Meet Kassandra Lamb

In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs and being partial to eating, she studied psychology. Now retired from a career as a psychotherapist—which taught her much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter—she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in northern Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.

Be sure to follow Kassandra on all her social media links (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, BookBub and Amazon) and visit her website. She also has a blog to read.

Lord of the Fleas While staying with her best friend in Williston, Florida, service dog trainer Marcia Banks wants only to spoil her godchildren and train her newest dog’s veteran owner, a vendor at the local flea market. But when the flea market’s owner is killed, her client becomes a prime suspect. She believes he’s innocent, but soon finds that the flea market is hiding dangerous secrets.

To Kill a Labrador; Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) has an unusual name and a rather abnormal vocation, training service dogs for military veterans with PTSD, and an even more abnormal avocation—amateur sleuth (Note: no dogs die in this series).

Now let’s ask a few questions…

Why did you choose to set your story at this time of year?

This story, Lord of the Fleas, is about a disable military veteran who is a vendor at a flea market. The story was inspired by a friend who lives near a flea market. We love to go there in the autumn to find unusual Christmas presents.

Is your book part of a series? Who is the protagonist and where is it set?

This book is part of a series set in central Florida. The protagonist is a service dog trainer who trains dogs for military veterans, to help with both psychological and physical issues.

Does your book focus on the season, or is it more of a backdrop?

The season is more the backdrop for this story, but there are several books in the series that focus on specific holidays—Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and July 4th, plus I have a new book coming out in a few months that focuses on New Year’s Eve and Day. I love writing holiday books!

This story happens to conclude on Thanksgiving, with a family feast!

How much research do you do to create your story?

I’ve had to research a lot of things for this series, including dog training techniques and the tasks that service dogs do, plus military ranks, protocol, etc. and different kinds of injuries. It’s been a fun series to write and I’ve learned a lot.

Victoria LK Williams

Fall Cozies!

There is that quiet time between the fun and randiness of Halloween and the excitement and anticipation of Christmas that somehow seems to get lost in all the noise. Fall, Autumn, Thanksgiving. But writers don’t forget, and I have some special books to bring your way for this sweet season of peace and reflection by several of my author friends. I hope you will enjoy them.

Lets start with Cathy Tully’s Chiro Cozy Mystery books; Misallignment and Murder & Fixation & Fraud.

Cathy has been featured in the blog before- her books are that good! You can follow her on Facebook, check out her Website and follow her series on Amazon.

Why did you choose to set your story at this time of year? When I started the series, I had thought about doing stories focused around holidays. I didn’t realize how POPULAR holiday cozy mysteries really were. The first one, Dr. Shine Cracks the Case was set at the Fourth of July. My sleuth, like me, is a chiropractor in a small town in Georgia. And also like me, the main character, Dr. Susannah Shine, isn’t from the town she lives in. She doesn’t come home to inherit a business. She starts one in a place and really loves, but she’s also a bit of a ‘fish out of water’. Her friends and her staff have to keep her grounded Southern traditions. I wrote Dr. Shine Cracks the Case after a decade in practice, where we actually were a part of the local business group and attended their festivals as a vendor to meet new people. What luck, right? I also had no idea how common it was to see plots that included local-festivals-run-by-the-business-group in cozies, especially the culinary cozies. I set that one on the Fourth of July because I wanted to have fireworks and watermelon at the festival. LOL. Our local festival was the weekend before Memorial Day. That just didn’t sound as good! So I moved it.

Anyway, after that, I asked myself what holiday comes next? My birthday didn’t count, so the next was Halloween, and then Thanksgiving. Since my cozies have a lot of humor and a lot of eating, both were no-brainers, even without mentioning pumpkin spice!

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world? The second in the series, Misalignment and Murder, is set at Halloween. My series is a contemporary series, set in small-town Georgia, so it features a murder at a school Fall Festival. Like my Sleuth, Dr. Susannah Shine, I grew up in New York and fall festivals were not the big deal that they are here, so it was fun to write that scene where there are big bales of hay, games and a dunking tank! After that, Dr. Shine and her side-kick, Bitsy Long, find clues at a haunted house run by local teens, a civil war era cemetery and a Halloween costume contest for dogs and their owners, where Bitsy has entered a Bassett hound dressed as Sherlock Holmes—deerstalker cap and all. The third in the series, Fixation and Fraud, is set at Thanksgiving and features a murder that happens in the pecan orchard of Bitsy’s family, who owns a small farm. The investigation takes place around Thanksgiving and part of the plot is a dessert contest among Bitsy’s cousins and it includes dessert recipes, one of which–Double Chocolate Pecan Pie–I will be using this Thanksgiving. My mysteries also involve animals (non-talking), like Dr. Susannah’s office cat and her pal Henry the Betta fish. This book introduces a stray dog and a potbellied pig who become part of the team.

