BLOG TOUR – Pawprints & Predicaments – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

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Welcome! Today, I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Pawprints and Predicaments, the third in the Lucky Paws Petsitting mystery series by Bethany Blake! I really enjoyed this book, just as I have the two previous books in the series.  Underneath the review is an interview with the author, Bethany Blake.

About the Book

Pawprints & Predicaments (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707420
Digital ASIN: B071SK3VF9
Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

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Line of kittens - black, calico, Siamese, grey, orange, black & white, and white
© Graphic Garden

Synopsis

The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .

It’s the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee, and Daphne and Lauren are among the eighty or so people who charge into the frigid water to raise funds for animals in need. Daphne makes it back to shore—with the help of a mysterious St. Bernard—but Lauren is dragged out stone cold dead. Now, with her trusty basset hound Socrates at her side, Daphne intends to assist Detective Jonathan Black in his investigation—whether he wants her to or not . . .

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

Line of bones with three puppy heads - white with brown spots, all brown, and Dalmata
© Graphic Garden

Review – 4 out of 5 stars

I’ve really enjoyed all three books in this series!

Daphne is a wonderful, quirky character who has a fairly decent head on her shoulders. Sometimes she runs a little too impulsive for me, but most of the time she at least thinks about the danger before doing something. I also really love Jonathan Black as a character. We get to learn a little more about him in each book and I love that! It’s exactly how a series should be in my mind.

The plot this time around was very intriguing to me. I really had no idea who the villain was before it was revealed. The subplots were all great as well. The story was very well-written and I highly recommend it!

Line of kittens - black, calico, Siamese, grey, orange, black & white, and white

Author Interview with Bethany Blake

Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I do have a second job being… a writer! I work for Bucknell University, a small liberal arts college, in the Division of Communications. It’s pretty fun. I write stories and get a lot of free food.


Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I try to write every day, and I set page or chapter goals. I like to have music in the background. My Spotify playlist is huge and varied.


Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: Oh, my characters always hijack my stories! I don’t outline. I feel as if things always come up that lead me in new directions.

Line of bones with three puppy heads - white with brown spots, all brown, and Dalmata

Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I was fortunate to have a mentor who suggested that I join Romance Writers of America, and I found my agent there. I wrote a few manuscripts that I submitted to various places on my own, and those were rejected. Once I had an agent, I sold my first book pretty quickly. But, like every author, I have endured a lot of rejections since then. When I get a rejection, I give myself 24 hours to sulk and consider quitting. Then I pick myself back up and move forward.


Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I usually have two or three revisions. I don’t have beta readers. Just my editors. And there’s always a period between the time I submit to my editor and the time I get revisions that I just set the manuscript aside. It’s good to take a break and see things with fresh eyes later.


Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: In my first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, the villain—a vampire prince—was also the hero. I tend to view characters as complex and nuanced, so it’s not hard for me channel the darker aspects of my personality. And there’s no real inspiration for the villain in my upcoming book, Pawprints & Predicaments. But I can’t say more for fear of giving something away!

Line of kittens - black, calico, Siamese, grey, orange, black & white, and white

Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: There are aspects of me and my sister in the characters of Daphne and Piper Templeton. Like pet sitter Daphne, I’m an animal-loving, world-traveling, poor-at-bookkeeping bumbler, while, like veterinarian Piper, my sister is rational, organized and a medical professional.


Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I would write about my father, Donald Fantaskey. He was one of life’s great unsung heroes. Whether quietly fighting racism in the 1970s, leading by example, or making everyone around him laugh, he always made the world a better place.


Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I have been revisiting some classic cozies by Martha Grimes. Whenever I need inspiration, I turn back to her books.

Line of bones with three puppy heads - white with brown spots, all brown, and Dalmata

Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: Everything by Dickens, Austen and Dumas. I was an English major, way back when, and those books paved the way for my future writing career.


Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I would hang out with my amateur sleuth, Daphne. We’d start off with a big breakfast at the Silver Moon diner, then pick up her best friend, Moxie Bloom, and go shopping for vintage clothes. Next, we’d eat lunch at Casita Burrito and walk Daphne’s various fosters and clients. We’d round out the day with dinner at Franco’s, where only Moxie would admit to having a huge crush on Detective Jonathan Black.


Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Blake’s Answer: I don’t read reviews anymore unless my editor shares them with me. And I never respond. I don’t change my work to reflect reviews, either. There’s no way you’ll ever please everyone. I will say that the negative reviews I’ve received—and everyone gets some—have made me a more compassionate person. When I dislike a book or movie, I’m keenly aware that someone poured their heart into the project. I would never trash something that another person created. We should all be here to lift one another up!

Thank you to Ms. Blake for being willing to answer my questions!

Line of kittens - black, calico, Siamese, grey, orange, black & white, and white

Thank you for joining me today! If you wish to visit more stops on the tour, please click on the banner below which will take you to the main tour page!

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