Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Guest Carolyn Haines!

Meow! My guest is author Carolyn Haines!

USA TODAY bestselling author Carolyn Haines has published over 70 novels in a number of genres. She loves animals, ghosts, and tormenting her friends. She’s been a journalist, PR flack, and college professor, but her true love is writing fiction. You can find out more about her here, and she invites you to sign up for her newsletter at her website.

1.    Hi! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself? J 
I’m crazy for animals. I’ve always been the person who picked up stray cats and dogs (and now horses) and took them home to care for them. In fact, I have such an addiction to helping animals that I have my own 501c3 animal rescue, Good Fortune Farm Refuge. It is very small, but I do what I can for animals. And I love to write mystery. All kinds of mysteries. Currently I’m writing 3 series—one with cats, one with ghosts, and one with humor. I spend more time with fictional characters than real people, but my 11 cats, 8 dogs, and 3 horses keep me grounded.

2.    Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
First, if you have companion animals, please neuter them. So many animals are unwanted and live tragic and painful lives. Second, please don’t buy any pets. Go to a shelter or rescue. Those are my requests. In the last couple of years, readers have asked me to “write faster.” I left my teaching job last year, and boy howdy have I been writing! See, the cats trained me to respond to all demands—and so I do. It’s good to have cats for task masters. They’re almost as good at discipline as the military.

3.    Please tell us about your newest release   
FAMILIAR TROUBLE, #1 in the brand new Trouble, black cat detective multi-author series, is now FREE. And it’s a funny story how Trouble came to life. Back in the 1990s I wrote 22 books about Familiar, the black cat detective, for Harlequin Intrigue under the name Caroline Burnes. I am reissuing some of those titles, but I wanted to write about another black cat, Trouble, who is Familiar’s son. And I convinced a bevy of talented writers to join me in this adventure So each book will feature Trouble, but there are multi-authors. Trouble is a character with his own voice (he talks to the reader). He learned his detective skills from his dad and from watching Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock on TV, so he has a slight British accent. And he is ALWAYS smarter than the bipeds.

4.    What was the inspiration behind this story?

I’ve almost always had a black cat. Familiar was based on my wonderful E.A. Poe, who passed away years back. That’s when I stopped writing the Familiar stories. I just missed him so much, I couldn’t write anymore. And Trouble is based on another wonderful black cat, Coal Shaft Haines. When he died in February 2016 of kidney failure brought on by diabetes (he was a stray who had had a very tough beginning) I decided I wanted to honor him with some stories based on him. He loved Benedict Cumberbatch! He did. And he could definitely solve mysteries. Mostly he knocked things off my desk and hid them, but he could also find things I’d lost for years!

5.    What is your favorite personality trait of your main character?

Well, he’s black and sleek and very smart! And he takes no guff off the humanoids. He loves his owner, Tammy Lynn, but he also loves to travel, and that’s how he gets into so many adventures with the other writers of the series. So far this year he’s solved a mystery in Wetumpka, Alabama, Savannah, Georgia, Tallahassee, Florida, and Summer Valley Ranch in Alabama—a horse farm. He’s one determined cat!

6.    One of your characters is going on a shopping spree. Where does he/she go and what does he/she buy?

Trouble is something of a shopper. Food. That’s what he loves. Snapper, shrimp, crab, organic chicken or beef—in a light pumpkin broth or sometimes heavy cream sauce. And warm fleece throws in bright green, aqua or red to contract against his elegant black hide. Or he might surprise me and buy a ticket to Scotland. He’s discovered he’s descended from the horse lords of the Clan Donald.

7.    Your character is at a bookstore. Which section is he/she shopping in? What book is in his/her hand right now?

Trouble lives at the Book Basket in Wetumpka, AL, with his beloved human, Tammy. She owns the bookstore. He loves “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He reads it in a British accent. But he’s also a fan of maps and atlases. They are helpful in plotting his next adventure.

8.    Your character has the music blasting. What’s playing, and what is he/she doing while listening?

He’s listening to “Alley Cat.” He loves old rock and roll and he thinks Peggy Lee is hot.

9.    Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one? (What makes your book stand out from the rest?)

I think Trouble is a force unto himself. I can’t take credit for him—he is just who he is. He’s such a fun character that 14 writers have signed up to write stories about him. We have 4 published books already, with a free Christmas story coming out, and we have about a book a month set to be published in 2018. So the cat has some kind of charm. The stories are romantic mysteries—light on the romance and heavy on the mystery. But they also easily fall into the cozy mystery category.

10. Fiction can often provide powerful life lessons. What message do you hope readers get from your book?

What I’d really like is for people to stop and contemplate the possibility that humans don’t give animals enough credit for thinking and feeling. Perhaps they don’t think and feel exactly like humans, but they do think and feel. And for heaven’s sake, men and women don’t think or feel alike! So Trouble, with his love of Tammy, his desire for justice, and his need for gourmet food, a little cuddling, and companionship is not so different from the rest of us. I think this is true of all animals.

11. What do you do when you are not writing?
As I mentioned, I run an animal rescue. I spend a lot of time at veterinarians, because many of the animals I’ve taken in are older or have been abused. And I torment my friends. I ride horses and clean stalls and take walks in the woods. I used to be a dang fine cook, but I quit cooking.

