Cozy mystery author Kristine Raymond joins me today to chat about Finn-agled.
It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first novel. Sixteen books in multiple genres later, she’s added the title of podcasting host to her resume, thus assuring that she will never be idle.
When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business. When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order) at their home in south-central Kentucky, reads, or binge-watches Netflix.
Welcome, Kristine. Please tell us about your current release.
Finn-agled is a cozy mystery set in the fictional seaside town of Port New and centers around Finn Bartusiak – the owner of an antique store named Finn’s Finds. Her predictable, less than exciting life takes a turn when an antique writing case she recently acquired reveals a mystery. Assisted by her high-school crush, Spencer (who happened to show up the same day as the box), and her faithful Basset Hound, Garfunkel, Finn uncovers a nefarious scheme that puts her directly in the path of a murderous con man.
A secret message hidden inside of an antique wooden box, an unidentified dead body, and a mother determined to marry her off to the high school crush whom she hasn’t seen since…well…high school. There’s no doubt about it; Finn Bartusiak’s life in the seaside town of Port New is about to get interesting.
Coming into possession of a 19th-century, bronze and mahogany writing box under somewhat suspicious circumstances, Finn’s accidental discovery of a coded note leads her and Spencer Dane, bestselling novelist and love of her life (though he doesn’t know it yet), on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the jumble of letters. But they’re not the only ones interested in the cryptic message. There’s a con man on their trail, and he’ll stop at nothing, including murder, to claim the ‘treasure’ for himself.
What inspired you to write this book?
Originally intending to write a thriller, the moment Finn materialized on the page, I knew the story would be a cozy instead. She’s quirky, funny, deeply committed to her family and friends, and may or may not share a few similarities with the author (that’d be me). The deeper into the story I got, the more it took on a life of its own, until even I was surprised at how it ended.
Excerpt from Finn-agled:
A slip of paper slightly larger than an index card fell from between the seams and floated ever so gently to the floor. Almost dropping the case in my elation (wouldn’t that just be my luck?), I set it gingerly on the table and retrieved the note.
Xlw k Wrlm no
Huh? What kind of crazy language is this?
I attempted to sound it out, tripping over my tongue because – let’s face it – it’s impossible to pronounce words that have no vowels. Thinking I’d stumbled onto either an ancient, and possibly forgotten, language, or a secret military code, I hopped back on the computer for some serious research. It wasn’t until the Gothic cathedral mantel clock perched on the shelf above a row of whiskey barrels chimed twelve that I realized I’d been staring at the screen for the better part of three hours. That would explain my grainy eyeballs.
“Time to call it a night. Come on, Garfunkel. Let’s go home.”
Shutting off the computer, I slipped the note into my pocket, leaving the writing case in my office for the time being. Who knew what other mysterious messages might be hidden inside? Turning off the light, plunging the room into darkness, I walked out front to collect my sleepy hound, dim lumens from the street lamp outside filtering in through the plate glass window, illuminating my way and casting shadows along the floor and walls. Headlights from a passing car briefly lit up the interior of the shop, glinting off the wind chimes that hung over the front door.
If only I’d had the forethought to hang a set of chimes over the back door as well. Then, perhaps, they would’ve warned me about the person who jimmied the lock, crept up behind me, and wrapped his fingers around my neck, squeezing until everything went black.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently writing Finn-icky Eaters, the sequel to Finn-agled. Grandma Lena gets herself into a bit of hot water and it’s up to Finn to get her out. Once that one is published, I have several more Finn’s Finds mysteries on deck.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmmm…I’m still working on this. I didn’t begin writing until Labor Day weekend 2013 when, on a whim, I decided to write a book. It was something I hadn’t done yet and, after all, how hard could it be? *Please note the heavy sarcasm in that question.
One book led to three, then to eight, then before I knew it, I was into double-digits. Most days, I consider myself a ‘writer-in-progress’ because I’m constantly learning and, hopefully, improving my technique and my ‘voice’.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
In the sense that I don’t work an outside job, yes, I’m a full-time writer. However, with a multitude of rescued furbabies to care for (and this past spring I added a flock of chickens and guineas to the homestead), the garden to tend, the lawn to mow, berries to pick (you get the idea), there are days I don’t have time to think, much less touch my manuscript. That may be the reason Finn-icky Eaters is taking longer to write than I intended.
I also host a podcast called Word Play with Kristine. I love chatting with other authors about their books, ambitions, and hobbies, and more often than not, learn a technique or habit that I can apply to my own writing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Not sure if this falls under the guidelines of quirky but I have to have complete silence when I write. Quite a challenge in a house full of furbabies! Lol.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
As the author of historical western romances, contemporary romances, an erotic drama, and cozy mysteries, I hope you discover a story (or two or ten) of mine that you love. Thanks for reading!
And for links to podcast episodes, guest posts, and other great stuff, check out Word Play with Kristine Raymond at www.wordplaypodcast.com.
Thanks for being here today, Kristine!