Wow, Meow. Just looking at the guest whose tail wagged in, I see this will be an interesting interview. What is your name and your author’s name, Miss?
Hello, hello, Sneaky. Elvira here. I’m sure you know me—I’m the real heroine of Susan Lynn Solomon’s stories. You just can’t imagine the trouble my human, Emlyn Goode and her friend, Rebecca Nurse, would have gotten into if I hadn’t adopted Emlyn the day she showed up at Rebecca’s shop. I mean, who else has been around to save their bacon… Speaking of bacon… ahhh. Oh, sorry. It’s just that the thought of the food Emlyn cooks up—if that isn’t witchcraft, I don’t know what is.
Food certainly casts a spell for us cats. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
Susan Lynn Solomon human has told of four times I had to step in to pull Emlyn back before she stepped over the edge of a cliff. Solomon calls each of these stories an Emlyn Goode Mystery… Harrumph! I call them examples of human’s foolishness.
The first story—a novel—was The Magic of Murder. This book tells how I met Emlyn. She’s a writer, you see, and she was working on a short story about a woman who wants to use the “old ways” to keep a man from abusing her—leave it to humans to treat each other that way! Emlyn didn’t know anything about witchcraft, so she went to Rebecca’s shop (Rebecca sells all kinds of things related to the craft and knows how to use them… sort of). I was in the shop waiting for the human I was supposed to be with. Cat god help me, that turned out to be Emlyn! I mean, she didn’t even know she was a direct descendent of Sarah Goode, a witch hanged in Salem! I had to push her to learn about that. And then a Niagara Falls detective—the partner of her boyfriend, Roger Frey—was murdered, and Emlyn thought she knew enough magic to find out who did it. Goodness, she nearly got us both killed!
The second time Emlyn decided to solve a murder is in the short story called Bella Vita. This time, Emlyn found car burning in the lot behind Bella Vita Hair Salon. Could Emlyn keep her nose out of this? Of course not.
Then, in a novel called Dead Again, Emlyn’s mother came back from Florida for a high school reunion, and got accused of a murder that happened 40 years ago. I couldn’t let Emlyn’s mother be arrested—hey, I liked the woman! So, I pushed Emlyn to find out who did do it, and when the killer came after her, who was there to save her? Me, that’s who!
Now there’s a new novelette called The Day the Music Died. I’ll tell you more about this later.
Pawsome. You are quite accomplished.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.
From what I’ve just told you, Sneaky, you can see the Emlyn Goode Mysteries is a series of stories featuring yours truly. But, as Susan Lynn Solomon says, they don’t have to be read in any order to learn about me and the job I do to protect my human—and believe me when I say it isn’t easy. In The Magic of Murder, without any training Emlyn tried a spell that told the killer who she was. Do I need to say what happened after that? A bottle bomb came flying through her window. Well, at least almost getting me killed taught my human how much she needs me.
Then, in Dead Again, her google-eyes at Roger Frey got his estranged wife all jealous… You know, Sneaky, I can’t really blame Emlyn for that—Roger’s kind of a hunk, if you know what I mean. If I were human… Anyhow, when the woman came after Emlyn and Rebecca, it’s a good thing I slowed her down until Roger got there.
Now in The Day the Music Died, another killer—the one who murdered Amanda Stone, a 1980s rock icon who was a friend of Emlyn’s mother—found out Emlyn had what he wanted, and the only reason that guy didn’t shoot Emlyn and Rebecca is because I went after him—and got my leg broken in the process.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
To be quite honest, I live in Susan Lynn Solomon’s memory. I’m the cat that adopted her when she was a child. Yes, I had white fur, but I wasn’t albino. And pink eyes? Pull-ese! I have no idea where she came up with that. And putting me into the middle of murders? I was a peaceful cat. I liked to sun in the window, eat anything someone put in my bowl, and sleep. Susan, on the other hand, was something of a brat. Into everything. When her mother would see a mess she’d made, she would point at me, as if I had left those fingerprints on the walls and ceilings. Often the mess she’d make was in the kitchen, where she hummed while mixing all kinds of things in a bowl. Come to think of it, she was always a bit of a witch. But, I guess she comes by it naturally—I knew her grandmother.