Who is your protagonist?
My protagonist is Dr. Susannah Shine, a former NYPD transit police officer, turned chiropractor. One of my best friend’s growing up on Long Island became a New York City Transit Police officer, so that bit of backstory I took from her life. I became a chiropractor and landed in a small Georgia town after chiropractic school, so that part is from my life. Everything attached to those backstories is made up, of course. The stories usually start in the office and then Dr. Shine and her staff (Larraine, her office manager and Tina, her assistant) and Bitsy follow the clues. These women have each other’s backs, and Dr. Susannah depends on them. They call themselves the Ladies Crime Solving Club, and they like to get together over meals to hash out the clues.

Is your book part of a series? If so, you tell us about the series.
The books are part of a series which is inspired by my life moving from NY to GA for chiropractic school and then opening a chiropractic practice in a small Georgia town which had peach orchards. There has been a lot of development in the decades since I moved here, and the peach orchards are sadly all gone, but they still exist in the novels, and in the name I chose for my small town, Peach Grove.

Does your book focus on the season, or is it more of a backdrop?
I guess it’s more of a backdrop. My series is not paranormal, so no one is talking to ghosts at Halloween. And in Misalignment & Murder, even though Apollo the Basset hound finds a clue, he doesn’t talk either. Fixation and Fraud happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the season is more of a backdrop in that one also. But with my Christmas Novella, the Purloined Poinsettia, I made more of an effort to focus on the Christmas Season.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
It depends. A couple of my mysteries have poisoning as a subplot. In my education as a chiropractor, I’ve taken many classes on human physiology, nutrition and herbal medicine. So the transition to poisoning a character was fairly easy!

For The Halloween mystery, I had a lot of fun researching canine Halloween costumes! My original idea was a dog dressed as a hot dog, because, hilarious. Right? But then a couples costume with the dog as Sherlock Holmes seemed even better. For the Purloined Poinsettia, I spent a lot of time researching (if by researching you mean Googling images of) ugly Christmas sweaters. I own a few of those myself, so that was really eye opening. Some are in questionable taste!

For me, I’m very inspired by real life, especially things that have a lot of history behind them. For example, in the next town over from where I actually live, there is this old building that was a Feed & Seed store. I was only in it once as a Feed & Seed, and then it closed. Well, the building remained, and I would pass it every time I went to that town. When I began to write Misalignment & Murder, I decided that building would be a good place to put a haunted house. So I used the physical store as a template for the haunted house in the story, though everything about the haunted house and the cemetery behind it comes from my imagination.

A Word From Cathy; I enjoy writing seasonal stories because it adds flavor and texture to the plot. The characters all react differently to different holidays depending on their family history and their own likes and dislikes, so it’s a way to continue to explore the characters along with remembering what the temperature should be! LOL!

Victoria LK Williams

Boo! Meet Ileana Munoz Renfroe

Meet my fellow Sister In Crime member! I’m thrilled to introduce you to Ileana’s newest book and series, The Wisterious Witch; Wisterious Bay Cozy Paranormal Mystery. Ileana was born in Cuba, but grew up in New York City’s Washington Heights. (This is also the setting for her Rosa the Cuban Psychic Mystery series). Ileana loves to travel, read, and listen to music. You can find all her books on Amazon. You can find out more about Ileana on these sites:

Ileana Renfroe

RenfroesReadingRoom

Holiday Corner

Books Available

Twitter

Instagram

FB Author Page

Cozy Mystery Village

Now lets find out more about the Wisterious Witch….

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
That’s a good question Victoria. My main character, Alicia Whimblebright, is a combination of Bewitch and Hocus Pocus. She’s wholesome, with a hint of wacky sprinkled on making her a fun-loving character.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The story is set in the fictitious town of Wisterious Bay during the month of October. The streets are adorned with skeleton garlands, orange twinkling lights, and Halloween props. 

