Casey Daniels is my guest this week and will see us into 2009 with her interview and contest! So if you haven't already read her series following Pepper Martin then catch up and get ready for the new release, Night of the Loving Dead , due out in the new year!
Amber - Casey! Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here! Maybe you can start things off by telling my readers a bit about your Pepper Martin series?
Casey - Thanks for inviting me, Amber. It's always great to meet new readers and of course, I love talking about the Pepper Martin mysteries! The series revolves around Pepper, who grew up spoiled and wealthy and was engaged to a guy who she thought would take care of her financially so she could spend all her time sunning herself at the country club. But then her father gets thrown into prison. And her fiance dumps her because he doesn't want to be associated with the scandal. With no place else to turn, Pepper takes a job as a tour guide at a historic cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. She thinks the job is boring, but it should be a piece of cake. It is, until one day when she trips and hits her head on a mausoleum. When she comes back to work the next day, the ghost of the man buried in that mausoleum is waiting for her. He tells her he's going to haunt her forever unless she solves his murder.
Amber - So far there are 3 books in the Pepper Martin series but the fourth book Night of the Loving Dead is out soon. Can you tell us a little about the new book? What trouble does Pepper get into this time?
Casey - In the new book, Night of the Loving Dead, Pepper visits Chicago to attend a cemetery conference. The first day she's there, she meets a ghost in a cemetery. The ghost is so annoying, Pepper doesn't want to help her--until she hears that the ghost knows Dan Callahan (readers met him in the first three books) and that if Pepper doesn't help, Dan could end up in big trouble. Turns out a prominent doctor is using his homeless patients in experiments, and that the patients are never seen or heard from again. Dan is working with the doctor, and when the police catch up to him, Dan is going to end up in jail.
This adventure finds Pepper serving lunch in a soup kitchen (you can imagine what she thinks of that!), dodging a mysterious entity, and dealing with a ghost with a hidden agenda. I won't give anything away, but I will tell you that if Pepper's not careful, she just might end up losing her body--and disappearing forever!
Amber - Where did you get the idea for the Pepper Martin series?
Casey - Actually, I interviewed for a job as a tour guide in a historic cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio! Really. It was a part-time position, and since I love cemeteries, I figured it would be interesting. I'd been thinking about writing a mystery, but couldn't think of a detective who was interesting enough. As I was leaving the interview and driving through the cemetery, I got the idea for Pepper.
Amber - So can you see and talk to ghosts? Or know anyone who can?
Casey - No, I can't see and talk to ghosts, but I have had a couple ghostly experiences. I definitely do believe in ghosts, and I also believe there are gifted mediums who can communicate with those on the Other Side.
Amber - How many more Pepper Martin books can we expect? Do you see an end in sight or do you hope to give her a long life?
Casey - Pepper #5 will be published in October 2009. Tentative title: Dead Man Talking. There will definitely be one more book after that and that one is scheduled to be out in July 2010. After that? Well, I'm hoping for many more books in the series! There are lots of things I want to do with Pepper.
Amber - Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Casey - Well, a lot of people aren't aware of this, but I also write under the name of Miranda Bliss. As Miranda, I write the Cooking Class mysteries. So far, there have been four of those published: Cooking Up Murder, Murder on the Menu, Dead Men Don't Get the Munchies, and (just out), Dying for Dinner. They're about a young womman who is the world's worst cook, takes a cooking class and stumbles on a murder. Right now, I'm busy finishing up book #5 in that series.
Amber - Did you always want to be a writer? Have you had any interesting jobs? Worked in a cemetery like Pepper?
Casey - I guess I always have wanted to be a writer. I remember as a kid writing a couple "books." I don't remember much about them, but I'm pretty sure they were really bad! I majored in English in college, and after I graduated, worked for a couple corporations where I did things like write the employee newsletter and brochures and speeches for executives. I've also done some freelance work with newspapers. I've never worked in a cemetery, but lately, I've been involved with a couple groups working on cemetery restoration. In fact, Pepper #5 has Pepper working to restore a historic cemetery.
Amber - Are you anything like Pepper? or maybe she is reminds you of some people you know?
Casey - I am nothing at all like Pepper. She's younger and far more beautiful. She's also more interested in fashion than I am. Remember, I work at home. Right now, I'm in my pajamas, robe, and fuzzy slippers. Most days, I'm dressed in jeans and sweatshirts. For me, that's one of the big perks of being a writer. When I want fashion advice, I ask my daughter who's just about the same age as Pepper. She knows far more about what's trendy than I ever will.
Amber - How do you relax? Do you enjoy any particular music/bands/TV/Games?
Casey - I'm addicted to fiber. I knit, crochet, spin and weave. I recently became the proud owner of two wonderful looms and I'm anxious to get them set up and do some serious weaving. We also have two dogs, Oscar (a Jack Russell) and Ernie (an Airedale) so they take up a lot of time.
Amber - What books do you like to read? Any favourite authors or series that you have to have?
Casey - Actually, when I'm writing, I don't like to read fiction. When I do, I find myself comparing my writing to the writing of whoever it is I'm reading. So my fiction reading is usually limited to the times when I'm between books. When I am working on a book, I usually read nonfiction. But then, as I mentioned earlier, I'm a knitter and a spinner and a weaver. When I'm not writing, I'm usually doing one of those things rather than reading.
As for favorite authors, I have so many, including Elizabeth Peters (mystery), Emilie Richards (mystery and women's fiction), CR Corwin (mystery), Maureen Child (romance and paranormal). The list goes on and on.
Amber - What is your most memorable moment of being an author?
Casey - Hmmm...that's a tough one. I think it might have been something that happened recently. I was in a yarn shop (big surprise!) and I had my knitting bag along with me. It's a big red tote that I got at a recent Malice Domestic (mystery) conference. There was another lady in the shop who saw the tote and said, "Do you like mysteries?" "Yes," I said, "I do." She grinned and it was obvious she was sharing very exciting news. "I'm going to the library next week," she said. "To see the author, Casey Daniels."
Yeah, I was speaking at that particular library the next week. And I was honored to think a reader was that excited about meeting me!
Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 items do you hope to have with you?
Casey - 5 items? Yikes! Do people count? If they do, it would have to be my husband, my daughter, my son. As long as we're populating the island, we'll bring along my daughter's boyfriend and that leaves me one, so maybe the two dogs could count as one!
If we're not talking people, my five items would be: yarn and needles (the way I see it, that's two, no matter how much yarn I bring), a loom, my spinning wheel and a big batch of wool to spin. Of course if I'm designing the island, I'm also going to make sure it includes a really interesting cemetery!
Amber - Thank you so much Casey! I hope you will come by again sometime!