We are delighted to welcome author Joyce Ann Brown to CrimeFiction.FM today.
Joyce owns rental properties in Kansas City with her husband. Her two cats, Moose and Chloe, are cuddly, not psycho. Besides being a landlady, she has worked as a story teller, a library media specialist, a Realtor, and a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications.
Just last week we had the chance to catch up with her to talk more about her Psycho Cat and the Landlady mystery series.
CFFM – Tell us a little about your latest book, FURtive Investigation.
Joyce – Psycho Cat discovers a trunk containing a human skeleton in a duplex attic. On orders from higher-ups, the cold case investigation is curtailed by law enforcement. Beth, the landlady, detects on her own (with a few hints from the cat). She must discover the identities of victim and perpetrator without becoming a casualty herself. The story moves back and forth between the present and the past as the reader learns the truth.
CFFM – Into what genre would you categorize your books?
Joyce – The Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries are a series of cozy mysteries. Those are defined as mysteries solved by an amateur sleuth in a charming location with little or no profanity, explicit sexual scenes, or gory violence. I also write humor and informative articles. My cozies have humorous and serious aspects.
CFFM – How much of your own personal and professional experience have you included in the series?
Joyce – I’ve used many experiences and personalities I’ve known over the years while owning and managing rental properties. In fact, the first book in my series is loosely based upon a story one of my tenants told me about her own life.
Beth Stockwell, the amateur sleuth who solves the mysteries, goes about her everyday life putting her sweat and tears into her properties, just as I did.
CFFM – How do you go about researching the settings for your books?
Joyce – Since the setting of cozy mysteries become associated with the series and the characters’ lives, it requires careful presentation. I often go back to the homey Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City to soak up the atmosphere and note the buildings and green areas for my books. Online research into the history of the area is part of the process, also.
Some of the action in my stories takes place away from Kansas City. I took a couple of trips to the Virgin Islands for my first book and to small towns in Arkansas for the second, as well as doing online research, in order to get the settings correct.
CFFM – I see from your blog that some of your research related travel takes place from your RV. Do your cats travel with you when you’re in the RV? If so, what’s that experience like for you?
Joyce – We do take our cats with us when we go RVing. In fact, they were one of the main deciding points for buying an RV for travel in the U.S. rather than flying or driving and staying in hotels. Expensive cats, you might think. But we felt bad leaving them home with a once-every-other-day pet sitter, and they hate being boarded. (Got to be sensitive to kitty feelings, you know.)
Our cats have become pretty good travelers. Mostly, they ride in a cubbyhole they’ve discovered at the back of the bed when the slide is in. Whenever we stop, out they trot out to eat some kibbles, lap some water, and use the litter box—after getting their share of pets and being made over, of course.
RVing with the kitties has evolved. Chloe, the long-haired scaredy-cat, used to cry (or, uh, plaintively mew) from the time we put her in the big F-350 diesel truck to go hook up the RV to when we left her in the trailer and got in the truck to pull away. Probably longer. We can’t hear what’s going on inside the Fifth Wheel when we’re in the truck.
Moose, the large male cat, a Sylvester/Psycho Cat role-model, didn’t cry. Instead, he caused all kinds of trouble. At one of our stops, Moose was missing. We looked in every closet and cabinet; we called; we even searched all over the rest stop in case he had somehow slipped out the door when we came in. Finally, I followed a small sound to under the stove. Sure enough, he had nudged open a cabinet door and jumped over the partition between the shelf and the space under the oven. That Moose Cat search took an hour.
On another trip, we found him stuck in the middle of a day/night blind. It ruined the blind, and I bought two repair kits in case it happened again. It never did. Smart cat.
Sometimes we travel with the kitties in the truck because the weather is too cold or too hot for them to ride in the RV. Chloe cowers on the floor of the back seat. But Moose jumps onto the dash in front of the driver. It becomes a test of wills to pull him off and see him climb back up…over and over and over.
Then, there was the time… Well, you get the picture. Ya gotta love those felines to go RVing with them.
You can read more about RVing with Moose and Chloe at Joyce’s blog.
CFFM – What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing?
Joyce – The best advice I’ve heard is to start writing. I can spend forever doing research, outlining, trying to decide who will die and how Beth will solve the mystery. I have to just begin the story and figure it out as I go. Reworking the ins and outs will happen after I get the story on paper.
CFFM – What’s next for Joyce Ann Brown?
Joyce – I’m working on the outline and research for the third book in the Landlady series. I don’t have a title yet, but I know it again takes place in one of Beth Stockwell’s rental units in Kansas City, and Psycho Cat pussyfoots around the suspects and clues. Part of the action takes place in Peru this time, a place I’ve been. And there’s a character from Paris. Places I need to return to for more research, don’t you think? Right now, I need to listen to the good advice I’ve been given and start the first chapter.
For more information about Joyce, please visit her website, www.joyceannbrown.com.
Joyce’s blog – Our Retirement Journeys Read Like a Cozy Mystery
You can purchase or learn more about the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series at Amazon.