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Cindy Vincent, Mystery Author Bio

Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper novels, and the Daisy Diamond Detective book series. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and starts planning and preparing for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year, sometime in the early Spring . . .

Cindy Vincent Mystery Author

Interview with Author, Cindy Vincent:

1. Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel, The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues, A Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper. Where did you find your inspiration?

Ha! So many places! But my first inspiration came from my own two cats, Buckley and Bogey. I’m told it’s rare to have two male cats get along as well as these two do, but they’ve been inseparable within five minutes of meeting each other. After Buckley and Bogey became part of our family, they sort of started running the inner perimeter of our house at night, sniffing at doors and windows, and we began to joke about them investigating or “running surveillance.” And that’s when the idea of using these two cats as characters in a children’s cat detective series hit me. Especially since the boys are so different, even though they’re both black cats. Buckley is younger and larger, and generally pretty cautious; whereas Bogey is older and sleeker, and knows no fear. Together, their personalities sort of play off each other: Buckley being the Dr. Watson to Bogey’s Sherlock. So, with cats usually sleeping near my keyboard, I started to write their cat capers. Book three has just been released and I’ve got book number four well on the way. Funny, but I thought I was doing something nice by rescuing a couple of homeless cats, and I ended up being the one with the most blessings . . .

For this particular book, The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues, I decided to sort of spoof the Maltese Falcon. I’ve always had an appreciation of the movie version with Humphrey Bogart, with all its plotline twists and turns. Frankly, I think Dashiell Hammett had his ducks quacking in unison when it came to plotting out this storyline, as tightly woven and yet complicated as it may be. I thought it would be pretty funny to have a Buckley and Bogey take on this storyline, one that children would understand, too. So that’s what I went with.

2. What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?

Even though yes, writing a book is a lot of work, no doubt about it . . . writing the Buckley and Bogey books is such a joy for me, and I am so thankful to have this opportunity. I have so much fun with these, and any of the books I’ve written, for that matter. I have a hard time falling asleep at night because I’m already looking forward to getting to work on my book the next day. As a result, when it comes to writing a book, I have “time” issues. Meaning, when I’m burning rubber on the keyboard, so to speak, I completely lose track of time. Once I’m about three chapters into a book and become totally immersed, when it seems like I’m practically living in that world, hours can go by without my even noticing. And I do mean hours. I have to set the alarm clock on my computer, and I have other alarm clocks around the house to make sure I keep track of time. Just so I make it to lunch on time with friends, or make it to a meeting, or be ready to go out to dinner, etc. Plus, I hate having to take time away from the book for appointments or those pesky household chores. (Or meals or sleep.) Especially if I’m working on an action scene or a section of the book where there’s a lot of tension. It’s hard to transition from writing about someone trying to break into Buckley and Bogey’s house to jumping into the car in real life and racing to the grocery store because there’s nothing left in the house for dinner.

But let’s face it, if a person wants to “have a life” and relationships, (and the truth is, I’m very verbal and definitely a social person) well, they can’t exactly work on a book 24/7. So I strive to set limits and find balance. Right now it’s something I’m really pretty lousy at. Thankfully, I am blessed with an understanding husband and friends who just shake their heads and laugh.

3. What trait do you love most about your main character?

Not only is Buckley just plain adorable, but he wants so badly to be a great cat detective like his brother, that he works extra hard to achieve this. That means he is constantly being put in positions of having to overcome his own limitations, which, of course, isn’t exactly the most “comfortable” thing in the world for him. Throughout the book he deals with his oversized paws and body that just keep growing and growing, giving him some coordination issues. Plus he’s still sort of a rookie on the job, so he’s often put in a position of having to learn something new or figure things out. And, he’s always battling his own fears. Even so, despite a few bumps in the road, he’s so determined to succeed, that he foregoes his own comfort to achieve his dreams.

That, and he doesn’t mind running to his Mom every now and then when he needs a good hug . . .

4. When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?

Much like in the Maltese Falcon, where the suspects were once friends or cohorts who all happily double-crossed each other for the chance to possess that jeweled bird, I’ve echoed this concept in The Case of the Jeweled Covered Cat Statues. Only this time, Buckley and Bogey’s suspects would happily double-cross each other to possess the jeweled statues in their book. But as Buckley works with his brother to solve this case, and as he grows and learns along the way, Buckley realizes that his friends are the real treasures in his life, especially his best friend, Bogey. And that’s what I’m hoping the take away will be.

5. What are you working on next?

Right now I’ve actually working on two different books. The first, of course, is the fourth in the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers series. The second is a more serious grown-up’s novel. This one will be more of a spiritual quest, and while I can’t give away too many details, in a nutshell, the woman in the novel believes her life has been pretty normal until something drastic happens, and that’s when she learns it’s all been nothing but a lie. Then she’s suddenly thrust into a battle between good and evil, at a time in her life when she thought she should be relaxing and slowing down.

Then after those two books are finished, I’ve started doing research for a historical mystery series. Again, as you can see, I have “time” issues. So many books to write, but it seems like there’s never enough time to write everything!

6. What was your favorite book as a child?

While I read everything I could get my hands on, I absolutely loved the Trixie Belden mystery series. Trixie was saddled with a lot of responsibility for her age, and she was also quite accommodating to the new kids in the area. Not to mention, she turned out to be the brains behind the solving of their mysteries. I always appreciated those facts about her. I could hardly wait for the next book to come out, and I remember it being such a treat for me to get a book for Christmas or my birthday. I lost track of my original childhood book collection, so as a grownup, I actually bought a set on Ebay. I cherish them to this day!

7. What book did you read that first made you want to be an author?

Surprisingly, it wasn’t a book, but a TV show. I was in the first grade around the time when both the Charlie Brown Christmas and Great Pumpkin show came out. And these inspired me to put on puppet shows for my class. So I wrote out a script, and not knowing how to spell all those big words, I simply used my phonics. For instance, I spelled commercial, ka-mer-shell. Then my friends and I put a blanket over a table, and viola! We had a puppet theatre. Of course, we only had one hand-written script that we passed back and forth, since those were the days before copy machines and scanners and such. I’m sure it was not a Tony-award winning performance, but we had such a wonderful teacher who was incredibly patient and just allowed us to take the initiative and do this our way. From there, I went on to write class plays, short stories, and that was the beginning of it all. But I must give credit to some truly outstanding teachers who knew how to nurture their students’ abilities from an early age.

8. What was the last book you read, just for fun?

I recently re-read one of my old, most favorite books of all times, How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams by Dorothy Cannell. I had forgotten how hilarious this book is. It’s part of the Ellie Haskell series, and this time Ellie becomes so addicted to romance novels and living in the fantasy world of literary relationships that she ignores the real one she has at home. That is, until the man of her dreams, the man gracing nearly every cover of every romance novel of the time, a man who goes by the name of Charisma, (a spoof on Fabio, of course), actually comes to stay at her house. Then when fantasy and reality collide, and well . . . let’s just say it isn’t pretty. But it is “pretty” funny. I couldn’t help but laugh so hard when I was reading it one night in bed that I accidentally woke up my husband.

He rolled over and mumbled, “What in the world are you reading?”

“How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams,” I told him.

That got his attention. His eyes shot open wide. “Um, is it safe for me to go back to sleep? Or do I need to sleep with one eye open?”

To which I merely smiled . . .