Today we welcome cat lover and cozy mystery writer, Mollie Hunt, for a fun interview.
What drives your story forward in your books the most, the characters or the plot, or do you feel they are intertwined?
I like to balance plot and characters so neither is left incomplete. Since Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove is the first of a new series, characters will be recurring, and I need to build a sturdy foundation for them right from the start. As for the plot, this story has as many twists as an overgrown garden path.
If you were a character in one of your books, which would you be? The protagonist, mentor, villain, love interest, etc.?
I would be the hero. Or the cat.
If you had the power to make any of your books into a film, which would it be and why?
Ghost Cat would make a nice series a la Murder She Wrote: a cozy little town where everyone knows everyone; then murder happens, and it’s up to septuagenarian Camelia Collins to solve the crime. My Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries would also work well for that theme. The ones I’d love to see filmed, however, are my sci-fantasies, Cat Summer and Cat Winter, but they might prove difficult to produce. The special effects—transportation, transmutation, pink fire in the sky, etc.—would be simple, but I have yet to see a CGI talking cat that looks real to me.
Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to write, but haven’t yet tackled?
Yes, memoir. At nearly seventy and having come of age in the hippie era, there are lots of off-the-wall vignettes I could write about. Unfortunately, other memoirs have never caught my interest, and since I truly believe a writer must read their genre to produce a good story, I doubt I can write one myself.
If you could meet a literary character or author, who would you most like to meet?
I’d love to meet Lilian Jackson Braun, the Queen of Cat Mysteries, when she was first beginning to write in the ‘60s. Ditto Shirley Rousseau Murphy, and since you’re asking, her feline character Joe Grey would be high on my list as well.
As with the rest of us, you have a real life to live. So, in your most recent book, what was happening in your life and how did it influence your writing?
Since Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove was entirely written during the Covid-19 lockdown, I felt I needed to create the coziest, most vividly illustrated, cat-centric story I could think of. I enjoyed every visit to the small coastal town of Ocean Cove, where I got to watch whales from the window of the Sea Dog restaurant and run my toes through the agate sand.
Was there something in your first edit that didn’t make it in the final copy that you sometimes wish you would have kept?
Nope, I rarely add or take away from a first draft, though I do tons of later revisions.
What do you do to prepare your mind to write? To get into the mind of your characters.
I get out of bed, feed the cats, make a cup of coffee, and sit down at my laptop. It’s the best time of my day! My characters have their own voices: I just need to listen.
What book as a child/adolescent most influenced you as a writer?
Since my grandmother was a librarian who had her own impressive collection of 1800-1900 children’s books, I was exposed to daily reading. I loved picture books, such as April’s Kittens by Clare Turlay Newberry and Beatrix Potter’s series. Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte’s Web, the Ugly Duckling—most any story with an animal in it, though I also loved Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and really wanted to live in the park with the fairies. By the time I was in fourth grade, I was writing my own cat stories.
How much research went into your last book?
Ghost Cat didn’t require much outside research aside from the computer expert who chimed in on the little bit of tech talk. The expansive home designed by a student of architect Frank Lloyd Wright; wealthy Larry Linder’s legal and illegal railroad business windfall; fragile Vera’s Rollator walker designed for beach walking were all fun to learn more about from the internet. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, it’s important to get the details as close to right as possible.
What’s one of the most important things you’d like your readers to know about you? What defines you most as an author?
I want readers to know I am a serious cat writer and a grateful member of the Cat Writers’ Association. For me, cats aren’t just an embellishment to a story; cats are the story. All my cats must behave like cats. I dislike reading fiction where the cats act like dog or humans. Even the anthropomorphic cat-humans in my sci-fantasy tetralogy are feline through and through.
What is one thing about you that may surprise your readers?
I go to Star Trek conventions in costume.
Can you tell us what prompted you to write your latest release?
I’d been very satisfied with my Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, but now that I’m on book 9, I felt like I needed a change. I wanted to involve a different set of characters in a different setting. I also wanted to face a new set of challenges. In Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove and the subsequent Tenth Life mysteries, I plan to tackle the paranormal tales that don’t fit into my Cat Lady’s life.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’ve already started the next Tenth Life Cozy Mystery, working title: Ghost Cat Comes Back: Cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and murder…
I’m about to publish my 8th Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, Adventure Cat: An elfin recluse, a handsome feline archaeologist, a stolen artifact, and one very special cat…
I have the first draft of Cat’s Play (CCL 9) finished except for the ending: A wealthy recluse leaves his estate to Friends of Felines cat shelter, but with two stipulations: care for his cat and find his killer.
For my Cat Seasons Sci-Fantasy Tetralogy, I’m currently working on the third book in the tetralogy, Cat Autumn: In the wilds of the coastal woods, Niva’s cats discover a portal to another universe where a race of techno-medical felines are braving their first-ever war.
I’m still gathering poems for Cat Poems II.
Hmm, have I left anything out?
Thanks so much, Novels Alive, for your interest in Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove. I’ve enjoyed the interview and hope your readers will as well.
Cat Writer Mollie Hunt is the award-winning author of two cozy series, the Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and the Tenth Life Mysteries. Her Cat Seasons Sci-Fantasy Tetralogy features extraordinary cats saving the world. Mollie also pens a bit of cat poetry. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, the Cat Writers’ Association, and Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. Like her cat lady character, she is a grateful shelter volunteer.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Read on to find out more about Ghost Cat of Ocean Cove!
A Tenth Life Cozy Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
A new feline cozy from the author of the award-winning Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries.
Septuagenarian Camelia Collins and her cat Blaze move to the Oregon Coast to fulfill a lifelong dream, but that dream becomes a nightmare when Camelia learns she has purchased a murder house. The former resident, reclusive businessman Jonathan Chamber, was brutally killed on the stoop, and the killer is still at large.
What’s more, Camelia discovers an ancient gravestone at the back of her garden belonging to a cat named Soji. Dead long ago, this seventh black kitten of a seventh black kitten now returns incorporeal form. Will Soji’s haunting help Camelia solve the murder mystery or send her screaming back to Portland?
Native Oregonian Mollie Hunt has always had an affinity for cats, so it was a short step for her to become a cat writer. Mollie Hunt writes the award-winning Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip, and the Cat Seasons sci-fantasy tetralogy where cats save the world. She also pens a bit of cat poetry.
Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, the Cat Writers’ Association, and Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. Like Lynley, she is a grateful shelter volunteer.
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