INTERVIEW: Cathy Perkins on THE BODY IN BEAVER POND Plus Giveaway!

Today we welcome award-winning suspense writer Cathy Perkins! Thank you, Cathy, for joining us today and for taking the time to answer our questions.

Thanks for letting me visit with you and your readers.

What drives your story forward in your books the most, the characters or the plot, or do you feel they are intertwined?

The plot and character are very much intertwined. Since The Body in the Beaver Pond is told in first-person point of view, Keri Isles’ personality and character are key. Her progression through the story, as her goals evolve, drives a lot of the action. As a mystery, the plot revolves around finding the killer. Keri has a vested interest in clearing her name, but the way she approaches people in her investigation draws on her interpersonal (and event planning 😉 ) skills.

If you were a character in one of your books, which would you be? The hero/heroine, mentor, villain, love interest, etc.?

Oh, I’d definitely be the one poking into all the possible clues.

Do people you know end up as characters in your book? Be honest…

While certain characters in earlier books have been mashups of people I know, there are friends who played a big part in several characters in The Body in the Beaver Pond. I suspect a few of my neighbors may recognize bits of themselves in this book.

If you could meet a literary character, who would you most like to meet?

A long time ago, I inhaled all the books in Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Leesa (one of the main characters) was thrown into a position completely outside her experience, but rose to the challenge and served as both a leader and role model for her people. I admire people who do that in real life.

Was there something in your first edit that didn’t make it in the final copy?

Not really. I tend to write pretty “tight” and edit as I go. My editor sometimes suggests changes to tighten a story, but she hasn’t recommended cutting a section or subplot in quite a while.

What do you do to prepare your mind to write? To get into the mind of your characters?

When I’m working on a story, the characters live in my head, chattering away. I don’t have to prepare so much as I work to keep things focused.

I admit it. I’ve never understood the “scene setting” rituals to prepare to write. {Shrug.} Authors are as unique as our stories!

What book as a child/adolescent most influenced you as a writer?

Hmm, I read voraciously so it’s always hard to pin this down to one book.

I suspect every author I’ve ever read has influenced me with either a craft strength (what to do) or weakness (what not to do). Instead, let me share an experience with a couple of favorite authors. I attended Bouchercon (a huge reader conference for mystery and suspense people) before the pandemic brought large gatherings like it to a screeching halt. That event was a constant fangirl moment for me. Every time I turned around, there was another favorite author! Two that especially stand out are Sophie Littlefield and Jonathon King. I’d just finished A Bad Day for Sorry and loved that Sophie’s heroine was middle-aged and divorced—such a departure from the usual. Sophie was incredibly sweet. Her more recent books are women’s fiction rather than mysteries, but she’s still on my auto-buy list. I loved Jon King’s sense of place in The Blue Edge of Midnight—talk about setting becoming a character in the story. Both are clear examples of “what to do!”

How much research went into your last book?

My research used to concentrate less on the characters and internal conflict and more on the twists of the external plot. One of the Holly Price books (a somewhat related series), for example, revolves around an extreme car sport called rockcrawling. I tapped into my network for information on car parts, supply chain management, auditing financial statement discrepancies, and smuggling contraband through customs. I read and talked until I figured a way to make the crime(s) work. I even attended a rockcrawler event to get a feel for the dynamic.

With The Body in the Beaver Pond, I talked with an archaeologist about both the actual dig and the college politics behind a university graduate program. Other discussions with grad students (friends of my children) amplified the details of the art form known as university infighting.

Of course, most of the research has to be dribbled into the background to keep the story moving!

What’s one of the most important things you’d like your readers to know about you? What defines you most as an author?

While I’m a pretty quiet person, I love going to conferences and spending time with both author and reader friends (and meeting new ones). Conferences have been another victim of the pandemic.

I’ve missed being around all those people. Like most authors, I love writing stories for people to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to “meet” some of your blog readers today. Hopefully, one day I’ll have the chance to meet some of them in the real world.

What is one thing about you that may surprise your readers?

Quilt squares are so popular in my area there’s actually a driving tour listing for them. Tourists stop on the county road near our home and take pictures of the ones I’ve painted on several of our barns. Drawing and painting are fun creative outlets that often produce a beautiful item.

Can you tell us what prompted you to write your latest release?

One night I was cutting up with Joelle Charbonneau, idly brainstorming about what to write next. She offered up the mantra, write what you know. I laughed and said, I live on a Christmas tree farm and watch the critters on the beaver pond for entertainment. Where’s the book in that?

There was a long pause, then Joelle said, “How many people can use all those words in the same sentence?”

I laughed it off and finished the Holly Price book I was writing, but the idea sent down roots and grew in the back of my mind. Before long, I had Holly’s recently divorced half-sister on…wait for it… a Christmas tree farm with a beaver pond. I’ll never tell which events in the book actually happened and which came out of my imagination.

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing The Peril in the Pony Ring, the next book in the Keri Isles series. My editor is pestering me to write the next Holly Price book and there’s a book set in South Carolina (where I grew up) that’s been clamoring around in my head for a long time. It may be time to write that one.

Thank you, Cathy! It’s been fun to learn more about you and your books!

About The Book

The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: May 15, 2021

Even an event planner doesn’t plan on murder . . . 

Keri Isles desperately needs to sell the Christmas Tree farm her cheating, rotten ex convinced his buddy, the judge, to saddle her with in the divorce settlement. Stuck in the Cascade Mountains, she’s lost her Seattle-based job and local job prospects are as scarce as internet service. When she finds the arrogant professor in charge of the local archeology dig floating face down in her beaver pond, however, unloading the property becomes secondary to staying out of prison.

A savvy—and scheming—attorney may be able to keep her head above water, but the personal price of his retainer may be too high. It’s up to Keri to use her mad networking skills and deploy a team of archaeology students, a bad boy photographer, and assorted eccentric neighbors to find the killer and clear her name.

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About The Author

Cathy Perkins’s suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. A member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, she has coordinated conferences, contests and debut author programs, and is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

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Dayna Lintonhttp://dayagency.com
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews

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