Allie, so when she was young, Allie wanted to be like her older sister. Rachel and Allie are very different, though, so Rachel looked at Allie as her annoying, nerdy little sister. Rachel, who was very attractive, and her friends often made fun of Allie and her bookish ways. Over time, Allie resented the treatment she got from Rachel. As a teenager, Allie wasn’t emotionally mature enough to ignore the behavior, so it wasn’t until years later, Allie and Rachel began to work through their issues.

Brent, Allie’s boyfriend, installs genealogy equipment in local libraries. What is genealogy equipment, and what does it do?

Basically, it’s computer hardware and software designed to help people research their family histories. Over the last decade or so, there’s been a surge in interest in finding out where we come from. Commercial sites like have done great work to facilitate the search for our roots. Not everyone may have access to paid commercial sites, so libraries have stepped in by offering searchable databases that can be used free of charge.

Sloane went from rags to riches after she inherited from her father. How does she feel about her change in economic status?

She has mixed feelings. After years of alcohol abuse, her father had finally sobered up and they were beginning to build a health relationship. So, on one hand, Sloane regrets having her father taken away from her just as things were getting good. On the other hand, her inheritance allowed her to pursue trail running full-time, so she appreciates her good financial position and the opportunities she now has.

Georgie sued an old boss because he had a wreck on the job driving a truck and got injured. But after the accident, he failed a drug test. But even so, he still was awarded money. Why wouldn’t being under the influence mitigate his getting an award?

This is a great question. Georgie was never one to take responsibility for his actions, so when he was fired, he claimed the reason his employment was terminated wasn’t because he failed a drug test, it was in retaliation for filing a workplace injury claim. There was enough of a question about who was right, that the company’s insurance carrier decided to settle the case instead of taking a chance of losing at trial. It was a decision that Georgie’s former boss wasn’t happy about. Which is how he ended up a suspect in Georgie’s murder.

Is Rugrats still on TV?

Sure is. Several subscription services carry it. Allie watches it on Hulu.

Allie doesn’t trust people, unlike Sloane, who Allie thinks is naïve, or her mother, who always thinks the best of everyone. What contributed to her distrust? Was Allie treated unfairly growing up? Does she have a complex about it? A chip on her shoulder?

I think Sloan exudes a childlike zest for life, an innate joyfulness, that Allie admires. Having said that, Allie’s trust issues come from what she perceived as being bullied growing up. She never really found her niche in Rushing Creek, so her distrustfulness came about as a defense mechanism. To her trust is something that must be earned, not freely given.
What is it about walking that helps Allie think?

First off, the exercise is good for her. It also helps her clear her mind, so thoughts and ideas can come and go freely. Most of all, she enjoys it. It puts her in a good mood. When she feels good, she’s a lot more productive.

What is a Gantt Chart?

A Gantt Chart is a tool used in project planning. It’s kind of a cross between a spreadsheet and a calendar. The chart allows someone to plan out a large project, like a home remodeling job, from start to finish. Each individual task can be included in the overall chart at the appropriate time. The chart is used by project managers to make sure tasks are being completed on time, and on budget.

I was confused by your use of the word “subpoena” in getting records of a victim. Why wouldn’t the police get a “warrant” from a judge?

In Indiana, a subpoena is used by the court to order a third party to attend a hearing and/or produce documents. A warrant would be issued by the court for an arrest or to conduct the search of a home or place of business in which a reasonable suspicion of a crime has been committed.

What’s next for Allie?

Allie and the gang will return next January, in A Mysterious Mix Up.
Murder hits the stacks when literary agent Allie Cobb investigates a fatality in the local library…
Allie Cobb returns home from a book conference armed with hugs for her cat and her boyfriend, and dreams of a long, hot bath. She’s also getting ready to take the plunge by hiring an intern for her expanding literary agency. But it’s one for the books when Allie finds the town’s librarian—and her longtime role model—seconds away from death on the library floor. 
Who would want to poison Vicky Napier—one of Rushing Creek’s most beloved citizens—on the eve of her retirement? But it seems there were toxic people in her life, like the handyman with an obsessive crush, and a wood carver with a hair-trigger temper. The list of suspects includes Allie’s boyfriend, Brent, who’s in the running to take over as town librarian. Avenging her friend’s murder could be a trap as she goes up against a killer determined to write Allie’s epitaph…

J.C. Kenney is the author of the Allie Cobb Mysteries, which are set in the fictional small town of Rushing Creek, Indiana. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a snuggly kitty cat. He loves motor sports, so when he’s not writing, you can probably find him checking in on the latest from IndyCar and other forms of racing.
J.C. is a member of Sisters in Crime. You can find him at, on Twitter at, Facebook at, and on BookBub at  


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release and hello from Cincinnati.

Susan said...

What an interesting subject. Congrats on the beginning of an intriguing series.

Grace Topping said...

Terrific interview, Jim and Elaine. Another winner with this book, Jim. Congratulations.

E. B. Davis said...

When you queried the book, did your literary agent like your MC's vocation?

E. B. Davis said...

I can't seem to stop asking questions! Sorry

carla said...

Great interview! It's fascinating how laws are different in various states.

KM Rockwood said...

I'm fascinated by mystery novels that have "different" work backgrounds for their characters. You've certainly included several in your books!

J.C. Kenney said...

Thanks so much, Margaret. I love Cincinnati! Many, many wonderful memories from countless times visiting there!

J.C. Kenney said...

I appreciate your kind words, Susan. Getting into the world of literary agencies and writing about has been a lot of fun!

J.C. Kenney said...

Thanks a bunch, Grace. Elain's questions really made me think, which was great!

J.C. Kenney said...

Great question, E.B.! My agent did get a kick out of it. And she doesn't hesitate to correct me when I get things wrong, as it should be. lol

J.C. Kenney said...

Thanks, Carla. Yeah, keeping up with the law in my own state, then needing to know federal law can b a challenge. It's interesting research, though. I enjoy it.

J.C. Kenney said...

Thank you very much, KM. It's been a lot of fun coming up with the careers for Allie and Sloane especially. There are so many jobs out there, so I keep looking for ones that are a little out of the norm. I'm so happy readers like that!

J.C. Kenney said...

I also want to thank Elaine for inviting me to visit today. I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks, Elaine!

Liz Flaherty said...

Loved the book! I could tell secrets, you know... :-) Nice interview.

Amanda said...

Looking forward to starting the Allie Cobb series! Thanks for sharing this interview!