by Grace Topping
During this extended period of time staying at home, reading has become even more important to me than ever before. One benefit from it has been discovering books by writers I hadn’t read before—NY Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon being one of them. Lynn has a lengthy list of books she’s written both as Lynn Cahoon and Lynn Collins, so I have lots of books by her to look forward to. It was a pleasure talking to Lynn about her multiple series and the latest release in her Kitchen Witch Series, Murder 101.
Kitchen Witch Series
Mia Malone has opened a catering business in Magic Springs, Idaho, putting both her culinary expertise and her gift for spellcasting to good use. But it’ll take more than witchcraft to make a murderer disappear behind bars…
Mia Malone has landed a lucrative and convenient gig, catering a reunion at the old school that’s become her new business headquarters. The town swirls with rumors that St. Catherine’s Preparatory is haunted, but there’s one living visitor that Mia wasn’t expecting—her mother. Theresa Malone stepped away from the magic that runs in Mia’s family, much to the annoyance of Mia’s grandmother. Soon Mia has to deal with more than personal drama when Robin Hanover, the head of the reunion committee, is murdered in one of the classrooms.
Robin had a history as a mean girl. Could one of her old enemies have been nursing a grudge all this time? Or is the culprit even closer to home? Mia will need the help of her magic, her wits, and her family to figure out the truth—before she gets schooled by a clever killer…
Welcome, Lynn, to Writers Who Kill.
Murder 101 just released on April 27. What inspired you to write mysteries with a witch as your main character?
I’ve always been drawn to the supernatural. In second grade, I read a ‘short’ story about Art in the Park at night. It drew me into the paranormal genre. Add in “Bewitched,” “Charmed,” and Harry Potter, and I’m hooked.
Since the Kitchen Witch series is set in Magic Springs, Idaho, I wanted a magical main character to match the town.
In your first Kitchen Witch mystery, One Poison Pie, Mia Malone wants to exact revenge on her ex, Isaac, using magic. What keeps her from using magic to turn him into a toad?
One of the things Mia is learning from her grandmother is that magic has consequences. Just like any action, we create results. And exacting revenge is responding to the negative emotions and cravings we all have. Mia knows that harming Isaac with magic won’t solve the issue and will rebound on her. So she takes the high road.
Are you going to take a break before diving into your next book?
Um, no. I kind of took a week’s break while I edited the third Kitchen Witch book before sending it off to my editor, but I’ve got a stack of books to write this year. I’m getting a slow start on Tourist Trap #13 this week. Changing from
You have an impressive list of books. How was your journey to publication? Did it happen right away, or did it take you years to become an overnight sensation?
I started writing seriously when I got divorced in my 40’s and took classes in the MFA program. It was a great way to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. Then I put it away when I started dating my current husband. Fast forward six years and I went through a breast cancer diagnosis. As I was contemplating my future (or lack of it), I realized that being a writer was important to me. So I started writing again. I sold three essays that year. But it took until 2012 and a lot of writing and learning before I sold my first novel (The Bull Rider’s Brother – Lynn Collins). After that, it started snowballing, and in 2013, I sold the first three books for the Tourist Trap series that released in 2014. Now I have four current series and will be releasing
At what point did you feel you had made it? Could it have been when you became a NY Times bestselling author?
Do we ever feel like we have made it? There are always new challenges. I sold my first large print edition of Kitchen Witch this year. I’m self-publishing Cat Latimer stories starting this year. And I’m trying to break into a bigger genre (mystery or woman’s fiction) someday. There’s always a new mountain to climb and a new challenge to meet.
With a number of different series, how do you keep them all straight? Do you write more than one book at a time?
I don’t write more than one book at a time anymore. I used to try to get my ‘spec’ book – the one I haven’t sold yet – written during my ‘free’ time while I was writing contracted books. The problem is with a
Do you have a favorite among your series?
I appreciate each series for the lessons I learned while writing them. They all have strong female characters
You have an equally long list of romances, writing as Lynn Collins. Do you still write romances, or have you totally gone over to mysteries?
The other two series I write under Collins need a few more books as well. All that’s holding me off is time.
Which do you find harder to write, mysteries or romances?
Since I’m big in developing
Do you have any new projects coming up? You said that
Speaking of a change in tone. After I finish this Tourist Trap book (Lucky 13), I’ll be writing a new series where the protagonist is a bookstore owner who remade her life after surviving cancer. She runs the Tuesday night survivors book club out of her store. Writing from a cancer survivor’s POV is going to be a little tricky with my history. But I’m excited to write
The gothic romance is still on the WTW (Want to Write) pile.
You write about small towns. Do you live in a small town? What is it about them that you like best? Is there anything about them that you don’t like?
I do live in a small town. Or a big, little town. We have a small mall and a couple of chain restaurants. It’s considered the most haunted small town in America. I’ve grown up either in a small town or a rural area, so I love having space around me. I tried a duplex once and didn’t like having people so close. And I didn’t do well at all in the college dorms. I like having room to think. And when I go into town, I love the idea of people knowing my business. LOL
Writing so many books, how do you balance writing and promoting with home life?
I’m not sure I do balance, at least not well. I’m getting better at taking real time off, but even then, I’m thinking about the business. Or the next book. Or what I should be doing. I’ve always had a goal to take one day/night off a week, and I’m getting better at that. The good news is I don’t have kids at home or a lot of other commitments. I’m very stingy with the free time I have, which makes me have to prioritize well.
You’ve included recipes in your books. Do you enjoy cooking? With your busy schedule, perhaps I should ask if you have time to cook?
I love cooking. I love baking. My waistline doesn’t like me to bake. LOL. And, with such a busy schedule, I found we were eating out and ordering in too much. So my husband (the Cowboy) took over the cooking duties. He’s made fresh bread and tries new recipes. I love the way he’s jumped in, but I still make my soups to freeze for lunches and sometimes, cookies.
What do you have coming up next? Do you plan to attend any conferences?
This year is a busy writing year. I have five books left to write this year. Currently, I’m writing a Tourist Trap book for next year’s release. Then I’ll be doing one of the new series, another Tourist Trap, a Cat Latimer, and then the second in the new series. Whew. And if I find any time, I’m going to start working on a proposal.
With the ongoing pandemic and my underlying health issues, I’ll probably not attend any conferences in person this year. But in 2022 I’ve got several lined up that I want to attend. Kensington does several cozy cons at mystery bookshops each year. We’ll see what works into my schedule. I can’t believe we’re talking 2022 already.
Thank you, Lynn. Good luck with that busy schedule.