Love cats? Mysteries? A little bit of magic in the mix? That’s what tomorrow will bring as I launch my new A Spell of Murder, the first in a brand new “Witch Cats of Cambridge” series. And so I thought I’d take on my own challenge and answer the five questions!

How does a book start for you?

Usually, I get a scene or a conflict in my mind. That’s the core of the puzzle, and I have to write to work it out. In the case of A Spell of Murder, I saw that Harriet had summoned a pillow, for her own comfort, just at the time when her person, Becca, was trying out a summoning spell. Poor Becca then thinks – reasonably enough – that she has made the pillow appear. And only Clara, the youngest of Becca’s three cats, sees what problems are going to arise if their human thinks she can do magic. Because magic, as Harriet, Clara, and their other sister Laurel, know, is only the province of cats!

Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?

Clara, the calico and the youngest of the three magical cats who cohabit with Becca. I didn’t realize when I started writing this that she was going to be the real protagonist. I love that one of the reviews caught this, writing, “Most of all, I like that the book features an engaging, sweet-natured, intelligent heroine.  The fact that she has four legs, fur, and a tail, is just a bonus.”


When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?
It is set in present-day Cambridge, near where I used to live. Cambridge is now fairly commercialized but at its heart the hippie/alternative subculture still lives on, and Becca, my human protagonist, goes to that when she’s laid off and looking for purpose and a sense of belonging. Because it is a city, it has lots of opportunities for interesting characters (and crimes). But because of the community that Becca has found, it has a small-town feel that works well for a cozy, I hope!
What are you working on now?
The second Witch Cats of Cambridge! (It will be listed here when it’s closer to being done.) I want to give readers a little more background on the cats’ heritage, but only in the context of the story. So far, I have the owner of a small magic and charms store who comes to Becca because someone is stealing from her. Only the prime suspect, a kind of laid-back Goth girl who works for her, believes someone is trying to poison her. Can they both be right? And what can Clara and her sisters do to help Becca unravel a rather tangled case?


Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?

reading makes me so sleepy…

Why, Clea, I’m not sure! Maybe what Thisbe – our tortoiseshell cat – thinks about not being featured in this new series. (Answered, to some extent, here.) Or how I work with a ten-month-old kitten careening around the house? (I have several toy mice right at hand and when Thisbe comes around, I toss them!) Or maybe if I am ever going to write another dark, rock and roll noir again. (I do have one in the works. I like the idea of alternating dark and light books.)
But since I’m the interviewer and the interviewee here, I’d like to ask you all some questions: What do you look for in a cat cozy? Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in cat magic? Please, let me know!
Thanks, everyone, for dropping in!