Friday, September 05, 2014

Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014

Please welcome Carol J. Perry to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Caught Dead Handed, the first Witch City Mystery, was published on September 2, 2014 by Kensington. This is Carol's adult debut.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing fiction?

Carol:  I probably started writing fiction when I was in the first grade! But my first published effort was my middle grade novel “Sandcastle Summer” in 1988. I’d been a non-fiction writer for a long time, writing articles for magazines and newspapers, when I met a writer who’d written a book for youngsters and I thought-- “I could do that!” At the time I was researching an article for Southern Travel magazine about the world’s tallest sandcastle which was being built near my home in Florida. That became the background for the book. It was followed by several other novels for young people, as well as a couple of biographies.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Carol:  I always begin as a plotter—that is, I know what the beginning, middle and end should be. . .but a pantser as far as filling in the details.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Carol:  The most challenging thing for me is time management. My books for this series are all about 90,000 to 100,000 words. I have six months to produce a finished book, so I try to set a reasonable word count for every day, allowing time at the end for the editing process.

TQ:  How different is it writing adult fiction versus YA fiction?

Carol:  There’s not too much difference in writing adult vs. YA for me. I like both genres.

TQ:  Describe Caught Dead Handed (A Witch City Mystery 1) in 140 characters or less.

Carol:  Lee Barrett faces a deep disappointment – a dilemma – a drowning – a decision – a drama – a delightful date – a devilish development – a dreadful death – a disaster – a deception – and finally – a dynamite discovery!

TQ:  Tell us something about Caught Dead Handed that is not in the book description.

Carol:  I named the character River North after the North River which flows through Salem. That’s something probably nobody except people from Salem, and readers of The Qwillery will know!

TQ:  What inspired you to write Caught Dead Handed? Why did you set the novel in Salem, Massachusetts?

Carol:  Salem Massachusetts, known world wide as “the witch city,” is my birthplace and a city I know well. It’s a never-ending source of story ideas. . . witches, ghosts, old buildings, a famous seaport, twisty narrow streets, hiding places, historical events. . .Salem has it all!

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Caught Dead Handed?

Carol:  I researched Tarot cards, crystals, scryers, the Salem witch trials, TV studios, camera operation, psychic terms and vocabulary. I also used maps and Google Earth a lot to be sure I had streets correctly plotted. I went to Salem and photographed landmarks and restaurants and a hotel to be sure my descriptions were accurate.

TQ:  In Caught Dead Handed, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Carol:  The easiest character to write was probably Lee, since the story is told from her point of view, so I had to be in her head all the time. The hardest one to write was George because he is so complex. Of course it was wonderful fun to write about O’Ryan the cat, who’ll be an important character in all of the books in this series. Aunt Ibby is fun too because she’s a combination of my favorite aunt and my dear ex-mother-in-law.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Caught Dead Handed.

Carol:  Here’s one I like. Page 158:

“We’d made the turn onto Winter Street, and even that familiar stretch of road, with its mellow brick sidewalks, fine old homes and sturdy trees, had somehow been turned into a scary, alien place. Leafless branches clawed at a starless sky and long, wavering shadows stretched from between darkened buildings.”

TQ:  What's next?

Carol:  Next in the Witch City Mystery series is “Tails, You Lose” It’s due out in April of 2015. Lee, O’Ryan and Aunt Ibby, along with Lee’s hunky boy friend Pete Mondello, face some more adventures as Lee takes a job in haunted school.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Caught Dead Handed
A Witch City Mystery 1
Kensington, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
(Adult Debut)

She's not a psychic--she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown--where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives--to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch--especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer--or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .

A peak at Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) coming 2015:

Tails, You Lose
A Witch City Mystery 2
Kensington, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Her instincts may be killer--but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts--known as "The Tabby"--in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers--and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose. . .

About Carol

Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.

Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab.



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