Ma-Row! Our guest today is cozy mystery author Deborah Blake!
Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful), as well as the Broken Rider Series, and the Veiled Magic series. The Catskills Pet Rescue books are her first cozy mysteries. She has also published thirteen books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide, along with a tarot and an oracle deck. She lives in a 130-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane. (Photo credit: Bobbie Hodges)
Me-ow! Welcome, Deborah!
- Tell us a little about your background.
I have degrees in Psychology, Theater, and Secondary English Education and therefore spent the last 23 years co-founding then running an artists’ cooperative shop. I juggled both that and the writing for a long time before finally leaving earlier this year for focus on being a full-time writer. I’ve lived in beautiful upstate New York my entire life.
- Tell us a bit about your latest book.
Claws for Suspicion is the third book in my Catskills Pet Rescue cozy mystery series. The series was inspired by a local rescue organization where I got three of my five current cats, as well as by my love of animals in general. It has mystery, humor, a bit of romance, and of course, a lot of adorable cats and dogs, including the kitten Queenie who is the star of the series.
- How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I write up character info and they tend to come to me as I do it. Although I admit that some of my characters (not the protagonists, but some secondary characters) are inspired by folks I really know.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I have been an outliner since my third book, and now that I’m writing cozy mysteries, outlining is even more important. Mysteries don’t lend themselves to seat of the pants writing.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
It took me two years, three books, and sixty-seven rejections (many of them for partials or fulls) before I got my agent. She was completely worth the wait. When she started reading the book that eventually got me signed, she was in the middle of wedding planning and a visit from her future in-laws, so she emailed me and said she probably couldn’t finish reading until Monday. (This was on a Friday afternoon.) On Saturday morning, she emailed again and said she’d finished the book and loved it, and please not to sign with anyone else until she could talk to me on Monday. It was a wonderful moment.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I’m mostly focusing on promotion for the upcoming third book in my cozy mystery series, and trying to figure out what I’m going to write next.
- If you could take only three books with your for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Any three books by Jennifer Crusie.
- What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Never give up. It can be a tough journey, and a discouraging industry, but you never know when you are right around the corner from the “yes” you’ve been waiting for.
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My website is www.deborahblakeauthor.com and I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, usually posting pictures of cats.
ROCCO’s Fast Five:
- What song do you like to sing along to?
I actually sing along to most of the songs I like. Since I listen to music while I’m taking my walks, I suspect that makes me look quite odd. But my favorite to sing along to is a song by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and the Steep Canyon Rangers, called “Atheists Don’t Got No Songs.”
- What’s something that’s always in your fridge?
Beer (What—I’m a writer.)
- What’s the last thing you splurged on?
Really good chocolate. (What—I’m a writer. And yes, that’s my excuse for everything.)
- What’s your preference for grocery shopping: In store or online In store?
I don’t trust anyone else to pick out the perfect avocado for me.
- What is your favorite movie quote?
“Bye, bye, boys. Have fun storming the castle.” (Princess Bride)
Thanks for a wonderful interview, Deborah! Folks you can find her at:
Berkley will give away a copy of Claws for Suspicion to one lucky commenter!
Just leave your name and e-mail address in our comments section. ROCCO and Maxx will select one lucky winner at random! US entries only, please! Berkley Publishing is providing the giveaway copy.