Sunday, September 6, 2015



Did a down on his luck former student steal a priceless book? Grad student and cat lover Dulcie Schwartz thinks not, and she sets out to prove it.
It is spring break, and Dulcie Schwartz has stayed behind in almost-deserted Cambridge, Massachusetts to concentrate on her thesis. But when a former student turned vagrant, Jeremy Mumbles, is found injured, with a valuable missing book clutched in his arms, Dulcie can't seem to let it go. What was he doing with the book? And why has it turned up after all these years?
With Jeremy now the prime suspect for a series of break-ins in the area, Dulcie is determined to clear the unfortunate former scholar's name. But when she finds a connection between the book he was carrying and her own research into an anonymous Gothic author, the search for clues takes on a new intensity and a new menace.


I particularly enjoyed the Gothic excerpts, the story behind the silver cat printer’s mark, and especially Dulcie’s relationships with her beloved Mr. Grey and current feline Esme. ~Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

Code Grey relates fascinating details not only about academic and literary life but also about history of other importance. ~Laura’s Interests

Ms. Simon writes a great story, with very interesting characters.
~Book Babble

The story is a good, engrossing mystery with interesting characters. You can’t help but keep turning the pages to see what Dulcie does next.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…


Clea, how did you get started writing and when did you become an “author?”

I have written for as long as I can remember! I made up stories for my stuffed animals and for the animals in the yard and in the little stream nearby, and once I could write I made little “books” for my family and friends. But I never really thought I could be an author, so I became a journalist. That seemed like a real job! It wasn’t until I’d written three nonfiction books – a logical outgrowth of being a journalist – that I began to write my stories again.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
When the characters take over! There comes a point where the people (or animals) you’ve created start to act in ways that are logical for them – even if this isn’t what I’d planned. I love that.

How long is your to-be-read list?
You’re kidding, right? It’s huge. As is the pile next to my bed!

What books do you currently have published?
I have three nonfiction books and 18 mysteries. The 19th has just been edited, and I’ve just submitted the manuscript for what I hope will be the 20th!

Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?
I wish I had a good strategy. I try to meet readers when and how I can (Hi! I’m waving madly at you now). It’s hard because I spend so much of my time writing.

How often do you tweet?
Several times a day, usually. Sometimes stuff about writing or books, sometimes just funny stuff I’ve heard or seen around.

How do you feel about Facebook?
Now that I work at home alone, it’s my watercooler!

What five things would you never want to live without?
Not including the people or animals I love, I am guessing? Things . . .  hmmm . . . Books, garlic, wine, chocolate, and my glasses! I’m blind as a bat without my glasses!

Who would you want to narrate a film about your life?
Morgan Freeman! He has the best voice. Plus, I think it would be a funny juxtaposition – his voice and my life.

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
Most definitely. But I hope it would be inventively full!

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
An introvert. I suspect most writers are. But I am often pleasantly surprised – if I make the effort to actually talk to people, I find it quite invigorating. Still, I have only recently learned that if I go to a mystery/fan convention like Malice Domestic or Left Coast Crime, I should NOT hide in my room!

Do you spend more on clothes or food?

Food! I’m a foodie, and I love love love to cook.

What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Korean takeout and then peanut-butter/chocolate frozen yogurt for dessert!

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Quit my steady copy editing job at the biggest daily newspaper in town. It was the kind of steady job that people keep for life, but I wanted to see if I could make it on my writing . . . that was 16 years ago, and I’m still here!

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Bash it out now, tart it up later.” The musician Nick Lowe said that but I find it very useful for writing. It’s kind of like, you have to get a first draft out before you can do any fine tuning.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
Oh, I’ve gotten some pretty nasty reviews!! Basically I curse a lot, and sometimes I cry, and then I move on.

What is your favorite movie?
Too many to count! I love “Impromptu” (woman author heroine!) and “Jackie Brown” and “Desperately Seeking Susan” – all great heroines – and “Moonstruck” and and and . . .

Do you have a favorite book?
Ditto – too many! Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety is a regular re-read though.

How about a favorite book that was turned into a movie? Did the movie stink?
Well, I absolutely adore JRR Tolkien’s
The Lord of the Rings, and I like the movies very much. But I do have issues with the movies – for Tolkien geeks out there, the depiction of the Ents. Am I right? I got to ask Stephen Colbert (of The Colbert Report) this question, because he’s also a LOTR geek, and he went on about how Faramir was depicted – which I totally agree with! But I still re-watch those movies constantly. (True story: my husband has not read LOTR but enjoys the movies with me. But he likes to tell people about how we can never just watch them, how I’m always stopping them to say, “Well, in the books this is different . . . ” And the first few times, he’d say, “That’s what it is like in the book?” And I would say, “Well, actually, it’s in the appendix . . . ” He enjoys my geekitude.)

Do you sweat the small stuff?
Not in life, mostly (you should see my office!). But when I’m revising a manuscript, I do. I’ll have lists of when my characters last ate and what day it is – I don’t want to have an endless day or to have a character eat dinner twice – or not at all.

If you had to choose a cliche about life, what would it be?

Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse  . . . OOPS! TOO LATE! I guess in reality it is: Life is short. Eat dessert first!

How long is your to-do list?


What are you working on now?
I am waiting for the edits on my sixth Pru Marlowe pet noir (When Bunnies Go Bad) and beginning to think about the next Dulcie Schwartz mystery!

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? Frosting!
Laptop or desktop? Desktop!
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill!
Emailing or texting? Email!
Indoors or outdoors? Mmmmm . . . Outdoors?
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet!
Plane, train, or automobile? Train! I love train rides. But what I really like are boat rides. May I choose boat?


Clea Simon is the author of 18 mysteries in the Theda Krakow, DulcieSchwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series. The latter two are ongoing and include her most recent books, Code Grey (Severn House) and Kittens Can Kill (Poisoned Pen Press). A former journalist and nonfiction author, she lives in Somerville, Mass., with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta. She can be reached at

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