Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Featured Author: Clea Simon


The dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.

Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital’s money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?


Clea, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
Kittens Can Kill, the fifth Pru Marlowe pet noir, came about when I thought, what if the only witness to murder was someone who couldn’t tell us what had happened? What if that witness was a cute, little kitten?

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Each of my mysteries works as a standalone, and I give a little bit of background in each one. However, if you read the series in order (starting with Dogs Don’t Lie), you will also get the larger, overarching story of Pru’s character development, family, and love life.

Where’s home for you?
Somerville, Massachusetts! Right by Boston.

Where did you grow up?
East Meadow, New York - on suburban Long Island.

What’s your favorite memory?

We had woods behind our house and a stream, and I used to love to play out back. I’d pretend I could talk to the animals out there.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?

Books. No doubt.

What do you love about where you live?

I can walk to two independent bookstores (and several coffeehouses) easily. My neighbors are friendly, and even though we’re in the city, we have a tiny little backyard where I see bunnies and a pretty big variety of birds (we had a wild turkey last year!).

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Quit my job at a newspaper to work on my books. But so far, so good!

What makes you nervous?
Not knowing if I have time to do everything I want or need to.

What makes you happy?

Working on a project that I enjoy and knowing that those I love are healthy, happy and engaged in their own interests.

What makes you scared?
Not being able to help those I love.

What makes you excited?
A new idea!

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I do some corporate editing on the side, at home. Unfortunately, it still pays better than the writing!

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
My cat! But if she saved herself, it would be my laptop.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?

On good and bad days, I think I am both.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Bash it out now, tart it up later,” by the rocker Nick Lowe. I live by these words.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“A line will take us hours maybe/but if it seems more than a moment’s thought/our stitching and unstitching is for naught.” - William Butler Yeats

What would your main character say about you?

Pru Marlowe would probably think I’m a wimp!

How did you create the plot for this book?
I come up with a problem and then I see where it takes me. I try very hard to keep my characters true to their personae, and so what they do will be consistent with who they are when faced with the problems I throw at them.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
I can’t stand characters who don’t feel real. If characters just do things to move a plot along, I’ll stop reading.

Do you have a routine for writing?

Yes, I write everyday, Monday through Friday. I aim for a certain number of words, and I don’t stop until I hit that word count. When I’m near deadline, we eat dinner pretty late!

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I wish I were a morning person, but I find I do my best writing between four and nine p.m.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the sixth Pru Marlowe pet noir, to be called When Bunnies Go Bad. Then it’s on to the next Dulcie Schwartz! What a great life, huh?


A recovering journalist, Clea Simon is the author of 17 mysteries and three nonfiction books. Parrots Prove Deadly is the third in her Pru Marlowe pet noir series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their cat Musetta.

Connect with Clea:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter