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Thursday, September 5, 2019


Today we sit down for a chat with Ramona Argrow from author Elaine Orr’s Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
A good bit quieter! I went to high school for one year with Jolie, but she moved back home. I ran into her again where I work, at an office supply store in Ocean Alley (the Purple Cow). That way I have income, but it's the kind of work that lets me have time for my art. I enjoy pen and ink drawings, but work in a lot of mediums.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I'm true to myself. For example, people think it's odd that I dress in flowing skirts and short vests, but I'm tall and I think the kind of hippie look of the 1970s fits me.

What do you like least about yourself?
Hmm. I think if I paid as much attention to selling my art as I do in making it that I'd have things like a cottage here at the Jersey shore, or at least be able to take a vacation to see the Louvre. But, I don't like numbers and routines.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
She got me to go with her to follow one of my friend Jolie's crazy hunches about who left a body under a pirate ship display. (One that I helped make! It's on the cover of Any Port in a Storm.) I told Jolie to mind her own business. But, I ended up getting her out of a bad scrape, so I suppose it's a good thing I went along.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Generally, no. I thought she made me look like a busybody for a while, but I pretty much got her to cut it out.

What is your greatest fear?
Don't tell anyone, but I've kept to myself for so long I worry about being alone when I'm older. What if I don't marry? I used to not pay attention to kids – unless I was doing a drawing of one – but now I find myself looking at cute toddlers on the boardwalk.

What makes you happy?
The perfect yoga pose. I've tried to explain to Jolie how fulfilling yoga is, but she doesn't like to slow down that much.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I always thought I'd live in New York City and have pictures in a gallery by now. I wasn't bold enough to head there on my own. I told myself it was too expensive to live there. But I should have tried.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Without a doubt, George Winters. He’s the best friend of Jolie's best bud, Scoobie, and he thinks he's some prize-winning reporter. He comes by the store a lot. I know he's just looking for chatter for his newspaper column. He also thinks he's really witty. I roll my eyes a lot when I'm with him.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
No one! I love my art. I suppose Jolie's Aunt Madge has an artistic flair. You see it in how she's decorated her B&B. But I wouldn't want to be anything but an artist.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Elaine did a lot of nonfiction work and used to think she didn't have much of an imagination. I guess it eventually got the better of her. Now she writes three mystery series and what she calls reflective fiction. Elaine isn't big on the term literary fiction. She also likes to write whimsical essays, but she hasn't gotten up the nerve to publish any of them. Elaine can barely do paint by numbers. Fortunately, Patty G. Henderson, who did the cover of Any Port in a Storm, is a very good artist. Learn more about Elaine and her books at her website and blog.

What's next for you?
I've been saving up to open a small studio, maybe teach some classes. Scoobie has dropped hints that George might like to go out with me, but I've ignored him. So far.

Any Port in a Storm
A Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery, Book 4

Someone is breaking into the houses Jolie appraises. Plus, a hurricane's on the way to disrupt the Talk Like a Pirate Day fundraiser for the food pantry. When a corpse turns up under the pirate ship, Jolie's name pops up as a suspect.

Soon she has less work. Who wants a possible murder suspect appraising their house? Scoobie's pirate limericks can't solve a crime, so Jolie and her sometimes buddy reporter George Winters look for the murderer and try to figure out who's trying to frame Jolie. They need to stay ahead of whoever's mad at her and off the radar of the local police who tell Jolie -- for the hundredth time -- to butt out. All this and Jolie has to deal with Aunt Madge's blossoming love life. And what about her own?

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