Who is your protagonist?
My protagonist is Alicia Whimblebright. She’s in her mid-thirties, of Cuban descent, excited about her new ideas for the coming year, and overall satisfied with her life. That is until precisely at seven-thirty on the third of October.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Alicia grew up in a family of witches. Her mother was a witch as were her Tias. 

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
My paranormal cozy mystery has elements of my Cuban culture which are unique. For the most part, my novels are somewhat bilingual as they include words both in English and Spanish throughout the dialogue. In addition, you’ll notice the quality of my main character’s voice, her tone, and, of course, several of her idioms.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
For all of my stories, I conduct some form of research. For A Wisterious Witch, I searched used bookstores for books, as well as the internet for anything related to Wiccan beliefs, spells, and beliefs. I even spoke to someone who believes in all things paranormal. 

Also, in this story, there is some fantasy as Alicia creates magical candles that are activated when lit by a witch or warlock. That obviously doesn’t happen in real life, although how interesting it would be if it did?

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
Sometimes the crimes portrayed in paranormal cozy mysteries are different, especially if the murder weapon is a spell or a hex delivered by a witch or warlock. However, in my novel, the murder weapon is something you’d find in any household.

One more thing to keep in mind. A Wisterious Witch, not only has a wacky and fun-loving protagonist, but there’s also Felix, the talking skeleton, and Augustus, the banished reaper. They only come to life at night and boy, are they a hoot.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Avery Daniels

Avery Daniels

Avery Daniels writes the cozy mystery series, Resort to Murder Mysteries and has just completed her first paranormal cozy mystery. Her new series is called An Accidental Vampire PI Mystery, and book one in the series is called First Bite. You can find out more about her books on her website, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter. You can follow her on the following social media sites; BingeBooks, BookBub, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

To purchase First Bite you can go to any of the following retailers;

Now Lets hear from Avery…

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?  
My witch, Rowan, is the romantic interest to the heroine.  He is handsome and similar to Harry Dresden (TV not books) in his magic style but is a dance instructor.  He is flirty and charming.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?  
It is a contemporary setting where witches and vampires exist alongside the mundane world only hidden and with rules to minimize exposure.  One of the rules that throws a little wrench in the romance is no mingling between witches and other paranormals like vampires, fae, werewolves, and dragons.   

Who is your protagonist? 
Misty Summers had the worst date of her life, was bit by a vampire, and her PI boss may close his business as he goes through a divorce in 24 hours. Looking on the sunny side, she decides to use her new vampire assets and become the investigator to keep her job and income.  She meets the handsome witch Rowan who helps her in many ways. 

 Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?  
Rowan was somewhat like Harry Potter who wasn’t sure why strange things happened around him as a child.  The magical community in town brought him into the fold and he worked with a mentor, no magical school.  

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?  
Misty is a very unlikely vampire and the “secret” relationship developing with the Rowan.  She is an amateur trying to step in as a private investigator as she is learning about being a vampire.  She is romantically naïve and is keeping her positive attitude.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?  
I created the lake-resort town but researched Oregon and lake settings.  For this debut novel in this new series I researched how missing persons are investigated and details of a major crime operation (I can’t reveal more without spoilers).

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?  
I incorporate both.  Since Misty works in a private investigator’s office she deals with non-paranormal mysteries but she is also roped into helping the paranormal community with their crimes.  Ultimately the crimes are similar in nature and motives whether it is a vampire or human but the paranormal element does seem to make things more complicated, though. 

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Katie O’Keene

Katie O’Keene is a paranormal cozy mystery writer, a cat lover and a (wannabe) tea connoisseur. Her first series, Designer to the Dead, follows interior-designer-turned-medium Lindsey Dell as she solves mysteries in her increasingly haunted hometown of Sparrowford. You can also find a series of short stories here featuring Sparrowford residents explore the ghosts, witches, vampires, dragons, and other magical beings found in this special small town. And she is starting a new series, Little Bold Ladies. Be sure to sign up for Katie’s newsletter by visiting her Website. You can find her books on Amazon and be sure to follow her on Goodreads. Katie also has a free short story for you!

Now let’s find out more about Katie’s Designer to the Dead series…

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
More like Melinda Gordon in The Ghost Whisperer. My MC Lindsey starts out as a medium.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
They’re set in a modern-day Midwestern small town.

