Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Welcome guest Sofie Kelly!

Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of young adult writer and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

Where do ideas come from? I get asked that question a lot. Just about anything can trigger a story idea for me, something I read in the newspaper or a line or two of conversation I overheard while having coffee. For the most part stories start to grow as I play “what if.” What if the mailman was really a secret government agent? What if you did the right thing and it turned out badly? What if your cat could walk through walls?

I readily admit to swiping character names from my real life. If I meet you and I like your name, I’ll likely use it someday in a book. But my real life experiences almost never end up in a book, probably because my real life isn’t nearly as interesting as my characters’ lives.

I’ve never had a boyfriend who married a waitress from a fifties diner. I don’t have a cat that can walk though walls. I haven’t stumbled over as many dead bodies as Kathleen Paulson in the Magical Cats Mysteries. I haven’t stumbled over any at all. But this time, in A Midwinter’s Tail, something from my real life does make it into the story.

Businessman Burtis Chapman’s ex-wife, Dayna returns to Mayville Heights, and during a reception at the Stratton Theatre she has a severe allergic reaction to something she ate. Writing that scene I literally had goose bumps, because I was remembering a time, several years ago when my wonderful next-door neighbor had a life threatening allergic reaction to peanuts. I can hear the ambulance wailing onto our street, see the paramedics running with their gear into her house and then a few long minutes later, bringing her out, strapped to a stretcher. What has stayed vividly in my mind is her face, so swollen that if I hadn’t known who it was, I never would have recognized her.

I remember how fear seemed to thrust a hand into my chest and squeeze. I remember silently saying a prayer for everything to be well while the fear whispered maybe it wouldn’t be. And I remember the ear-to-ear grin on my husband’s face when the phone finally rang with the news that she was all right.

My neighbor turned eighty-nine just over a month ago. She’s still has more energy than women half her age. I love hearing the sound of her laugh float across the lawn. She does everything she ever did. The only difference is now she carries an Epi-pen everywhere she goes.

What happens to Dayna Chapman after her allergic reaction? You’ll have to check out A Midwinter’s Tail to find out for sure. And if you do, I’d love to hear what you think of the story.

The publisher has generously offered a copy of A Midwinter's Tail to one of my readers. Please comment below before midnight on November 12, 2014. Entries from the US only, please.


  1. Enjoyed!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  2. I adore this series. So excited for a new release. It's a favorite of my cat book club.

    1. Lexie, do you really have a book club for cats? LoL... do you just read books about cats?

      Thanks for reading Stuff and Nonsense!

  3. I love this series, and nice interview.


  4. A very interesting interview and the book would be enjoyed greatly. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com