A Conversation with T. C. LoTempio author of The Time for Murder is Meow

Shell McMillan and her furry sidekicks aren’t kitten around when they set out to catch a killer . . . -The Time for Murder is Meow by T. C. LoTempio

What inspired the idea for your book?  

A friend of mine wanted me to write a book that featured a one-eyed Persian cat.   I’d been toying with several different occupations for the  main character, Shell, and an editor at St. Martin’s asked for a mystery that had a pet shop as the setting.  The editor left St. Martin’s before I finished writing the book, but my agent eventually sold it elsewhere.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?  

How much patience I do have.  You have no idea how  many incarnations this manuscript went through before it was finally accepted for publication!

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together? 

Well, if I were friends with Shell I would hope that we’d solve mysteries together!  And work in the pet shop too.  ☺

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

 It’s a validation of everything I’ve worked for my whole life.  I’ve always wanted to write ever since I read my first Nancy Drew mystery.  I got away from it for a while, when I was married my husband forbade me to write.  I got back into it late in life and I was first published by Berkley at age 59.  So never give up. If you work hard enough it can happen.

How do you define success as an author? 

 I think when a fellow author whom you respect sends you an email to tell you how much she loved your book and how talented you are, that spells success to me.  Also the response from the fans. If I can touch someone in any way with what I’ve written, if they enjoy it and can’t wait for the next one, well, then, I’ve done my job.

What is your all time favorite book? Do you think this has influenced your writing? 

My all time favorite book would have to be Gone With the Wind, and my favorite author – hm.  That varies from day to day.  I know the Nancy Drew mystery series definitely influenced my writing, as did the Perry Mason series by Erle Stanley Gardner. I devoured them when I was young and they whetted my appetite to write my own.

What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”?  

 That would have been in the fifth grade when I did write a book of fairy tales. I called it “Twelve Tall Tales” and a friend of mine who was a good artist illustrated it.

How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block? 

Avoid it? Hah, when you find out let me know.  It happens to every writer sooner or later.  The only way to defeat writer’s block, at least for me, is to do something else entirely for a few days.

What is the first book that you remember reading?  

Cinderella, the Disney version.  My mother  used to skip over parts and I used to grab the book away and tell her she wasn’t doing it right.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? 

Keep at it, never give up. I was published traditionally at age 59.  It CAN happen, if you want it bad enough.

If you could have lunch with 3 authors (past or present) who would they be and what do you think you would all talk about during lunch? 

 Stephen King, J.D. Robb and Laura Childs.  We would probably talk about our writing styles and how diverse each of us are.

If you had your own talk show, what would the topic be and who would be your first guest(s)?  

Women Role Models in Television, and the guest would definitely be Candice Bergen. Murphy Brown was certainly a role model for me.

What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?  

Worry.

Given the perfect opportunity to leave behind Hollywood life after inheriting her late aunt’s estate, Shell MacMillen tries to make a go at a new life in Fox Hollow. When a local woman she recently argued with turns up dead, she is forced to try to clear her name. Who knew that her acting would become real life skills.

What follows is a fun romp with a cat for a sidekick, new friends, and a former co-star Shell delves into the lives of the locals and finds there is no shortage of people who had issues with the deceased.

This new cozy ticks all the right boxes for popular cozy tropes and is the great start to a new series. I am looking forward to seeing how some of the relationships hinted at in this story play out in the overall arc. Extra points for the great name of Shell’s new business.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Shell McMillan and her furry sidekicks aren’t kitten around when they set out to catch a killer . . .

When her TV series is canceled, struggling actress Shell McMillan considers it a blessing in disguise. A beloved aunt who recently died left her a pet shop in her will, and she sees it as the perfect chance to walk away from Hollywood and make a fresh start in the sleepy town of Fox Hollow.

But adjusting to small-town life won’t be easy, as Shell realizes when the head of the museum board is found murdered not long after Shell had a very public argument with her. And when the new kid in town is fingered for the crime, she’ll have to rely on her own wit and pluck and the kindness of strangers to get herself off the hook.

Desperate to exonerate herself and catch the real culprit, Shell begins digging into the lives of the local residents, and she quickly discovers that the victim had no shortage of enemies. As the suspect list grows and time runs short, Shell and her cats will have to claw their way out of danger—and it’s meow or never . . .

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Preorder Price is $3.99 Price will go up to $4.99 on Release Date.

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing.  They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded in June of this year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.”  Book 1 will be re-released in June with a brand new cover!   The series is continued in 2022 with book two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, from Beyond the Page. Catch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or her website, www.tclotempio.net

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