by EJ McCay
Actor Levi Martin is passionate about his Charity, Freaks for Geeks. Author Maggie Lawrence is passionate about her Middle Man Foundation. Levi thinks that good looks and charm will be enough to convince Maggie that his cause is worthy, but sparks fly when they get together. Maybe a second chance is all they need.
“I’ve already started reading Charitable Hearts for the second time. It was that good!”
“I love the dynamics of the main characters and their best friends.”
“While both of these characters are human with issues they need to overcome, the chemistry between them was totally believable. I can see these two as real people, broken in different ways, but deep down they have hearts of gold.”
CIR: What inspired this particular love story?
McCAY: I love the show Chuck and I thought it would be fun to have a character like him meet an author. Think of it as Chuck meets a less ferocious Veronica Mars.
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this?
McCAY: The whole story. It was my first time writing a romance and I love writing it.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
McCAY: Gary, Levi’s best friend. He’s such a fun character.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
McCAY: The kissing scenes. They’re so squishy.
by Cassidy Salem
Book 1: Think Murder
Discovering the body of a friend and colleague was not what Adina Donati had in mind when she moved to Washington D.C. in search of excitement. An administrative assistant at a prestigious think tank, Adina is drawn into the middle of the murder investigation. The police don’t seem to be making much progress until Adina stumbles onto important clues and discovers just how dangerous life in the nation’s capitol can be.
“Salem captured what I call a classic detective/mystery case and I place this up there with other novels written by Agatha Christie, Henry Christopher Bailey, and Patricia Cornwell.”
“This story was positively captivating. I couldn’t put it down. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.”
“Think Murder introduces the world of think tanks, politics and life in the nation’s capital, all spun within a neat and cozy murder mystery.”
Book 2: Dying for Data
Bad karma, a rival suitor, and a deadly attack are enough to put a damper on any date.
Just when Adina’s social life is looking up, her night out is interrupted by the scream of police sirens. Afraid her bartender boyfriend might be accused of murder, Adina’s neighbor enlists her assistance, and in the process exposes her to the seamier side of illegal immigration and crime in the city. Hard as she tries to limit her involvement, the more Adina learns, the more she needs to know – until a case of mistaken identity lands her in hot water. Will she uncover the truth before it’s too late?
“The compact manuscript told a complete and convincing story. Murder may be the plot but fun and exciting twists add flavor and texture to a tale full of conflict. These things, along with subtle clues, accurate information, and social comment, are woven with a delicate hand throughout the fabric of the story – and very well done.”
“Cassidy Salem packs a punch into these 175 pages, and once you start you won’t be able to stop reading. This story could have gone entirely in a different direction and into the thriller genre as the author takes on some current hot topics, but she stayed well within the cozy realm.”
CIR: What is your writing process like?
SALEM: I was mostly a “pantster” when I wrote Think Murder, writing scenes and chapters as they came to me and then moving them around a lot. When I started writing, I knew who would be killed and why. But I had no idea who the actual perpetrator would be, not to mention how Adina and Jonathan would solve the case. Midway through the process, I sat down and created a working list of plot points and scenes to give myself a better sense of what I had and where it was going. It was definitely an adventure.
CIR: Reviewers really like your leading lady. Can you tell us about her?
SALEM: Adina Donati is smart, young and level-headed. She moved to Washington D.C. after graduating from college. With a tough job market, she was unable to snag her dream job, but she is determined to make it on her own despite the challenges. She is sociable and makes friends easily, both at work and at the dog rescue where she volunteers. Adina is independent, and does her best to cope with the dilemmas she faces at work and in her personal life.
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this series?
SALEM: l enjoyed seeing Adina Donati’s relationships develop and I enjoyed challenge of trying to combine elements of current issues in the context of a cozy mystery.
CIR: Did this require any research, and what kind?
SALEM: Yes, definitely. Dying for Data touches on issues related to illegal immigration. To enable Adina and her friends to discuss various aspects of the issues from differing perspectives, I had to deepen my own knowledge. Most of my research on immigration and cybercrime was carried out on the Internet.
CIR: Is there more coming?
SALEM: Yes. I plan to release an additional book in this series in 2017.