Lesa: Tonya, I don’t even know where to start with questions because you’re such a busy author. Why don’t you tell us about yourself and Maymee Bell?
Tonya: Hahhaa!! Yes. I am busy. But we are one in the same. Originally, when I took the contract from Crooked Lane for the Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series, it is a straight cozy. There’s no paranormal in it, which is what I’ve written for so long in my cozies. My granny’s name is Mamie and I love that name. It was in her honor that I decided to use a variation of her name as my pen name.
Now I look back and think that I probably didn’t need to do that.
Lesa: Would you introduce Sophia Cummings?
Tonya: Sophia is what I’d call a typical twenty-something going into her thirties that’s realized family and friends are really what the world is about. She’d spent so much time trying to get out of that small hometown, she’s rediscovered it after she goes back for a visit. This time she’s more mature and finds everything she’d been searching for while she’s been gone is actually right there in her small town.
Lesa: Tell us about Cake & Punishment, without spoilers.
Tonya: Sophia is a “famous” pastry chef. Her heart has been broken and she flees to her small hometown to hide. It just so happens (wink) that her high school best friend is getting married that same weekend and the cake baker has backed out on baking the wedding cake. Of course, Sophia steps up to make it and just so happens to stumble upon a dead body.
Lesa: I may be wrong, but I count ten series that you’re writing or have written. Which ones are currently active?
Tonya: Yes! I’m currently writing The Kenni Lowry Mystery Series, which is a ten book deal with Henery Press. The Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series with Crooked Lane. The Killer Coffee Mystery Series, The Magical Cures Mystery Series, and (new) A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series all self published.
Lesa: The first in the Camper and Criminals series is just out. Would you tell us about it?
Tonya: OMG….let me tell you how much I love this series. As a child, my parents had a camper. We had so much fun in that thing. I was a campground rat, running around barefoot, jumping in the rivers/lakes and had such fond memories of traveling around. I knew I had to write a series based in a campground in the Daniel Boone National Park set in Kentucky.
You find a lot of funny characters in campgrounds, so they fit right on in with my characters. It was perfect. I’m happy to say that readers are LOVING it!
Lesa: You have to pick one. What’s your favorite series, and what’s it about?
Tonya: The Magical Cures Mystery Series hands down. June Heal and the fun gang put me on the cozy mystery map and they still continue to sell so well.
Lesa: You seem to specialize in Southern mysteries with humor. What authors influenced you?
Tonya: None! I’m southern and when I started writing, there weren’t any out there. That’s when I knew it was my niche.
Lesa: Where do you like to take friends when they come to visit you in Kentucky?
Tonya: I live about ten miles from Cincinnati. Our zoo has a famous little hippo named Fiona. Everyone wants me to take them to see her. If you’ve not seen her and her story, look her up!
Lesa: I’m a public librarian, so I end my interviews with the same question. Would you tell us a story about a library or librarian in your life?
Tonya: Yes! I live about three streets over from our library. I always love to go over there and talk when they ask. Our librarian, Lisa, is awesome. She and I instantly clicked. We also do Jazzercise together. We sweat and read together, what a perfect combo!!
If you're exhausted just reading this interview, you're not the only one. Tonya is hard to keep up with. The only way to keep track of her books is to check out her web site at www.tonyakappes.com
Cake & Punishment by Maymee Bell. Crooked Lane Books, 2018. ISBN 9781683315711 (hardcover), 320p.