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Death By Chocolate Lab
by Bethany Blake
Death by Chocolate Lab (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Kensington (February 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAG2T0
Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.
Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.
Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?
Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!
What initially got you interested in writing?
Some of my first childhood memories take place at the tiny public library in my hometown of Montoursville, Pennsylvania. I used to ride my bike there at least once a week during the summer. And I was so excited the day I graduated from the picture books to the wire, spinning rack that held the “big kid” paperbacks. I couldn’t imagine being an author at that time. I thought people who told stories must be almost magical. But I’m sure that’s where the seed was planted.
What genres do you write in?
My focus right now is on cozy mysteries. I love creating quaint worlds with quirky characters. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve gravitated toward books that challenge readers to solve a puzzle. I was a huge Nancy Drew fan as a child. I also write YA and middle grade mysteries under the name Beth Fantaskey. But my first priority is cozies.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
Martha Grimes fueled my initial obsession with cozy mysteries. Whenever I’d finish one of her books, I’d be so disappointed to have to leave the world and the characters she created. So I started finding other books with similar worlds. Then, when I became a novelist, I realized that I could create my own town – pet-friendly Sylvan Creek. And I could populate it with my own cast of characters, including smart-but-reckless pet sitter Daphne Templeton; her stoic basset hound, Socrates; her vintage-obsessed friend, Moxie Bloom; and her sensible sister, Piper. And, of course, I couldn’t resist conjuring up a very handsome detective with a secret past!
How did you break into the field?
I’m one of those twenty-year overnight success stories. I started working as a professional writer right out of college. Speeches for politicians, magazine articles, stories for newspapers… I was basically a writer for hire for two decades before I wrote a novel. And it was bad. So I wrote a few more until I had one that I thought was worth sending to an agent. And it sold!
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
With the Lucky Paws Mysteries, I want readers to feel like they’ve got a second home in a cute town with good friends who make them laugh over a cup of coffee or a delicious meal. And there’s a touch of romance, too.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Interacting with readers, without a doubt. I do a lot of fun giveaways, contests and Skypes, and I have readers who’ve become genuine friends. It’s also wonderful and humbling when someone writes and says, “Your book helped me through a really hard time.”
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Writing the first few pages of a new book or series. It always takes me a little time to get the feel of a new book. But there’s always a moment when the characters come to life, and the setting is as vivid as the scene out my window. That’s when I can breathe a sigh of relief.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Even if you dream of writing fiction exclusively, don’t overlook any opportunity to write. I learned a lot about choosing quotes and creating a story arc by working as a journalist. I think you learn something every time you write.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Not surprisingly, I love cozy mysteries. Cleo Coyle, Krista Davis, and Joanne Fluke are just a few of my many favorite authors. But I’m also a fan of classic literature, especially anything by Dickens or Austen. That’s probably the English major in me!
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
I used to be a global wanderer who always got into scrapes, like my Lucky Paws heroine, Daphne. For example, I once got stuck spending the night in an abandoned hospital in India. I couldn’t open the door to my room because feral dogs were wandering the halls. Luckily, someone came to get me at dawn.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
I’m easy to reach, and I always like to communicate with readers! Here’s how to get in touch.
Thanks for hosting me on your blog!
About The Author
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.
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