Interesting. I look a bit like Debbie’s cat because we are both Siamese, but I don’t think we are exactly the same. I am much younger and more handsome IMFO (In my furry opinion).
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that feature you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
Of course, I’m involved in almost every scene in these stories, and frequently the detectives ask for my help. This scene describes one of those times:
As soon as I heard Roger’s Trailblazer back out of my driveway, I pushed myself up from the chair (my ribs heavily bandaged, I couldn’t rise gracefully). At the kitchen counter, I grabbed my purse. “Come on,” I said to Rebecca.
Leaning on her crutch, she scratched her chin. “Come on where?”
“To Amanda Stone’s house, of course. There has to be something the cops missed.”
“It’s a crime scene. It’s probably roped-off. If we go in, we’ll get arrested.”
I grumbled. “If you’re afraid of something like that, I’ll go alone.”
I took a few slow steps, then stopped. My pink-eyed fur-ball was parked in the doorway. “Get out of my way, animal,” I snarled.
The cat hissed at me. I’m certain she’d said, Who are you calling an animal?
I refused to be deterred. “I said, move over!”
Elvira shook her head.
I stomped my foot. “What are you doing, cat?”
Behind me, Rebecca laugh. When I turned my head to her, she said, “Roger told Elvira to keep you from getting in trouble.”
I tried to lean down and shove my cat aside, then abruptly stood up, holding my ribs.
Still laughing, Rebecca said, “That’s the other reason we can’t go anywhere.”
“You’re not able to drive, and neither am I. And you can’t call a cab, because I saw Roger pocket your wallet.” She took the purse from my hand, and put it back on the counter. “That’s why the guys didn’t worry about leaving us here. So, come into the living room, and pour us some wine.”
“I can’t just waste the evening drinking,” I whined. “I have to do something. I feel as though my life’s been dropped on its head. Did Amanda lie? If she didn’t, after all these years, why’d she show up now? I need to know.”
She took my arm, and thumbed away the tears that formed. “I know. And I want to help you. But this time we’ll have to figure it out here.” She smiled at me. “Armchair detectives, like the kind you always read about. Do that, and maybe we won’t almost get killed again.”
I sniffed. “Okay, you win. I’ll get the wine. You get Sarah’s book from my desk. See if she wrote something that might get my brain working.”
I might have been wrong, but I thought I heard my cat sigh with relief.
Two glasses of a good chardonnay I’d purchased last summer during a tasting at Arrowhead Spring Vineyard did little to calm the quivering in my chest. Each sip recalled the wine we’d had in Amanda Stone’s living room that afternoon. Pressed in a corner of my sofa with Elvira snuggled tight at my side, I stared into the darkness on the other side of the French door.
Fortunately, Rebecca was able to focus. In the overstuffed chair next to my bookcases, she carefully turned the brittle pages of Sarah Goode’s Book of Shadows.
“Here’s something that could make you feel a little better.” She looked up from the old calf-bound book. “Sandalwood chips, red carnation petals, and rosemary leaves, crushed in a green glass jar that’s then filled with olive oil. Sarah wrote that she used this to ease the anxiety of a farmer named Henry Clark during an extended dry period.”
Elvira sat up, and nodded—at least, it looked like she did.
I sighed. “Did it work?”
Rebecca glanced down, turned the page, then turned back to the page she’d been reading. “It doesn’t say. Apparently Sarah got hanged a few days after she wrote this entry.”
“Great,” I said, while refilling my glass. “Rub that tincture all over my body, and whoever killed Amanda will smell me as soon as he turns onto River Road. Then, he’ll know exactly what house to break into next, and come here and hang me.”
Rebecca closed the book. With her head still down, she raised her eyes. “I’m trying to help.”
