Monday, August 6, 2018

Interview With Cozy Mystery Author Sonia Parin

What got you interested writing Cozy Mystery books?

A friend suggested I try my hand at cozy mysteries. My response was a resounding “Huh?” However, I looked at my bookshelves and suddenly realized they were filled with mysteries, including cozy mysteries. I had so much fun writing the first one, I now live by the motto, “If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!”

Tell us a little about the Mackenzie Coven series.

My witch in training, Lexie, had a ten year sabbatical from her coven duties and has now been thrust right into the thick of it by her two cousins who organize her into solving supernatural mysteries. Lexie has a chatty feline companion named Luna. In my latest Mackenzie book, Witch in Exile, Lexie was ‘gifted’ with a blueberry munching fairy. In hindsight, I think I introduced this new character because Luna needed someone to keep her in line. The stories are lighthearted and aimed at providing pure escapism.

Also, tell the readers about the Dear Abby series.

Abby Maguire hails from a small town in Iowa, but she spent several years working for a major newspaper in Seattle. After losing her job, she travels half way around the world to take up a job in a small town newspaper. A couple of years ago, I wrote a few books set in a fictional town in Australia. I had all these quirky characters I had thoroughly enjoyed writing so when I had to find a setting for the Abby Maguire series, I decided to send her to the small alpine town of Eden.

If you could live the life of one of your characters, would you?

That’s a tough question. I love all my characters. Lexie has extraordinary witch powers, most of which she has yet to discover, a talking feline companion, a hunky guardian/chronicler of all her deeds and or misdeeds as well as a fairy companion. Then there’s Eve Lloyd. She might be a fictional character but she now owns the swanky French stove I want! I’m so jealous! Finally, there’s Abby Maguire. She went through a tough break-up, so I’ve been kind to her and surrounded her with a cast of characters who make her life interesting. She lives within walking distance of the best coffee anywhere and she resides in a pub with a world class chef providing scrumptious meals. The local detective is easygoing and good-looking. Yes, I want to be Abby.

What's your favorite character that you have created and why?

Luna. Like Lexie, I’m more of a dog person. Luna first appeared at the end of Witch Inheritance and I had no idea what I would do with her. In the second witch mystery book, I decided to give her a voice and she hasn’t stopped talking since. She’s been the most entertaining character I’ve written. She has a dry sense of humor and is surprisingly versatile and complex. At times, she’s a teenager full of angst, she can be a grizzly toddler, but she can also be wise. Mostly, she’s annoying, in a fun sort of way.

Do you have any real-life stories that you have incorporated into one of your books?

I have stockpiled many years of experiences which I can tap into.
I’ve had a variety of jobs, moving in different circles and meeting people from all levels: from friendly caretakers to CEOs. I’d like to think my experiences allow me to write my characters with confidence. Although, at the end of the day, they’re all fictional.

If you had to choose a different career other than writing, what would it be?

I can honestly say this is the best job I have ever had.

What is your favorite book that you have ever written and why?

Can I pick two? To date, I have enjoyed writing every single one of my books. However, Witch in Exile is the one that made me laugh the most. Then there’s Sleeping With the Fishes. I knew I would have fun writing it the moment I decided to introduce 100 Carmen Miranda impersonators. Also, I remember getting to the last chapter and not knowing who the killer was going to be.

What do you like to do with your time when you're not writing?

I’ve gone through phases: knitting cable sweaters, hand stitching wedding ring quilts and gardening. Now I use my baking time to work out plots.

What's a fun fact that your readers might not know about you?

I’m not sure it qualifies as fun, but I once considered joining a circus. A girls’ night out was organized. We discussed the subject at great length over a Chinese meal. Then we trekked out to the open air circus. It was the middle of winter, so that didn’t go too well. Also, the only jobs available involved climbing and I have an unmitigated fear of heights. We wrapped up the night in an out of the way cafe where we experienced an unexpected scene involving a one man play and full frontal nudity.

What do you have in store for your readers next?

While I have already begun work on a couple of new series, I’ll continue to add to the existing ones. The owner of the small town newspaper Abby Maguire works for is a newspaper mogul so, at some point, I’d like to see her hitching a ride on his jet and landing in a small town where she can stumble upon another murder mystery. I’m also working on the next Mackenzie Coven mystery, Witch Fairy Tale.

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