Purls and Poison (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery)
by Anne Canadeo
I am super excited to have Anne stop by today!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live on Long Island, in Northport, an old-fashioned looking village on the Long Island Sound. Plum Harbor, in the Black Sheep mysteries, and also, Cape Light in the series I write as Katherine Spencer, are both based on my own hometown. We’ve lived here for about 20 years and before that in Brooklyn.
I grew up on Long Island, but lived in different parts of the country after college and also in the Bahamas. I think moving around and meeting different types of people helped me mature a lot, and also helped me as writer, teaching me that most people share the same hopes and concerns. I’ve been married for almost 30 years to my husband, Spencer and we have one daughter, Kate who is well “launched” and lives in Washington, D.C. We used to have two dogs, but now only have our sweet, funny Lily, a Golden Retriever who is just like Lucy’s Binger’s dog, Tink. I’m a real homebody. I love to cook and work in the garden and I also volunteer a lot in our community, with a winter respite program for the homeless and managing a food program that meets weeks and delivers food to those in need.
- What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I’m allergic to eggplant, my middle name is Bernadette and at around age 12, I (briefly) played the B-flat tuba.
- What is the first book you remember reading?
I recall reading all the Dr. Seuss books early on, but can’t remember one on particular. The first novel I remember taking out of the school library was titled, B is for Betsy, but the story was not memorable. I loved all the books by Beverly Cleary and one of my favorite books of all time is Charlotte’s Web. It has so much wisdom in it. I had trouble learning how to read in first grade, but once I started I couldn’t stop.
- What are you reading now?
I just finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Perfectly Fine.
- What made you decide you want to write?
Storytelling came naturally to me. I made up poems and stories before I could write or read, But I didn’t have the confidence or whatever it takes, to jump into writing fiction full time, straight off. I wrote only poetry into my twenties and initially wanted to be a college professor. I went as far as a Master’s Degree in literature, but I was working in publishing while going to graduate school, and I enjoyed editorial work. So I stuck with that instead of going for a Ph. D. I worked at several major houses before jumping to the other side of the desk.
- Do you have a special place you like to write?
Absolutely – I have a great little office in our house, and sit surrounded by all my favorite books, and those I’ve written on the shelves, and a lot of encouraging signs, good luck charms and photos. I must write at my own desk, on my own computer and wear earplugs, even though, except for the dog, I’m alone most of the time. But I ponder my work everywhere once I’m in a project, and often get the best ideas and insights when I’m away from my desk — cleaning the house, in the shower, walking the dog etc.
- Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I wish I knew! Plots for books grow in mind, like a pot of soup with ingredients being added. Or, like a lot of post-its getting stuck together and somehow, creating a story. Sometimes I notice situations in real life or the news that hold possibilities for a story. Sometimes it’s just an image in my mind, or a character will come to me, and the story grows from their personality and issues in their life.
- What books have most inspired you?
Again, that is hard to say. I have a range of favorite authors, such as Jane Austen, Alice Munro, Ann Patchett and for mystery authors, Alexander McCall Smith and Sue Grafton. Discovering a new author that inspires you is always thrilling. I love all of Elizabeth Strout’s work. She’s my newest favorite.
- Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
After I work out a concept, I like to write a fairly complete outline. That can be challenging because I really dig down, and think through the scenes and situations that will move the train down the tracks. I will depart and get new ideas when I’m actually writing, but it’s important for me to know how I’m going to get from A to B. That’s the real heavy lifting of the process for me. Also, the very start of a book can be slow, until the writing starts to carry you along.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Many elements are important for a story that really draws in a reader – a likable or at least, relatable character with a strong, distinct voice. Well drawn supporting characters throughout, and believable motives that are emotion based. In mysteries, the best motives seem to come from love, jealousy or protecting a loved one. Conflict in the story is extremely important and needs to build, and also, hold surprising twists and complications. The ending needs to be logical and satisfying, too. I always like to show that the main character has experienced some “process,” Meaning they are different in some way at the end of the story, compared to how they started out. Maybe they have had an insight about themselves or the world at large or some important realization, and the reader might, too.
- Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
It’s tough to choose and depends on a lot on my mood when I answer. I’ve decided that all the characters I write about are a little like me, or reflect some aspect of my personality. When you write, you’re an actor playing many roles.
- Why did you pick your particular genre?
I’ve always loved mysteries, starting with Sherlock Holmes. But it took me a while to crack the code on how to put together a mystery plot that would adequately – most of the time—stump a reader.
- What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
The series has no single, amateur sleuth. The knitting group solves the mysteries together and the point of view in each story moves around between the members. I think the friendship among the knitting group characters and their amusing conversation makes this series different from a lot of others, too. Most readers say they love just hanging out with the Black Sheep. Each book is like getting together with a great bunch of women friends.
- What’s next on the horizon for you.
I have a few projects on the back burner. One is a more serious mystery set in New York City in 1947 and another is a regular novel. And more Black Sheep mysteries, too. I’m presently working on HOUNDS OF THE BASKET STITCH, which will be published in the fall of 2019.
Thank you, Anne, for visiting today!
Now keep reading to learn about her new book, Purls and Poison.
About the Book
Purls and Poison (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery)
2nd in Series
Kensington (October 30, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B079KT54BW
When a fellow Black Sheep Knitter is suspected of poisoning her coworker, the group puts down their needles and takes up their friend’s defense . . .
Suzanne Cavanaugh has just about had it with her office rival at Prestige Properties. It’s bad enough that Liza Devereaux is constantly needling her at work, but when she shows up at one of Suzanne’s open houses to poach potential buyers, it’s the last straw. No one in the office fails to hear the two snarling at each other.
When Liza is later found dead in her office cubicle—poisoned by a diet shake—Suzanne becomes the prime suspect. It’s soon discovered, though, that Liza had double-crossed so many around town and stashed their dark secrets in her designer handbags that anyone could be the culprit.
The Black Sheep Knitters have no doubt their friend has been framed—but they need to prove it. Stirred to action, they get together to catch a sneaky killer who’s trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes . . .
Praise for Purls and Poison (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery)
by Anne Canadeo
Such a prolific author, such good mysteries! I raced through PURLS AND POISON, not sidetracking to read something else . . . I so admire this strong group friendship, these ladies go all out for each other, sacrificing personal concerns when necessary. Friendship over all!
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies
A fun story fit for all ages just like the characters. A knitters delight.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
About The Author
Anne Canadeo is the best-selling author of more than 30 books, including the Black Sheep & Company Mysteries, and as Katherine Spencer, the Cape Light and Angel Island series. She somehow manages to write a lot, despite many and much-loved distractions — such as digging up the garden, hanging out with her dog, trying new recipes, drinking copious amounts of mint tea, eating chocolate and volunteer work in the community. She lives in Northport, NY, a village on the Long Island Sound very much like the settings of her stories. Anne loves to hear from readers. Answering their messages is definitely another favorite distraction in her day.
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