Interview with the Mysteristas

We are delighted to welcome Cathy Perkins, author of The Professor and Honor Code.honorcode

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
This question made me laugh. Do you remember the pageant Q&A with Miss Rhode Island in Miss Congeniality? …a day in April…a light jacket…She was so good in that role.

I do love a sunny day at our place in the mountains—getting outside with friends, family and the dogs. Then the evenings are cool enough for a fire, good food, and laughter. Good times.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Not really.  I like so many different things; it’s no fun to stick to just one!

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Hmm, every book I’ve ever read (and that’s in the thousands) probably isn’t a good answer. Three people who’ve had a direct impact on my writing career are:

Renee Rearden–fantastic urban fantasy author and the world’s best critique partner

Steve Vassey–South Carolina Writer’s Workshop local chapter head and the guy who encouraged me when I first inched out and showed someone my first story.

Jenny Crusie–Fabulous author and teacher at my first Lowcountry Masterclass. I think my head nearly exploded that week!

Do you listen to music when you write?  
I’m happiest when listening to music. I love it all–classical to pop; country to jazz.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Oh definitely dark chocolate; maybe with some sea salt or chili pepper for texture and a kick!

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
My muse delivered Honor Code nearly intact (ask any author–believe me, it’s a gift when that happens!). Apparently the story rolled around in my subconscious for a while, pulling characters and themes together. The story is a mystery–what happened to George Beason–but it delves into family relationships and how individual actions affect not just the person who does them, but those around them as well. Ultimately our personal choices–our code of honor–determines who and what we are.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing? 
My tag line sums up my recurring themes–Mystery with a Financial Twist; Trust Issues; Family Bonds.

The financial part wasn’t in The Professor (although the family aspect was there!)Honor Code has all of these elements, as do the two stories that will release later this year: For Love or Money (May) and Cypher (fall 2013).

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today? 
Like so many young men and women, Detective Larry Robbins used the military as a way out of his small hometown. He ended up an MP and to his surprise, he was good at it. The college opportunity the military provides helped him get a degree in criminal justice. Years of police work has left him jaded–maybe even cynical–but he’s never lost his capacity for compassion. Police see people at their worst, but Robbins also saw people like Miz Rose who have good hearts and act from love. Robbins strives to maintain a balance in his life, but like most of us, some days he’s more successful than others.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Part of me wants to give you six wonderful women (wonderful newer authors) I’ve met over the past few years at conferences and retreats, but I’m going to take a different direction.

John Sandford and Lee Child to guarantee a fast paced adventure

Jonathon King for introspection

Margaret Maron to add the family connection

Toni McGee Causey for a touch of crazy to keep things fun

And John le Carre as the political mastermind who pulls the strings behind the scenes

What’s next for you?
After several dark stories, I moved to the lighter end of the mystery spectrum withFor Love or Money, releasing in May with Entangled Publishing. Written from Holly Price’s perspective, the mystery romps through eastern Washington State with its rivers, wineries, Native American casinos, and assorted farm animals. The relationship, with some wicked fun chemistry between our CPA amateur sleuth and a Franklin County detective, is a bigger part of the story. For Love or Money was huge fun to write and the advance reviews say readers like it! Stay tuned for more.

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Posted with Mysteriastis 3/28/13

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