Monday, March 17, 2008

Meet Cathy Elliott - Interview & Book Giveaway

Cathy ElliotA big welcome to Cathy Elliott, author of the cozy mystery A Vase of Mistaken Identity (Thea James Mystery Series, Book 1). Let’s meet Cathy!


Cathy Elliott is a Library Information Technician at a community college in northern California. A woman of many interests, Cathy is an antique collector, a quilter, a musician, and ardent reader, and a new grandmom. In her spare time, she loves to swap chapters for emergency critiques at a local hangout.

A contributing author to Focus on the Family Newsletter, The Upper Room, Stories for the Teen’s Heart, Book 3, and A Cup of Comfort for Grandparents, Cathy has written ten children’s books for an educational company. A Vase of Mistaken Identity is her first novel.


JA: Your debut novel is A Vase of Mistaken Identity. Please tell us about it.
CE: Thanks for asking. It’s a cozy mystery starring antiques and intrigue—two of my favorite things! Here’s a little summary: An antique dealer acquires a vintage vase with a list of familiar names inside. At first, she is curious. But when the first person on the list has a freak accident, and the second mysteriously disappears, Thea gets nervous, then gets involved because—her name is next! Check out the video book trailer at:

JA: Your heroine, Thea James, is an antique dealer who gets pulled into a web of mystery. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
CE: When I began to write seriously, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to write. One evening at writer’s group meeting, I asked for prayer for direction in my writing journey. My author friend, Cindy Martinusen, then suggested I might try and write a mystery. It seemed a daunting idea, but by the time I got into my car, I had Thea’s name and knew she had an antique store. As I pulled into my driveway, I’d figured out there was a list hidden in a vase. It just began to come until I had a plot and characters. An immediate answer to prayer. And I appreciated it!

JA: What drew you into the world of cozy mysteries?
CE: I have read cozies for the longest time. But I’m not a cozy fan only. I enjoy traditional mysteries, too. Those of a soft-boiled nature in particular and some true crime, like Ann Rule. But I didn’t think I was ready to “live there” in my head or in my Care Bears heart. For me, a cozy was a good place to begin my mystery career.

Cathy Elliot CoverJA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading A Vase of Mistaken Identity?
CE: When my book was first published, I found myself comparing it to others of a deeper nature. Wow, some folks had their lives changed in some way by a work of fiction. But my book was light and fun and offered as joyful entertainment. Was that enough? When I got a letter from a reader saying she had read my book while in the hospital and it gave her a much needed escape, I understood its purpose. If the reader can find refreshment in the story, the humor, or the prose during a hard time, or any time…it will be enough for me.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
CE: A couple of things. I’m working on the sequel to my first book. And, I’m also working on a different mystery which is not a cozy but a soft-boiled detective novel set on Whidbey Island, Washington. I’m excited about both of them. We’ll see where God leads.

JA: I hear you’ve done quite a bit of antique hunting on eBay. What’s your favorite find?
CE: Oh, my! That’s a hard one. I’ve purchased so many items they sort of blend together. A mint transferware platter and covered casserole come to mind. Then there was that lovely pink luster bowl. Hmmm.

Let me answer it this way. My favorite “find” was a Pennsylvania collector who bid an astounding price for a 19th century mocha-ware (old yellow-ware) pitcher I placed on eBay for sale. I bought it at a yard sale for $40 which I thought was terribly high. I don’t like to pay over a few dollars at a garage/yard sale. Forty dollars seemed like an antique store price to me. But I thought it might be something good and eventually put it up on eBay. When the bidding went to $450, I was flabbergasted. When it rose to $700, I began to feel faint. The final price was $1350!!! Sure wish I could find another pitcher like that one.

JA: I love your eBay story! I used to hunt and sell on eBay and had some wonderful surprises, but nothing that incredible. Good job!

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

CE: Since I work in a library (which gives a certain impression), maybe that I played rhythm guitar and sang in a country-rock band for several years. It was how I financed my daughter’s private Christian school education. We made many great memories playing class reunions, weddings and private parties.

JA: As a Library Information Technician, you must get your hands on a lot of books. Are there any you’ve read lately that particularly stand out?
CE: Because of time restraints, I’m more selective than I used to be. To improve my writing, I’m trying to flood my senses with the very best the literary world has to offer. Right now I am reading an older book that Robert Penn Warren calls, “A masterpiece!” It is called Blue Highways: Journey Into America by William Least Heat Moon. The writing is so lovely, witty, poignant…I’m taking notes as I go.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
CE: Folks can find out my schedule or what’s new by going to my Web site at: Should anyone have a question not answered there, please feel free to e-mail me through the “Contact Info” link on the site.

