Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Effect of Words – Guest Post by Cathy Ace


Today, I'm featuring cozy mystery author Cathy Ace in a guest post about her newest instalment in the Cait Morgan mystery series The Corpse with the Ruby Lips.

Check out my five-star book review of the book here.

The Corpse with the Ruby Lips
(A Cait Morgan Mystery)
Author: Cathy Ace
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
Date of publication: 1 November, 2016)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1771511957

Synopsis:

Quirky criminology professor Cait Morgan is invited to be a guest lecturer at a Budapest university, and although she’s hesitant to go without her husband and trusted sidekick, Bud, who must stay home to care for his aging parents, she decides to make the month-long trip on her own.

Soon after arriving, one of her new students, Zsofia, pleads with Cait to help her uncover any clues about her grandmother’s unsolved murder, which happened decades ago on the campus of Cait’s own home university in Canada. Cait agrees, but when she is repeatedly hassled by an creepy colleague, and as bizarre details about Zsofia’s family members come to light, Cait is beset by uncertainty.

As she gets closer to the truth, Cait’s investigation puts the powers-that-be on high alert, and her instincts tell her she’s in grave danger. Bud races to Budapest to come to Cait’s side, but will it be too late?

The Effect of Words – Guest Post by Cathy Ace

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be here – it’s a great chance for me to talk about something that means a great deal to me…the themes which run through books, just beneath, or even on, the surface.
Sometimes authors do more than one thing when they write a book: certainly they seek to tell a story (in my case a puzzling murder case is always investigated) but they’ll also often do something else…explore a theme that’s relevant to the plot, meaningful to themselves, or both. This is certainly something I’ve done in the past (there’s a leitmotif of opera running through Cait Morgan Mystery #4, THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR, for example, and in THE CORPSE WITH THE SAPPHIRE EYES, I focused on the difference between what we see, and what’s really there).

In this latest Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE RUBY LIPS, I’ve allowed myself (and Cait) to dwell on that old saying “Sticks and stones might break my bones, but words will never harm me”. With “LIPS” being in the title, it might come as no surprise that the effect upon us of those things which come from our lips…our words…is something that’s relevant to the book. But it’s also relevant to me, personally.



Like Cait, I’m Welsh, which means I grew up with words and songs playing a massive role in my life. The Welsh love to talk, and sing – and I was no exception. Indeed, the only cup I ever won in my life wasn’t for running or swimming, or sports of any kind, but for public speaking. I captained our school’s debating team, I performed on stage in plays, musicals and in concert parties from an early age, and sang in many choirs, often three or four at a time. So, yes, for me, the spoken and sung word was a core part of my life. Oddly, despite the fact I belonged to many groups – each of which had a common performance-based cause – I wasn’t really a “joiner”. Like many who end up writing, I was always an outsider, an observer standing just a little apart from the rest.

I was vaguely aware of girls whispering about me behind my back at my all-girls-school but, to be honest, I never felt the weight of their words or opinions because, to me, what they thought about me didn’t matter as much as what I thought of myself…and I was always happy to enjoy my singing, acting, speaking life just beyond the reach of anyone’s judgement.

But that’s not how it goes for everyone; for some, words spoken can sting not only at the time, but for many years to come. Sometimes the overheard unkind remark, the susurration of gossip, or the flat-out abusive comments inflicted upon them not only scar them for life, but completely change the type of life they feel they are able to lead. So, yes, the role of words play a big part in this book – words spoken, gossip that’s life-changing, listening to people’s “private” conversations…they all play their part in a tale of a cold crime that reaches out and touches the family of the victim in unforeseen ways, and of how not only words that are spoken can hurt, but of how words not spoken – when they should have been – can have disastrous consequences.

Keep up with the rest of the tour here.

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About the Author:

Cathy Ace loves crime! It’s true – she discovered Nancy Drew in her local library, then found Agatha Christie on her Mum’s bookshelves, and she never looked back. Cathy happily admits that the characters she met between the book-covers as a child have influenced her writing. “Nancy Drew was plucky, strong and independent, and Agatha Christie’s puzzles engaged me every time. I love the sort of book that mixes intricate plotting with a dash of danger, and that’s what I’ve tried to create with my Cait Morgan Mystery Series. Beginning my new series, featuring the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency, I have been able to indulge my love of stately homes, village life and the interplay between characters that can take place in that sort of setting.”

Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy is, like her heroine Cait Morgan, now a Canadian citizen. “Cait’s Welsh Canadian, as am I. They say ‘write what you know’, so a short, plus-sized Welsh woman, who’s quite bossy, fits the bill! But Cait and I are not one and the same: she’s got skills and talents I don’t possess, and I’m delighted to say that I don’t usually encounter corpses wherever I go! I’ve also chosen to burrow even deeper into my roots by creating a new cast of characters in the WISE women who come from all four corners of the United Kingdom and work in a uniquely British setting – a ducal estate set in the rolling Welsh countryside of the Wye Valley in Powys, where I spent a good deal of time when I was young.”

With a successful career in marketing having given her the chance to write training courses and textbooks, Cathy has now finally turned her attention to her real passion: crime fiction. Her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Two of her works, “Dear George” and “Domestic Violence”, have also been produced by Jarvis & Ayres Productions as “Afternoon Reading” broadcasts for BBC Radio 4.

Cathy now writes two series of traditional mysteries: The Cait Morgan Mysteries (TouchWood Editions) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (Severn House Publishers).

Cathy is proud to be Chair of Crime Writers of Canada, a member of Sisters in Crime, the Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America.

Author Links: