My guest this week is Joyce Ann Brown, who writes cozy mysteries which include a cat named Sylvester. I think you'll enjoy this post. After reading it, I know I've got to try this series. A landlady and a "psycho" cat should be quite entertaining. Welcome, Joyce!
The Evolution of My Cozy Feline Mysteries
“The sound of three ominous organ notes reverberated throughout Marni’s body and made her shudder. She stopped with a gasp, bent over, and clutched her knees in the middle of the Trolley Track Trail…”
The mystery writing class during which I wrote those words was one in a series of creative writing courses and workshops for me. I enrolled in it with a friend who wanted to write children’s mysteries. I’ve wanted to be a writer since high school days, and mysteries have always been one of my favorite reading genres. Marriage, career, kids, lack of confidence, lack of training—you know the drill. For years my writing was restricted to articles for journals and newsletters, recording secretary notes for organizations, and stories for my students.
I wrote a children’s book when my own kids were little. Then I made half-hearted attempts to get it published, not knowing enough to look for an agent or hire an editor. After a few rejections, the story went into a drawer, and I went back to my job as a teacher and, later, a school librarian.
In my mystery writing class, classmates praised my efforts.
The story is mysterious from the very beginning. It’s well-written. It makes me want to read more. You need to continue writing.
I became hooked. Intrigued. Absorbed in the process. I took more creative writing classes. Before the mystery-writing class, I hadn’t considered writing in that genre. Sure, I love to read thrillers, detective stories, mystery/romance, and cozy mysteries, all set in interesting towns, neighborhoods, or exciting foreign locations with cunning characters that surprise me. Cozy mysteries and their amateur sleuths, with various occupations and tendencies to get pulled into crime-solving, have always attracted my sense of adventure for the commonplace person.
For my cozy mystery, I chose a landlady as the main character, because that’s an occupation familiar to me. The plot of my first book is based upon two unusual stories. One was told to me by a tenant of one of the duplexes I own. She told me about her upbringing by a hippie mother and grandparents and about her boyfriend who left for a job in the Virgin Islands. The story needed to be told, and I like to help the needy.
The mystery took shape—a tenant who turns up missing and a landlady who begins searching and discovers accusations of grand theft and murder. But the story, being cozy, needed humor and some domestic side stories. It was my good fortune to have a friend tell me the story of a cat she called “psycho.” Her mischievous cat, she told me, had once saved her life. That may be a little strong, but that’s the way I interpreted the story.
I have cats. Cats are funny and inscrutable. I’ve witnessed dozens of cat antics over the years. Sylvester, nicknamed Psycho Cat, became the landlady’s mischief-maker and clue-finder. He’s a small but important component of each book.
Find out more about CATastrophicConnections and FURtiveInvestigation, the first two books of my Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries on my website: http://joyceannbrown.com . You can find my Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries on Amazon.com.
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Looking for something different and maybe just a little quirky? Try How Now Purple Cow - A Bogey Man Mystery and find out how purple cows and elderly spies relate to each other.