BTB: When did you start your adventures in writing cozies?
JC: The Fat Cat series is my first venture into cozies. Under the name Kaye George, I’ve written traditional mysteries for a few years. The first in this series came out in September of 2014. I know a lot of
cozy writers and they are very fun to do. The readers who are fans of cozies are loyal. Add to that the readers who love books with cats, and that made it easy to bring this series to best-seller status.
BTB: What inspired, “Fat Cat?”
JC: The basic idea for the series came from my publisher, Berkley Prime
Crime. They gave me a basic, sketchy idea and I filled in all the
blanks (such as the killer), adding new characters and making the
series my own. I love it when my characters come to life for me. I’ve
gotten attached to all of them in this series. The publisher also
wanted the stories set in Minneapolis. Our family lived there for
several years and I’ve always loved that area. So it wasn’t hard to
become attached to my setting, either. I did wonder for a bit how I
would make Minneapolis into a “cozy” place, but then my husband
remembered the Dinkytown area and I knew that was perfect. That area
has changed a bit, but I’m idealizing it and using it to suit my story
BTB: Tell us a little about Quincy we might not know.
JC: Don’t tell anyone, but Quincy is the reincarnation of one of my
favorite cats, Agamemnon. He was all black, but otherwise very similar
to Quincy. He was a rescued feral, very smart, very loving, and overweight cat.
This is too obsolete to use in a book, but that cat used to love to
play Elf Bowling. Remember that computer game from years ago? He would
hear me start to play it and would jump into my lap. He patiently
permitted me to push his paw on the return bar to bowl the balls,
waiting for the moment we won the game and the Santa Claus popped up
in the lower right-hand corner. Then he would pounce. He had to GET
BTB: Why do you think it is popular to include animals in mystery and crime stories?
JC: Crime is a dark subject. People get killed in murder mysteries. As
writers, we have to never forget that and to treat that part of our genre with respect. However, our main purpose is two-fold: to entertain our reader, and to give our reader a world where justice is
served. I think that’s a big reason people read mysteries, to go to a
place where the evil-doers are punished appropriately. This sometimes
doesn’t happen in real life–it’s too messy and unpredictable. As for animals, they balance the darkness. That’s what I think. They add lightness, innocence, and pure love. Readers who have pets relate
to books that include them. An awful lot of people have pets, too!
BTB: Are you currently working on another book? If so, what?
JC: I’m about to start edits for Fat Cat Takes the Cake, which will be out
in April 2016. (Hint: it’s available for preorder). I turned it in a
couple of months ago and now will make the changes my editor wants.
There aren’t many, I’m glad to see, just a few clarifications. The
next stage will be going through the copy edits. A copy editor does
these, correcting any spelling, punctuation, and grammar that she
sees. I’ll go over that also when it’s done.
BTB: Who is this Kaye George I keep hearing about? Do you want to talk about what she’s up to?
JC: Kaye? Oh yes, Kaye George! She’s a little bit nuts right now because
she’s completing two more books, both due out next spring also. Janet
Cantrell is my pen name only for the Fat Cat series. I use Kaye George
for all my other writing. There are three series: People of the Wind
(Neanderthal mysteries), Cressa Carraway (musical mysteries), and
Imogene Duckworthy (humorous Texas mysteries). I also write short
stories whenever I can. The mystery series are all traditional, but my
short stories can get into the noir category. In fact, I have a story
called “Heartbreak at Graceland” that will be in Memphis Noir, an
anthology by Akashic coming out in November.
I have web pages both as Kaye George and Janet Cantrell.
BTB: Thank you so much Janet for your time and for telling us all of these fun bits about yourself, your kitties and your alter-ego. How fun!
JC: Thanks so much for being a fan and for having me here, and congratulations on your milestone at Facebook! I hope the next 100 roll in soon.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway! Janet Cantrell is giving away two different books in her Fat Cat series along with some other goodies!
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