Monday, December 22, 2014

Author Interview: Cathy Spencer: Framed for Murder - Winner of the 2014 Bony Blithe Award for Light Mystery

She’s a Canadian author who writes in the mystery and romance genres and publishes through her own company, Comely Press. Her Anna Nolan mystery series has three installments to date: Framed for Murder, Town Haunts, and the just released Tidings of Murder and Woe. Framed for Murder was the winner of the 2014 Bony Blithe Award for Light Mystery, she’s proud to say. In the romance genre, she has written a contemporary romantic comedy, The Dating Do-Over, and a sweet regency romance, The Affairs of Harriet Walters, Spinster. She has also released two short story collections, Tall Tales Twin-Pack, Mysteries and Tall Tales Twin-Pack, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

 Welcome Cathy.

Your real name and pen name?
I write under my own name, Cathy Spencer, although there is another Canadian author, Catherine Spencer, who writes romances as well.


About your education.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree plus a handful of English literature courses I’ve taken since then.

What career did you plan during your education days.
I originally wanted to work as an interpreter until I discovered that I could write in other languages much more easily than I could speak them. My first full-time job was as a clerk with an insurance company, and most of my work since then, aside from writing, has been in clerical positions with various universities.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life.
Probably my faith.

What hurts you most in this world?
Man’s apparently limitless ability to cause pain to one another.

What is your favorite genre and why?
Probably the genre I most like to curl up with is mystery. I grew up reading Agatha Christie novels - I used to buy a novel each summer at the beach - and I love Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey. I’m also a big fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels.


When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I came to writing rather late in life when I was forty-nine. I was in a job I particularly disliked working for a small town, and I thought I’d try my hand at writing a regency novel as a diversion. I love the books of Jane Austen, as many do, and I wanted to write a “sweet” regency.

What are your forthcoming writings?
I just published the third mystery in my Anna Nolan series on December 4. It’s called Tidings of Murder and Woe. It’s set at Christmas, and the location is split between a fictional university in Calgary and a small town in the Alberta Foothills.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?
Besides enjoying writing, I like being self-employed and working from home. I’m pretty disciplined, so I don’t worry about things like writer’s block and not getting things done. For example, I was fortunate enough to be able to devote 2014 to full-time writing, and I set a goal of publishing three new books this year. I’ve just met that goal, although the last book almost killed me; I put in a lot of seven-day work weeks between September and December. Part of the problem with being a self-publishing author is that you’re responsible for doing all of your own promotion as well, and that is very time-consuming. But I like the idea that I can continue writing well into my retirement.


What are your future plans?
I plan to look for full-time work outside of the home in 2015 to help pay the bills and to go back to writing part-time. I’ll be revising the first book I ever wrote - a regency called The Marriage Market - in the winter of 2015, and then I may write the fourth book in the Anna Nolan series.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
I’m old-fashioned because I still prefer a paper book. I spend so much time on the computer during the day that I like to give my eyes a break at night, plus I like the ability of being able to turn anywhere in a book with the flick of my hands and back again.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
Two things I’ve discovered always seem to slip into my writing no matter what the genre are romance and humour. One day I may try writing a romance full of angst, like Wuthering Heights or Gone with the Wind, or maybe a thriller, but that’s who I am right now. Aside from that, I’d say the most important parts of a real page-turner are suspense and character development.


How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
That’s pretty funny when I think of my Anna Nolan series. Anna’s ex-husband was an actor a few years older than herself. I’m married to an actor/singer/teacher who’s older than I. Anna has a job as an administrative assistant for the Kinesiology Department of a fictional university in Calgary, plus she lives in a small town outside of the city. When I began the series, I was the administrative assistant for the Humanities Department at Mount Royal University and my family lived in a small town called Turner Valley south of the city. So there were a lot of similarities between my heroine and myself since I was trying to write what I knew, although I’ve never been involved with a murder, thankfully. On the other hand, my husband and I have since returned to Ontario, although my heroine still lives in Alberta.

Your favorite movie and why?
I love romantic comedies. My favourite classic movie is The Philadelphia Story starring Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart. The plot and dialogue are so well written, plus you can’t beat a trio of wonderful actors like Hepburn, Grant, and Stewart. My favourite modern romantic comedy is French Kiss, starring Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. Once again, the story and dialogue are well done, plus the actors are terrific. I love to laugh, and I like upbeat movies.

Last thing to do before sleep?
I have to try to empty my mind because I’ll just lie there brainstorming ideas for whatever I’m currently writing if I don’t. Good for writing, but lousy for sleeping.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
My signature line contains “A shot of mystery, a dash of romance.”



Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-13: 978-1-926486-03-1 (Tidings of Murder and Woe Paperback)
              978-1-926486-03-1 (Tidings of Murder and Woe e-book)
ASIN:  B00QFO9EH0
Publisher:  Comely Press
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CathySpencerAuthor
Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6560999.Cathy_Spencer
Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/Cathy-Spencer/e/B009OI1KIA
Any other links: author’s website:  http://cmspencer.blogspot.ca

Publisher’s website:  http://comelypress.com
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