Codi Schneider loves animals and writing cozy mysteries. Her book Cold Snap will probably be just the first in a new serious about loveable Viking cat/detective Bijou.
Gray Birch seems to be a fantastical place to live in (the occasional murdering aside, of course). How much Buena Vista can be found in Gray Birch?
While Gray Birch is a fictionalized version of my childhood town, Buena Vista, Colorado, much of it is made up, especially the fanatical and unpleasant characters. However, the giant mountains, river surfing, mild-to-medium cases of altitude sickness, and honeyed lattes peppered with cayenne are all absolutely real!
Now I’m craving one of those! I love cayenne pepper, and since cayenne is a french name: Bijou is a Viking cat – but I would have never guessed, not with that name. How come a majestic Viking warrior cat carries the French word for jewel as a name?
Having a French name, instead of a more fitting Viking warrior name, bothers Bijou and it plays up her internal conflict. She feels very misunderstood. No one “gets her”—not even her family, and so she finds herself on a never-ending mission to prove her Vikingness to both herself and others.
I think she does a fabulous job at that! Since we’re talking names here – we have to talk about the human names! Dirk Square Jaw for example, or Bobi Pinn (and especially my friend Lou Tennant). What was your intention in choosing those names?
Assigning quirky names to characters is very common in the cozy mystery genre. I think it’s a shout-out to the genre not taking itself too seriously. Our crimes are light and not too blood-drenched, our characters are ammature sleuths, not real detectives, and we play up unique settings and unique individuals. It’s all about the fun.
And fun it was! I know that you are surrounded with animals in your private life, and I guess your cat Caska was your muse for Bij. But apart from fluffs – which authors (or novels) did inspire you to write Cold Snap?
I absolutely love P.G. Wodehouse and the humor and quirk in his novels are just brilliant. I also grew up devouring every Harry Potter book as soon as it came out, and so was completely inspired by J.K. Rowling and her wonderful imagination. Reading James Herriot, too, made me fall in love with stories about animals and our interactions with them.
Speaking about Rowling, have you ever read some of her very classical mysteries, like Cuckoo’s Calling? (She uses a nom de plume for that, Robert Galbraith.)
Yes! I read The Cuckoo’s Calling, and I loved it. I’m definitely planning on catching up with the rest of them.
Coincidentally, that’s exactly my status! I loved Cuckoo’s Calling, and have the next book in the series waiting on my Kindle! And speaking of series: I’ve noticed the subtitle “A Viking Cat Mystery”, and I’m a little excited, being the series aficionado I am! Can we expect to see more of Bij and the gang? Will crime come to Gray Birch again?
Yes, I am working on my next Viking Cat mystery! I’m still in the early stages of it, but I can tell you this one will include a horse (or five) and Gray Birch will be shocked out of its peaceful snooze once again.
Can’t wait for it! But while I’m holding my horses on that, let’s get back to Cold Snap. For me your tale was – besides other things – about the fact that you need to overcome your resentments (just think Hildisvini) if you want to achieve something great. Is there anything about the story you want to stress in case the readers might not catch onto it?
I love what you say about overcoming resentments. I also think an underlying theme in Cold Snap is how our human actions affect those nonhumans with whom we share the world. We’re not the only ones on this planet and we have to consider, and care for, those who aren’t able to speak up in the same way.
Apropos speaking up – Bij frequently talks to the humans, and I enjoyed your very clever way of making it look like there were real dialogues going on! Is Bij aware that the humans don’t really understand her, or does she like to interpret their behavior as answers?
You know, I think she interprets their behavior as answers . . . and usually this means she interprets it however she wants in order to get her way!
Clever cat! A clever cat that likes Ale – but what is your favourite drink or cocktail (if you have any)?
I mostly agree with Bij, nothing beats a good ale on a hot summer day! My other summertime favorite is a cold gin and tonic. During winter, I love cozying up with a glass of red wine.
Thank you for time! It was lovely chatting with you.
Gin Tonic is a classic, and while the ingredients are already there in the name, it is one of the most versatile highballs you can imagine – because there is a variety of Gins and Tonics to be found. If you want to sip along while reading, let me provide you with a starting point into the world of Gin Tonics:
- 5 cl London Dry Gin
- 15 cl Tonic Water
- Slice of Lime
Start with putting ice cubes and Gin into a highball glass, put the slice of lime in – and add the Tonic. You might want to add more or less of the Tonic, depending on how strong you like your drink.