Today Mollie Hunt is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Cat Conundrum, her latest novel in the Crazy Cat Lady mystery series.
Welcome, Mollie. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hello, Dianne. Thanks for having me on today. Cat Conundrum is the latest addition to my Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery Series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. This seventh in the series finds Lynley on the wild Washington coast with her friend, Special Agent Denny Paris. The pair are all set to give a presentation on shelter cats at a prestigious cat summit. Little do they know they will be confronted with not one, not two, not three, but four bizarre murders!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Here is the blurb for Cat Conundrum:
A locked room. A dead man. The cat is the only witness, and he isn’t talking.
Doesn’t every author want to pen a locked-room mystery? I sure did. I also wanted to take Lynley to Long Beach, where I personally spend a lot of time writing. I wanted to give her a chance to explore her relationship with Denny, the young humane investigator who saved her life. I wanted to incorporate a gigantic Maine Coon cat. Knowing those details, I sat down and let the story write itself.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The fundamental theme to all my Crazy Cat Lady stories is one of kindness and animal advocacy. That may seem odd since the books involve murder, but there is always a happy ending. Like my hero, Lynley Cannon, I am a cat shelter volunteer, and it comes from that place of helping the vulnerable, those who cannot speak for themselves, that motivates everything Lynley does. Whether it’s fostering a lost cat or helping a bullied woman find her voice, Lynley is ready to sacrifice her comfort, and sometimes her safety, for others.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
For the most part, my characters create themselves. I usually begin with someone I know or have known, but by the time the character starts walking and talking on the page, they have taken on a life of their own. Lynley is my favourite character because she started out as an offshoot of myself. She has since grown her own way, blossoming into the person I would like to be rather than the person I am. I also enjoy Denny Paris, the animal cop, because he brings a police presence into the mix. Frannie Desoto, Lynley’s inimitable best friend is fun to work with, as is Lynley’s teenage granddaughter, Seleia, who is growing up in the series. The most astonishing character has been Carol Mackey, Lynley’s eighty-four-year-old mother. Boy was I surprised when she pulled a gun out of her purse and began shooting at the bad guy!
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I follow the advice of another mystery writer, Cara Black. She recommends putting senses, colours, dialog, and action on every page. Red is always a good bet for energizing a scene.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Research is the key to a convincing story, even with fiction. If something isn’t believable, it can knock the reader right out of the tale, and they may never come back again. For the most part, I write what I know. Whether on the set of a TV show (Cat Call), at a comic-con (Cosmic Cat), or hanging out at the beach (Cat Conundrum), I have done it myself.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Cat Conundrum is for cat-lovers who like clean mysteries with a little bite to them. I include cat tips, tricks, and facts at the beginning of each chapter.
Thanks for answering my questions, Mollie, and good luck with Cat Conundrum, the latest book in theCrazy Cat Lady Mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Mollie Hunt: Native Oregonian Mollie Hunt has always had an affinity for cats, so it was a short step for her to become a cat writer. Mollie Hunt writes the award-winning Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip, and the Cat Seasons sci-fantasy tetralogy where cats save the world. She also pens a bit of cat poetry.
Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, the Cat Writers’ Association, and NIWA. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. Like Lynley, she is a grateful shelter volunteer.