I met Carol Perry when I was asked to moderate a panel at Bouchercon this past year. As a cat lover – and as the author of several series with magical cats – I immediately fell for her concept, and as a New Englander, I was immediately drawn to her Salem, Massachusetts, setting, which is such a crucial part of her series. When I actually got to meet Carol in person, I found her as much fun as I’d hoped – and now I’m pleased as punch to be able to introduce her to you.
How does a book start for you?
The books in my Witch City Mystery series (Kensington Publishers) start for me in a variety of ways. Often, they begin with a name for a character. I don’t know where these names come from—Kelly Greene, Shea Tolliver, Lillian Jeffrey—they just pop into my head and demand to be included in the story. (Usually they’re one-book-people, but occasionally one becomes a “regular.”) Many times though, I’ve already begun planning the next book before I’ve finished writing the one that precedes it.
Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?
It the most recent Witch City Mystery, Bells, Spells, and Murders, Frankie,a feral cat lady friend of Lee’s wise cat O’Ryanturned up. (We first met Frankie in Book #5, Grave Errors.) This time she appeared at Lee’s kitchen window and cried to be let into both the warm house–and the story! She surprised me—I hadn’t planned for her but it turned out to be a good move!
When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?
Bells, Spells, and Murders, like all of the books in the series, takes place in my hometown of Salem, Massachusetts—the Witch City. I think it’s a natural setting for mysteries—with a rich history of not only the witchcraft happenings of 1692, a list of literary luminaries including Nathaniel Hawthorne, a long ago Salem murder so foul it inspired the game of Clue—and the fact that I was born there on Halloween eve!
What are you working on now?
I’m working now on Book #9 in the Witch City Mystery series. It concerns a murder in a library. It’s titled Late Checkout and will release in the fall of 2019.
Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?
You can ask me why I choose to write cozy mysteries. I’ll tell you. It began with Nancy Drew. and Judy Bolton, moved on to Agartha Christie, Phyliss Whiney, Lillian Jackson Braun, and continues today with Sofie Kelly, Carolyn Hart, Carolyn Haines. . .you get the picture!
Carol J. Perry is the author of the Witch City Mystery series, ( Kensington.) She was born in that magical witch city—Salem Massachusetts–on Halloween Eve! Carol’s writing background includes ad copy, non-fiction magazine articles (many on travel, more on antiques and collectibles) and several middle grade books. Her first Witch City mystery, Caught Dead Handed, appeared in 2014, followed by six more—the newest, Bells, Spells and Murders came out in September. Carol lives in Florida with husband Dan, one black Lab and one spoiled cat.