When Holly Price’s father runs off with his yoga instructor, she strikes a bargain with her mother. If Holly will leave her Seattle-based mergers-and-acquisition company and run the family’s accounting business for a year, her mother will never again mention the words “marriage” and “children” in Holly’s presence. Finding a friend’s body beside the Snake River isn’t supposed to be part of the deal. She certainly didn’t expect to end up a Person of Interest, having to deal with JC Dimitrak, a vengeful Franklin County detective—who happens to be her jilted ex-fiancé.
To protect her reputation, business, and freedom, Holly follows the money through a web of inter-connecting companies. A few too many accidents later, someone apparently decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass. If she doesn’t back off, the next body found beside the river could be Holly’s.
“Cathy Perkins is one of those authors whose talent you spot immediately and latch onto as she becomes one of your must-reads. Her Holly and JC are fun (and hot) in FOR LOVE OR MONEY and you’ll not only laugh and enjoy the ride, you’ll be looking Perkins up to see what else she has out right now.” ~Toni McGee Causey, bestselling author of the Bobbie Faye series
“…an entertaining read, filled with funny snappy dialogue.” ~ RT REVIEW
“CPA Holly Price juggles dodgy clients, flakey parentS, ex-lovers and a murdered friend before she gets to the bottom line in this fast and fun read.” ~ Patricia Smiley, bestselling author or COOL CACHE
At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
While I’ve had a life-long love affair with reading, I didn’t start writing until fairly recently. This probably isn’t how most people start, but I had a lengthy consulting job that required a 90-mile commute. I’d listen to music and daydream during the drive. Pretty soon the daydream had dialogue and I thought, hmm, this is turning into a good story. That particular book lives in a box under the bed, but I was hooked on writing, creating worlds and characters.
THE PROFESSOR and HONOR CODE were darker mysteries. What genre is your current release and what made you decide to write in this genre?
After several dark stories—and too many nightmares over the research material—I wanted a lighter story and a non-law enforcement main character. FOR LOVE OR MONEY is an amateur sleuth mystery, introducing forensic accountant Holly Price. I’d say it’s the closest I’ve come to romantic suspense, given how tightly the relationship is woven into the plot. Holly and JC know how to push each other’s buttons, which provides a lighter counterpoint to the murder investigation. The rapid fire exchanges add to the chemistry between them—which was tons of fun to write.
Tell us a little something about FOR LOVE OR MONEY.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body while hiking, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. The verdict is murder—and Holly is the prime suspect.
Of course, the fact that the infinitely sexy—and very pissed off—cop threatening to arrest her is JC Dimitrak, who just happens to be Holly’s jilted ex-fiancé, doesn’t help matters.
To protect her future, her business…and her heart…the intrepid forensic accountant must use all her considerable investigative skills to follow the money through an intricate web of shadow companies, while staying one step ahead of her ex-fiancé. She’d better solve the case before the real killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass…and the next dead body found beside the river is Holly’s.
What’s the main character like in this story?
Holly is smart and ambitious but like many women, she’s struggling to find not just balance in her life but also to define her definition of success. Over the course of the story, she has a few “No sh*t, Sherlock; you just figuring that out?” moments (Hmm, are we allowed to say things like that…) as she figures out what really matters to her. Of course, she has these fraud and murder investigations to resolve before the killer puts a bullet into her, but that’s a different issue.
You mentioned research for the darker stories. What kind of research do you do for this novel?
FOR LOVE OR MONEY required very different research than my darker books—I wasn’t trying to figure out a deranged serial killer this time. The due diligence part of the story draws on my professional background, while I can ask an enthusiastic network questions about hunting, law enforcement, and local vineyards. With this book—or maybe I should say series, depending on where things go—a local accountant graciously let me pick her brains about how her practice operates in a small town. I discovered local accountants become much more involved in both the professional and personal lives of their clients.
Are you a plotter who lays out everything in detail as you write or a pantser who lets the story unfold on its own?
My stories grow out of day dreams, the snippet of an idea, a “what-if.” FOR LOVE OR MONEY evolved from a hike my husband and I took in a game refuge near our house. While pushing through dense undergrowth beside the Snake River, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”
Once an idea takes hold, the plot and characters evolve together. I’m a plotter, so the first thing I do when I think the idea has possibilities is sketch an outline of the plot. While I want the main turning points and major plot elements hammered out, the outline grows and evolves as my characters’ personalities and motivations flesh out. Things that of course they’d do, add layers or subplots as the story unfolds.
Where is your story set? Does the setting influence the plotlines and characters in your stories?
FOR LOVE OR MONEY is set in eastern Washington. Most people don’t realize the eastern half of the state is high desert, unlike Seattle’s rainy reputation. The location is a major issue for Holly. She had a high risk/high reward financial career in Seattle, but when her father had a mid-life brain-fart and took off with his yoga instructor, Holly agreed to help build the family’s local accounting practice to make it an attractive take-over target. Of course, the bigger issue was without Holly’s CPA license, her mother would’ve had to close the doors.
Eastern Washington tends to be more conservative than the Westside, another thing Holly rebels against. Over time though, she appreciates everything—and everyone—the area has to offer: world-class vineyards, live jazz…and friends who weren’t ready to cut her throat on the next deal.
What is your writing schedule like?
Not as disciplined as some of my friends! I’m still working full time, so I try to write in the mornings before I head to the office. I do a good bit of volunteer work—my giveback to the writing community. It can be too easy to get caught up in that or in promotion requirements and neglect the writing. I’m focusing on putting the writing first. I’ll let you know how well that works.
Do you have an agent and if so, tell us a little bit about your working relationship with your agent.
I recently signed with an agent who currently has a dark mystery out on submission. She’s wonderfully supportive and encourages me to balance traditional publishing with some indie-pubbed stories.
What are you working on now and what will readers have to look forward to in the future?
As I mentioned, I finished a dark, financial mystery that revolves around the theme: how far will you go for those you love? The challenging part for me was maintaining the forward movement of the plot—unraveling the investigation—while slowly peeling back everyone’s hidden motives. Lots of fun to write and my beta readers loved it.
I just started Book2 for Holly and JC. Don’t you love that innovative title? I think there are going to be llamas in this story. And rock-crawlers.
Cathy Perkins is a member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters’ lives. Her suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide in plain sight, skills employed by her villains.
Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, dogs, and the resident deer herd.
To learn more about Cathy, please visit her website.