1) What is the title of your book?
Ø What is the story about?
· When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college's athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father, and someone attempts to change students' grades. A clever culprit is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way while solving the investigation.
· In Kellan’s own personal life, he’s raising his six-year-old daughter by himself and deciding whether to move back home to Braxton or stay in Los Angeles. When he’s roped into filling in for a deceased professor at the local college, his decision is made for him… but it’s the cliffhanger at the end of the book that forces him to stick it out for even longer.
Ø Who is the main character?
· Kellan Ayrwick. 32. Single-father. Widowed. Professor of film & communications. Former director on a Hollywood reality TV show. Searching for love. Sarcastic and fun-loving. Takes a lot of grief from his family, boss, and friends. A true modern hero for us all. He’s brilliant but acts goofy. He’s handsome but shy and distant.
2) What inspired this tale?
Ø How did the story come to you?
· As a kid, I loved playing and watching baseball. College campuses are my favorite place to visit. Checking my grades was always an obsession. When I combined all three together, I developed a fun and clever murder plot. I took it to new heights by adding in some components of blackmail, love, and blogging. Before I knew it, we had a fully fleshed out story complete with subplots and future cliffhangers.
Ø Did you have to research for this novel, and if so, why?
· Only for a few things. For example, I wanted to verify the college baseball schedule compared to the Major League Baseball schedule. Most colleges begin to play their season in February, but it’s often dependent upon where they are in the country, what the weather is like, and whether the playing field is indoors or outdoors.
· I modeled my campus after a few in Pennsylvania I’d once visited.
Ø If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
· In this one, not too much was a surprise; however, I did spend time researching what happens when someone falls out of a window to his or her death. I confirmed my expectations, but those are still quite scary – especially when you don’t just hit the ground but bounce off a few things. Ouch!
Ø Is your protagonist anything like you, personally?
· Kellan is a combination of who I used to be and who I am today. But I’ve imbued a few of my primary personality traits in multiple different characters such that no one is clearly identifiable as me. Even Myriam and I have a few things in common, and those might just make me a very scary person!
Ø What made you write this character; were they based on a real person or something that inspired you?
· The cozy mystery fiction genre is often written by female authors and usually focuses on female characters. As a male author, I wanted to do something different. Kellan is just as nosy, often gets himself into trouble, and is loved by most of the town. However... there are moments where he acts like his 75-year-old grandmother, so it’s funny to find the balance in his youthful attitude but old-fashioned approach to people.
ü What should readers know about this character?
o Kellan is both an easy and a difficult character to write for. Since my series is told in first-person POV, everything that’s said that’s not someone else’s dialog comes from his perspective. How do you make someone sexy when he’s talking about himself!?!? Not easy…. Other characters have to do that work to show off why Kellan is loved by women and adored by the town.
o On the flip side, when I want to describe clothes or things about a setting, it has to come from a mostly male perspective which means I can’t often go into details about a lot of things that usually only a woman might notice. I try to cross stereotypes as much as possible, but it has to be believable just as much as the plot itself.
o There are moments I just write what I want and let the chips fall where they may.
Ø Do you consider the main character of your story to be good or bad, and why?
· 100% good. He will cross a line if he needs to, but only to protect someone or find out the truth. Never for personal gain.
Ø What’s the objective of your character?
· To figure out who killed a close family friend, but also to decide his own future. His life is turned upside down in the very last line of the book – just one line changes everything for him… and it will either make you immediately want to read book 2 or decide, ‘I hate cliffhangers!!!’
4) Is there anything you specifically want readers to know about this piece of work?
This is my first cozy mystery novel. It is a tad longer than most because I really wanted to develop the overall setting. This is not just a book series about the life of a guy who solves crimes. It’s an introspective focus on life in a small town where everyone is capable of doing something they might regret. It’s about facing real-life problems, showing diversity, and understanding why people do the things they do. Toss in my personal brand of humor, and hopefully you can’t stay away from these characters!
5) Is this novel a standalone?
Ø If it is a part of a series, what’s the series name?
Ø If it is the first in a series, when can we expect to see the next book published?
· Book 1, Academic Curveball came out on 10/15/18.
· Book 2, Broken HeartAttack, came out on 11/25/18.
· Book 3, Flower PowerTrip, came out on 3/30/19.
· Book 4, Mistaken Identity Crisis, will be released on 6/30/19, but you can pre-order it now.
· I’ll share the name and cover of the 5th book in June 2019 for everyone to see what it’s all about! As a hint… it’ll come out just before Halloween!
Ø If it is a part of a book series, can it be read as a standalone or do you need to read the entire series to experience the full realm of the tale?
· Each mystery can be read stand-alone, but Kellan’s personal life changes over the course of the books, especially his relationship with his wife and family.
· I'd suggest reading them in order, so that you get the full shock and awe of the cliffhangers and surprises I’ve built throughout the series.
6) Where can readers connect with you and purchase your book?
My website will always have the most current information about the books. It is https://jamesjcudney.com. From there, it will link you to the books on Goodreads and Amazon for reviews and purchase.