This week I am very happy to have as my guest Toni LoTempio. Toni visited us a while ago when she did a guest interview with her blogging cat, Rocco.
I met them online when I was looking for interviews with a favorite author. Rocco has interviewed many best-selling authors, and first-timers. It seems that no one can say “no” to being interviewed by a smart cat!
Toni has published a number of paranormal romances, but now has a new, successful cozy mysteries, The Nick and Nora series, which also features and extraordinary cat.
Let’s let her tell us more: Welcome, Toni LoTempio!
Let’s start right out by asking how it was that Rocco started interviewing authors.
Thanks for having me, Tonette! Well, ROCCO has always had a larger than life personality And like his mama, he’s a frustrated journalist. When we started the blog in 2011 it was with the intention that ROCCO would mainly expound his views on cats, books and life in general….and then I got the idea of ROCCO interviewing guests. I started with a friend of mine, author Heather Massey, and then I approached Janet Evanovich with the idea and she was very receptive. And it just got bigger and bigger from there.
You and Rocco have had some really big names on your Cats, Cats and More Cats blog. Do you find getting guests to be easy? Is there anyone you would like to have that you have not had?
I find that most authors are quite receptive to the idea of being interviewed by a cat! More than you would think. Who would we like to get that we haven’t yet? Are you reading this Nora Roberts??????? Or Mary Higgens Clark???????????? I’d love to get either or both of them, and maybe Stephen King or James Patterson…..
How did you get started writing your own novels?
I’ve actually been writing since I was about six years old. If I didn’t’ like the way a story or a comic book ended I’d just rewrite it. I got into novels years later, in my late forties.
“Nick and Nora” are inspired by the “Thin Man” stories and movies. Why did you tap into those, specifically?
Well, I was watching “The Thin Man” one night and ROCCO jumped into my lap. I wondered what would happen if Nick Charles came back as a cat and helped a girl solve his murder. And that’s how the original concept of Nick and Nora was born. In the original story Nick the cat talked, that’s how he “coached” Nora on being a detective. When my agent brought the book to Penguin, the editorial board (at that time) loved everything EXCEPT the talking cat, which was what I thought made the book unique. So, it was back to the drawing board. I had to shut Nick the cat up, create a new character (Nick Atkins partner Ollie) and split the cat’s dialogue between Ollie and Chantal. It worked, though!
Who/what else is your inspiration?
I get inspiration in the oddest places – I once wrote a fantasy YA novel from a name on the side of a garbage truck (I kid you not) One of these days I’m going to have to resurrect Onyx!
Nora is certainly braver than I am! Are you as brave as she is?
Some call her TSTL – too stupid to live, but I view her as more of a “Lois Lane” type of person. Don’t forget, she was a fearless investigative reporter before she became Nick’s sidekick! Am I as brave as Nora – aw, hell no. I’d never face down a mobster with a loaded gun.
You also are involved with the “Kids Need to Read” charity. Can you tell us about it?
Kids Need to Read is a charity started by Nathan Fillion, Denise Gary, and PJ Haarsma to bring books to kids in areas with underfunded libraries. ROCCO and I have been holding Ebay auctions in July for four years now, with the proceeds going directly to the charity! As an author, I’m in favor of anything that supports reading! You can find out more about the charity here: http://www.kidsneedtoread.org
And we’ll be having another fundraiser this July!
You have a full-time job, yet have managed to pump out your work and blog. If you have any breathing time, what else do you like to do?
Collapse?????? I used to like to bowl, but thanks to a bad back that dream has since died. I like watching old movies, and mysteries of course. Give me the Hallmark channel any day!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
The next Nick and Nora, CRIME AND CATNIP, comes out this December. And I have a new series debuting next year from Crooked Lane, about two sisters who run an animal shelter. The first volume in that series, PURR M FOR MURDER, comes out May 2017! I also review cozies for Night Owl digital magazine and write the monthly suspense column!
How can our readers find out more about you?
They can always find me (and ROCCO) on our blog, http://www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.tclotempio.com
on Twitter @RoccoBlogger
My goodness! I hadn’t realized just how busy you are! Thank you for being our guest today, Toni LoTempio!
Thank you for having me!!!!!
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read. Visit her at http://www.tclotempio.com or at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com
[Note from Tonette: I will not be able to answer comments on Friday, as I will be out of town, attending my son’s graduation.He is receiving his Master’s of Science degree. I am so very proud of him. He has put his heart into making this world a better place.]