Although I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.
Hi, Patricia. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Klepto Cat Mysteries? What gave you the idea for it?
I’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years. I started out writing articles for magazines and have had hundreds of articles published in around 300 different publications. I have also produced 41 nonfiction books—most of them books for authors on topics such as publishing and book promotion. My latest book for authors is “Propose Your Book, How to Craft Persuasive Proposals for Nonfiction, Fiction, and Children’s Books.” (Allworth Press, 2015)
In June of 2012, I decided to give myself a birthday gift—the time and space to try writing fiction. I knew my stories would be light (cozy) mysteries and they would involve cats. I have a cat who takes my things—lingerie out of my drawers, small stuffed bears off the shelves, etc. She has a whole collection of stuffed toys that she carries around. So I decided to create a cat character who can’t keep his paws off other people’s things and who seems to have a knack for discovering clues to the various mysteries occurring locally. Hence the series title, The Klepto Cat Mysteries.
Rags, the klepto cat, is also patterned after my mother’s cat who is quite confident, strong-willed, creative, and has a sense of humor. Rags (Ragsdale) belongs to Michael and Savannah Ivey, who are veterinarians in Northern California. He has many human and cat friends who help keep the stories interesting and lively. By the way, there are no talking cats. Rags, for example, is an ordinary cat with some extraordinary habits.
CWA member and artist, Bernadette Kazmarski designs the beautiful covers for the Klepto Cat Mysteries.
That’s awesome. I’m a member of the Cat Writer’s Association, as well. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?
I’ve been offering advice through workshops and presentations at writer’s conferences, etc. for years. Probably the most important thing a writer must understand, if he or she wants to publish and sell their work, is the marketing concept. Know who your audience is, where they are, and how to approach them. Write for that audience and plan your marketing strategy far in advance. A book is not like a baseball field where if you build it they will come. It takes an enormous amount of thought, planning, time, and effort to write the right book for a particular audience, then to promote it successfully to that audience.
Excellent advice. What are you currently working on?
“A Picture-Purrfect Christmas,” number 13 in the Klepto Cat Mystery series is already available. I have number 14 proofed/edited and almost ready to go and I’m starting the process of fleshing out book number 15. I keep thinking I’ll run out of ideas, but once I sit down at the computer, a new story just seems to flow from me. I must say, I’m addicted to the process.
I know the feeling. I’m working on the sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” right now. I don’t know if it’s going to end up a series, but I have lots of other ideas for other books, as well. Authors like you with so many titles under your belts inspire me to keep at it.
Do you write any other genres than cozies?
As I said, I have written nonfiction for years—the how-to, informational, self-help, historical, profile piece, and so forth. From the very beginning of my career, I was fascinated by article-writing. I spent several years prior to writing my first article, studying the industry and the type of material I wanted to write. I started my article-writing career writing for horse magazines. My first book was on horse care. I’ve also written for Cats Magazine, Cat Fancy, ASPCA Animal Watch, Woman’s World, Health, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest, and many others. I had no interest in writing fiction, until three years ago and now I’m hooked. It’s all I want to do.
I’ve written for cat magazines as well and am still doing some work for Catster.com and my local paper, but I do prefer fiction.
Patricia, can you also tell me how you got started in writing?
I married young and soon had three little girls. My husband and I didn’t have much money and couldn’t afford greeting cards and gifts, so I’d make cards to send for family birthdays, Christmas, and other occasions. People loved the verses I wrote inside. When my grandmother was injured in a car accident in another state, I was unable to visit her, so I wrote to her several times a week. She praised my letters—said they were so well-written. I enjoyed the compliments and I enjoyed the process. I decided that when my daughters were older, I would become a writer. And writing has been my passion and my livelihood over the past 40 years.
What an interesting story. What are your hobbies besides writing?
I enjoy gardening, but things have changed here in CA with the drought. Instead of nurturing sweet flowering plants, I’m becoming addicted to growing succulents, making succulent wreaths and so forth. I walk every day and have for many years. I can sew and do needlework, but have put those hobbies on the backburner. I’m still available to mend or alter clothing items for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I do love our cats. We currently have three—all rescues. There’s Lily, one of 15 kittens born to 3 feral mother cats one spring. Sophie lived on the streets in a colony until she was rescued at 10 weeks old. We found Max in our woodpile and worked endless hours to socialize him. He’s 17 and a half now and loves lap-sitting.
I’ve begun walking myself. It definitely helps clear your mind and is great exercise. Some of the other authors I’ve spoken with on Cozy Chat have rescue cats, too.
All 13 of the Klepto Cat Mysteries are formatted for Kindle and to date, 9 of them are in print. We brought out the Christmas story this year in print and for Kindle. All available at Amazon. You can also order them along with note cards featuring some of the beautiful covers from my publishing website: http://www.matilijapress.com/Klepto-Cat-Mysteries
That sounds great. I have a Kindle, although I still read print books. I also order mysteries for our library and will definitely check to see if we carry your series. The note cards sound nice, too. You can never have enough cat decorated items – lol.
Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, good luck with all your writing projects, and Happy Holidays.