Tuesday, December 3, 2013


MEOW!  My guest today is Sofie Kelly, NYT author of the “Magical Cats” mysteries!

Sofie Kelly is the author of the New York Times best-selling Magical Cats mysteries. As Sofie Ryan she writes the upcoming Second Chance Cat mysteries. In her spare time she cooks, hikes, practices tai chi and makes mixed media journals. She also has a tiny crush on the Today Show's Matt Lauer.

R:  Meow, Sofie, welcome. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
S: Thanks ROCCO! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I won third place in a poetry contest in third grade. As a child I loved to make up stories—I still do.

R: Tell us about your latest release, FINAL CATCALL.  What was the inspiration for this series?
S: FINAL CATCALL is the 5th book in the Magical Cats mysteries. A theatre festival has been moved—at the last minute—to Mayville Heights. Kathleen knows one of the directors involved, through her parents, and when another director is killed, she ends up involved in the investigation. That’s complicated by the fact that her relationship with Detective Marcus Gordon seems to be over. And her ex-boyfriend has come to town to try to win her back. Luckily she has her cats, Owen and Hercules to help.

I think the series is inspired a lot by my love of libraries--and of cats, of course.

R: So what’s in Kathleen and Marcus’ future? Any news you can share?
S: All I’m going to say is “it ain’t over til it’s over!”

R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
S: It’s hard to pick just one. I enjoy any adventure that involves the cats. They’re all inspired in some way by something a real cat I know has done. The least amount of fun was the scene in SLEIGHT OF PAW where Kathleen is trapped in a basement. I’m not crazy about small spaces.

R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
S: My agent is Kim Lionetti of Bookends. I had been represented by an agent who had retired, and when Kim said she felt we could work together I was thrilled. She’s a very positive person.

My very first book was a young adult novel and when I learned it was going to be published I was speechless—and that rarely happens!

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
S: A title. It’s a weird little quirk that I have. I have to have a title. It doesn’t have to be that creative a title and it’s rarely the published title, but the book has to have a name before I start.

If I’m not feeling especially creative I remember that the orthodontist expects to be paid and that usually give me the nudge I need to start writing!

R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
S: I’m laughing because my husband looked over my shoulder, read this question and said, “You’re going to tell the raisin bread story, aren’t you?”
(Yes, I am.)

The raisin bread story comes from our history. When we were first dating I made raisin bread to impress him with my cooking skills. (His mom was a great cook.) He said, “Thank you, but I don’t like raisin bread.” And I apologized! I tease him that if I had a time machine I would go back in time and tell him exactly what I thought of that comment and maybe kick him in the shins. He likes to remind me that I married him despite his gauche behavior. And he still doesn’t like raisin bread, but I do and I don’t have to share.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
S: Probably that I run. My gait is awkward and I sweat profusely. I don’t look like a runner. I look like I’m about to pass out.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 
S: Three 5K races.

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
S: I hope they’re entertained. I hope they finish one of my books and don’t feel that they’ve wasted their time.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
S: Plotter all the way. I think it’s a personality trait. I like to make lists and when I travel I like to have a map.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
S:I like to cook. As a family we do a lot of hiking. And I sing with a great deal of enthusiasm but almost no musical ability.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
and for my new alter ego coming in early 2014: www.sofieryan.com
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
S: Read everything. Read good books and terrible ones. Read in your favorite genre and outside of it. And of course, write. It doesn’t matter how bad your first draft is. Once you have the story down on paper you can fix it, but you can’t fix what you haven’t written.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Cat—no disrespect to any dogs who may be reading. (ROCCO: Love that answer!)
Beach or Pool?   On a hot day, either.
Steak or salad?  Salad. (I’m assuming there’s no chocolate.)
Favorite Drink?  Coffee
Favorite Book?  It’s impossible to pick one. I’m a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve probably read every book by Agatha Christie at least twice.
Favorite TV Series?  Big Bang Theory
Favorite Movie?  The Princess Bride
Favorite Actor: Nathan Fillion from Castle is pretty cute. I wonder if he likes raisin bread. (ROCCO: Dunno. We’ll  have to ask him. I’m the official spokescat for his charity, Kids Need to Read)
Favorite Actress: I’m a big fan of Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order SVU.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Neither.
Hawaii or Alaska? I’ve never been to either, so both.
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be probably my father. He died when I was very small.
If I had just one wish, it would be that we could all learn to see past our differences.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be Julianne Moore, solely so I could have her hair for the day.

Thank you, Sofie, for a wonderful interview!
Folks, to find out more about Sofie and her mystery series, check out these sites:

Sofie will give away a copy of FINAL CATCALL and a copy of CAT TRICK to one reader anywhere in the US or Canada! 
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends midnight, December 8! Good luck!



  1. Love this series. (I am very partial to cats)
    We are "friends" on Facebook and I don't tweet or have a blog. Obviously, I follow your blog faithfully.

  2. I MUST check into these;my 10 yr old grandson has been writing a series of stories based on magical versions of our cats for several years now. He was thrilled when I called him over to the computer to read about you.
    I tweeted,
    I follow the blog,
    I follow on FB
    I am a friend,
    I shared.
    Best of luck to you,both Rocco and Sofie,(and The Human)