I had purchased a book about Civil War quilts and the Underground Railroad and found it fascinating. It made me think about messages in quilts and legacies over time. That was the core spark for me to create the fictional Larkin’s Treasure, a quilt with a secret of great riches that is highly prized. And decide how someone might insert that message into it somehow, yet in a way that isn’t apparent and is mysterious.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Shadows on the wall? I am easily distracted by many things. Probably the biggest distraction is my great fondness for research. I always worry that I don’t know enough about a subject to write with authority and plunge into research as if I have the time. One result will lead to another and soon, the day of writing is a wisp of remembrance. But I have lots of facts at hand.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love cozy mysteries, but also read most mysteries, crime drama, and suspense. Whenever a new book comes out by Michael Connelly (any book), C.J. Box (Blue Heaven), Dick/Felix Francis (pick one!), Earlene Fowler (Love Mercy), Sue Grafton (Kinsey series), Lisa Scottolini (Accused), or Jacquelynn Winspear (Maisie Dobbs mysteries), I’m first in line.
Classic fiction from Edith Wharton (House of Mirth), P.G. Wodehouse (What Ho, Jeeves), Georgette Heyer (The Foundling), Jane Austen (every one), and Dame Agatha Christie (They Came to Bagdad) keep me occupied often. I’m a big fan of Pearl S. Buck (Pavilion of Women) and lately have enjoyed the works of Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) and Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – the sweetest series ever). My tastes are all over the place!
What is your favorite season of the year?
Springtime, when everything is fresh and new and blooming. It’s like whole the earth is celebrating! Or at least my hemisphere.
Number one? Doing the dishes. Though I love pretty dishes and have some lovely dishware. But I started so early! I remember being four years old, standing on a chair, drying dishes as my gentle momma said, “Wipe the tears away so they don’t cry.”
If there are no more tears in heaven, is it because it’s my job to wipe them from the dishes? (A secret fear.)
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
Though I love traveling to the Bay Area because my grandgems live there, I also enjoy traveling to Puget Sound, specifically Whidbey Island where I have dear family, too. Growing up, my father was in the Navy and we always lived near the sea. When I’m on the island with its sun-filtered, greenery and majestic ocean views, I feel at home.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I often write about forgiveness. Don’t we all need that? Embrace that? Prize it highly?
And I like to create an underlying theme of Light – His Light shining in darkness. Even if it’s not written on the page, I long for it to be there for those who are open to see.
Do you like to cook? What is your favorite, no-fail recipe?
Love to watch cooking shows on TV and have been busy replacing all my old cookware, in preparation to cook more. Especially Viva la Chicken – my go-to, company’s-coming- casserole. Here’s a link, if you wish to try it yourself. I guarantee a happy guest. Plus, you can make it ahead, refrigerate it (or freeze it), and toss it in the oven an hour before your company arrives.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I’m delighted to announce that Thea James’s first adventure, A Vase of Mistaken Identity, (out-of-print for several years) is being re-released about the same time as A Stitch in Crime – mid January 2015. The characters and story that folks loved first will have new life with a lovely new cover. Here’s a little bit about it from the back cover:
Thea James, proprietress of James & Company Antique Emporium, never thought murder would come to her small, surviving Gold Rush town of Larkindale. But when the Larkindale Lamplight reports the discovery of a body during the renovation of Larkin Lake Resort, Thea is caught up in the mystery.
Her world is further frenzied when she acquires a vintage vase from the town’s only homeless person. Thea finds a puzzling list tucked inside with four names written in a faded scrawl: two childhood friends from a summer camp, her sister Rosie, and . . . herself!
When the first woman on the list ends up in a coma and another mysteriously disappears, Thea knows she must save herself and her sister from harm. Her attempt to eliminate the vicious threat on their lives propels Thea to places she never wanted to visit.
Will she discover the connection before tragedy strikes?
Thanks for sharing with us, Cathy!
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Cathy Elliott is giving away a copy of A Stitch In Crime. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.