I’m so happy to feature friend and fellow author Linda Reilly on my blog today! I have not yet met Linda in person (though I hope to someday), but she has been a wonderful mentor to me in my writing career. Whenever I post anything about Linda on my Facebook author page, the response is very enthusiastic, so I thought you’d enjoy learning more about this talented author.
I first got to know Linda through the Sisters in Crime Guppies group. She had a chance to look at my first book, ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, and she was very warm in her praise and very helpful on some important points in that story. Since then, we have corresponded regularly, worked on Facebook parties together and she is always someone whose input I seek on any new writing project. I’ve been lucky enough that she sends me her work to read, too. Many of you already know her through her Deep Fried Mystery Series, but now she has a brand new series: The Cat Lady Mysteries. They are just delightful! The first is called ESCAPE CLAWS and it’s out now. Plus, you can pre-order the second in the series, CLAWS OF DEATH. (Are these great titles or what?) Without further ado, here’s our interview! Please scroll to the end of the post to get buying links for Linda’s wonderful books.
Jenny: I love your writing style. Elegant, descriptive and warm with real characters that you want to know! What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Linda: Like so many female mystery writers, I grew up with Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie as my role models. Then sometime in the late 1970s, I became aware of a newcomer named Mary Higgins Clark. Her suspense novels were heart-stopping, and the endings fantastically unpredictable. That led me to seek out other suspense writers–Judith Kelman, Joy Fielding, Wendy Corsi Staub, and Carlene Thompson, to name only a few. Then around the time I joined the Sister in Crime Guppies—2008, I think–I realized that there were some terrific cozy mysteries out there. Reading Krista Davis’s charming Domestic Diva series was a turning point for me. It made me wonder…could I write a cozy mystery? With that I started to devour cozies, and I knew I wanted to write one!
Jenny: Can you tell us a little bit about the current book, Escape Claws, and your new Cat Lady Mystery series?
Linda: Escape Claws was really a departure for me—mainly because of the paranormal element, which I’d never before included in my fiction. In Escape Claws, I not only wanted to highlight the way in which I believe every cat should be loved and cared for, but I also wanted to explore the importance of family connections. When my main character, Lara, reconnects with an aunt she hasn’t seen in sixteen years, her life takes a wholly unexpected turn—ultimately in a good way, but only after overcoming a series of emotional challenges. Future Cat Lady Mysteries will explore this theme, and others.
Jenny: What is your favorite aspect of writing a series? The most challenging?
Linda: My favorite aspect of writing a series is creating characters memorable enough that I hope readers will want to visit them again and again. The ones who play a major role need to be substantial and well-developed enough that you can predict their reactions–and yet surprise readers in ways that are fully believable. Speech patterns fascinate me, and I enjoy making each character’s speech and mannerisms different from the others. The most challenging? For me it’s always the plotting, the shifting around of the puzzle pieces so that they all fit together in the end—and make perfect sense. I agonize over it!
Jenny: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Linda: I’m not much of an outdoor person, so my favorite activities, in addition to reading, are doing crafts with my apartment community’s crafts club and trying out new recipes.
Jenny: Tell us about your love for cats. How did this influence your current series?
Linda: Oddly enough, I didn’t grow up with cats; I learned to love them in my adulthood. Right now, because of health concerns in my household, I’m not able to have a cat. I think that’s one of the primary reasons I indulge myself by writing about them and casting them as my furry little heroes!
Jenny: What’s next for you?
Linda: I’m nearly done writing the third Cat Lady mystery, CLAWS FOR CELEBRATION, but it’s too soon to know if there will be any more in the series. My next project, which I’m excited about, will be writing the bones of a culinary cozy set in Vermont. I’ve also been toying with an idea for a gothic-style suspense novel, which I hope to tackle one day.
Jenny: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Linda: Only that I feel incredibly fortunate to have been welcomed into the cozy mystery community. Connecting with both the readers and the authors has added so much joy and fulfillment to my life!
Buy Linda’s books online at in-store at Barnes & Noble. She’s also a Goodreads author so be sure to visit her on Goodreads, put your books on her “shelf” and of course, write a review!
Here are some of Linda’s important links:
Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y89wyafc
Linda’s author website: http://www.lindasreilly.com/
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/Lindasreillyauthor/
Thanks so much to Linda for this interview, plus her friendship!
Until next time,