Haines talks about three of her published novels during LWB

Carolyn Haines talks about one of her books, "Familiar Trouble" that follows the adventures of a cat named Trouble, son of Familiar the cat detective, from Haines' days as a writer for the Harlequin Mystery series.
Staff Writer

Crowd favorite Carolyn Haines returned to Luncheon With Books Wednesday with three of her novels.

Haines is originally from Lucedale and makes her home in Mobile County, Alabama. She runs Good Fortune Farm Rescue and writes books. Haines' novels are written with southern flair and a coy nod to her Mississippi roots.

"We are always glad to have Carolyn come to visit with us at Luncheon With Books," Lucille Armstrong, president of Friends of the Library said. "I think Carolyn holds the record for coming here the most often of all our authors."

Haines said she has grown old coming to West Point. She was very happy to come back and visit.

"I'm working on my third Pluto's Snitch mystery, ‘Specter of Seduction,’” Haines said. “And it will be based in Waverly Mansion. Several of us went and talked with Melanie Snow and admired the beautiful mansion. Everything in the book is a work of fiction, except for the house.”

She said the book will center around a female Union spy at Waverly and why her ghost may still linger there.

"I love ghost stories," Haines said. "I'm not one for gore, but a good, creepy ghost story is one of my favorite things."

She has recently published the second in the Pluto's Snitch series, "The House of Memory."

"Camilla Granger has committed herself to Bryce Hospital, known as the Alabama Hospital for the Insane," Haines said. "She has tried to kill her fiance twice with a knife. Raissa Jones and Reginald Proctor of Pluto's Snitch a private detective agency that specializes in the occult are called in by Camilla's friend Zelda Fitzgerald who knows something isn't right."

She said she did a lot of research into Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, and it was a world renowned asylum before the Civil War. Funding was cut drastically after the war and it became as other asylums, overcrowded and poorly run. Experiments were often performed on the residents.

Haines said at one time she wrote for Harlequin, doing a Harlequin Mystery series that featured a black cat named Familiar.

"I was never good at writing the romance parts," Haines said. "But I'm really good at killing people. So I wrote mysteries for Harlequin. I tried to write romance novels because they were sell ing well during that time. But I decided to do what I was good at. I created a character of a cat who had been in a research facility and had escaped."

The cat's name was Familiar and he was a very smart cat who loved watching Humphrey Bogart movies. So when the cat spoke in the novels, he sounded like Bogart.

Familiar belongs to Harlequin so Haines decided to give him a son named Trouble.

The new series are called Familiar Legacy. "That's where the book 'Familiar Trouble' came from." Haines said. "I started my own publishing company after retiring from the University. I've hired some good writers and they are writing Trouble books. The cat watches 'Sherlock' and speaks with a slightly British accent like Benedict Cumberbatch."

Haines said she had received some good reviews from a critic with the New York Times.

"I had said I was from Lucedale, Mississippi and now live in Alabama in the book," Haines said. "She gave it good reviews, but she also said 'Haines has moved from Mississippi to Alabama. Was that a step up?"

Haines said now that she's retired from teaching, she's writing, editing and doing lots of crazy stuff