Wednesday, February 24, 2016



Introducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.

Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.

The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and classic whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.


Clea, how did you get started writing?

I’ve written since I could read. I always loved making up stories!

Do you have a writing routine?
Yes, I make myself write every day, Monday through Friday. It’s a good discipline and gets me used to writing. If I don’t do it, for any reason, I really miss it!

Do you write every day?
I write every weekday, unless I’m revising, in which case, I write where it’s necessary (but I work at my books Monday through Friday).

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
The discipline of revising. It is so very hard to read through what you think is perfect and to look for the flaws – for the things you thought you put in there but that are still really in your head. Very hard – and very necessary!

Very true. What’s more important – characters or plot?
Character. I fall in love with the characters of the books I read. That said, I do think both are important!

How often do you read?
Everyday, at the very least the newspaper in the morning and whatever book I’m in at bedtime.

What do you think makes a good story?
Characters you can really relate to – they don’t have to be nice, but they do have to be empathizable-with – and a journey or a quest that makes sense to me. Does that make sense?

Sure. What books do you currently have published?
I have three nonfiction books in print and  . . .  Hmmm . . . with The Ninth Life, I have 20 mysteries in print! But there’s a 21st in the copy editing stage (the next Dulcie Schwartz, Into the Grey).

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
That it is important to make even the minor characters distinctive. That’s hard to do!

Do you have any secret talents?
I can fit an almost unlimited number of dishes into the dishwasher. Also, I have great parking-space karma.

Is writing your dream job?
Of course!

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

I worked as a clerk typist in the billing office of an anesthesiologists group one summer. The office had no windows, and since we were the billing office, we didn’t even see the patients or the doctors.

What did it teach you?
It taught me that I needed to do anything but that!

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Write the best book you can. Focus on that, rather than on pushing it everywhere – pushing it on everyone will just annoy people who might otherwise support you.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Probably HBO. As a novelist, I love the long-form dramas!

How often do you tweet?
Whenever I have any news or anything fun to report. Often several times a day!

How do you feel about Facebook?
It’s my water cooler, aka my favorite waste of time! I go there whenever I need a break.

Would you make a good character in a book?
No, I’m not half as brave or adventurous as I should be!

What five things would you never want to live without?
My glasses, a Kleenex, a book (or kindle), my wallet.

What do you love about where you live?
I can walk to three excellent bookstores (two of which are indies!), two of my favorite coffeehouses, and a wine and cheese shop, and I still have trees in my yard (three!) and wild bunnies – so it’s the perfect mix of city and not-so-city.

What's your favorite treat for movie night?

A bottle of champagne … and takeout Korean!

Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?
Rock star. Are you kidding? I used to play in bands, and the only way I get through my workouts is by pretending that I’m singing/playing whatever song is on my iPod. I have an amazing range!

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Of course! They’re human, aren’t they?

Do you procrastinate?

Yes. I’ll explain later . . .

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Bash it out now. Tart it up later.” Rocker Nick Lowe was talking about music, but he might as well have been talking about writing first drafts of novels.

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be? It’s too short!

What are you working on now?
The second Blackie and Care mystery, tentatively titled As Dark As My Fur.


Clea Simon worked as a journalist and non-fiction author before turning to crime (fiction). Best known for her series of cozy mysteries starring cat-lover Theda Krakow, Clea Simon grew up in New York, before moving to Massachusetts to attend Harvard. She fell in love with the area and now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and their cat, Musetta.

Connect with Clea:

Website  |  Blog  |  
Facebook  |  Twitter  | Goodreads  

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