This week my guest is Elaine Faber who talks about her latest book, which sounds like a lot of fun to me. (I've got to find out more about the romantic cat, Thumper.) I think you'll be entertained by what she has to say. Welcome, Elaine!
Marja: Let’s start with a basic question. What led you to start writing mysteries?
Elaine: I’ve written short stories for yarns and yarns, but Black Cat’s Legacy was the first mystery. It started as a short story, but once the cat took over, it evolved into a mystery. Of course BCL required a sequel, so Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer came next and the final book of the series, Black Cat the Accidental Angel will be published next spring.
Marja: What makes your mysteries different from the stories of other mystery writers?
Elaine: I write cozy mysteries, meaning no extreme violence, no graphic sex or explicit profanity. But all cozy mysteries do the same.. Our characters are folks you wished lived next door. The reader suffers their pain, and rejoices in their victories, but again, many writers create the same responses with their books. So I guess my cat(s) make the difference. Though they are limited as cats (not magic, no walking through walls), they have human personalities and the reader soon identifies with the cat, which is hard to explain but it’s what I hear my readers say. We turn ‘dog people’ into ‘cat lovers.’ Go figure.
Marja: Do you place any part of yourself in your characters or the character of a cat?
Elaine: Meow! Oh, I mean, yes, I guess I do .I can’t explain just how, but I’m told that I write my best when I’m in the cat’s POV sections. I guess that must be the real ‘me’ coming out.
Marja: I got quite a kick out of the romantic scene in Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer involving Thumper and a female feline that you put up on your website. What inspired you to write romance for a kitty?
Elaine: Because I have ‘humanized’ my cats, it’s natural that Thumper should experience the shyness and thrill and anxiety of first love, the dedication to keep his family safe and eventually the sorrow when he realizes he has to leave his lady love in Texas.
Marja: What made you decide to call the cat in your stories Thumper?
Elaine: When I put fingers to the keyboard, the characters take me places I have no idea I’ll go when I sit down to write. The little girl names him Thumper, like in her Bambi book, because he “thumped on the door and I letted him in.” The name stuck, much to Thumper’s dismay when he meets his soul-mate in Lethal Lawyer. (See my website at www.mindcandymysteries.com). He’d prefer to be Butch or Spike but has to go through life as Thumper, like the rabbit. In the next book, he reverts to the name “Black Cat’ which all his ancestors at the lodge were called before Kimberlee arrived.
Marja: Do you find any difficulties when giving your animal characters personalities? Thumper seems quite unique to me, but I’m a dog person so I’m not too familiar with cats. I think I’d enjoy this one though.
Elaine: Thumper is unique. Don’t forget, he has his ancestors’ memories, which enables him to help Kimberlee solve the mysteries. He is also the little recognized but driving force in the story. The main characters, Kimberlee, Brett and Dorian are drawn into the embezzling, greed, lies and deceit at the core of the plot, but it’s Thumper who faces the killer not once, but twice!
Marja: You’ve told us about Thumper. Please tell us a bit about Kimberlee, the protagonist. (Sorry I got so involved with Thumper.)
Elaine: Kimberlee’s grandmother entices the family to Texas with the promise of a fun family reunion, but in reality her motives are much more sinister. Newly, remarried Kimberlee is a woman who struggles to regain her sense of purpose and self-esteem following a devastating marriage and divorce. It takes all her strength to deal with the drama, deceit and trauma at the ranch. As bad turns to worse, and then to tragedy, their ‘vacation’ spirals downward and her family is trapped by circumstances they cannot escape until her grandmother’s problems are resolved. In her darkest hour, many readers will identify with her desire to run away from what she cannot control.
Marja: What should readers expect when they pick up an Elaine Faber book? Inspire a few readers here.
Elaine: A compelling plot, delightful characters who struggle to deal with events they cannot control and the strength to see it through, a few thrills with lots of chuckles, the ability to see the black and white world, through Thumper’s eyes (with a touch of fantasy, of course). Lastly, a chance to escape the reality of our own troubles and for a few hours, visit a place where good finally triumphs over evil.
Now please give us an overview of Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. I have a feeling I’ll really enjoy this one.
Elaine: Thumper travels with his family to a Texas horse ranch, expecting a family vacation with hay rides, BBQs, and wild horses. What they find is Grandmother’s attorney, furious that she is changing her will from his Children’s Charity to one of her granddaughters. The stable master is suspected of having created a false identity and may be the man who killed Kimberlee’s father 25 years ago. When Thumper overhears a murder plot, he and his soul-mate declare, that this time they will fight tooth and claw to prevent another murder.
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If you like audio books, give A Well-Kept Family Secret – A Sandi Webster Mystery a try.