Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Mudpie Interviews...Smoky from Diane Kelly's Southern Homebrew Mystery Series

In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Mudpie was very excited to have the opportunity to interview Smoky, the feline star of this series. We hope you enjoy meeting him!

Welcome, Smoky! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live with Hattie?

I’m a large fellow, with long gray hair. Though I love living in the mountain cabin with Hattie, I value my independence, too. Hattie adopted me from the city’s animal shelter when I was a kitten. She simply couldn’t resist my handsome face. Who could blame her?

What's a typical day like for you?

I wake at my leisure. If Hattie isn’t yet up, I give her a nose boop with my paw and order my breakfast with a meow. Most days, Hattie packs me up in my plastic carrier and takes me to her store with her. I hang out in the front window while she works. The Moonshine Shack is on a busy street, so there’s lots for me to see between naps. People come in to buy moonshine, and the more observant ones notice me and tell her how handsome I am.

I understand Hattie makes moonshine for a living. Just between us, have you ever taken a sip? (Is it anything like catnip?)

Uck, no! I sniffed the stuff in Hattie’s glass once and it made me sneeze. People sure seem to like it, though. Hattie sells mason jars full of her fruity flavors and earthenware jugs of the old family recipe. As for myself, when I want a nip of something, I’ll stick to the catnip, thank you very much.

Tell us about The Moonshine Shack Murder, the new Southern Homebrew Mystery you star in.

It’s a great story, especially the parts staring yours truly. Shortly after Hattie opens her shop in the tourist district of Chattanooga, the guy who runs the Irish pub across the street is murdered on the stoop right in front of me. His throat was slashed with a broken, jagged jar of Hattie’s moonshine, no less. I saw the murder, but of course none of the humans speak feline so I can’t tell them what I saw. Hattie is determined to figure it out, though. She’s become friends with a mounted cop named Marlon Sanders who often rides by on his horse, Charlotte. She’s a looker. Too bad we’re not the same species. I sense things are heating up between Hattie and Marlon, but I know I’ll always be her number-one guy.

What was it like to be the only witness to a murder? That must've been SO scary! 

It was certainly a shock. I see a lot of things from the front window of The Moonshine Shack, but I didn’t expect to see that! I wish I could tell Hattie who offed the bartender. I can tell she’s worried, and I hate to see her that way. I might act aloof, but if I’m being honest, I know I’m lucky to have Hattie in my life. I love her to pieces, though I’ll never let her know that. Cats like to keep the upper hand in our relationships.

Can you give us any clues as to what's next for you and Hattie?

There’s a model train convention coming to Chattanooga, and Hattie plans to hawk her wares to the conventioneers. I’ve heard Diane Kelly is going to write all about it in a book called The Proof is in the Poison. I suppose that gives you a hint as to how one of the conventioneers dies. People think Hattie’s moonshine might have caused his death. As if she’d ever be so lax with her quality control. Still, if she hopes to save her business, she’ll have to convince law enforcement—and her customers—that she’s not to blame. I hope you’ll pick up the book and read about me when it comes out next year.

Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries. Find Diane online at, on Twitter and Instagram @DianeKellyBooks, and on Facebook at her Author Diane Kelly page.

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Mickey's Musings said...

Mum likes "cozy mysteries" and this book sounds pretty good !
Pawsome interview :)
Purrs, Julie

Patricia T said...

Well, that’s certainly a new take on a cozy mystery theme!
Mudpie is a purr-ific interviewer, aren’t you Mudpie ?

Brian's Home Blog said...

That was a fun interview and it sounds like a really good boot!

Leah said...

Good review and interview, Mudpie! That does sound like a good book and a good series!

Sandee said...

Great interview, Mudpie and the book sounds like a fun read.

Have a purrfect day. My best to your mom. ♥

Catscue Cat Mom said...

Wonderful interview Mudpie!

pilch92 said...

Great interview, as always.

Author Diane Kelly said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today!

meowmeowmans said...

Nice interview, Mudpie! This book sounds like one we would like o read. :)

Rene said...

Oh the next book sounds interesting! I work for model (and full-size) train magazines and have been to many shows/conventions.

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Lola The Rescued Cat said...

Another great interview, Mudpie! This sounds like a wonderful book.

The Menagerie Mom said...

I just love your fun book reviews and interviews, Mudpie and Melissa! You've given me yet another one to add to my to-read list.

Three Chatty Cats said...

This sounds like a good book. And I love the cover art!

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