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

Meet Jane Hinchey

I can’t think of a better way to start fall than with this new author interview series! Each of these authors writes paranormal cozy mysteries with WITCHES!! So hang on to your pointed hat, we’re in for some exciting times ahead as we race with our brooms to meet each of these magical authors. Starting with…

Jane is an Aussie writer of fun paranormal cozies. She lives with her “Non-paranormal man”, two cats and a turtle. Jane also writes as Sahra Stone. She has several series, The Ghost Detective and The Gravestone Mysteries and of course her Witch Way Paranormal Cozy Mysteries. Her books are available in ebook, print, and audible. Be sure to sign up for her Newsletter and follow her on Facebook.

Now lets find out a bit more about Jane’s witch, Harper Jones…

What type of witch do you write (think Bewitch, Sabrina, Charmed, Hocus Pocus)?
I would say, my witches are an older version of Sabrina, with a little of Charmed thrown in to mix things up.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
My stories are set in the present age in a fictional setting in the USA—people often ask what town my cozies are based on and honestly, they are just made up in my head. I’m an Aussie, I haven’t been to America (yet!) so rather than doing an actual town a disservice, I literally just make it up in my head. Whitefall Cove is a town full of witches, vampires, shifters who live together in harmony… sort of.

Who is your protagonist?
Harper Jones is my witch extraordinaire in the Witch Way series. She’s so much fun, but I think, just between you and me, that everyone loves her Gran a little bit more. Harper has returned to her hometown after breaking up with her fiancée and losing her job in the city. So she’s back home, living with her Gran, when she winds up buying a bookstore. Just when she thinks things are looking up, the day she gets the keys to the bookstore, the realtor turns up dead.

Has she/he always known they were a witch? How did they discover their power?
Harper has always known she was a witch and grew up practicing magic. The twist in this series is that Harper broke the witches’ rules and had her power taken away (her witch’s license) and she needs to undergo training to get it back.

What sets your mysteries apart from other paranormal cozies?
I have a certain snark and sarcasm that my readers tell me is not only funny, but they can pick my books a mile off from that alone.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books? Or your story pure fantasy?
Research is such a rabbit hole activity. I’ll research certain things (like how long does it take you to fly from Australia to the USA on a private jet) and three hours later you’re looking at something entirely different. So it can be a slippery slope. Because I write paranormal, there’s a certain leeway and you can make a lot up, but I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to use US terminology because, well basically we Australians speak differently and call things by different names, so I try to make my stories as American as possible.

Do you feel the crimes committed in paranormal cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
I have to say a lot of my crimes are pretty common and you’d definitely find them in a contemporary cozy. I have poisoning, whacking on the head with a rock, that sort of thing. But I also have magic crimes too, murder by hex for example.

So, that is our first in a great lineup of “Witchy Writers”. Are you ready to pull out your cauldron and cast a spell? I bet you will be soon! Happy Fall.

Victoria LK Williams

New Release!

While I’m preparing the next batch of author interviews, I thought I would announce my newest book release!

Storm Tinsdale is happy with her organized quiet life, but that is all about to change!

When a lost puppy named Archie finds her, things get very complicated, starting with the puppy leading Storm to the body of his murdered owner.

Storm agrees to look after the dog, but insisted it is only until the owner’s family is ready to take Archie back. In the meantime, Storm quickens the process by trying to find the murderer herself.

As Storm investigates the clues that surface, Archie wiggles his way into her life and heart. It becomes apparent that the murdered man’s wife doesn’t want the dog, but Storm finds she does. Using Archie to help her, Storm learns more and more about the victim, putting them both in danger.

Will Archie find a safe and happy home, or is Storm’s investigation leading them both into danger?

Available where most ebooks are sold! Also available in print and AI Audio. Large print is on the way!

Meet Sara Rosett

First off, a big thank you to Sara. She took time out of her vacation to answer our questions and send her infermation to me. But that’s how Sara is, giving back to the writing community. This is apparent when you listen to her podcast too. She hosts Mystery Books Podcast an the Wish I’d known then podcast with Jami Albright.

Sara is a native Texan, and her years as a military spouse gave her plenty of material to use in her books. Sara writes the Ellie Avery series, On the Run series, Murder on Location and High Society Lady Detective series. You can find her on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreads, or BingeBooks. Be sure to visit her website to explore all her books.

Let’s find out more about Sara’s Historical Cozy Mysteries…

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I love escaping to a simpler time when there weren’t cell phones or 24-hour news cycles. And for the mystery aspect of writing historical cozies it makes my sleuth, Olive Belgrave, rely on her “little grey cells,” as Poirot would say, since forensic investigation was in its infancy.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The High Society Lady Detective series is set in the early 1920s. The first book, Murder at Archly Manor, takes place in 1923 in London. During the series, Olive solves cases in grand London townhouses and at stately homes in the English countryside. In the future, she’ll do some international travel too!

