E.J., would you introduce yourself to readers?
Hello, readers! I’m E.J. Copperman. (You want more than that?) I’ve written a bunch of mystery series, but the one you probably know about is the Haunted Guesthouse mysteries. Except today I’m talking about the Asperger’s Mystery series (which I write with Jeff Cohen) and the Agent to the Paws series because books in both of those will be out October 9. (Yes, the same day. Don’t ask.)
Before we go any further, is there some sort of rivalry between you and Jeff Cohen?
We don’t like to talk about it. But I would like to clear up the misconception that we’re never seen in the same room. Whenever I look into a mirror I see both of us. Which is weird. I’ll have to ask Cohen if that happens to him too.
Would you introduce us to Kay Powell?
Readers, this is Kay. Kay… nah, I did that joke already. Kay is the Agent to the Paws, in that she’s a theatrical talent agent whose clients are all not humans. In BIRD BATH AND BEYOND, the second book in the series, she’s representing Barney, who through no fault of his own is a parrot. Kay grew up in a theatrical family (her parents are performers who now work on cruise ships) and decided to give up the spotlight and go to law school. After which she started trying to get work for dogs, cats, birds and the occasional boa constrictor.
Tell us about Bird, Bath, and Beyond without spoilers.
See above, but what happens is that Barney is in the trailer when Dray Mattone, star of the TV drama DEAD CITY, is shot and killed. So the police naturally want to question the bird, despite Kay’s insistence that Barney doesn’t converse; he just repeats phrases he’s been taught at length. So when Barney starts spontaneously saying things like, “Put down the gun!” things get a little complicated.
What kind of animal will Kay represent next? Can you tell us anything about the next book in this series?
All I can tell you about the next book in the series is that if you want there to be one, you REALLY need to get everyone you know to buy BIRD BATH AND BEYOND. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell strangers in the street. Seriously. Tell people.
I know you were influenced by movies as well as books. What movies and books had the greatest influence on your writing?
I first realized someone wrote movies when I saw NORTH BY NORTHWEST for the first time when I was maybe eight or nine. And I immediately wanted to be the person who wrote that. So I spent 20 years not selling the screenplays I wrote and then came up with an idea that refused to be anything but a novel. And here we are.
New Jersey. There are so many stereotypes about New Jersey. Where do you like to take people when they come to visit?
Most people I know are from here, but I try to get visitors away from Newark International Airport as quickly as possible because that’s about the worst possible impression anyone can be given of the Garden State. Driving out of the airport near the oil refineries I completely understand why people think of us as a toxic waste dump run by the mob. But it’s not. For those who want to go, as we say, down the shore, there are lovely beaches that aren’t at all like the TV show JERSEY SHORE, mountains, wineries, lovely small towns and interesting larger cities. And we have the greatest bagels and diners on the planet. Drop on by. Mention my name. Nobody will know who that is, but it’ll start a conversation for you.
Name an author or book that you wish had received more attention.
Cohen would want me to mention his name, but I think people like Dave White and Cheryl Solimini should get a second look. And Cornelia Read, who needs, shall we say, encouragement.
Have the books of any new author, an up-and-comer, caught your attention?
Kellye Garrett is good. Read her Detective By Day books.
I always end with this question because I’m a librarian. Tell me a story about a library or librarian in your life.
My son is currently studying for his master’s degree in Information and Library Science. So he’s my most memorable librarian by far. He’ll be out of school in about a year and a half. Give him a job.
Thank you, E.J. Copperman's website is http://www.ejcopperman.com/
As I said, come back tomorrow for my review of Bird, Bath, and Beyond.