Hi, Kassandra. 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 Marcia and Buddy series? What gave you the idea for it?
I’m a retired psychotherapist and all of my books have psychological themes. I have another series that has 8 books and 4 novellas in it. I was starting to run low on ideas and inspiration for that series (although I will always love those characters). Then I read an article about service dogs for PTSD sufferers and I thought that would make a great series, with a protagonist who trains these dogs for combat veterans with PTSD.
Developing Marcia’s character has been challenging. She’s a thirty-something divorcee with a bit of snark in her personality, and yet she is dedicated to her dogs and to helping her veteran clients. And that’s how she ends up getting sucked into the messes in their lives.
In Book 1, To Kill A Labrador, Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) is called in to dog-sit Buddy, a Black Labrador who was the first dog she trained. His owner, a former Marine, has been arrested for murdering his wife. Marcia ends up trying to clear him and almost gets herself and Buddy killed in the process.
Book 2, Arsenic and Young Lacy is about to be released. It’s available now for preorder for $1.99 until 9/5/16. Book 1 in the series is currently on sale for $0.99 through 9/3. (Both are regularly $3.99)
That’s terrific, Kassandra. I’m a librarian and so is the protagonist in my Cobble Cove mystery series. I also like to get into the minds of my characters, and in my upcoming standalone, I deal a lot with psychological issues. I have to admit, though, that I’m a cat lover. However, I do have a dog as well a cat in both “A Stone’s Throw” and its sequel, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” that is coming out this fall.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new release planned soon? If so, please provide details about it. Is it part of the series or the start of something else or a standalone?
Sweet, adorable Lacy has stolen Marcia Banks’ heart, but money is tight. Like it or not, the service dog trainer needs to complete the human phase of the training and deliver the dog to her new owner in order to get paid. But the ex-Army nurse-client turns out to be a challenging trainee. On top of her existing neuroses–which go beyond the psychological damage from a sexual assault during her second tour in Afghanistan–the veteran is now being stalked.
When Marcia receives a bizarre warning to stay away from her client and Lacy is also caught in the stalker’s malicious orbit, Sheriff Will Haines steps in to investigate. Marcia finds this both endearing and annoying, especially when he expects her to stay on the sidelines. The training fee would make her solvent again, but how can she put her dogs at risk?
Maybe Marcia should be more worried about herself since the stalker has decided to pay her off in a very different way.
Sounds wonderful. There’s a stalker in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” although the stalker is not central to the plot.
Do you write any other genres than cozies?
I only write mysteries but I do write in several subgenres. Some of my books would qualify as romantic suspense and I’ve even written a thriller.
But recently I’ve really gotten into cozies. They’re fun to write!
Yes, cozies are fun to both read and write. I had originally considered “A Stone’s Throw” to be romantic suspense, but my reviewers considered it a cozy, and so I wrote another even cozier than the first. My upcoming book is going to be quite different. I consider it a psychological thriller.
How did you get started in writing?
I’ve always loved to write. I wrote professional articles and edited a newsletter during my career as a psychotherapist. I even enjoyed writing test questions when I was teaching college, something most professors hate.
But becoming a published author of fiction seemed like an unreachable dream when I was younger. I had a manuscript going, but I could never seem to get past the fifth chapter. I just kept rewriting the beginning of the story.
Then when I retired, I finally started working on that manuscript in earnest, and once I got rolling, there was no stopping me.
I still sit back in wonder occasionally and contemplate the turn my life has taken. Dreams really can come true if you work at it.
Nice story. I also edited my college paper and graduate school newsletter. I agree completely that dreams are attainable if you don’t give up on them.
Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?
Never give up on your dream. Keep writing, taking classes, learning your craft. Eventually, your words will find an audience. And it’s never too late. I published my first book at age 59.
That’s inspiring. Although I wrote articles since I was in my 30’s, I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 40’s, and, although I’m not retired yet, I’m just really getting going now in my 50’s.
What are your hobbies besides writing?
Reading mostly, and on Fridays, I act like the retiree I’m supposed to be. I go to the local senior center and play cards.
Those are both good ways to relax.
Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?
My stories are definitely character-driven. I love creating “people” (maybe I have a touch of a God complex 😉 ) and I try to make my characters interesting and realistic. I get good feedback about them from readers, so I must be fairly successful most of the time.
I also write character-driven stories.
Can you please share with us the buy links for your books and your social media links?
BUY LINKS for To Kill A Labrador
AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DFPXDVY
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01DFPXDVY
BUY LINKS for Arsenic and Young Lacy
AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA
AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA
AMAZON CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA
AMAZON AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01KNEJ8ZA
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Kassandra-Lamb/e/B006NB5WAI/
UK AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B006NB5WAI/
Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Kassandra, and best of luck to you on your current and future books.