Monday, October 8, 2018

Interview with cozy mystery author Isis Crawford

Mystery author Isis Crawford joins me today and we’re chatting about her newest cozy, A Catered Cat Wedding.

Welcome, Isis. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Egypt to parents who were in the diplomatic corps, at least that’s what the blurb on my book jacket says, but that’s not my real name. My real name is Barbara Block and I was born and raised in New York City. I went to NYU and Columbia, relocating to Syracuse in my mid-twenties to go to graduate school, after having worked as a writer for several magazines.

Once I got up to Syracuse and dropped out of grad school (I decided a degree in anthropology didn’t make any sense) I proceeded to have three boys, co-own a catering service specializing in desserts, and write a sporadic column about food for one of the local newspapers. Later on, I co-owned two bars and a pizza shop. That said, I have found it’s definitely more fun to write about food than it is to work in the field. I have also written a series of books under my own name that takes place in Syracuse and focuses on a pet store owner named Robin Light.

Please tell us about your current release.
A Catered Cat Wedding finds my protagonists, Bernie and Libby, catering an actual cat wedding for a client named – of course – Susy Katz. Fabulously wealthy, Susy demands only the best for her two Russian blues, best meaning caviar flown in from Russian and artisanal salmon served to both humans and felines. A cat obsessed woman who makes enemies wherever she goes, Susy has invited her best enemies to witness the event. However, chaos ensues when she opens a wedding present containing a box of mice and the cats go after them. Bernie and Libby manage to round them up and go into her office to tell her the good news. But they can’t. She’s dead, having been stabbed in the heart with her own letter owner. Who did it? The neighbor? Another cat breeder? The officiant at the cat wedding? Bernie and Libby don’t know, but they’d better find out fast. Having accidentally tampered with the evidence, they have one week to find the killer or face jail.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book after having watched two friends of mine plan actual cat weddings. Cats are not usually cooperative beings and things did not go well. No one was killed but there was an unfortunate chipmunk incident, as well as quite a bit of hissing and growling. Turns out that cats don’t like being on leashes – a fact I could have told my friends had they asked!

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book is A Catered New Year’s Eve. Sometimes, it’s better to celebrate this holiday with strangers as opposed to ones nearest and dearest and that’s certainly the case here. The stroke of midnight usually brings confetti and toasts. In this case, it brings death to a soiree that Libby and Bernie are catering, a death that mimics one that happened twelve years ago in similar circumstances.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?  
I first considered myself a writer when I was eight years old and my teacher read my story to the class. That was enough for me! I’ve been writing ever since.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’ve been writing full time for quite a while now. I find that I write best if I do it first thing in the morning. I rented an office, actually a room in a friend’s house, because with three boys in the house, their friends, plus my two dogs it was impossible to think. Even though my kids are grown, I still rent a space because that way I don’t get distracted by laundry, friends dropping over, etc. I usually get to my writing space around 9, stay until 2 when I go home and feed and walk the dogs, go to the gym, etc. If I’m on a tight deadline, I’ll work at home for another two or three hours.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if this writing quirk is interesting or not, but when I get stuck I think about what my problem is as I’m falling asleep. Usually the answer is there when I wake up in the morning.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to do two things when I grew up – write books or own a zoo. I’m doing the first and I’ve come close to the second. We’ve had dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, monkeys, a variety of small mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, ant farms, lizards, and snakes – large ones.

Thanks for stopping by today, Isis!

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