Thanks so much, Jennifer, for the interview and opportunity to highlight my book. It’s been great fun!

Thank you, Cathy, and continued blessings on your writing journey!


You can win a copy of A Vase of Mistaken Identity here. Just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll combine the responses of my Blogger and ShoutLife blogs to pick a winner at random on March 24th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) ShoutLifers will be contacted via ShoutMail. Good luck!


Lesha said...

Sounds great! :)

anne said...

Interesting and lovely interview. The books sounds fascinating and intriguing. Enjoyed this peek into the book and the author's many and varied hobbies. Thanks for this great giveaway.

ladystorm said...

Great Interview! It sounds like my kind of book, please enter me in the drawing! :)

ladystorm282001 at yahoo dot com

ruth said...

Great interview and novel which sounds really appealing. Thanks for this chance. saubleb{at}gmail{dot}com

Janna said...

I've been wanting to read this book - the cover is amazing!


ellie said...

thanks for this interview and the special giveaway. Sounds just great! elliotbencan{at}hotmail{dot}com

diane said...

Love this great book. Sounds fabulous. Interesting interview. Thanks for the giveaway. bencanada1{at}yahoo{dot}com

April Erwin said...

What a great interview. I read this book right after it was released. LOVED IT. Referred all my friends. It was a great read, both fun and even a little thought provoking. I can't wait for the next one. :)

Karin said...

"Antiques and intrigue"-- sounds like a wonderful combination. Enjoyed the interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

karin56381 (at) gmail (dot) com

Brittanie said...

Sounds great. Enter me please. :)
treewaterduchess (at) yahoo (dot) com

stampedwithgrace said...

I love mysteries!

Bonnie Leon said...

Good interview. I met Cathy at Mt. Hermon last year. What a great lady! Part of a band? I should have known. :-)

I have the book so don't enter me in the drawing; that way someone else will get a chance to read it. It was a fun read.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview, the book sounds great. Please enter me.

bookwurm70 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Patty said...

Great way to put your kids through private school, singing on the side. I wish I was that good. Sure could use the help in that same area. I would love to win this book.

pleblanc_1 at charter dot net

windycindy said...

This was a great interview and I loved her answers. I love antiques and I sing, so we have a little in common! The cover of the book is very appropriate for the title and story line. I really enjoy reading suspense books that aren't too heavy. They are a very good form of escapism! Please enter me in your drawing. I appreciate it.....Thanks,Cindi

Marilyn said...

That book sounds great! I would love to win it. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!


Anonymous said...

What a great interview. This book sounds great and one that I would love to read. Please include me in the drawing.


Carole said...

I've been a long-time fan of cozy mysteries, and would love to win this one. Thank you for the opportunity!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Donna Moore said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me!!

runninmama at sbcglobal dot net

gautami tripathy said...

I loved reading the interview!

If you don't mind international shipping, you can count me in!


Anonymous said...

Pleae enter my name in your drawing! Thanks so much! God Bless! :o)
smile_y9 [at] yahoo [dot] com

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview and I'd like to be included!

Bunny said...

Great interview! I'd love to read a good mystery!! Pick me, please :P

bunnybox9 [at] lycos [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I LOVE a mystery! Please include my name in your drawing!


Anonymous said...

Please count me in! This sounds like a very interesting read. :-) Thanks!

Crystal Laine Miller said...

Here's another comment to get into this drawing!

I love the title and I'm into cozies right now. I liked seeing how the author developed into the genre and type of writing she does.

Loved the interview, Cathy, and thanks, Jen.

Crystal Laine Miller said...

whoops, here's the contact, just in case...


Jennifer AlLee said...

Great to see all you ladies! I've only met Cathy through our email correspondence, but she's just as sweet as can be. And don't you love her author photo? So mysterious....

Bebemiqui said...

Great giveaway! Count me in. bebemiqui82(at)yahoo(dot)com

grace said...

Great review, makes me want to read it!
grace [at] sandierpastures dot com

Katie said...

this looks great, I love mysteries!

Jennifer AlLee said...

And the winner is... Grace! Thanks to everyone who stopped by.