It has been a LOOOOOONG time since I’ve featured any authors on my site, and I’ve really missed it. It’s not that I haven’t read any books worth sharing lately (because I have), but just that I got busy and side-tracked doing other things. It is my pleasure to spotlight a new author whose book I have enjoyed.
You know how sometimes you pick a book by its cover? Well, for Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut, it was the title that got me. And the description–who can resist a magical cat? And THEN I saw the cover, which is beyond cute and fits the title perfectly. Cozy Mysteries are a genre I don’t read much, but I might have to start reading more, because if you can find a Cozy Mystery with quirky characters (like this one or Linda Kozar’s Until the Fat Ladies Sing series), then you’ve found a real gem.
The book is a compilation of four long chapters/short stories that are episodic in nature. Mack, the notoriously magical cat, gets Ma Tutt into and out of trouble. Sure to make you grin like the cat’s got your tongue. LOL
Now, please hunker down with your favorite soda, and join me in welcoming Lyn Perry to my site.
Me: The first question I ask everyone is this: do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
LGP: I’ll clarify the first option so we’re on the same page – I’m a Christian who happens to like to write. I think the term author is somewhat static and so try to avoid it. I like the term writer. That is, ‘author’ seems to focus on who the person is instead of what they do (not a difference worth quibbling about, but the distinction has been helpful for me in my writing journey).
That being said, I am a Christian (my identity is in Christ) and what I do at this point in my life is teach middle school, write when I can, and drink coffee. As for what I write, it runs the gamut. I dabble in a wide variety of genres – including humor, speculative fiction, supernatural suspense, thriller, and now lately, with my first short novel under my belt, cozy mystery.
Although I might classify some of my fiction as “Christian” (often redemptive in nature, and touching on things of eternity) I presume most would consider it spiritually thematic, a looser term granted. It’s not that I dislike the phrase Christian fiction, but how that term is used in Christian publishing circles probably doesn’t describe what I currently write.
The difference, in my mind, is that ‘Christians who write’ is the bigger category. One genre in which Christians who write might find themselves is Christian fiction (where Christ is central to the lives of the main characters and the Gospel message is fairly evident). I’ve not yet published a story with this particular emphasis, but I’m open to it.
In fact, I’m collaborating right now with a fairly popular Christian author who writes Christian fiction and we’ll be releasing a cozy mystery in a few months. It’s set in Western Kansas and ties into some of her other previously published novels. I’m very excited, but will have to keep mum for now. Maybe we can do another interview when that one gets published!
Me: Only if it has something quirky in it. 😉
Now, tell me about the cover of Ma Tutt’s, because it is so very cute and appealing. How did it come about? How much input did you have into the design?
Thanks! I thought the cover really worked as well – it matches the cozy genre quite nicely and has a cat on the front! Who can resist a cat and a bakery? As an indie writer, I’m responsible for pretty much all aspects of the publishing process. Many self-published writers farm out their covers, and that’s a good option if it’s affordable for one’s situation.
Now I’m still on the ‘conservative’ (cheap) side, shall we say, so I find interesting artwork and photographs on iStockphoto.com and then will often, as was the case for Ma Tutt’s cover, send an image to my son-in-law along with some ideas for layout and then he’ll design the rest. He crafted a silhouette of a cat, placed all the elements, and found the right typography. I approved the cover and paid him real money (plus invited my daughter and him over for dinner!).
I plan for this to be a series (Mack the Magical Cat Mysteries), so I’ve already found other storefront bakery shots like the one I used for Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut. The other covers will be branded similarly but with different color themes and cat silhouettes. They should be very recognizable as part of the same cozy mystery series. It’s a lot of fun to see a cover come together so nicely.
Me: And what a bargain!
One of the most memorable characters in Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut is Donovan Huckly. I had a hard time telling if he was evil or just really annoying. How would you describe Donovan’s character? And what would he say to the question?
LGP: Donovan is a great character, one of my favorites. He was going to be an out and out villain, but he just never grew into that role and I ended up thinking that he’s really not a bad sort after all. Yep, he’s just annoying. He’s a nosy know-it-all with aspirations to become Mayor.
So he’ll continue to play the role of a quirky pain in the behind. He also has that bit of a cheapskate “huckster” feel to him as well, thus his last name. If asked how he feels about being thusly described, I think he’d be offended and then ask for a free doughnut.
Me: LOL. Yes, I agree that sounds like him.
Can you tell us something about Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut that you know but isn’t in the book? Maybe something about the Mayor, who we hear about often from Donovan but never get to meet?
LGP: I’m still deciding whether we’ll ever meet the Mayor or if he’ll be that “man behind the curtain” that everyone talks about but never really knows personally. I picture him in his 70s, however, and wanting to retire after his term is up next year (setting the stage for Donovan to run), but other than that, I don’t know much more about him to tell you the truth.
As for some other Sugar Pine Station tidbits (fictional mountain town Sugar Pine Station is the setting, north of real life Oakhurst, CA on the way to Yosemite), I think I can only say this. There is, like Donovan suspected, an abandoned gold mine near Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut. That basement has yet to reveal all of its mysteries.
Me: If you don’t produce the major, I’ll start thinking he doesn’t really exist and that he’s just a figment of Donovan’s overactive imagination…
What are you working on now?
LGP: Would it surprise you to learn I’m working on Ma Tutt’s Secret Spice – Book #2 in my Mack the Magical Cat Mystery series? I plan to structure it the same way as Book #1 and include five tales of baking madness, magical ingredients, and feline intuition tied together with an overarching story line that serves as the novel’s gentle mystery.
I say gentle because there are no dead bodies in either of these books and the “secret” isn’t very sophisticated. But I think the characters are winsome and their interactions are fun and lively; add in a bit of suspense and I think the whole things works really well. My goal is that the ending will leave the reader entertained and satisfied. You’ll have to tell me if I succeed!
Me: I can’t wait to read book 2! Yay!
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
Well, my short bio is that I’m a middle school teacher, part-time preacher, father of two, husband of one, rent my house from two cats, and drink lots of coffee. More can be found at www.lyndonperrywriter.com as well as an occasional newsletter sign-up form. Oh, and I’m a Steelers fan.
An excerpt from the book…
Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut sat empty on a Saturday morning. An assortment of fresh and tasty glazed, cake, and specialty doughnuts were arranged attractively in the window. Ma Tutt had gone out and approved the visual invitation herself. The sweet and enticing aroma of fried dough and sugar was present and accounted for. She’d even partaken of one or two (or maybe three) of her own creations that morning and her taste buds were still happy.
The only blemish, in her estimation, was that the log cabin-like Donut Hut wanted a bit of an exterior stain job. And an interior design makeover. A gas oven with four working stove tops would be nice along with a larger walk-in cooler. Oh, and a new fryer. Okay, so she’d bought a white elephant in her retirement. But leaving the Central Valley for small town mountain living had seemed so right at the time. And she’d been a competent baker in her previous life. So when opportunity knocked….
At least the shop had come with a mature tabby, a generic gray Mackerel, who was friendly enough, if a bit demanding. Uncertain as to what to make of him that first month, she’d allowed ‘Mack’ to follow her around as she took those few weeks to set up shop. He eventually wormed his way into her heart with his guttural conversations and was now her steadfast companion and confidant.
“I’m a failure, Mack,” she murmured, as she stared across the street at the Creamy Pie franchise that was doing a booming business.
Excerpt used by permission.
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