12. Is there an author or book that influenced you or your writing in any way growing up or as an adult?
Nancy Drew had a huge impact. The Black Stallion books. Sherlock Holmes, Poe’s dark stories. Eudora Welty’s short fiction. And I was so fortunate to have two parents and a grandmother who told stories. The oral tradition was strong in our house and I have benefitted greatly from that.

13. Where can we purchase this book?
FAMILIAR TROUBLE is free right now in the US at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks. The other Trouble books are available there also for $3.99 for e-books. And they are in print at Amazon.

14. Do you think you may ever go into another genre?  If so, which one?
I do write in a number of other genres, but all within the scope of mystery. I love ghost stories and creepy stories, and I write those in the Pluto’s Snitch series. The the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery books are about friendship, place, and humor.

15. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Hopped a freight train with another writer friend. We rode from Pascagoula to New Orleans—before we got in big, big trouble. But it was SO worth it.
16. What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I was run over by a hayride when I was 15.

Random Quickies!

1.    Pepsi or Coke?
Coke—never Pepsi

2.    Favorite kind of chocolate?
Dark chocolate of any kind. Only with nuts. No nougat.

3.    Cats or dogs?
Both cats and dogs, horses, snakes, birds, lizards—if it’s alive, it is welcome at my farm.

4.    Favorite movie?
The Wizard of Oz

5.    Favorite book to movie?
To Kill a Mockingbird

6.    Hardback/Paperback or eReader?
All three. I love eReaders for convenience and ease and the larger type. I love to hold hardbacks. Paperbacks are so easy to carry.

7.    Favorite color?

8.    How many paperback/hardcover books do you own?
Maybe 1000? I don’t know. I have recently been boxing up all the really nice hardcovers and donating them to two local libraries that are having a tough time filling shelves.

9.    Do you own a laptop or desktop computer?

10. What book are you reading today?
I’m writing today, so not reading (sad, isn’t it?)

11. If you could live anywhere in the world it would be:

Find Carolyn at:
Amazon Author Page:

Carolyn will give away 2 print copies of FAMILIAR TROUBLE to two lucky commenters!
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:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! US only please.  Contest ends November 1.


  1. I missed the Familar books, so I'm anxious to get Trouble started!


    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I have 11 cats myself, but only one black one. A young female named Karma. She is full of it!

  2. Trouble has kept me entertained from book 1. I'm an animal lover of all kinds and a lot of tears when I read or see one mistreated. Don't people realize they have feelings and a heart of gold. Would take in all that needs a home if I had the room.As far as what I've done, I guess the worst thing is get drunk at a Christmas party and put the make on the Dr. giving the party.took off my high heels and waded snow to the car to be driven home..hard facing him


    2. Hey, if not for a few fun indiscretions we won't have a dang thing to talk about in the old folks home. I was at a writer's conference in Chicago and cadged a cigarette from Lee Childs. We had to go outside to smoke--in snow 5 feet deep. So we stood on the little apron, had our cigs, and then went back in. Except the door was locked. We had to wade around the entire hotel to get to the front door. The snow was up to our waists. It was horrible and hysterical and insane. Mr. Childs is a true gentleman. He held the door for me when we finally got to the front, dripping wet from the waist down and frozen. But it makes a good story!

  3. Thank you for hosting Carolyn Haines and her latest book on your blog. I have it on my list of want to read and would love to add it to my library. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Good luck, Robin. Thank you for commenting.

  4. I would love a chance to become acquainted with Trouble- thanks for the opportunity.

  5. Excellent blog, Carolyn. I love the emphasis you place on animals--caring for them and respecting their intelligence. Peace, Claire--oh, p.s., my email is And I've done all of the things you listed, i.e. tweet and mention on FB etc except for mentioning your blog in my blog as I do not blog. Of course, I was already following you and had already "friended" you as I enjoy your blog and your guests.

  6. Fascinating information.
    I love black cats. And red, and.....Any cat!
    Rocco, we a FB friends and I've linked this to my page
    I don't tweet or have a blog
    I visit regularly
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  7. I have read the Sarah Booth series and I really enjoyed them. I would really like to start reading the Familiar series. I love animals and really like them in mystery stories.
    Rocco, following your blog and on Twitter. We are friends on Facebook and sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

  8. Love stories where animals play a part. Love animals period. Like the gals comment about animals having a heart of gold. A pity people don't realize that. Animals have time and time again shown themselves to be more caring, more compassionate than most people. Animals really do show us up. They are not afraid of words like 'handicap' or 'challenged'. They deal with what IS. They don't sugar coat it. They live for the moment, enjoy life to the full. The past was yesterday and they ignore it. Don't become bitter, resentful, whatever Wild or domestic, they succor any breed, any species in need, most of the time. They don't have borders. They are not hindered by fear, color or anything else, they put themselves out to help without fear, without reservation. They are loyal, funny, companionable. They have big hearts and love unconditionally. These animals are such wonderful examples for us. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  9. I like animals in stories and I'm new to you!

  10. It's admirable that you were able to start your own animal rescue.

    Following your blog
    Following on Twitter
    Tweeted about the contest
    Friends on Facebook
    Mentioned the contest on Facebook

  11. I'm on the ARC team for the Familiar Legacy series. Familiar Trouble is my favorite book so far. I would love to have a print copy of it. norbert8bubba(at)yahoo(dot)com
    I follow Rocco on Twitter.
    I tweeted about the contest
    I posted a link to my page The Bookwyrm on Facebook.