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
Olive Belgrave is a young woman with an aristocratic background, but her family doesn’t have much money (something many genteel families faced in the 1920s) but she’s determined to make her own way in the world. However, her lack of business skills such as shorthand and touch-typing means she has a hard time finding work. But then her aunt asks for Olive’s help in checking into the background of her daughter’s suitor. Olive’s intuition and determination mean that she doesn’t give up her pursuit of the truth, even when a murder occurs. Once she sorts the truth from the lies, Olive realizes she’s fallen into work she’s uniquely suited for. Her connections with the upper crust, who are often reluctant to consult a private detective, give her a client base of people who are eager to engage a discreet “lady sleuth” when problems arise.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
I love research and sprinkle interesting details about historical people and events throughout my books. Often a tiny detail becomes a plot point or even the basis for a book. Setting and sense of place are also important to me. I love to create a vivid setting that lets the reader experience the place as if they were there. And, last but certainly not least, I love a good puzzle and try to make every mystery twisty and surprising. 

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
I read lots of books about the 1920s and include details that I think are interesting or that spark an idea for a plot or red herring. For instance, when I learned that people who had asthma during the time period were often “treated” with cigarettes containing herbs, including atropine, well, that had to go in a book!

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
No, I don’t think the crimes are different, but the motives are. Things that wouldn’t cause any distress today could be a motive for murder one hundred years ago. For instance, having a child out of wedlock would have been a scandal in the early 1920s. Even divorce wasn’t so common then. Situations like these could be motives for murder, which would be a stretch in a contemporary cozy. 

A big thank you to Sara and all the wonderful Historical Cozy Mystery authors who were so gracious to let me ask a few questions to share with you. This ends the series on Historical Cozy Mysteries. But hang onto your brooms! Our next series is about those Witchy Writers!

Victoria LK Williams

Catherine Coles, Historical Cozy Mysteries

Catherine has always wanted to be a writer, and after working a wide range of jobs, from legal secretary to family law practitioner and everything in-between. But now she is a full time author! She writes the Tommy and Evelyn Christie Mysteries and the Martha Miller Cozy Mysteries. Catherine has give all of her links to connect, and I hope you’ll check them out. I was honor to work with her on our Mysteries, Midsummer Sun and Murders anthology where she worked behind the scenes on our prize pack. Here are her Links;

Website: https://catherinecoles.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CatherineColesAuthor

FB readers group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/329269528445295

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherinecoles

Insta:  https://www.instagram.com/catherinecolesauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1446626.Catherine_Coles

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/catherine-coles

Newsletter: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/62f2969f85187de9a5503d04

Buy link: https://books2read.com/ap/xqjE9z/Catherine-Coles

Lets hear Catherine’s answers…

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
In May 2020 I was locked down in my home with my two teenagers (during the first major Covid lockdown in the UK) and I’d started writing again. Years earlier I had written category romance books (self-published) and naturally started writing in the same genre again during lockdown as I was desperate to do something to pass the time! However, my daughter suggested I try to write a crime book because I was always watching crime/mystery programmes on the TV, and I’ve always been a big fan of Agatha Christie books. In fact, whenever I feel as though I need comfort TV, I turn to the BBC adaptations of the Miss Marple books with Joan Hickson. At the same time, I was re-watching Downton Abbey from series 1 and thought it would be really cool to create a series that was a bit of a mishmash of the two programmes. So, in that very roundabout way, I decided that I would write a historical cozy.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?

My Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in the 1920s with the family being based in North Yorkshire, England though the characters have also got around a bit – in that series I have mysteries set in London, India, and a book planned for Ireland.


My Martha Miller mysteries are set in the 1940s in the Berkshire, England countryside.

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
When I decided to write a cozy mystery, I first wrote out a family tree (I do still have this if you want to show it as a photo) so I could keep straight who was who in the large family! I also did this to make sure I was clear on how my main character inherited his title. Tommy served as a police officer prior to his time in the Army during WW1 – at that time he was 4th or 5th in line to the title so there were no constraints on his choices. Evelyn wanted to be a police officer but could not because she was a woman. Although she was allowed to join up during the war, she was only permitted to do very low level tasks. During the books she fulfills her wish to investigate crimes and is every bit as involved as her husband despite the prevailing social expectations of her during that era. I chose a couple as my main characters as I wanted to have them both investigating and interviewing suspects on their own. They then meet up to discuss what they have found out and plan their way forward. This means the reader gets to see everything that happens through the eyes of the characters and can keep up with their thought processes throughout the books.