Who is your protagonist?
43-year-old Lindsey Dell, a somewhat reluctant interior designer, turned medium

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
While Lindsey has always been highly empathic, it isn’t until after a bad breakup that she starts to see ghosts. Thankfully, she’s enterprising enough to put that power to work!

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
It doesn’t follow the typical new-to-town-discovers-a-body model. Also, the subject matter gets a bit darker in Apparition to the Kitchen. That’s frustrated for some readers.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
 I did a surprising amount of research on ghost hunting and interior design for the first book. The second and third books had more research into things like traditional spellwork.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from acontemporary cozy?
I think it’s kind of split down the middle. My first book deals with a murder like any other, but the crimes in my second and third books are supernatural.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Carolyn is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes cozy mysteries, thrillers and paranormal women’s fiction. She was a journalist in Atlanta, her work seen in multiple magazines and newspapers. She lives in North Georgia with her husband, and animals. Her series include The Rachel Ryder Thrillers, Chantilly Adair Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, Holiday Hills Witch Cozy Mysteries, Lily Sprayberry Realtor Cozy Mysteries, Pooch Party Cozy Mysteries, The Magical Real Estate Mysteries and the Angela Panther Paranormal Women’s Fiction series. (wow! that’s a lot of books!)

You can find out more about her books from her Website or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub and Amazon.

Now let’s find out about Carolyn’s Witches of Holiday Hills Cozy Mysteries

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
Abby Odell is a cross between Sabrina and Prue from Charmed. She’s smart but likes to give people a chance. If you make her mad though, all bets are off.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
Abby lives in Holiday Hills, a small mixed magical and human town in North Georgia. The magicals (witches, shapeshifters, etc.) live in harmony with humans (except when there is a murder of course) but there’s a catch. The humans know nothing about the magicals. When magic happens, the humans see something different. Except with the werewolves. They see them, but they don’t know they’re supernatural.

Who is your protagonist?
Abby Odell. She’s a divorced woman in her 20s, a ghost writer for a USA Today bestselling author of cozy mysteries. Her best friend is human, and Abby’s kept her witchiness a secret from her. Her cat, Cooper a silky brown Burmese, is her familiar. He loves tuna. LOVES tuna.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Abby learned of her witch heritage when her mother died. Her mother had bound her powers as a child, but the spell died when she did.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
My stories always include strong women who don’t let anyone walk all over them. They’re tough, but they have hearts. Abby is witty, and she’s more mature than people her age. Cooper, her cat, steals the show, and he’s what makes the series so fun. He has no filter, which is okay since only a few people can hear him, and he’d choose a nap or a can of tuna over working every time. He doesn’t, but if it didn’t have to keep Abby safe, he would.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
I write entirely by fantasy. I create a chapter by chapter outline and let the story make itself. Magic shouldn’t have to follow a specific process because it’s magic. It can do whatever it wants. My characters have rules though. Holiday Hills couldn’t survive without rules. 

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
I think their motivations are different, and most of mine have focused on some magical element.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Rune Stroud

Rune Stroud

Rune Stroud is a lover of ghost tales, paranormal mysteries, especially if they have a touch of humor. And that’s what she writes. A veteran, a mom and a grandmom, she also is an animal lover-ask the neighborhood squirrels and stray cat. She has been a part of Cozy Mystery Tribe, adding her stories to five different anthologies. Her series includes the Tympest Tossed Mysteries and the Serenity Fyre series. Her newest series is the Mystic Mountain Wildlife Rescue, with a witch who is also a wildlife rescuer. You can follow Rune on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon. Be sure to visit her Website and sign up for her newsletter.

Now let’s find out more about Rune’s Witchy Cozy…

Mystic Mountain Wildlife Rescue Cozy Mystery

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
I grew up watching Bewitched, and I’m so loving the idea that magic is there in the mundane world, just out of reach. I write secret witches in the real world. Their powers are limited and sometimes go wonky, but it adds a bit of fun to the world.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
They’re set in the modern day, but without the issues of pandemics and global politics. An idealized version of today, with magic.

