Few things are as exciting as the debut of your first novel! I’m so delighted to get to interview Cindy Goyette whose first mystery, OBEY ALL LAWS, was released this month. Below are her responses to my interview questions, followed by Cindy’s bio and contact/buy links:
First off, congratulations on the release of OBEY ALL LAWS, the first book in your Probation Case Files Mystery Series. Can you share with our readers a bit about the book and what inspired your story?
Thank you for the congratulations on my debut! OBEY ALL LAWS follows the wild and crazy life of probation officer Casey Carson. I spent most of my career as a probation officer in Phoenix, so it wasn’t a stretch to tell Casey’s story. I witnessed so much jaw-dropping craziness that I often thought I should write a book. And while probation officers are often small characters in novels, I’d only seen two with the main character being a probation officer. It’s such an interesting job and the material is endless.
Is your personality and character similar to that of Casey Carson, your protagonist?
I suppose there are some similarities between me and Casey. And when I first started dreaming of the series, I was about Casey’s age. I’ve been called sarcastic and snarky, so that’s also me. But that’s about where it ends. I was married and a mom at her age. And although I’ve encountered similar situations, the ones in the book are all fictional.
What is your writing process like?
I’m a pantser, so I plot and write by the seat of my pants. It’s almost like I’m a medium—my characters do stuff and I write up the incident report! Although I try to keep to a schedule, I’m all over the place with how often and where I write. I have a very cozy office where I spend most of my writing time, but I’m most successful on long plane rides as I’m a captive audience. I try to write in the mornings and save the afternoons for editing, critiquing other author’s work and now marketing.
Mystery writing is a whole new career for you! What steps did you take to develop your skills and craft as a writer?
Although until recently, I had a regular day job, I’ve always written. Even as a kid, I wrote short stories. Getting a published book has always been a dream of mine. I started attending a writer’s critique group about 30 years ago. My fellow writers have been instrumental in helping me improve my craft. I’ve also read countless writing books and attended several conferences. It took me almost a lifetime to develop my skills and I’m still learning!
You’ve also written the first book in a Wiggle Butt Manor Mystery Series, DIAMOND IN THE RUFF, currently on submission. Can you share with our readers the premise behind the series and a bit about the story?
I used to have an agent. She suggested I try my hand at a cozy. I’d never read one but decided to give it a try. I knew it would include dogs, but otherwise had no idea what it would be about. The protagonist came to me after I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and I started having problems with my hands. I felt lucky that it didn’t happen earlier in my law enforcement career as I never would have been able to keep my job with my new limitations. In DIAMOND IN THE RUFF, Charlie Calderbank is in the police academy when the same aliment happens to her, and she has to give up her dream job. She’s a bit lost when her aunt is in an accident and needs help at her dog boarding business, Wiggle Butt Manor. When one of the dog’s owners doesn’t come to pick up her dog as scheduled and is later found dead, Charlie, with the help of the local hot cop, finds herself swept up in the mystery.
How does Charlie Calderbank, the amateur sleuth in DIAMOND IN THE RUFF, differ in personality from Casey Carson, your protagonist in OBEY ALL LAWS?
I think Charlie is a bit more naive than Casey. She hasn’t had the experience of working with criminals that Casey has had. Because of her job, Casey has an edge to her that Charlie doesn’t have.
Did you always know you wanted to become a writer?
Always! Although I’ve had years where I didn’t type a word, I always came back to it. My brother was an editor and books are in my blood. I have about four completed manuscripts in the closet where they belong. They weren’t wasted time, that’s how I learned. But being published was always a dream of mine.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
Book 2 of the probation case files series is due in a few months. It’s basically done but needs a few more rounds of edits. I’ve started book 3 as well. If the cozy gets picked up, I have two more books in that series planned. And I’m trying to find an agent for a suspense I’ve written.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Like most writers, I love to read. I belong to Orange Theory Fitness and try to attend a class at least three times a week. In the warmer weather I love hiking with my dogs. Otherwise, I always make time for friends and family.
Anything else you’d like to add, or wish I’d asked that I didn’t?
Just that this is such an exhilarating time in my life. I’m so excited to share Casey’s story with readers. It’s quite the change from being in law enforcement where I guarded my privacy to this new role where I really need to put myself out there. It took forever to get here, but I think this is the time in my life where I’m most prepared for the challenge.
Cindy Goyette is a former Maricopa County probation officer who had a front row seat to the criminal life. She kept her sanity by finding humor in most situations. A mix of these things helped her create The Probation Case Files Mystery Series. Cindy lives in Washington state with her husband and two Cocker Spaniels. Her mystery, OBEY ALL LAWS, the first in a 3-book series, came out in January of 2024.