A Conversation with Jodi Rath Author of Pork Chopped to Death

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn! — Pork Chopped to Death (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series) by @jodirath

What inspired the idea for your book? 

My protagonists are pregnant, and it was important for me this year to write three books in the Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series—I wanted to cover each trimester while the girls experience being pregnant for the first time.

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

I’ll give you a list of the folders I have on my internet browser for research on this book—all of these things added elements of surprise for me and hopefully to the book as well for readers: Burner phones, cancer—physical signs, coma, diversity, graffiti, mafia, pregnancy—second trimester, recipes, surfer language, psoriasis, types of signs—as in commercial building signs. I’d say the surfer language was the most fun to play with after scouring pages and pages of surfer vocabulary!

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

My two main gals—Jolie and Ava—are BFFs. Their friendship resembles my friendship with my two besties. So, I’d hang with Jolie and Ava at my house, while eating pizza, watching TV, chatting, laughing, and verbal sparring—sarcasm and cynicism is a must with these gals (and I do mean my friends AND Ava and Jolie). 

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

Everything. I was a kid playing “magazine” instead of house. My idea of a fun afternoon was spending it in my room by myself (I’m an only child) with my dolls and stuffed animals—they were my staff. I took my mom’s old magazines, cut things out, pasted them back together the way I wanted, marked things up in red—told my Care Bears to rewrite it! My Cabbage Patch Kids were probably my best editors—I do think my Strawberry Shortcake doll got most improved with her writing chops. But my Pound Puppies—they could be lazy at times. I may have even fired one of them—but then they were so cute, I hired them back.

How do you define success as an author? 

I’m not sure I’m the right one to ask. My editor tells me I remind her of King Kong or Godzilla in that I have a goal; I set my sights on it, then I’m like a HUGE monster who stomps over anyone and anything that gets in my way until I make that goal happen. Kind of a backwards compliment—but I’ll take it. And, it’s true. I became a full-time writer as of February of 2018—since then, I’ve written eleven books in the Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, written about 80 articles for education (only about 26 of them have been published—rejection on the rest), entered a contest for a psych thriller script—won—now, I’m in contract with a studio for a show on a streaming platform working with a team of screenwriters, and I am in contract to write a Hi-Lo (high interest/low reading level) mystery series for young adults—I taught high school English for over 20 years—so, I may be a TAD over the top when it comes to success. I’m 48 and I wanted to be a full-time writer since I was seven—when I finally got the chance to try—I was BOUND AND DETERMINED to make it work. Here I am four years later and the work is not something I’m looking for anymore—it is coming to me. That’s a great feeling of success right there! I’ve had to turn down offers. I never thought I’d say that!

What difference do you see between a writer and an author? 

Wow, I’ve never been asked this question. I was tempted to ignore it—my very first thought was the difference between religion and spirituality. Depending on the person—they could be one in the same or completely different. For me, I think of myself as a writer. To be full-time and be able to continue to be full-time, one must market themselves and their books, right. Some would say that’s an author—a writer writes what they want—no matter if anyone wants to read it or not. Hmmmm….now I want to switch my answer. No, I’ll stick with writer because I love to write—I love to write anything. I’m diversified in what I write and to me writing is art—a writer is an artist. We create. Am I an author? Sure—my definition of the author is the person who markets themselves—so yeah, that’s me too—but at heart—in my spirit—I’m an artist and that’s a writer. AND I’ll add that I believe the artist is the one who speaks to other peoples’ souls. An author—they may or may not.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

I always have a blue raspberry ring pop, blue raspberry blow pop, or a blue raspberry tootsie pop that I enjoy while in a writing groove.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? 

Always the characters when I’m writing fiction—the story is the characters—what motivates them to do what they do—why they act and react the way they do—where they are going and why—their favorite things, things they hate, how they behave—all of that drives the plot. Even when I’m writing nonfiction—it can be on a topic but I’m writing about said topic thinking about how people relate to the topic—the person always drives it. 

How do you interact with your readers? 

In so many ways—I believe in replying to every comment a reader leaves me on social media platforms. I email, call, snail mail, message, Zoom, face-to-face meetings. Readers are why I am a full-time author. My readers for this cozy series are extremely dedicated and interactive—I’m extremely blessed in that regard.

How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block? 

I am always terrified to answer this—yet, I do it.

I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve lagged from time to time from juggling too many projects—but if you saw my list of ideas—well, let’s just say I’ve been journaling and creating topics to write about since I was about age eight—I’m 48 now—so, I never struggle with it. I always fear the day after I answer this question it will smack me in the face!

What is an underrated author that you think everyone should read at least once? 

Cindy Dyson And She Was

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?

 Kickboxing, painting, sketching, and charcoal for artwork, reading

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

Turnips, Beets, and Chocolate: Throw Up, Chock it Up, and Eat it Up.

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? 

Agatha Christie, Hunter S. Thompson, and Sara Paretsky—we’d discuss how to murder someone in the perfect way and get away with it.

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

Chocolate—Willy Wonka

Name three fun facts about you or your work. 

I get to eat candy while working. 

The TV and/or music is always on while I work. 

My cats and husband are always around while I work.

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose? 

One for the Money

If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go? 

Oh easy—Hunter S. Thompson—Vegas.

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

Cat mom and wife to Mike Rath.

You know what they say, you are what you eat, and Jolie and Ava are about to turn into everything they have been craving including pounds of chocolate, pizza, pickles, and ice cream.

Mafia, urban sprawl, gentrification, newborn babies, and the lives of the Leavensport villagers will be altered forever. Change is inevitable. Jolie Tucker is a Type-A perfectionist with fanatic tendencies who detest the very thought of change. Regardless of what she wants, change is a comin’ along with a grizzly discovery of murder of one of the village’s most beloved, mayhem between the villagers and the urbanites of Tri-City, and new dynamics of family dysfunction.

Get ready for a roller coaster ride from the peaks of new life, yummy food, and blossoming relationships to the lows of slayings, chaos, and war. The residents of Leavensport are in for the battle of their lives, and it’s up to Jolie, Ava, and their crew to determine the future of their village.

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

Purchase Link – Amazon – B&N – Kobo

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.


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    1. I can tell and it was a blast to edit. We really enjoyed your answers. I love your answer to what you can do best. Just the most original answer ever, plus, you know Hugh Jackman…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.


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