I'm so happy to have Cathy Ace, author of "The Corpse With the Emerald Thumb" with us today for an author interview. I saw on Ms. Ace's website that her passion is writing crime fiction, so I put my questions in the interrogatory "Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?" form.
Hello LuAnn, it’s a pleasure to be here today, and I love that you’ve taken such a fun approach with your questions. I’m looking forward to talking about Who, What, Where, When, Why and How….
1. Who is your favorite Agatha Christie character? This is a tough one. Why? Because Agatha Christie gave us not only wonderful leading characters, but some memorable secondary, or supporting, characters too. That said, I will be honest and say that, while I adore Miss Marple, and find the later Tommy and Tuppence Beresford novels to be among Christie’s best, Hercule Poirot is the tops for me! I have ensured that, like Poirot, Cait Morgan, my foodie criminology professor sleuth, uses her brain as her puzzle-solving weapon of choice.
2. What was your proudest moment as an author? My first short story, Dear George, was published in 1989, was anthologized after that, and was produced for a BBC Radio 4 afternoon reading series. I was so proud that my Mum and Dad got to hear their daughter’s story, professionally produced for a radio station that I have always felt is the best in the world. Sadly, my Dad died a few months later. Since then, seeing my Mum pluck my books from the shelves of her local library has seen me come close to bursting with pride! I was able to send her a copy of THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB ahead of it being published, but I was disappointed I couldn’t get it to her in time for Mothering Sunday. But I know she’s enjoying reading it!
3. Where did your favorite vacation take place? These are tough questions! I travel, and have always traveled, a great deal. As does my protagonist, Cait Morgan. I have spent magical times in many places, and, of course, I always hope that the best is yet to come. I emigrated from the UK to Canada in 2000, so I now get to vacation in Wales, my homeland. I could cheat and say that all my favorite vacations are, therefore, the ones I now take in Wales, with my Mum and sister. But I realize that’s not really fair, so I will go with Nice, in the south of France. I used to live there for a few months each year, and even set the first Cait Morgan Mystery there, so I could “visit” as I wrote the book. I miss the south of France a great deal. I had wonderful times there, and I tried to communicate my love of the area in THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE.
4. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? I always wanted to write and, when I worked in advertising, public relations, and then broader marketing communications, I was, in fact, writing for a living. I wrote the first Cait Morgan Mystery while I was still a university lecturer. I found it difficult to promote my first book while writing my second, THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE, and still teaching, so I took the big decision to leave the university, to focus on writing. It’s a strange life, being an author, but I love it absolutely!
5. Why did you choose to write crime fiction as opposed to another genre? Simply put, crime fiction has been my passion since I was a little girl (Nancy Drew has a lot to answer for!) and I have read this genre voraciously for decades. It runs through my blood. I don’t think I could write anything else.
6. How do you know when a book is done? In the first Cait Morgan Mystery there was a little bit added after the final denouement, to allow for the rest of the series to be set up. It’s a device you’ll see used in a lot of first-in-series books. But, as a rule, I’ll have just a little tie-up after the big, final showdown. I love that my readers and I are all one the same page . . . waiting for Cait to work through all the clues, show how they all point to one suspect, and then give a full explanation of everything that happened. That’s when it’s over. But, of course, that’s where the next book begins . . .