I had just finished writing The Monarch, a darker mystery involving a pretty twisted serial killer, and felt like I needed a psychological break. So, discussing this with my daughter one day she said, "Why don't you write something lighter for fun?" I took her advice, put together my two favorite subjects--pets and the paranormal--and Darwin Winters, pet psychic, was born.
What do you have for pets? Do they inspire your animal characters? Right now we have a 13 yr old golden retriever, a 3 yr old mastiff-mix and a 5 month old goofball of a mastiff puppy. (It's a good thing my husband is deathly allergic to cats or we'd have a houseful of those, too.) Yes, my pets and other people's pets in my life definitely provide inspiration for the animals Darwin meets.
I've always been a big fan of the mastiff breed. They're very noble, confident, intelligent and gentle, so the mastiff was an easy pick for the first book. I hope I did the breed justice in creating Karma. My quirky, sweet golden retriever is my muse for book three.
Did you always want to be a writer growing up? Yes. A writer and a veterinarian. I'm math-challenged so writer it was. This series is the best of both worlds for me, I get to control the animal's fate and create their happy ending. Real life isn't always so kind.
What one book do you wish you had written? Just picking one is hard. I've been inspired by so many books in my life, books that make me want to be a better writer. My favorite book of all time is probably Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, but saying I wish I had written it seems like sacrilege. I can say I wish I had the level of talent it takes to create a story like that.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Juliet Blackwell. Her Witchcraft Mysteries are what made me fall in love with the cozy genre. I could see Darwin visiting Lily Ivory's vintage clothing shop in California and getting in a heap of trouble helping solve a murder with her. Especially because Lily's familiar is a pig/gargoyle creature. I bet the visions Darwin would get from him would be crazy...lol!
What's your favorite way to spend a rainy day? Well, living in the sunshine state we don't get many rainy days, we get rainy hours daily. Those are some of my favorite times to write. Give me a booming, crackling thunderstorm, candlelight and my dogs at my feet and I'm a happy writer.
What are you working on now? Right now I'm working on Silence is Golden (Pet Psychic Mystery No. 3) and I can't wait to share it, I'm having so much fun writing it. Darwin's animal companion in this book is a golden retriever and you'll also get to meet her other sister, Willow. I'm shooting for a July release, so make sure you sign up for my newsletter at http://murderinparadise.com/ if you want to be notified when it comes out!
Thanks for having me, Melissa!
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