Denise: I loved ”Meow If It’s Murder,” the first Nick and Nora Mystery. Perhaps it was because you gave Nora Charles a difficult challenge to leave her job in Chicago in order to continue the family business. It could also be the fact that she’s a darn good amateur sleuth. When you set out to write this novel, what were you determined to add in the storyline to make it unique?
T.C. LoTempio: Actually, the first draft was VERY unique – Nick the cat talked! The original plan was for Nick’s owner, Nick Atkins, PI to be reincarnated as the cat, but Berkley nixed that idea. They loved everything about the book EXCEPT the talking cat. So, I had to shut Nick up! I did that by giving a lot of his dialog to Chantal, and then I created the character of Oliver J. Sampson, aka “Ollie”. Ollie was not originally in the series, but now I’m glad he is. People seem to like him!
Denise: What made you make Nick a cat and not a modern day William Powell?
T.C. LoTempio: My then supervisor at my day job, John Erdos, said to me, “Stop writing about vampires. You love your cat, so why not write about him? That night ‘The Thin Man’ was on Turner Classic movies, and I was laying on the couch watching it, and my cat ROCCO jumped on my lap, all twenty plus pounds of him – and the idea just came to me.
Denise: The death of a socialite fits in with the Nick and Nora theme. What caught me off balance was the fact that the police weren’t questioning her death as aggressively as they should have? Why were they quick to believe it was an accident?
Denise: I know you don’t want to give away why Nick is so smart and able to communicate his thoughts, but how did you come up with the idea to make him so special?
T.C. LoTempio: LOL See the answer to the first question. Also, my cat ROCCO is special (I know every cat owner feels that way about their pet) but there are times when he just seems to be a little TOO smart, if you get what I mean.
Denise: Are you ever going to tell us what happened to Nick’s owner?
T.C. LoTempio: Yes – in Book 3 we get a sense of what MIGHT have happened to Nick Atkins, but the reason behind his disappearance wont’ be definitely explained for quite a while.
T.C. LoTempio: ROCCO is a very talented cat, as he’ll tell you! We got the idea for his blog in 2011, but didn’t’ start to amass a following until we got involved with the Kids Need to Read program and started having our auctions for Nathan Fillion’s charity. The idea to interview authors seemed a natural extension since I’d just landed my agent, Josh Getzler, so we conceived the idea of interviewing agents and writers and it took off from there! We’ve been fortunate to get some heavy hitters on the blog, including Janet Evanovich and Charlaine Harris. And I’m still trying to get Ellen DeGeneris!
Denise: We are very excited to hear about the next book in The Nick and Nora Mystery series: “Claws for Alarm.” Can you tell us a little about it?
T.C. LoTempio: Certainly! CLAWS FOR ALARM: Nora decides to investigate Nick Atkins’ disappearance, but the investigation takes a backseat when her sister is accused of the murder of her art professor. Nora’s also thrown for a curve when she meets the homicide detective in charge of her sister’s case: Leroy Samms, her old flame from college.
Denise: Are you already writing the third book in the series or finishing up on book two?
T.C. LoTempio: I’m going to let you in on a secret – I’ve just started book seven. I only hope Berkley will want them all!
Denise: How are you promoting the book?
T.C. LoTempio: Any way I can – appearances, blog interviews, blog tours. I’ll be at BEA (Book Expo America) on Friday, May 29 from 10:45 to 11:15 at the Mystery Writers of America booth signing copies of MEOW!
Denise: Are you going to share more of “Hot Bread’s” sandwich recipes?
T.C. LoTempio: But definitely! I encourage readers to email me with their sandwich recipes, too. We’ll be running a contest on that in the Fall!