I am delighted to welcome Jennifer J. Chow as our guest author this week. Although I met Jennifer in a Facebook group for debut authors, she’s hardly a rookie. Jennifer publishes the Winston Wong Cozy Mysteries as J.J. Chow. She has also written and published acclaimed YA and lit fic novels. MIMI LEE GETS A CLUE, then, is her debut with a large publisher (she and I are imprint sisters at Berkley/Penguin Random House) and the start of a brand new, exciting cozy series that Kerry Winfrey calls “fun, charming, and totally unique.” Read on to find out more about Jennifer, and also for a chance to win MIMI LEE GETS A CLUE.
Jennifer J. Chow writes the #ownvoices Sassy Cat mystery series (Berkley/Penguin Random House) and the Winston Wong Cozy Mysteries under J.J. Chow. She’s active in Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Color. Connect with her online at www.jenniferjchow.com and on social @jenjchow.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I really wish I had some musical talent. When I was a kid, I thought about being a singer/song writer. I’d be a great combo of writing pithy statements to catchy tunes and belting my heart out. Alas, I missed the musical boat. Thank goodness my better half more than makes up for it—he can play piano, viola, and the guitar. In fact, he even serenaded me with a personalized song when we were dating.
The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.
It’s funny how I ended up at Berkley/Penguin Random House. My mom and I were avid Agatha Christie fans, so I decided to write a mystery. I self-published Seniors Sleuth, the first in my Winston Wong series—partly due to time pressure (my mom got diagnosed with stage four cancer). An editor later picked up the book and enjoyed the humor in it, and that was my foot in the door. So now I have a three-book contract with Berkley.
Tell us about your next big project.
Book Two in the Sassy Cat Mysteries is up next. This time Mimi Lee’s younger sister is under scrutiny, and Mimi’s overprotective big sis mode kicks into high gear. The next novel in the series is called Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines. It’s scheduled for a November release and is out on pre-order now. (P.S. Click to see the adorable cover!)
What was the first piece of writing you ever published or saw in print?
Haha! I used to write poems in high school. I’ve since shelved them—though perhaps I should have burned them all. Inexplicably, I still ended up having a few pieces published during my teens and was even part of a young poets’ association. (But be very glad I don’t still write poetry.)
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I ever spent was on membership fees. Sisters in Crime was my first mystery writers’ association, and it’ll always have a dear place in my heart. I just love being surrounded by like-minded creatives. One of the perks of this job (because it’s often so lonely) is connecting to other authors. And I must say that mystery writers are some of the nicest and most supportive people. (Maybe killing all those people on the page makes them kinder in real life?)
About the novel:
Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.
What the critics are saying:
“Mix an intrepid dog groomer with a sarcastic cat, add a generous dose of Southern California, sprinkle with murder, and you get a cozy mystery that’s bound to please.”—Laurie Cass, author of the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries
“A fun, charming, and totally unique mystery featuring lots of adorable pets (and one particularly snarky cat). Mimi Lee is a winning heroine with a hilarious family, especially her meddling, marriage-obsessed mother.”—Kerry Winfrey, author of Waiting for Tom Hanks
“I laughed out loud more than once reading Mimi Lee Gets a Clue, the first book in the new Sassy Cat mystery series, Mimi Lee is feisty, determined, and lots of fun—and I love Ma, her match-making mother. The story features an intriguing mystery and Marshmallow, a talking cat that only Mimi, as his owner, can hear…Sharp writing, a main character I’d happily be friends with, and a talking cat. What more could a reader want?”—Sofie Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of the Magical Cats Mysteries
“Chow’s charming debut is an adorable mystery perfect for pet lovers. Mimi’s authentic family grounds the story amidst the glitzy and glamorous backdrop of LA. I devoured it in one sitting.”—Roselle Lim, author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune
“Chow smoothly mixes intrigue, romance, and humor. Cozy fans will have fun.”—Publishers Weekly
“A frothy, fun series debut.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Pet lovers will be delighted by this fun and yet suspenseful mystery…The balance between suspense and humor is perfect and makes this read a page-turner.”—Book Review Crew