When I heard that Book Riot had called Raquel V. Rayes’ Mango, Mambo, and Murder “a vibrant, diverse, LGBTQ-inclusive cast,” adding “Raquel Reyes’s deft balance of sensitive topics and frothy intrigue make this a standout,” I was intrigued. And then when I saw that adorable calico on the cover of her debut cozy, I had to know more! Raquel joins us today to explain:

Here’s the low down about the kitten on the cover of Mango, Mambo, and Murder

I didn’t know until about halfway (or more) through writing the book if my main character’s family would have a dog or a cat. They, for certain, would have a pet, but what kind, I had no idea.  If you follow me on Instagram you know, I’m a cat person. My writing assistant, a grey tabby named Tunisia, is all over my feed. And I foster kittens for a local animal rescue.

But I also have two dogs I love. So, it could have gone either way. The main character, Miriam Quiñones-Smith, has a four-year-old son named Manny that is obsessed with dogs. He stops to pet every dog they pass throughout the story, even the inanimate ones at the feet of the seven-foot-tall St. Lazarus statue at the botanica next door to their family’s Cuban café. I was leaning towards giving them a dog but was indecisive about what breed it should be. Growing up, my godmother fostered Great Danes, which gave me a soft spot for them. Knowing the breed practically need a sofa as a bed, not to mention a large yard to gallop and exercise in, I figured that breed would not work for my sleuth. 

The scene that I wrote takes place in the garden of the Unitarian Universalist church, and Flossie, the fluffy calico, is pregnant. (Yes, we writers draw from real life, all the time. So, be careful what you say to us, or you might end up in a book.)  The kitten on the cover of Mango, Mambo, and Murder is one of Flossie’s. You’ll have to read the book to find out the kitten’s name. She’s already sketched into the cover of book two. So, I hope readers fall in love with her and her lizard chasing ways.  

Raquel V. Reyes writes stories with Latina characters. Her Cuban-American heritage, Miami, and the Caribbean feature prominently in her work. Raquel is a co-chair for SleuthFest. Her short stories appear in various anthologies, including Mystery Most Theatrical and Midnight Hour. You can find her across social media platforms as @LatinaSleuths or click here for Raquel’s links. Use this direct link to join her newsletter.

Book Riot  had this to say about Mango, Mambo, and Murder: “A vibrant, diverse, LGBTQ-inclusive cast and Raquel Reyes’s deft balance of sensitive topics and frothy intrigue make this a standout.”

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In stores October 12th, 2021