Interview: Sparkle Abbey

Please welcome Sparkle Abbey, author(s) of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series.

Thanks so much for inviting us, Mysteristas! Great questions.

Fifty Shades of Greyhound - CoverBBBWhat’s your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect day is a beach and a book. If there’s a fun drink with an umbrella involved that only adds to the fun, right?

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
Signature accessory is definitely our Sparkle Abbey t-shirts which we wear at conferences. We got them to wear for our author pictures because we did the pictures with the real Sparkle (ML’s Cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog) and then we’ve continued to wear them (not the same shirts, new ones) because they’re easier to read than a name tag.

Our signature phrase has to do with explaining our books. We often say, “No pets are harmed. People are dead.” ​

We have a couple signature drinks. We love margaritas and find that while drinking them we come up with some of our most memorable titles. Then there’s our coffee drinks: Skinny hazelnut latte and a nonfat, no-water, chai latte.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Cheryl St. John – Author/Friend. Always there with an encouraging word or a swift kick in the pants, whichever was needed.
Laura Levine – Author. She writes such doggone funny mysteries. We aspire to write like Laura Levine when we grow up. ​
Twyla Tharp – Dancer, Choreographer. Her ideas around the discipline of creative work are amazing.

Do you listen to music when you write?
Absolutely. What we’re listening to is dependent on the type of scene we’re writing.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Definitely dark chocolate with nuts! Dark because, after all, people are dead. With nuts because we’ve had so much fun with the quirky characters that make appearances in our books. Though the two cousins take turns as narrators, some of the secondary characters carry over from book to book. Characters such as Betty Foxx, who our readers call “Pajama Betty” because she thinks PJs are comfy any time of day, and Ollie, our favorite dog-loving rocker, who ​entertains us with his colorful British slang.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
This particular story started with the title. As you’ve probably already figured out we love the play on words of using familiar titles and adding a pet twist. ​Once we started researching greyhound rescue the story really began to tug at us. Then the fun starts! We always begin with “What if? and in this case the what if was: What if a someone was killed right in the midst of a fancy-smancy fundraising party? ​

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Well, rescue pets, of course, but we also revisit the theme of family relationships and especially mother/daughter relationships, which are often complicated.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her to be the person she is today?
Caro Lamont, Laguna Beach’s favorite pet therapist, is the lead in Fifty Shades of Greyhound. She is a former Texas beauty queen who walked out on that life (much to her mama’s chagrin) and became a psychologist. However, after her ex-husband betrayed her, compromised their joint practice, and caused her to lose her license, she packed up and moved to Laguna Beach where she loves using her people insights to deal with problem pets. Caro is always champion for the underdog. Canine or human.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Caro looks like Isla Fisher but has the brains of Jessica Fletcher and the outspoken attitude of Katherine Hepburn.

If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Mark Twain
Agatha Christie
Mary Stewart
Nora Roberts
Carolyn Hart
Laura Levine

What’s next for you?
Next up is The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo – Book 6 in the series.

Again, thanks so much for inviting us to stop by.


Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They have chosen to use Sparkle Abbey as their pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets.  The authors co-write the best-selling Pampered Pets Mystery Series which focuses on the wacky world of precious pedigrees, pampered pooches, and secrets in posh Laguna Beach, California. The main characters and amateur sleuths are Texas cousins, Carolina Lamont, a pet therapist, and Melinda Langston, a pet boutique owner. The two would join forces and work together if they were speaking, but they’re not. Midwest Book Review calls the series “A sassy and fun mystery!”The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by Get FluffyKitty, Kitty, Bang, Bangand Yip/Tuck.  Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the latest installment.

Readers who would like more information can find us online in the following spots:








12 thoughts on “Interview: Sparkle Abbey”

  1. Thanks for stopping! I remember meeting you at the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont a few years ago – such fun. I love the titles. You’re probably one of the few author(s) who listen to music while writing. What is in your playlists?


  2. Mary – Festival of Mystery is so much fun. What a great event! My playlist (ML here) has a lot of classical but I also enjoy jazz. I do stay away from lyrics because they can be sort of subliminally distracting. Candy Dulfer on saxophone is one of my go-to artists and I love The Piano Guys. Though I’ve been known to default to Sting or Maroon 5. 🙂 So I guess the answer is that it depends…


  3. What a fun interview! Your titles are wonderful and your characters sound very interesting. Looking forward to checking out your books!


  4. Thanks, Sue. We have a good time thinking up titles and so far our publisher has allowed us to keep them. After The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo are: Kitty Confidential and Raiders of the Lost Bark. 🙂


  5. Great titles and story lines. I love the no pets were harmed line. This is the first I have heard of your books, now I have to to Amazon again :). I’m looking forward to the read. Oh, if you have room for a fly on the wall of your dinner party, count me in!


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