Interview with Valerie Tate, author of CATNIP

Delighted to have Valerie Tate, author of the fun furry feline mystery CATNIP, on board:


How did Catnip begin life?

Someone left their money to a cat. Haven’t you ever wondered why someone would do that? It has been happening for centuries. The Pope quote shows that. I came up with a story, fell in love with the characters and the setting and a series was born.


What is the setting of Catnip?

Catnip is set in the fictitious town of Dunbarton, Ontario. I based Dunbarton on Kincardine, Ontario, a lovely town on the shores of Lake Huron. It is a town where I spent many lovely summer holidays. Scottish immigrants settled the area and it is said that Kincardine is more Scottish and Scotland. All of the best things about Dunbarton are found in Kincardine. Except catnappers and murderers, of course!


Is there a sequel with Marmalade or another cat ?

Marmalade isn’t in the second book but will make an appearance in a later one.


Is detective/crime fiction your main area of interest, or do you write in other genres?

Currently, I write mysteries exclusively.


You have another novel awaiting publication : Horse Sense; is there anything you would like to tell us about it ?

In Horse Sense,  Olympic Dressage Rider Alex Craig, a character introduced in Catnip,  discovers that she has been the victim of fraud and theft. She calls on her best friends, Alicia and Chris, to discover who has stolen her dream of a foal by the world’s top dressage stallion. Their quest to discover what happened to the $20,000 straw of frozen semen takes them into the world of Olympic level dressage and international horse breeding. When people start dying, Chris and Alicia must unmask the murderer to avoid being next.


You have a  Jack Russell Terrier – will he appear in any future Dunbarton mysteries ? (And is he a good editor/reader ?)

My own JR, Hamish prefers napping in the sun but in a later novel, Chris and Alicia will adopt a Jack Russell Terrier who will be instrumental in solving a series of murders.


Do you have a favourite crime writer who actually inspired to get started on writing your own crime mysteries? Was it Agatha Christie or Margery Allingham ?

I have been a fan of both Misses Christie and Allingham for many years but I would have to say that Elizabeth Peters has had the most influence on my writing. She tells a great story with tongue-in-cheek humour.


Have you ever had/do you have a cat? Is Catnip partly based on a real cat ?

I’ve never had a cat but my sister has two. Bob and Simon are the inspiration for many of  Marmalade’s antics.

What are your next projects ?

Horse Sense is being edited. The next novel in the series, Frog Legs, is currently at the planning stage. Frog Legs has an environmental theme but you can bet that there will be a murder or two for Chris and Alicia to solve.


Where is your favourite place for writing in ?

I write anywhere I can take my laptop.

How do you begin on a new novel ? From an idea, an image, a character or other ?

Generally, I begin with an idea but sometimes a location. The idea for Frog Legs came when I was driving past a local golf course.


How do you work ? From scraps of paper, notebooks, straight onto the computer?

In the past, I always began in long hand but now I write straight onto the computer although I do keep paper and a pencil beside my bed and in the car in case of inspiration. (If I’m in the car, I pull over before making notes!)


Any tips you would like to share with aspiring novelists?

Don’t give up. Most of us are wide-eyed innocents when we start out and disappointment can set in at the length of time everything takes and the many rejections that will come before that final yes.  It can be very difficult to get published but it can happen. There are many small indie publishers today that can give you a foot up the ladder. Learn as much as you can about the publishing industry.  And don’t discount luck. Most published authors will tell you that plain old luck played a huge part in their getting their foot in the door.


Where can we find your work ?


Where can readers connect with you on the web ?

My website is


What do you think the internet has done for writers ?

I think the internet has been amazing for writers. We now have instant access to information about agents and publishers and e-mail has made communicating with them much easier, and cheaper. It has made it possible for small indie publishers to start up and thrive and it has made self-publishing a viable option for those who prefer to go it alone.


What do you think the future of ebooks will be ?

I think there is a place for both ebooks and print. I personally favour print, but can’t argue with the sales and exposure Catnip has had by being available as an e-book.

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