Today we sit down for a chat with Marcia Banks (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) from author Kassandra Lamb’s Marcia Banks and Buddy Cozy Mystery series.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
A lot tamer than it is now, I can tell you that! I train service dogs for military veterans who have PTSD or other psychological issues related to their service. And I live in a small town (tiny really), Mayfair, Florida, where not much happens. And then this Kassandra person showed up, and I've been tripping over bodies ever since.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
My persistence (although my mother calls it stubbornness). I do NOT give up. If I see something wrong, I have this almost compulsive need to make it right, if I can. Unfortunately, this trait gets me into trouble at times.
What do you like least about yourself?
My snarkiness. I've dubbed the snarky part of me Ms. Snark, and most of the time she just talks to me inside my head. I try not to let her slip out and actually interact with others, but she gets past me every once in a while.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Some bad guys kidnapped my Black Lab Buddy and me and took us into the Ocala National Forest. Now, if you were from North Central Florida, I wouldn't have to say any more than that. You would know that the Ocala National Forest is notorious for swallowing campers and hikers whole, and not spitting them out. Quite a few have disappeared in there, and were never seen nor heard from again.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
No, but I should. I really am trying not to "poke around" in other people's business so much. But then my author will throw something in my path that I just can't resist checking out.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing someone I love, especially my husband.
What makes you happy?
That's easy. Hanging out with my four-legged best friend Buddy. Oh, and I do have something to thank Kassandra for. She gave me a horse---a beautiful, black Paso Fino mare named Niña. When I'm riding her, with Buddy running alongside, I'm in heaven.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
My short-lived first marriage. And if I couldn't erase that disaster, I'd change my commitment phobia that came out of it, so that I didn't make poor Will wait over two years and through seven books before marrying him.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Hmm, probably Charlene, our local postmistress. I don't dislike her; indeed, I sometimes feel sorry for her. But she's afraid of dogs, which can get awkward when I'm walking mine. And one time she tried to get the town to ban certain breeds that she thinks are aggressive. They didn't go for it, thank heavens.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
On the one hand, that's an easy question. My two-legged best friend Becky is gorgeous, wise, and a truly sweet person. I get little bursts of envy whenever I'm around her. But on the other hand, she has two almost-toddlers---twins, Jasmine and Winston. They are my godchildren and I adore them. But when they poop in their diapers or smear food all over their faces… well let's just say, I'm not inclined to have kids of my own, and leave it at that.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist who's really gotten into this fiction writing thing. She spends most of her time hunched over her computer, in an alternate universe with me and/or the characters in her other series. Her dog Watson and her husband catch occasional glimpses of her when she scurries to the kitchen for food.
She has a website dedicated to her books and her readers and blogs at her publisher's website about psychology and life…and mysteries, of course.
What's next for you?
Well, I'm finishing up the human part of the training process with my current client, who's a disabled Army sergeant. I have to spend some time with the veterans, teaching them how to work with their service dogs. But things have gotten complicated in this case. He's a vendor at a local flea market, and the owner of the flea market managed to get himself killed. If you check out Kassandra's new release, Lord of the Fleas, you can find out what happens with that mess.
I was looking forward to several months of peace and quiet in Mayfair, as I train my next dog. But Kassandra informs me that the town isn't going to be so peaceful soon. Someone is moving there who will be stirring things up. She does this to me…a lot. Just when life is settling down some, she causes trouble in Mayfair itself, in what she calls the holiday novellas. This one's called My Funny Mayfair Valentine. I'm hoping she stops messing with the town after this one, since she's pretty much run out of holidays.
Lord of the Fleas
A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, Book 9
What could be more innocent than a country flea market?
When service dog trainer Marcia Banks takes up temporary residence with her best friend, her goals are simple: spoil her toddler godchildren and train her newest dog’s veteran owner, a vendor at a local flea market. But when the owner of the flea market is found dead and her client is a prime suspect, she discovers that nothing is as it seems, including the victim himself.
Even her guileless client puts her in a double bind when he shares, in confidence, something that local law enforcement would love to know. The only way out of her dilemma seems to be to find the real killer. The flea market, however, is hiding more secrets, and some of them could be deadly.