I closed my eyes and took a breath. “I know. I’m sorry.”
“Look, Emlyn, Amanda Stone probably lied when she claimed to be your mother. I mean, what proof did she have?”
“I don’t know…” I groaned. “And now that she’s dead I’ll never know.”
Wow! That was the cat’s meow. I am clapping my paws together.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
There’s a lot I like. I get fed—Emlyn’s a good cook—for a human. In a new book I got to eat shrimp Alfredo… Yummm. I think her cooking is why Roger Frey loves her. Also, I have the run of Emlyn’s house, and everyone knows that the overstuffed wingback chair next to her bookcases is my place. No one is allowed to sit there unless I let them.
Most of all, I like that when the humans are going bonkers, it’s me that gets them back in control. And, when they get in the kind of trouble that could get them killed, I’m there to protect them. Why shouldn’t that be my role? I always know what’s going on before the humans do. That kind of magic is in my genetic makeup because my cat ancestors go back as far as Emlyn’s and Rebecca’s. My ancestor was there the day Sarah Goode got hanged. The people in Salem called her a witch just because she knew about plants and herbs, used then to help her neighbors. Because my ancestor couldn’t stop the craziness in 1692 is why Emlyn’s the human I waited for in Rebecca Nurse’s shop—the human I’m supposed to be with. My job is to keep what happened to old Sarah from happening to Emlyn.
You have a pawsome genealogy and a great instinct for saving your human characters.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
I don’t talk, at least not the way humans do. I meeeowww, and growl, and hiss, and snort, and throw looks. Still, Emlyn and Rebecca understand exactly what I’m saying… most of the time. Also, Roger is beginning to understand me. But, Emlyn sometimes tells people I’ve meowed one thing when I’ve very clearly told her something completely different. She’s only a human, you see, and lacks the intelligence and sophistication we cats have, so I can forgive her.
I agree. Human cat characters are just as limited in reading cat characters as real humans are deciphering real cat sounds.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Let me see. Oh, I think the most important thing is that they have to be kind to their humans. After all, humans are such simple souls, and they need their cats to guide them. Also, humans need a lot of affection. Purring and rubbing against them is soothing—and it gets us fed and gives us time to do more important things. Finally, cats need to take good care of our human pets, keep them properly groomed. You just can’t believe what a mess humans can make of themselves.
MOL (Meow Out Loud). So true.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
Actually, my latest book—a novelette, really—came out just a few weeks ago. It’s called, The Day the Music Died. I mentioned it earlier. This is what I told Susan Lynn Solomon happened:
Amanda Stone, a rock and roll icon, vanished at the peak of her career in 1986. She surfaces in her hometown of Niagara Falls soon after the death of Emlyn Goode’s mother. Stone asks to see Emlyn, she says, to share memories of her high school friend, Anne Goode. What Stone actually tells her bounces Emlyn’s life on its head. When later that day Stone is murdered, a shaken Emlyn must use her ancient relative’s craft to solve the crime by disinterring the secret of what drove Stone from the spotlight thirty years before. If Emlyn fails, she’ll never know if what Stone told her is true.
Humans can find this story, on a thing called Amazon, and see the burden I carry protecting Emlyn Goode from herself:
And, even as we speak, Sneaky, I’m dictating a new novel to Susan Lynn Solomon—this one is about the trouble I had to pull my human out of when someone started murdering members of her writers’ group.
That sounds pawsome. Debbie is planning to start a new Cobble Cove mystery soon, and I’m sending her some ideas for it. She doesn’t always heed my advice, but I did purr-suade her to add my photo to the cover of our latest book, Written in Stone. and now I caught a glimpse of her notes and see she’s holding a Name that Kitten contest for a new kitten that she plans to add to Cobble Cove. I can’t wait.especially since the kitten will be a girl cat.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
My author is on social media. She can be found at these places:
Great! Thanks for the interview, Elvira, and best whiskers to you and your author on your future books and stories.