Please welcome Sparkle Abbey, authors of the Pampered Pets mysteries.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
A day with family and no commitments. And if a beach is somehow involved that would make it even more perfect!
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
We’d have to say our t-shirts. They started out as an idea for our author photo and have since morphed into the way the we’re often recognized. And, of course, they make packing for conferences SO easy!
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
It’s so hard to pick particular books or authors, but we were both readers of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden when we were growing up. And then graduated to bigger stories and authors. We love the complicated plots of Lisa Gardner and the fun over-the-top characters of Laura Levine with Jaine Austen and her cat, Prozac.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes. The music genre is often dictated by where we are in the story or the type of scene we’re writing.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Definitely sweet and nutty!
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
The setting for Raiders of the Lost Bark, was inspired by an Orange County camping trip that Anita and her family took a number of years ago. For three hot summer days, at the beginning of what was to become a five-year drought for California, Anita’s family pitched their well-used six-person tent at the desolate Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park campground. After two restless nights of sleeping on the hard, dusty ground, and watching over their shoulders for mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and dodging bees, they broke camp and headed east—to the even hotter Las Vegas desert, a cold hotel room and running water.
Years later, we tossed around the idea of a story set outside of Laguna Beach. What if our pampered characters were stuck between the sandstone canyons and parched wilderness campsites? How would they cope?
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Certainly family and complications caused by the ones you love; as well as the idea that no one in the world knows you like your own family.
Tell us about your main character.
Our series features two main characters, cousins and former Texas beauty queens, who’ve relocated to Laguna Beach, California. Caro Lamont is a pet therapist and Melinda Langston is a pet boutique owner. They alternate playing the lead in our titles and so the current book features Mel who, along with her friend and employee, Betty Foxx, decide to go “glamping.” That’s glamorous camping, just in case you didn’t know. And Mel, didn’t so much decide as she was blackmailed into going.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Caro is a mash-up of Isla Fisher (a feisty red-head), a young Katherine Hepburn (independent and direct) and because she has such a heart for animals, there has to be a bit of Sarah McLachlan in there too.
Mel is a mash-up of Danica Patrick (gutsy and adventurous), almost any Sandra Bullock character for the obvious reasons, and a dash of Jane Rizzoli’s fashion sense.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwishttps://mysteristas.wordpress.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=11109&type=image&TB_iframe=1e) you’d include?
(Wow, this is hard…) Agatha Christie, of course, and Daphne du Maurier and… Lisa Gardner and Lee Child because he’s so charming. And Sara Paretsky because she’s also charming and so smart! And Laura Levine, because she’s our idol and would make us laugh.
What’s next for you?
We’re currently working on ideas for books 9 and 10 in the series. (No titles yet, so stay tuned.)
Sparkle Abbey is actually two authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the national best-selling Pampered Pets Mystery Series. Their pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets–Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by subsequent books that continue Caro and Mel’s mystery-solving adventures. Midwest Book Reviews calls the series “sassy and fun!” If you want to learn more or make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates!