Thursday, May 15, 2014

Interview with Sparkle Abbey & Giveaway

We're taking another break from Crafty Thursday because Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, the writing duo known as Sparkle Abbey, launched a new cozy mystery this month called 50 Shades of Greyhound. They took the time out of their launch tour to answer a few questions. (Crafty Thursdays returns next week with lots of crafting mayhem.) Make a comment below to a win a copy of the e-book version and you can also enter to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate in the Rafflecopter giveaway below. 

Where did you get the idea for this book? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write? 
This book, unlike most, actually started with the title. After a four book deal on our first books – Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and Yip/Tuck – we were headed to a conference in Anaheim and we were scheduled to meet with our editor and our publisher. We hoped they’d be interested in continuing the series and decided we probably should discuss additional titles. At 30,000 feet, winging our way toward California, we came up with a couple of titles we really liked. We presented them over lunch. (We had backup titles, but we were thrilled they liked the first two.) So, the next two-book contract was for Fifty Shades of Greyhound and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo

It was once we started researching Greyhound racing and rescue, this book became the book we truly wanted to write. There was so much to learn about Greyhound rescue and the people who are committed to saving these gentle dogs. And the storyline was a perfect fit for our Fifty Shades of Greyhound protagonist, Caro Lamont, who is a pet therapist and no-holds-barred rescue crusader. 

What’s the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels?
Hearing from readers. Hands down the greatest thing. As a writer, you always hope someone out there reads your book and likes it, and it sure would be wonderful if they’d post a review on their favorite site. But the fact that people take the time to write or email and tell us how much they enjoy our books, well, that’s just crazy wonderful. We write mysteries mixed with humor, and we work hard at writing a good solid whodunit but keeping the books light and entertaining. When readers email us to say, they’d had a bad day and one of our books lifted their spirits, made them laugh on the subway, got them through – that is just the best. 

What was the last mystery novel you read, other than your own, that you LOVED? What did you love about it? 
There are several but one that comes to mind is Ghost Gone Wild, a Carolyn Hart book that totaled rocked. Pure enjoyment. Carolyn Hart books are always automatic buys, as soon as they come out, and this one did not disappoint. The character is a returning character in this series and though Bailey’s a ghost who returns to earth as an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions, she, well, has a few challenges with the role. This book in classic Carolyn Hart style wove together a complex whodunit, but also entertained with a clothes-hog ruling-breaking ghost. Great fun!

If your protagonist were actually a real person, would you be friends with them? Why or why not? 
Absolutely. Caro is passionate about what she does and we love that. The most interesting people in the world are often not the most famous ones, but rather the people who care passionately about something. That describes Caro. She’s a pet therapist because she loves helping people and she truly cares about animals. 

What did you do to research the book? 
We started out researching the book through other books, such as Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies (Lee Livingood) as well as online sources. However, though the sources were a wealth of great information, we didn’t really feel we were getting a good sense of what it’s like to own a Greyhound. We put out a call via a couple of online writers forums we’re on and heard from several owners who were incredibly helpful and gracious in sharing stories about their own dogs. We were interested in what the breed’s temperament is like. We found out they are gentle and good-natured pets. Also, we found out the dogs are often referred to as “40 MPH couch potatoes.” These personal experiences were invaluable and we believe made the story much richer. 
As you can tell we’ve become Greyhound fans and we’re truly excited about this book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Sparkle Abbey

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write the popular pet mystery series which features whodunits set in Laguna Beach, CA in the wacky world of pampered pets, precious pedigrees, and secrets. They chose to use Sparkle Abbey as the pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). 

They love to hear from readers and can be contacted via their website: 

Sparkle Abbey will be at Bouchercon 2014, the world's largest mystery convention this November 13-16 in Long Beach, CA.

You can also find Sparkle Abbey online at: 
And monthly on the following blogs: 
Killer Characters: 


  1. Mystery series about those passionate about their pets are among my favorites because if you don't love a pet, you aren't someone I can relate too very well. Looking forward to reading the book.

  2. Thanks sitchersflock! We can't imagine life without our pets. :-)

  3. Thank you for a great interview!

  4. What a great book about greyhounds and rescue. I have friends who own a rescued greyhound...amazing dogs.

  5. Wonderful interview.
    Our state went through a racing greyhound phase. That is how I was introduced to greyhound rescue. A very dedicated group of people.

    1. Hi Laura - They are a truly dedicated group of rescue volunteers. We learned a lot about the breed and about the rescue efforts through working on this project.

  6. I love this duo, can't wait to read the new one.

    1. Thanks, Kim. We're really excited about this book!

  7. Anxious to read this one, Sparkle Abbey! Great interview.

  8. Hi, Melissa and Truffles. We enjoy your blog! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thanks so much for letting us stop by for a visit, Deborah.

  10. Thank you for the chance to win :)

  11. And the winner of an ebook of Fifty Shades of Greyhound is ::::drumroll::::: Melissa! Please send us your email so we can get your copy to you. Send info to Thanks everyone for stopping by! It was great to hang out with you. :-)