Today Cathy Ace is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Corpse with the Iron Will, her latest novel in the Cait Morgan Mystery series.
Welcome, Cathy. 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.
Thanks for having me! The Corpse with the Iron Will is the tenth Cait Morgan Mystery. Each book features Cait Morgan and her now-husband Bud Anderson, and there are some infrequently recurring characters, but – other than that – there’s a whole new group of suspects in each book, because each is set in a different country, as Cait and Bud travel the world. A lot of reviewers say my books can be read as standalones, which is great, because I aim to write them that way!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Although they are not the same as each other at all, a dear friend of our family, and his death, inspired this story. He is mentioned in the Acknowledgements of the book as having inspired the character at the heart of this story (the titular corpse); he was a gifted plantsman who specialized in hybridizing rhododendrons. My husband and I knew him for decades and were the ones who made the daily calls and visits to him that Cait and Bud do for their neighbour in the book. We miss him and his phenomenal knowledge a great deal, but his story is NOT the one I tell in the book!
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
This tenth book is very much a response to the pandemic: I didn’t want to write a “pandemic” book, and have decided that COVID 19 will not be mentioned in any Cait books…but I did want to explore the way Cait and Bud react to their usual understanding of the concepts of “home” and “community” when they are confronted with death on their doorstep…I think we’ve all realized that “home” and “community” mean something different to us these days.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
Cait’s been with me for many years, and I am pretty sure everyone who meets me knows she’s somewhat based on me: like me she’s a Welshwoman who migrated to Canada; like me she’s a bit overindulgent when it comes to food; like me (apparently!) she’s a bit nosey and bossy! All of this means I like her enormously, though she and I are not one and the same – I’m delighted to tell you I don’t tend to trip over corpses wherever I go!
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Each Cait Morgan Mystery is set in a different country; I planned this from the start because I have led a wandering life…living and working in many places, so Cait gets to share my love and enthusiasm for visiting new places, and I also get to share my love of art, architecture, and history…and food and drink.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Each novel is slightly different, depending on the focus. For this book I had to dig deep into my own psyche to check on how I feel about my neighbours (fictional versions!) and also find out how local law enforcement would deal with “the situation they are faced with” (sorry, I cannot say more – spoilers!) in this specific locale. I also fed my inspiration by constantly wandering our five-acre garden (when I wasn’t working in it).
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
I hope you can tell as you read it how very much I enjoyed writing it!
Thanks for answering my questions, Cathy, and good luck with The Corpse with the Iron Will, the latest book in the Cait Morgan Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Cathy Ace: Cathy was born and raised in Swansea, Wales, then migrated to Canada aged 40. Having traveled the world (for business and pleasure) for decades, Cathy put her knowledge of the cultures, history, art, and food she encountered to good use in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – a series of traditional whodunits featuring a globetrotting Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology. These books have been optioned by Free@LastTV (Agatha Raisin). Ace also writes the #1 Amazon bestselling WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, featuring four female PIs (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English). They tackle quirky, quintessentially British cases from a Welsh stately home in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley. Her standalone tale of psychological suspense, The Wrong Boy, also became an amazon #1 bestseller, and is due to become a bilingual TV mini series. Cathy lives on five rural acres in British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband ensures she’s able to work full-time as an author, and enjoy her other great passion – gardening. She’s been shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award three times in four years, winning in 2015, has won an IPPY Award, and was shortlisted for an IBA Award and an Arthur Ellis Award.