In my last post, I explained that my publisher of 13 years, Amber Quill Press, was going out of business in early 2016. The books I put out with them are now out of print, although some copies still may be available.
In the meantime, I have started a new series, the Cat Groomer Mysteries, with Kensington Publishing. My last two books with Amber Quill were paranormal mysteries, leaning toward the “cozy” variety, and now I’ve moved fully into that territory.
Fans of my paranormals might find this is an odd shift, but anyone who knows me personally is aware that I’m also a total animal freak. As an only child, I grew up with a cat, a dog, fish, turtles, birds and what-have-you, pretty much as my siblings. And though we lived in the suburbs, one of my greatest treats was to go with my father to the pony ride in the next town; I later moved on to group riding lessons at a nearby public stable. I still collect illustrated books on various animals species and breeds and study them, just for fun.
Despite all of that, I had to do background research to create my amateur-sleuth character Cassie McGlone, who runs a cats-only grooming and boarding business in a small northern New Jersey town. At first, I wasn’t sure she could make a living from such a niche job, but after talking with a few successful professionals, I learned three surprising things that I figure will ensure Cassie’s success:
* Many “pet grooming” businesses actually refuse to handle cats at all, because they are considered too unpredictable and temperamental.
* For similar reasons, groomers are trained and certified differently to deal with cats vs. dogs. Some are certified to deal with one but not the other.
* Cats often do not do well at a kennel that also boards dogs, because the barking and scent of canines can make them too nervous. They may not eat or sleep well and can and up badly stressed by the time their owners come to pick them up.
For these reasons, among others, Cassie’s services should be welcome in the fictional town of Chadwick, N.J. And that’s even before she really puts her smarts to the test, trying to solve the murder of her best (human) customer…
Hope you’ll want to follow her adventures! The Persian Always Meows Twice is now available in bookstores and on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Eileen+Watkins), and The Bengal Identity comes out at the end of March!