Who is your protagonist?
Autumn Oufsdatter, a beast witch (she can speak to animals) with a mischievous raven sidekick. She’s pretty patient most of the time, but some of the characters around her can seriously test her.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Autumn grew up in a family of witches, each with different gifts, so she’s always known about her power. She does, however, discover more about her powers as the books and short stories go along. There hasn’t been a beast witch in the family for generations, so no one to teach her what she can do with her gifts.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
People get quite attached to my characters, probably because I’m so attached to them. They’re real to me, and I hope they become real to the readers as well. Also, who wouldn’t want to ask their pet why they did that goofy thing? It’s fun to get a glimpse into the thoughts of the animals. 

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
I do research on the animals as they’re rescued, and I follow local rescues to get a real feeling for how things work. It’s not exactly the same in my world, but you get a feeling of how urgently rescued animals need help and what rescues have to do day to day for their animals. I also visit the mountains where my stories are set to get a feel for the places they go.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
Most of the time, the crimes are the same, but sometimes, when you add magic into the mix, you get an odd crime that it took magic to pull off, and it’ll take magic to solve. Those are the most fun to figure out. I’ve got one of those in the third book in the series, the one I’m writing now. Armadillos and Arson. 

A note from Rune

I’ve written several short stories in the same world, and they’ve gone out in the Cozy Mystery Tribe’s anthologies. Those are a fun place to discover new authors and get a bunch of bite-sized stories to enjoy. Not all of them are paranormal, but many are, and I believe we all love a good mystery, whether it’s paranormal or not. We’ve got a big one coming up, thirty of us are putting out a big anthology called A Bookworm of a Suspect and trying to hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list with it. There are going to be some great stories in that one, and it’s only 99 cents right now. You can find it on Apple Books, Amazon, Kobo, etc. (https://books2read.com/ABookwormofaSuspect)

Many thanks, Victoria. I’ve enjoyed this interview. You’ve asked some interesting questions that made me think.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Lynn Cahoon

Lynn is a New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author of several series including the Tourist Trap Cozy Mystery Series, Cat Latimer Series, Farm to Fork Series, Haunted Life Mystery Series, and the Kitchen Witch Series. She lives in a small river town with her husband and pets. You can follow Lynn on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. Be sure to visit her Website and signup for her newsletter!

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
Mia and her grandmother are Kitchen Witches – living in Magic Springs where magic is well known to most of the residents. So I’d say Charmed.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The world is a magical realism version of our world. Set in Magic Springs, Idaho, Mia has all the advantages of being in a small town, with larger towns within a few hours drive.

Who is your protagonist?
Mia Malone is our kitchen witch for the series. She is also a chef. Mia’s Morsels provides weekly food delivery (think Home Chef), catering, classes, and to go meals for purchase. She left her job in Boise after catching her fiancé cheating and opened her new business in an old school that she finds out later, is not only the former witch training academy, but also haunted.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Mia knew magic was real from a young age, but her mother renounced her claim on the power so her grandmother is now training her to take on the family grimoire.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
You’ll find a strong community and sense of family in my cozies. And, like all my cozies, it’s always about the food. Mia’s a protagonist that you’d want to be friends with.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
It depends on the story. When I add a magical element, like werewolves in THREE TAINTED TEAS, I needed to understand a bit about werewolf lore. And the book before – TWO WICKED DESSERTS, I needed to research grimoires and their part in a witches life. Of course, a lot of my witching world is fantasy but where I can twist the more common lore into a plot point for my store, I do. I have a few spell books around but since Mia’s being trained as a kitchen witch, it’s all about the positive side of magic.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy? I don’t think the crimes are different. Since I’m writing a paranormal story in an ‘almost’ real world, the crimes happen like they do for most crimes. It’s the why or methods that change with adding in the magical world. In THREE TAINTED TEAS, the motivation in the killing could have been a human motivation rather than a witchy one. It does give me more options to play with. And there’s a human investigation along with the magical one, which gives Mia a reason to be investigating the magical side.

I hope all our Witchy Authors are getting you in the mood for Halloween! There’s still more to come, so keep watching for the next post.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Ada Bell

Ada loves mysteries and cake! What a great combo. She devours the classic mysteries like Murder She Wrote, Nancy Drew and Pysch! And is a BIG fan of Scooby Doo (me too!). Ada has two series, Shady Grove Psychic Series (I love this series and it’s close enough to being Witchy for me)

Ada is currently working on her new series Haunted Haven Mysteries. This series is being launched on Kickstarter. Backers will receive their copies before it goes up for sale on retailers. Be sure to signup to be notified of when her Kickstarter goes live on Oct. 15th.