I was asked to write a second series by my publishers, Boldwood Books, and came up with the protagonist Martha Miller. She was abandoned by her husband and managed to make ends meet by taking in her glamourous younger sister, Ruby, as a lodger and by selling and trading the food she grows in her garden. Despite popular village belief, her missing husband, Stan, is not underneath her potato patch! Martha starts off as a rather mousy, subservient character but really comes into her own when she pairs up with the dishy village vicar to investigate crimes!

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
The things that readers tell me over and over is how much they love my characters – especially the irrepressible Aunt Em in the Tommy & Evelyn series and the dogs that also feature strongly through both series (Gordon Setters in the Tommy & Evelyn books and an Irish Setter in the Martha Miller series).

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
Lots! Probably too much is the answer. I read books set in that era, watch as many TV shows set in similar time periods, and any research books I can find that include information on what it was like to live in England during those times – including social, political, fashion, pop culture etc. However, all that research did not stop me including a fridge in my first Martha Miller mystery – you can bet reviewers quickly told me how bad my research was when they read that!!

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
I think the crimes are probably the same: strangling, shooting, stabbing, hit over the head, etc. but the reasoning behind the crime is often very different. For instance, when I researched the motives in the Miss Marple books, I found the same ones again and again: love, money/greed, secret, revenge. Whilst I think those motives are also present in a contemporary cozy, the character’s reasoning is usually very different – ie people will kill to keep secrets in the 1920s that they wouldn’t care about being uncovered in modern times.

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Colette Clark, historical cozy mystery author

Colette Clark, author

Colette Clark started her literary career as a legal research librarian-isn’t that perfect for writing historical crime/mysteries? She loves crime shows, crossword puzzles and traveling. A true creative, she works on art quilts, drawing and sampling the weird cocktails on the menu. Colette writes the Penelope Banks Murder Mysteries, and you can follow her on BookBub, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Let’s find out more about Colette’s books, I think you’re going to love her main character, Penelope Banks, background!

 What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I was a history major in college and have always been interested in the subject. As a reference librarian for my day job, it makes it easy to find resources and research. Since mysteries are my favorite genre to read, it just made sense to combine the two. In fact, I’ve begun including portions of my research as author’s notes in the back of my books.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
I picked the 1920s New York (though next year, my protagonist will do a little world traveling) since it’s such a fascinating period of change, especially for women. I know most mysteries of this period take place in the UK, but I’m in love with New York and think that era is particularly exciting for that location, what with Prohibition, the mob, jazz, flappers, the Harlem Renaissance, etc. I also enjoy witnessing the transition through my protagonist’s eyes. When she was a child, horse-drawn vehicles were still the norm and electricity was still a new-fangled thing. Now, cars are taking over and electricity is the norm in a lot of areas. She’s very much a modern woman.

 Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
Her name is Penelope Banks. She’s a former wealthy socialite who was cut off and spent the three years prior to the start of my series gambling at cards in speakeasies and clubs for extra money. I wanted her to be exposed to and familiar with the various inhabitants of New York, not just the wealthy and privileged set of her past, but people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, socio-economic status, races, “proclivities,” careers, and yes, the criminal element as well. For the most part, they all play a role in each book. However, in her new occupation as a private investigator, she is still learning as she goes. For example, she eventually learns to use a gun, drive a car (there’s a fun bit in one of my books about being a New Yorker and never having learned to drive a car–which is still a thing today), and educating herself about local and world politics. Think Miss Fisher, before she became the great and worldly Miss Fisher.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
Other than taking place in New York, I really like to incorporate actual history into my stories. For example, the fight over extending Park Avenue and the reasons behind it, the Asian Exclusion Act, the Black and Tan clubs of Greenwich Village, the true history of specific cocktails and slang words. Sometimes they play a major role in the story. Sometimes they are little Easter eggs, like law students off-handedly discussing the Scopes Trial (from the play, Inherit the Wind) the way we might debate Roe vs. Wade today. I still like to keep things cozy, but I can’t help inserting real and sometimes controversial history into each of my books.

 How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
Quite a bit! Thank goodness for the internet, but I also take full advantage of being in the city where my stories take place. The Brooklyn Public Library is my second home. I’ve also learned quite a bit from the various tours the city offers, where I learn so many weird and wonderful facts. A Murder in Washington Square came about because of one of these tours, in fact. QUITE the interesting history there! I found the most ridiculous quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that lead to A Murder in the Gardens. I’ve even visited a few authentic speakeasies–strictly for research purposes, of course. 😉 But seriously, research is one of my favorite parts of writing these books.

 Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
Not really. Anyone who has ever traveled soon realizes that at our essence, humans are more alike than we are different. Time hasn’t changed that, and motives like jealousy, greed, anger, etc. remain the same. The only difference is laws and social norms that made means and opportunity easier or more difficult. Guns and dangerous substances weren’t quite as regulated back then. It was also easier to disappear in 1920s before Social Security came about, and when many people’s only record of birth was a name in the family Bible (like my own grandmother!). 

