Meet Carol J. Perry, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Carol J. Perry to my blog!

Carol J. Perry | Author Interview | Witch City Mystery Series | Paranormal Mystery books | Blogging | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.comHow long have you been writing?

Seems as though I’ve been writing all my life if you count school things. I was editor of my high school magazine and wrote short stories and very bad poetry! My first experience with actually getting paid for writing began when I was nineteen and was hired as an assistant advertising manager for a local fuel company.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Two motivations. #1. I enjoy doing it. #2. I like getting paid to do it.

The beginning: I knew in the seventh grade that I wanted to be in the advertising business and planned my future accordingly. I wanted to be either a copy writer or an artist. Turns out I’m a much better writer than I am an artist.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day for you?

I’m a morning person, so I like to work as soon as I have my first cup of coffee. I try to write 500 words before noon, then stop and do housework, errands, maybe go to lunch, then come back to the computer and do 500 more. 1000 words a day is always my goal.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I’ve been fortunate to have had more than one book published. The first one was a middle grade book, Sand Castle Summer, published by Willowisp Press way back in 1988. I’m sure the first thing I did was call my husband, Dan and tell him the good news. My first mystery book was Caught Dead Handed published by Kensington in 2014 and that was a super exciting day!

What was the publishing process like? How long did it take?

The actual process from the time I deliver the finished manuscript until the book is released takes about a year. That was true of both the middle grade books and the mystery series. First the editor goes over the manuscript and makes suggestions like clarification of certain points and maybe asks for another scene or sometimes asks that it be shortened. After that the copy editor makes corrections in punctuation, spelling etc. and sometimes even makes suggestions about the story.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes. I’m working now on Book#9 in my Witch City Mystery series for Kensington. My contract calls for two books a year.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’ve done several other things besides writing. I’ve been a floral designer, a collectibles show producer, a salesperson in a store, a cartographer, a substitute teacher–even a commercial fisherman!

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I wish with all my heart I’d taken a typing class somewhere along the line. I still have to look at the keys!

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

My favorite book is The Chronicles of Narnia by C. E. Lewis. Favorite writer is Sue Grafton. Favorite genre is and always has been mysteries.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read lots and lots of current books in your chosen genre. You’ll learn a lot about how to put your book together, how to pace the action, and what editors/agents are looking for. It also helps if you can join a critique group so that you can get some opinions while your work is in progress. I attend a critique group every Saturday morning and the help I receive there is extremely valuable.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes. If this was easy everybody would do it. Also, to quote Shay Mitchell, “Visualize. Have Faith. Then work your butt off.”

About Carol J. Perry

Bells, Spells, and Murder by Carol J. Perry | Book Trailer | Paranormal Mystery | Author Interview | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.comCarol J. Perry is the author of the Witch City Mystery series, (Kensington.) She was born in that magical witch city—Salem Massachusetts–on Halloween Eve!  Carol’s writing background includes ad copy, non-fiction magazine articles (many on travel, more on antiques and collectibles) and several middle grade books. Her first Witch City mystery, Caught Dead Handed, appeared in 2014, followed by six more—the newest, Bells, Spells and Murders released  September 25, 2018. Carol lives in Florida with husband Dan, one black Lab and one spoiled cat.

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Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

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Book Review: Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) by Carol J. Perry | Cozy Mystery | Paranormal | Reading | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I received a free paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Whose funeral will be next?

For residents of Salem, Massachusetts, the day after Halloween brings empty candy wrappers, sagging pumpkins, and a community-wide identity crisis. That is, until Lee Barrett s TV production class suggests extending the spooky season with the traditional Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos. But when the students discover not all of Salem s dead are resting in peace, the post-October blues don t seem so bad after all . . .

As if a series of haunting graveyard visits isn t disturbing enough, Lee and her policeman boyfriend connect the crime to an unsolved missing person case. Driven by a series of chilling psychic visions, Lee calls on her cleverest allies including her shrewd cat, O Ryan to go underground and dig up the evidence needed to put a lid on a cold case forever . . . before the latest headstone in town has her name on it!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I’m a fan of the cover. It really conveys what happens in the book and showcases some important points of the plot.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve spent the summer reading through this series and happily picked up this next book right away.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This plot is certainly unique from the stories in the rest of the series. It’s a paranormal story so having a plot based on Day of the Dead and a cemetery is great. I loved every minute of it. While this kind of setting is a bit cliche, it certainly found a way to twist the cliche upside down.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I feel like I’ve talked about the characters so much lately since I’m reading and reviewing these books pretty much all at once. So, it’s no surprise that I enjoy the main characters still. It was great to get back to seeing Lee’s students again. They’re a great cast and Dorothy was a great addition.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is easy to read. You think you know the answer but things end up getting turned upside down. Still, it’s easy to follow along with. This is the type of mystery that intrigues you from the very beginning and you don’t want to put the book down until it’s over… yet, you want to savor it. The dialogue and description go hand in hand and is very well done.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

As always, this was another great mystery from Carol Perry. I’m eager to read on with the series.

Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“The empty candy wrappers have been swept from the streets, the carved pumpkins have gone soft, their jagged-toothed sagging crookedly.” -Carol J. Perry, Grave Errors

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

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Book Review: Tails You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) by Carol J. Perry | Mystery | Paranormal Fantasy | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I received a free review paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Her instincts may be killer–but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts–known as “The Tabby”–in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school’s handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee’s clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull’s Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store’s history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers–and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she’s certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store’s attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose…

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

Like the book before it, I enjoy the over. It shows off a lot of what the story entails and the woman on the front is pretty spooky, especially for a paranormal mystery.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the first book and was eager to read the sequel.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Lee finds herself in wrapped up in another murder mystery as well as mysteries from the past. With the help of Pete, her detective boyfriend, her aunt, cat, and her students, they come together to unravel the secrets.

I found it interesting that Lee roped her students into the mystery – especially since some of them were questionable. It added a little more to the story since there were more characters to think about.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed revisiting the old characters as well as the new ones. The students acted exactly how students usually do. My only complaint was that Aunt Ibby and O’Ryan, the cat, didn’t seem to be in it as much as they were in the first book. O’Ryan had a big part at the end, but I missed them throughout.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is easy to read and the mystery is fairly easy to follow along with. There’s some stuff that happened in the past that was brought up for the present, which, I’ll admit, confused me here or there, but it was overall easy to read and follow along.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed this sequel. It was an interesting tail (sorry, not sorry) and I loved being with the old characters again. I’m looking forward to reading book three.

Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) by Carol J. Perry gets…
4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Be nice. I’ve heard that he’s pretty much responsible for getting our funding.” – Carol J. Perry, Tails, You Lose

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Caught Dead Headed (Witch City Mystery 1) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

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Book Review: Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1) by Carol J. Perry | Mystery | Paranormal Fantasy | Fiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free review paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

She’s not a psychic–she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown–where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives–to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch–especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer–or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is dark and mysterious. It shows off a lot of what the book is about – the cat, for example – and even the title hints as well.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

If you know me then you know I love a good cozy murder mystery. I was asked by the author to read the series and gladly accepted.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Like most cozy mysteries, Lee Barrett doesn’t have things going the way she wanted them to. She didn’t get the job she wanted. As she leaves her interview, she stumbles upon a dead body. On the plus side, the dead body was one of the workers so Lee ends up with a job in the end.

Things begin to get strange around the news station and, as Lee researches witchcraft and psychics for her job, she discovers some things about the people she works with and ends up investigating the murder case as well.

This adds a new twist on paranormal mysteries as Lee is pretending to be a psychic for her audience on her TV gig and find the true nature of her job as the people around her.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

All the characters were wonderfully written. I didn’t have a problem with any of them. They all had unique voices and personalities. Aunt Ibby, Lee’s aunt who she lives with, is an awesome character. She was very supportive and likable. I’m sure Aunt Ibby was my favorite character.

Every character has a purpose, though by the end of the book there were some characters who seemed to have disappeared. Scott Palmer, the man who got Lee’s job in the first place, had a lot of meaning the beginning and then just seemed to fall off the face of the earth by the end.

Oh, and O’Ryan the cat. He was truly my favorite, the MVP.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed the author’s writing style. There’s a good balance between dialogue and description, though more on the description end. The picture was painted well and the author had great knowledge of the setting of the book, Salem, MA.

The story flowed well and went at a nice pace with a good amount of tension and funny moments. It was an easy read and was a decent length at nearly 400 pages.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great first installment for a mystery series. It was a fun mystery to figure out and, now that it’s finished, I’m remembering some clues that would have helped me figure it out sooner. It was well put together. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She held up a well-manicured hand and began counting on cerise nail-polished fingers.” –Carol J. Perry, Caught Dead Handed (Witch City Mystery 1)

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com