Now Let’s Find Out More About Ada’s New Cozy Witch!

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
Emma’s got a talking cat, so Sabrina seems the obvious answer. But she’s a bit more Bewitched, I’d say. Her magic lies primarily in home and hearth.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
My stories are contemporary, which means it’s 2022 in Emma’s world. Her world is similar to ours, except she runs a haunted bed and breakfast with her talking cat. The series takes place in Willow Falls, New York, a small town I made up between Saratoga and the Canadian border.

Who is your protagonist?
Emma recently found out that she inherited a magical legacy (and a mansion) from the grandfather she never knew about. Plus a talking cat. Before this, she wasn’t really sure where she fit in life. She always thought she had bad luck and terrible taste in men. Turns out, she was cursed. But now her magic’s back, and she finally knows where she belongs.  

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Emma has no idea she was a witch! She grew up in a community that embraced Wiccan philosophies, but the spells she tried always went wonky. She figured she had no talent for it and gave up. She discovered her magical legacy in Mystic Treasure, which is a novella set in my Shady Grove Psychic Mystery series.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
Probably the random 90s pop culture references. 😀 Emma’s the first time I’ve written a character close to my age, and it’s so nice not to have to look up what bands would have been popular or what TV shows she would have watched as a kid. I know. But I also have my own brand of off-beat humor that I hope will appeal to readers.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
I read a lot. For me, reading is the best research because I can see what works and what doesn’t. A lot of the fantasy elements in my stories are based on Wiccan principles or theories I’ve seen in shows watched over the year. That means there’s not a lot of need to do individual research—when there is, it may be more about a specific plant I want to use or looking at images of a given location.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
They’re not in mine. So far, all of the crimes have been committed by ordinary people. I suppose at some point, it would be fun to write about a magical murderer. Hmmm….

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Rhonda Hopkins

Rhonda lives in Texan with her family and lots of animals, even wildlife! She is a write of young adult cozy mystery, paranormal/fantasy and romance. She has also written apocalyptic/dystopian. She has also been involved with several anthologies. Be sure to stop by her website and subscribe to her newsletter and pick up a free short story. You can follow Rhonda on BookBub, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Now, let’s ask Rhonda a few questions…

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
The witches in my Witches of Whispering Pines series are all good witches. Mostly. Grandma Ruby and one of the teen witches tend to cause some mischief with their magic at times which can lead to some interesting situations.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
This current series is set in the modern world in a small town in East Texas. Witches and other supernaturals live amongst the human population who aren’t aware of their existence.

Who is your protagonist?
Charley Cooper is a sixteen-year-old who has a close-knit family, friends, and works on the school newspaper. As many teen girls do, she has some angst when it comes to boys in general but especially toward the boy she’s been crushing on who just happens to be one of her best friends. And while it keeps her family and friends’ anxiety levels high, she’s always loved a good mystery and finds it hard not to jump into the middle of the action.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Most witches in her family have their powers by thirteen, but three years later, Charley had given up on ever getting hers. She chalked it up to her dad being human.

But magic pours out of her one day when she and loved ones are attacked while walking through the forest. Seeing her sister and best friend in danger unleashes a tidal wave of power that is a surprise to even her family.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
There aren’t many young adult paracozies out there and I thought there should be more. 😄 As a young adult author I like to show my characters overcoming adversity and finding out who they are and what they stand for. Of course, in this series I like doing it in a fun way and with quirky characters.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
It depends on the series. For Witches of Whispering Pines, I lived in East Texas for a while so I didn’t need to do a lot of research for the area. I did look up a little about the trees and flora for the Piney Woods and I sprinkle it in where it’s needed. Mostly though I make it up as I go along as Whispering Pines is fictional town.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
It depends. Some are crimes you’d find in the human world. While others can have a supernatural origin. I think the main difference is how the crimes are solved in paranormal cozy mysteries. A witch can use her unique powers, and a familiar if she’s lucky, to help her out if needed. Plus, there are the other supernatural creatures that may lend a helping hand at times.

Writing Witchy Cozy Mysteries is fun and I love the light-heartedness of the genre. I enjoy writing about all the elements of small towns and the people who live there. And the quirky characters. I’ve lived in small towns most of my life, so I’m well-versed in the quirkiness. 🤣Rhonda Hopkins

Victoria LK Williams