This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the author of A Magical Cat
Mystery series, Sofie Kelly. Her latest mystery, A TALE OF TWO KITTIES,
scratched my funny bone on the very first page and I had to get the scoop on her
adorable felines. I know some of our grammar junkies may be caught off-guard by
the lack of capital letters in her title, but let me assure you, it’s just one
more creative way the author will capture your attention. (Especially if your
typing out the title and your fingers refuse to use lower case for that first
Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media
artist, Darlene Ryan. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and
daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl
around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.
Kym: Hi Sofie, welcome to the Cozy Corner!
Sofie: Hi Kym. Thanks for inviting me.
Kym: Congratulations on your new Magical Cats Mystery
release, A TALE OF TWO
KITTIES! I love Hercules and Owen, can you tell readers who may not be
familiar with your series a little bit about your heroine Kathleen and her two
Sofie: Kathleen Paulson is the head librarian in
Mayville Heights, Minnesota. She’s originally from Boston. Kathleen discovered
Owen and Hercules as kittens at Wisteria Hill. At the time the old estate just
outside of town was abandoned. Owen is a gray tabby and Hercules is a tuxedo
cat. Both cats have “special” abilities—Owen can disappear and Hercules can walk
through walls—and they end up helping Kathleen with her sleuthing.
Kym: Librarian Kathleen Paulson is involved with a detective with some
old fashioned values. When you’re writing, do you like to develop the conflicts
between the two first, or do you let the story develop the conflict as you
Sofie: Detective Marcus Gordon can be a bit of a
stick-in-the-mud sometimes! He’s loosening up a little now that he’s fallen in
love with Kathleen. Their conflicts come from their different approaches and
just seem to happen as the story progresses. Marcus looks at the evidence.
Kathleen looks at the people involved. Her parents are actors and watching them
develop characters has taught her a lot about human nature. She’s also a good
listener and people tend to tell her things they might not tell the police.
Kym: I loved the way you started out A TALE OF TWO KITTIES:
“You’d think by now it wouldn’t bother me to step on a body in the middle of the
kitchen floor, but I was in my sock feet and…” It was a brilliant line of gore
and humor mixed together to make readers cringe and laugh at the same time while
setting the pace for the story. Without giving away too much, is this a dose of
reality meeting fiction?
Sofie: Yes it is. I have three words for you: Cat,
Kym: Some of the special abilities you’ve given Owen and Hercules really
aren't that big of a stretch of the imagination for cat lovers. We’ve all seen
cats disappear in the blink of an eye, and we know them to be highly intuitive
animals as well, yet you’ve embraced their natural characteristics and made them
magical; giving non-cat lovers a view into what makes real felines unique. Was
that part of the plan, or just a wonderful perk?
Sofie: It was a bit of both. I wanted the magic to
feel like it could be a possibility. Cats have the ability to dart out of the
room when our backs are turned for just a moment and then show up later in the
most unlikely places. Maybe, just maybe, they all have some magical ability
Kym: Your descriptions of cat noises and actions are purr-fect. From Mrr
and murp, to quizzically craning necks and their tales wrapping around their
feet as they sit, but you’ve taken it a step further and made Hercules’ and
Owen’s actions individualized. That’s not easy with people, let alone animals.
How do you maintain this throughout your series?
Sofie: After 9 books I know Owen and Hercules as
well as any of the other characters. Owen, for example, adores sardines, catnip
chickens and Kathleen’s friend, Maggie. Hercules loves Barry Manilow, hates wet
feet and is having an on-going war with a grackle.
Owen and Hercules have bits and pieces of all the different cats I’ve known.
For example, the cat at one of my local used bookstores used to delight in
sneaking up behind me in the summer time and licking my bare ankle. I’d almost
jump out of my skin and the cat would make a sound like it was laughing.
Kym: If you had to cast Hercules and Owen as men in a movie, who do you
see playing their roles? Could one of them be Matt Lauer? :)
Sofie: Matt Lauer could only play himself. If the
books ever became a movie or a series do you think he would do a cameo?
For the cats, I’m thinking maybe Colin Firth as Hercules and Robert Downey
Jr. for Owen. Owen has a certain cockiness that Robert Downey Jr. could pull
off, while Hercules is more sensitive and reticent—something Colin Firth is good
Kym: Many authors model their fictional towns after real towns. Is that
the case with Mayville Heights, MN?
Sofie: Mayville Heights is inspired by Red Wing,
Minnesota. I saw a short video on-line about the town and was captivated by it.
The two towns share the same location but the layout of Mayville Heights is very
different. The library is actually very similar to the library we frequented
when I was a child. And of course Red Wing doesn’t have all those dead bodies
Kym: Many cozy mysteries make the murder victim an unlikeable character;
it’s easier to add humor if no one feels any loss. Yet you chose to express the
loss of loved ones, no matter how good or bad the character of the victim may
be, through the eyes of the victim’s granddaughter Mia, an intern at the
library. Her love and grief for Leo adds another dimension that is impactful and
real. Is this something you strive to do in all of your cozy mysteries?
Sofie: Because the murders happen so early each
book, much of what the readers learn about the victim comes from the people in
his or her life. Some victims are harder to care about than others, but I like
to believe that no matter how badly we may behave, there is at least one person
who loves us. I try to remember that when I’m creating a character. Some
characters really aren’t very nice people and there aren’t a lot of people who
cared about them. Others, like Leo Janes, are very much loved. It’s not that
different from real life.
Kym: Your secondary characters add a little extra spice to your stories.
Where did you come up with Mary, a grandmother who is also the state kickboxing
champion for her age category? (I love that!)
Sofie: Mary was inspired by one of my mother’s
friends. Edith was well into her eighties and up for anything. I’m not sure how
she and my very proper British mother came to be friends! I was driving them to
church once in a summer heat wave and Edith told me it was much cooler to just
“go commando.” I was afraid to ask her how she came by that information!
Kym: You also write young adult books and are a mixed media artist. Can
you tell us a bit about your other passions?
Sofie: I like to read and write young adult novels
because that period of life has so much dramatic potential. There are so many
first times and so many changes.
I’ve been making mixed media art pieces for a long time. I love paper. I
love finding uses for odd things I find. I did a collage piece of a sun using
found buttons, for example.
Kym: What do you do to give your mind a break from writing?
Sofie: We go hiking a lot. Being outside is a good
way to turn off the writing part of my brain. And I confess that I like to knit
and watch Dateline. In fact, I knit a tiny Lester Holt—host of Dateline—while
watching the show.
Kym: Can you tell our readers where they can find you on social
Sofie: The best place to find me is at my website:
Kym: Thank you for joining us on the Cozy Corner!
Sofie: Thank you and thanks everyone for reading!
In this charming mystery from the bestselling author of Paws and
Effect, two magical cats have powers of detection that prove indispensable
to librarian Kathleen Paulson…
With a well-placed paw
on a keyboard or a pointed stare, Kathleen’s two cats, Hercules and Owen, have
helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their
instincts. But she will need to rely on them more than ever when a
twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder…
The arrival of the Janes
brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain
age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car
Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile,
until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and
Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her
friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town's history—and into
her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don't work for free...
Mystery Paranormal |
Mystery Pet Lovers
[Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: September 5, 2017,
Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780399584572 / eISBN: 9780399584589]
Kelly continues her highly successful series with another winning
Until next time, get cozy and read on!
Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion,
mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the
web at kymroberts.com, on Facebook at @KymRoberts911author and on Twitter @kymroberts911
Kym’s 3rd Book Barn Mystery, Perilous
Poetry, is available for pre-order now!
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