A Conversation with Author Cassidy Salem

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

CS- Difficult question. I have always had great respect for authors and their ability to invent and tell a story. I have written and published stories so I, too, am an author. When I wrote my first novel, it was the result of a challenge I had set for myself – a self-dare of sorts. For me, being called an author is a source of pride and a sense of accomplishment.

IR- Which book are we talking about today?

CS- Dead amid the Dogwoods, a standalone novella in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth mystery series. This time Adina’s plans for a stress-free weekend getaway in rural Pennsylvania take a deadly turn with the appearance of an uninvited and decidedly unwelcome corpse.

IR- What inspired the idea for your book?

CS- No specific person or thing. The first four books in the series are set in Washington D.C.  Adina already knows far too well how dangerous life in the city can be, and so I felt she needed a change of scenery. After I had determined the rural setting and social backdrop, I started writing and figured out the details as I went, including the identity of the murderer.

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

CS- Turns out there are a lot of ways to vandalize cars. There’s even an easy way to let the air out of the tires of a car without damaging the tires.

IR- Where did you come up with the names in the story?

CS- Some of the names were inspired by people I have known, however, most were the result of scanning on-screen credits at end of movies and jotting down first names or last names I thought might fit. Then I mixed and matched to come up with the names I used. Some stuck and others I changed during the writing process.

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

CS- That’s easy. This chocoholic would visit Hershey Park with Jonathan and Adina (even if it meant stowing way in the trunk of their car). And I’d be happy to volunteer with Adina at the dog rescue. 

IR- How do you define success as an author?

CS- Knowing that there are readers out there who have read and enjoyed my work. That’s the most important thing for me.  

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

CS- For longer than I’d care to admit, I have worked as a technical writer. After writing a zillion dry technical user manuals, entirely in simple present tense, I decided to challenge myself and try to write a book. Once I had written the first book, the decision to publish it was a natural next step.

IR- How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?

CS- I wish I knew. Did you know there’s a such a thing as a turtle writer? I recently discovered a few groups organized by slow writers. My people.

IR- As an author what do you think makes a good story?

Interesting and relatable characters and an intricate plot. Although I think descriptive passages have a place in fiction, as a reader I prefer a more minimalist approach. 

IR- Who is your audience?

CS- Mystery lovers, of course. And, more particularly cozy mystery readers who prefer their mysteries to be free of excessive gore, foul language, and steamy sex. 

IR- What do you look for in a story as a reader?

CS- As a reader, I want to be transported into another place. I want to be engaged. The story needs to have tension and momentum, whether a romance, mystery, or literature. A slow-paced narrative can kill a story for me. I also like to be entertained, which is why in recent years I have gravitated toward lighter and more humorous reads.

IR- What is the first book that you remember reading?

CS- I don’t recall a specific book. As a young (and nerdy) bookworm I devoured Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and other teen sleuth series, but I also read a fair amount of fantasy, for example, Lord of the Rings. 

IR- What are some of your favorite books?

CS- Instead of answering that question with classic choices, I’d like to mention a few of the many books/authors that I really enjoyed and which may be new to you or your readers:

A Song for Bellafortuna by Vincent LeCoco historical fiction set in Italy.

The Amendment Killer by Ronald S. Barak – a thought-provoking political/legal thriller.

Since She Went Away by David Bell – one of his many excellent mystery/thrillers.

Detective Josie Quinn Mysteries by Lisa Regan.

IR- What is your author spirit animal?

CS- Most likely a turtle. That explains why I am a slow writer.

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

CS- Without a doubt, my life wouldn’t be complete without music.  In my spare time, I sing in a choir and go folk dancing twice a week with my husband. I also suffer from wanderlust – I have traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Israel, and Scandinavia. Sadly, the pandemic has curbed my travels somewhat, however you can find a selection of my favorite travel photos on my blog.  

IR- Name three fun facts about you.

CS- My name is Cassidy and I am a klutz:
1. As a child, I broke my pinkie finger when kicking a ball.
2. I enjoy hiking. I do fine on the trail, then I slip and fall on gravel in the parking lot.
3. I love to dance and have been known to kick myself (literally) when dancing while tired.

About The Book

Dead Amid the Dogwoods (Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth)

Nothing disrupts a celebration quite like an uninvited corpse.

Adina already knows the city can be a dangerous place. That’s why she’s looking forward to a stress-free weekend in rural Pennsylvania with her favorite detective. Maybe not all that stress-free. They are attending an engagement party and Adina will be meeting Jonathan’s family for the first time.

Except the holiday weekend takes a deadly turn when leading industrialists, a hard-core environmentalist, and a bevy of wealthy partygoers converge on the Riverfront Lodge, and the couple stumbles upon yet another dead body. Drawn into the ensuing investigation, making a good impression on Jonathan’s parents is the least of her worries.

A standalone novella, Dead amid the Dogwoods is the fifth mystery in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Series.

 Purchase links:   Amazon

About the Author

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals.  Cassidy also enjoys reading historical fiction focused on American and world history, as well as the classics.  When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

Author Links

Twitter: @csalem11
Blog:  https://cassidysalem.wordpress.com/
Sign up for Cassidy’s newsletter at https://cassidysalem.wixsite.com/mysite/contact
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cassidy-Salem/e/B00ROZERKI
Bookbub: Cassidy Salem Books – BookBub
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/cassidysalem/
Goodreads: Cassidy Salem (Author of Think Murder) | Goodreads
Facebook:   Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mysteries by Cassidy Salem


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