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Melrose McFadden

Melrose McFadden is a pen name used by writing duo Beth Thomas and Leslie Thwaits.

I saved this one for this weekend, somehow it seems perfect for the holiday weekend! Happy Labor Day.

This is a first for us — a writing team! I took their info from their website (with permission) so you could read more about the woman behind Melrose McFadden…

Beth has been a professional writer/editor for 25 years, and has a master’s degree in Creative Writing. She has previously leaned more toward shorter writing, such as short stories and flash fiction.

Leslie has been a professional writer/editor for 25 years, with a natural leaning toward journalism, public relations, and marketing. She has written a middle school paranormal novel and previously written romance under another pen name.

The authors write fun beach series set in the 1980s. To our younger readers, this sounds historical; to me it sounds like a few years ago. But if cars can be considered antique after 25 years, then 1980 I can consider their books historical. Their series, Major Bummer Murders, is set on Wahoo Beach with Tiffany Sloan as the protagonist. The titles, Maga Gnarly Wipeout and Gag Me with a Spoon, along with the series title just scream 1980s and I can’t wait to read them and go back in time that I can remember so well.

You can follow the authors on Instagram@melrosecozies and Tiktok@melrosecoziesauthor. And check out their other books/series on their Website. You can find the series to buy books on Amazon. Now lets find out a bit more about our writing dual and their cozy series, through the voice of Melrose McFadden

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I was a kid/teen in the 1980s and just really wanted to write something set in that time period. The colors, the music, the language, the clothes, the non-existence of the internet and cell phones… the time period was just begging for a series of fun and clean murders. 

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
My series Major Bummer Murders is set in 1986 in the fictional seaside town of Wahoo Beach, Florida. Most of the action takes place along the boardwalk, where many of the local businesses are located and all the main characters like to hang out. The day-to-day world includes an arcade, mini-golf, amusement park, pizza joint, and the sunny sand and warm tides that make up Wahoo Beach. 

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen
My protagonist is Tiffany Sloan. She runs the Putts & Stuff arcade and mini-golf complex on the boardwalk, which she inherited from her father when he moved to Costa Rica. She is a 30-something redhead who knows her way around a Space Invaders video game and a windmill mini-golf obstacle, but she has found herself isolated and lonely due to her long hours at work after her dad skipped town. The series is about Tiffany solving mysteries that pop up around Wahoo Beach but also learning to take care of herself and finding friendship and love along the way.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
I think what sets my mysteries apart is the vibrant, neon, 1980s world that they exist in. It’s historical (1986 was 36 years ago at the time of this writing), but also involves pop culture references that many of us remember happening and music on the radio that we still sing along to. I’ve seen many historical mystery series existing in eras all the way up to the 1920s, but not much in the recent past. I really like writing history with details that don’t just convey facts and events that happened, but might also tug at the threads of memory.

I wanted to write something unique and fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I think I’ve accomplished that with Major Bummer Murders. Take for example the novel titles: Gag Me with a Spoon, Mega Gnarly Wipeout, Members Only Murder, Barf Me Out to the Max (fall 2022), and Bag Your Face (late 2022). I think they set the tone for the stories I’m trying to tell – lighthearted cozy mysteries that should be a fun ride into the past.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
I do a ton of research! My books include a lot of pop culture references, to ground the reader in the timeline. You should see my browser search history. “When did Sweatin’ to the Oldies come out? Best songs on OutRun video game? What years was Miami Vice on the air? What Apple computer came out in 1986? Top 100 arcade games of 1986. Billboard Top 100 1986. How to clean and wax a pinball machine.” Luckily, the answers are all just a few clicks away. And luckily, I think this kind of research is really fun!

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
For my 1986 series, I think the crimes themselves are fairly similar to a contemporary cozy. The motives and research to find the killer are where things get a little trickier. For example, in 1986 you couldn’t just hop on your laptop and do an internet search for “art heists of the past decade” but you could go to the library and scan through old newspaper microfilm for hours. You couldn’t just pull out your phone and call the police, but you could hunt down a payphone and put in a quarter. Finding these differences and writing them until they work is half the fun! 

Feel free to add any comments you’d like about writing Historical Cozy Mysteries!
I absolutely LOVE writing this series set in 1986. I love my weird cast of characters and the predicaments and relationships they find themselves in. I also love taking a little break from the fast-paced and vibrant crime-solving to give them moments of introspection about things like family, friendship, responsibilities, love, and finding purpose in their lives.

The 1980s time period is so fresh in my memory and so ripe for a revival! The colors, the music, the Aqua Net… it’s what the world needs right now. Next year, I am planning to write a new series set in the 1990s, so that will be a new and unique challenge, which I am really looking forward to!

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Do you feel inspired to head to the nearest beach or pool and chill for the rest of the Labor Day weekend? I do!

Victoria LK Williams