Wednesday, April 6, 2016


By special guest Amanda Flower.

It would be absolutely impossible for me to write a novel without some quirky animal characters. I love all animals. Anyone who follows me on social media knows that, and I love animals with personality. My love of animals goes so far that my cats, Reepicheep (AKA Cheeps) and Mr. Tumnus (AKA Tummy), have their own Instagram account, and yes, they are both named after Chronicles of Narnia characters.

Because of my love of all animals when it came time to create the characters for Crime and Poetry, the first novel in the Magical Bookshop mystery series, I knew I had to have some memorable animal characters. Enter Emerson the tuxedo cat and Faulkner the crow.

The inspiration for both of these characters is unique. Emerson the cat is the most straightforward. He’s my cat. No, really, I’m not kidding. He’s my tuxedo cat Tummy to a T. I knew Tummy had to be the feline inspiration for Emerson because Cheeps was already represented in my Amish Quilt Shop mysteries, which I write as Isabella Alan. Cheeps appears in that series as Dodger the gray and white cat. In the Magical Bookshop mysteries, Emerson and Tummy are carbon copies.

Aside from their identical looks, they are both very mischievous. Cheeps is the quiet and calm older brother who would happily sit on my lap until the end of time. Tummy is into everything, and I do mean everything. He learned as a kitten how to open closed doors, and if I want to keep him out of a room, the only way is to lock the door. He also is always playing. While Cheeps will play with their cat toys from time to time, Tummy is always carrying a ball or mouse around in his mouth. Despite his rambunctious nature, he’s also very caring like Emerson. If I’m upset, he senses it and comes over to check on me. Just like Tummy cares for me, Emerson cares for my protagonist Violet Waverly. Emerson is a great comfort to Violet throughout the series.

In a way, Faulkner also had a real life inspiration. I knew that I wanted Grandma Daisy, Violet’s grandmother and owner of their bookshop Charming Books, to have a pet that would connect to Native American folklore because that folklore is related to the magic in the shop. While I was trying to decide of what that animal would be, a murder of crows landed in my neighborhood. Close to fifty birds descended on my street all at the same time. It’s not an uncommon sight. The crows visit my neighborhood often. The black birds marched up and down the street with their heads bobbing and flew from rooftop to rooftop cawing to each other. I knew a crow would make a perfect pet for Violet’s feisty grandmother, and I also knew crows are prominent in Native American folklore. Even better, crows can be trained to talk just like parrots, so Faulkner the crow was a perfect addition. Who wouldn’t want a smart-talking crow in a cozy mystery?

I’m looking forward to you meeting all the characters in Crime and Poetry, but I must admit that Emerson and Faulkner are among my favorites. Just wait and see the trouble those two get into!

Amanda Flower, a three time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words.  She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio.
Find her at www.amandaflower.com.


  1. It is so cool to know where the wonderful critters in Crime and Poetry came from. Well of course we all knew about Tummy. I absolutely love this book and know everyone else will too. Get it now! I cant wait for the next one!!