Lyla Fox was just getting started at Cozy Cat Press. She had produced two cozy mysteries with us--both the beginning of two different series. SNOOP: A SMALL TOWN GOSSIP MYSTERY came first and introduced Samantha (Sam) Hayes, a gossip columnist for a small town newspaper as its protagonist. Sam jumps from reporting on tea parties and recipes and leaps into tracking down a serial killer while balancing a blooming romance with her girlhood crush. No sooner had Lyla finished SNOOP than she whipped out the first book in her second series, MURDER ON CINNAMON STREET: A SHAKY DETECTIVE MYSTERY. In this cozy, she introduces Elizabeth Clary (or “E” to her friends), an interior wall painter, mystery writer, and part time amateur sleuth. Of course, sleuthing is an unusual activity for E because she suffers from panic attacks. Both Sam and E are as different as night and day--except for their desire to solve mysteries--a feature they share with their creator Lyla Fox.
It might seem unusual to readers that Lyla produced her second book as the beginning of a totally new series rather than writing a second book in her first series. However, Lyla was not a typical writer. She had both of her series mapped out in her mind and knew exactly where she wanted to take each of them. Both of her sleuths represented traits she championed and she was determined to bring each series to fulfillment. Even though readers only get to sample the first in what Lyla obviously meant to be two complete series, they can relish the fact that they get to meet both of her wonderful and engaging heroines. Unfortunately, Lyla did not get to complete either of her series. She passed away recently from a long battle with breast cancer. Cozy Cat received this message from her son Tate:
“...One of the happiest days in my mother’s life was the day that Cozy Cat Press told her that it wanted to publish Snoop. Once that happened, my mother’s self-perception changed: she was transformed from aspiring (and discouraged) writer into published author. Like so many mothers who had writing ambitions, she had long ago tabled her own writing aspirations for decades so she could turn her attention to her family--first staying at home for over a decade to raise her two kids, then returning to work as a teacher in order to help pay for braces, increased car insurance premiums, college tuition, and so many other kid-related expenses.
With her children finally flown from the nest, Mom was able to devote more time to writing. I remember when she submitted her manuscript for Snoop to Cozy Cat Press; she told us about this quality publisher that seemed to be a perfect fit for her type of murder mysteries. Thankfully, Cozy Cat Press saw her immense storytelling talents and agreed.
You made her a published author before she passed. You have no idea the gratitude that the Fox family will always have to you for that....
Again, thanks to you and the entire Cozy Cat Press community for ensuring that my mother became a published author before she passed.”
Cozy Cat Press is indeed happy to have made Lyla’s dream come true. We are even more happy that we are able to introduce readers to her two wonderful cozy mysteries and the collection of charming, unique, and entertaining characters that inhabit them. If you have read either or both of Lyla’s books and would like to contribute to her memorial fund, here is the link. If you haven’t read any Lyla Fox mysteries, now is your chance. We have moved both of Lyla’s books to the top of the list of our books so they will be easy to find.