I have a treat for you all today! I am honoured to be part of the blog blitz for Mandy Morton’s Beyond the Gravy and had the opportunity to put a few questions to the author.
First, here’s a bit about the book:
Blurb: Psychic cat Irene Peggledrip is being visited by a band of malevolent spirits who all claim to be murderers. Not only is their message disturbing, but they cause chaos with indoor snowstorms, flying books and the untimely demise of a delicious Victoria sponge. Irene calls in Hettie and Tilly of the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency to help, but they’re not sure how far their skills reach into the spirit realm.
Meanwhile, Lavender Stamp, the town’s bad-tempered postmistress cat, has some good news to deliver to Tilly: she has won a competition to take afternoon tea with renowned mystery writer Agatha Crispy at her Devon home, Furaway House.
Will Hettie and Tilly finally lay the ghosts to rest? Can Molly Bloom’s new café survive the seance? And will the moving claw give up its secrets before the gravy congeals? Find out in this latest adventure of our favourite feline sleuths.
Sounds purrfect! So without further ado, I will hand you over to my earlier self and Mandy Morton for more information:
As a writer:
Do you have any writing quirks / odd writing habits?
I only tend to write the series in the winter as I find my garden and allotment distracting during the growing seasons. I can’t resist sunshine and so at the first sign out I go.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have an arts radio show which keeps me busy with interviews, reviews etc, after 26 years at the BBC it’s a hard habit to break and I love working on the garden and the allotment where most of my ideas for the books seem to offer themselves. My partner and I often go on research trips for her books which is fun.
What do you most love and/or hate to write?
I love writing this series as it’s sheer escapism, creating that micro world is like having a dolls house full of characters that you can do whatever you like with, the fact that they are all cats is very freeing. I hate writing about myself but there are quite a few nods to my own life buried in the series, especially in Magical Mystery Paws.
As a reader:
What is your favourite cosy mystery book (other than your own!)?
I try and steer clear of mysteries, especially when I’m writing but as a young teenager I devoured everything that Agatha Christie wrote and then moved on later to PD James and my partner Nicola Upson’s books. Agatha Christie is often derided by other crime fiction authors, I think she deserves much more respect for putting the genre on the map for the rest of us to follow.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Wind in the Willows, I owe that book a lot for inspiring me to write this current series, I still read it once a year.
What book is top of your TBR pile right now?
Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson.
With regards to THIS book:
Your characters are cats that act in human ways (wearing clothes, playing musical instruments, driving vans), but remain feline in outlook and characteristics. What made you choose to write about anthropomorphic cats, and are your characters based on cats you know?
My partner and I began to adopt elderly cats after our long term cat Hettie died, after I left the BBC I wanted to engross myself in something new so I began to write about the cats we’d lost, bringing them back to life in their own parallel world, somewhere in the 70s. Hettie, Tilly, Bruiser and Molly Bloom have all shared their lives with us and writing about them means they are never far away. I chose cats because they have the perfect temperaments for crime fiction. They can be cruel, vicious, calculating, inquisitive, cute and super intelligent and food is very important to cats so I include lots of food in my books almost as another lead character.
What did you edit out of this book? Any behind the scenes peaks or bloopers?
Sorry to disappoint but I edit nothing and short of punctuation and a little tightening the book stays as it is from the moment it hits the page. I write almost as a continuous stand up comedy routine so editing would spoil the rhythm. That’s the songwriter in me from another life altogether.
Do you have a end planned for the No. 2 Feline Detective series, or is it more of a continuously developing saga?
I think this series will be as long as a piece of string, while I enjoy writing them, Hettie and Tilly’s adventures will go on. They make me laugh and there’s no better therapy in life.
Is there anything you would like new readers to know before they dive on into your book?
Just make sure the biscuit tin is topped up and there’s a pie in the oven!
You can follow Mandy Morton on Twitter and Goodreads.
Beyond the Gravy releases on Amazon on 16th May 2019, but you can preorder it now!
Find my review of Magical Mystery Paws here, and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more great content and reviews!
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