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The Corpse With The Ruby Lips
by Cathy Ace
I love that the Cait Morgan series is based in the area that I live…A pleasure to read. I highly recommend The Corpse with the Ruby Lips.
The Corpse with the Ruby Lips (A Cait Morgan Mystery)
TouchWood Editions (November 1, 2016)
Paperback: 240 pages
Quirky criminology professor Cait Morgan is invited to be a guest lecturer at a Budapest university, and although she’s hesitant to go without her husband and trusted sidekick, Bud, who must stay home to care for his aging parents, she decides to make the month-long trip on her own.
Soon after arriving, one of her new students, Zsofia, pleads with Cait to help her uncover any clues about her grandmother’s unsolved murder, which happened decades ago on the campus of Cait’s own home university in Canada. Cait agrees, but when she is repeatedly hassled by an creepy colleague, and as bizarre details about Zsofia’s family members come to light, Cait is beset by uncertainty.
As she gets closer to the truth, Cait’s investigation puts the powers-that-be on high alert, and her instincts tell her she’s in grave danger. Bud races to Budapest to come to Cait’s side, but will it be too late?
Interview With The Author –
What initially got you interested in writing?
Honestly, I think it was the fact I was always a voracious reader. I hung out in the library close to my school and inhaled the smell of books from an early age – then I found worlds within their pages that transported me, and people within their pages I enjoyed spending time with, and I was hooked!
What genres do you write in?
If you discount the nine marketing textbooks I wrote in my previous business life, I have only ever written crime novels.
What drew you to writing this specific genre?
Again, it’s back to my early habits: when I was young I enjoyed the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, as well as Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” books. I discovered my mum’s collection of Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh books when I was about ten, and that’s the path I have continued to follow. I certainly read beyond the crime genre a little now – lots of biographies, for example – but if I read any other sort of fiction I find myself waiting for someone to die!
How did you break into the field?
I entered a short crime story into a competition back in 1987 – the prize was to be published, and in 1988 I was! However, that wonderful event happened just as I’d set up my own business, so I didn’t write any more fiction until 2007…following the production of that original short story for BBC Radio 4. I then wrote a volume of twelve short stories (MURDER: MONTH BY MONTH) and a volume of four novella (MURDER: SEASON BY SEASON) which I self-published. I sent a copy of each to a BC publisher with a ransom note I made out of letters I’d cut from a newspaper, begging them to “release my characters” and they invited me to submit a manuscript for what became my first Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE, which was published in 2012.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I hope people who read my books feel they’ve been on a fun, satisfying adventure in an interesting place where they’ve enjoyed sleuthing with a woman they’d like to have dinner with. I also hope they’re a little bit sorry the book is finished.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
The thrill of the chase when I’m plotting then ploughing through the first draft…it’s like galloping on horseback without worrying too much about technique. It’s all about getting over the hurdles and finishing the course.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
All the stages after the first draft! Editing, and re-editing, are hard, tortuous work. Overall, I think of getting a book out into the world a bit like three-day eventing for horses and their riders: first there’s the steeplechase, with all its wild abandonment, grit and determination (the first draft); then there’s the show-jumping (editing) where technique and skill are employed to make sure the work looks at its best; finally there’s dressage (final edits, proofing, cover art etc) where the finest detail is attended to.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
I truly think the best writers are avid readers of whatever genre it is they write. I advise those who want to write well to read widely to make sure the genre they think they want to write in really is what most appeals to them, then to read deeply within that genre. Try to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, and read both those works which are critically acclaimed (and win prizes) and those which are best sellers. Sometimes it pays to read a stack of books by one author in the order in which they were written, so you can see that author’s style developing over time, then question how you can apply those lessons yourself without having to learn them from scratch.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Crime, and lots of it! I enjoy police procedurals, sleuthing-tales, thrillers, some YA, and – given the nature of the books I write – some might say surprisingly dark, psychological works. I also enjoy autobiographies and biographies, as well as revisiting the classics…when I have the time!
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
We all think our lives are normal, whatever they might be so I’m not utterly convinced that anything at all is interesting about me. I’m just me. My loves/passions, other than writing, are my family and my dogs (I shouldn’t really need to mention the dogs specifically, because they are, after all, furry family members!) and my garden. I’m lucky to live on acreage, and my husband and I actively garden about three of our five acres. It’s hard, but incredibly rewarding work.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
The best way to find out about my background and my writing is to check out my website: http://cathyace.com/ Here readers can find specially written prequels to each Cait Morgan Mystery, as well as some video of me reading the openings of a couple of my books, and a whole set of questions they can use if their Book Club chooses any of my books to read.
Also, they can follow me via my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ace-Author-318388861616661/ and my Twitter feed here: @AceCathy
I encourage folks to sign up for my newsletter – it comes out every couple of months and there are quite often special offers and giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ace-Author-318388861616661/app/100265896690345/
Thanks for inviting me along today – it’s been fun to chat, Cathy
About The Author –
Cathy Ace loves crime! It’s true – she discovered Nancy Drew in her local library, then found Agatha Christie on her Mum’s bookshelves, and she never looked back. Cathy happily admits that the characters she met between the book-covers as a child have influenced her writing. “Nancy Drew was plucky, strong and independent, and Agatha Christie’s puzzles engaged me every time. I love the sort of book that mixes intricate plotting with a dash of danger, and that’s what I’ve tried to create with my Cait Morgan Mystery Series. Beginning my new series, featuring the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency, I have been able to indulge my love of stately homes, village life and the interplay between characters that can take place in that sort of setting.”
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy is, like her heroine Cait Morgan, now a Canadian citizen. “Cait’s Welsh Canadian, as am I. They say ‘write what you know’, so a short, plus-sized Welsh woman, who’s quite bossy, fits the bill! But Cait and I are not one and the same: she’s got skills and talents I don’t possess,and I’m delighted to say that I don’t usually encounter corpses wherever I go! I’ve also chosen to burrow even deeper into my roots by creating a new cast of characters in the WISE women who come from all four corners of the United Kingdom and work in a uniquely British setting – a ducal estate set in the rolling Welsh countryside of the Wye Valley in Powys, where I spent a good deal of time when I was young.”
With a successful career in marketing having given her the chance to write training courses and textbooks, Cathy has now finally turned her attention to her real passion: crime fiction. Her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Two of her works, “Dear George” and “Domestic Violence”, have also been produced by Jarvis & Ayres Productions as “Afternoon Reading” broadcasts for BBC Radio 4.
Cathy is proud to be Chair of Crime Writers of Canada, a member of Sisters in Crime, the Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America.
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