**Author Peek** Interview with Librarian Character, Cleo Watkins, BETTER OFF READ by Nora Page

 読書KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


Introducing BETTER OFF READ by NORA PAGE, Librarian Heroine, Cleo Watkins…

1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?

Good morning, y’all. Thank you for inviting me, Karen. My full name is Cleo Jane Harris Watkins. I go by Cleo.

2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?

Oh, this is an easy question. I’ve been best friends with Mary-Rose Garland since we were both in diapers. That’s some seventy-five years now! When we were young, we explored every corner of our little hometown, Catalpa Springs, Georgia, by foot, boat, bicycle, and clamoring over fences. We’re not as nimble as we used to be, but we still get around, especially if we need to sleuth out the truth.

One of my favorite activities with Mary-Rose is more relaxing. I love visiting her breakfast café, the Pancake Mill. It’s a former sugar mill that serves up sweet treats: flip-them-yourselves pancakes and delectable pies.

3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?

I’m very fortunate to have wonderful relationships with my family. Many of my relatives live in Catalpa Springs, including my eldest son and his family and my cousin Dot who runs a general store downtown. By proximity, my grandson Ollie is my closest relative. He lives in the cottage in my backyard. Ollie is supposed to pay rent, but the dear boy is still trying to find himself and employment. I don’t mind. I let him pay me in gardening help and company, but don’t tell his fretful father that.

4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where is it? How did you get it?

Why, no one’s ever asked, but yes I do. I have a scar on my knee from a tangle with a wire fence. It happened when Mary-Rose and I were teenagers. We thought a cruel neighbor had kidnapped her cat, so we went looking, sneaking onto his property at night.

Unfortunately, we were both misguided about the cat’s whereabouts and spotted by a passing police officer. Aside from my knee, it turned out mostly okay. The cat returned home with kittens, and we learned a valuable lesson about the dangers and thrill of sleuthing.

5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?

I’m a librarian, so I don’t approve of a lot of commotion and yelling. Instead, I carry a folding fan in my purse. I recommend it. There’s nothing like vigorous fanning for blowing off steam and occupying one’s hands (to keep from doing something awful like throwing a book). I also find that embracing righteous indignation helps stiffen the spine and resolve.

6. If you had to make me a meal right now, without going to the store, what would you find in your refrigerator to feed us?

I always have the fixings for biscuits. And cheese. I’m afraid I have a slight addiction to anything cheesy. Pimento cheese, cheese straws, cheesy biscuits…

7.  What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?

One thing? If it’s an entity—not a person or pet—I’ll have to say my town’s library. I never, ever considered losing an entire library, but right now the Catalpa Springs Public Library is in jeopardy.

8. What makes you laugh out loud?

My goofy cat, Rhett Butler. He tickles my face with his whiskers in the morning. He’s a Persian and always has such a grumpy expression, but his purr gives away his true feelings.

9. Has anyone broken your heart? Who was he?

He didn’t mean to, but my dear husband Richard broke my heart when he passed away about a decade ago. The ache is still there. However, I have discovered certain joys of the senior-bachelorette lifestyle, like reading in bed at any hour and doing all the driving. I love hitting the road in my bookmobile, Words on Wheels!

10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?

This is tricky… One thing I want out of life that I can’t have? I suppose I’ll say more decades to spend with my newfound gentleman friend, Henry Lafayette. But in my senior years, I’ve learned not to let age concern me much anymore.


Be sure to come back to learn more about Nora Page’s novel, BETTER OFF READ, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog!


Links to Nora’s website, blog, books, etc.

Better Off Read by Nora Page, published by Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018), http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/better-off-read/

Please stop by and visit Nora at her website, https://www.novelmystery.com/, or on Facebook and Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/NoraPageAuthor/ and https://www.instagram.com/norapageauthor/

Better Off Read is available for order from your favorite local bookstore or online at

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nora-Page/e/B077YNCMFK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-off-read-nora-page/1127120532?ean=9781683316435

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781683316435


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Nora is giving away a hardback copy (U.S. Only) of BETTER OFF READ to one person who comments on her **Author Peek** Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs.

Thanks, Nora, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!


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29 Responses to **Author Peek** Interview with Librarian Character, Cleo Watkins, BETTER OFF READ by Nora Page

  1. Gretchen says:


  2. Samantha McFarland says:

    I love this interview. Such sweet answers. Although, I am glad I don’t have a cat to tickle me in the mornings. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nora Page says:

      Thanks, Samantha! Yes, Rhett is a pretty pampered cat. My real cat would trample people awake in the morning, if allowed. He’d be jealous if he read this interview.

  3. Nora Page says:

    Thanks so much for inviting Cleo to post, Karen!

  4. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Nora, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench! I loved interviewing your character, Cleo. What a fascinating woman! I cannot wait to share more of her story on Wednesday. Thanks for sharing with us today!

  5. Marla B says:

    Thank you for the fun interview! Who wouldn’t love a cat named Rhett Butler? mbradeen@yahoo.com

  6. Mary Lou Wylie says:

    I’m looking forward to reading the book and getting to know Cleo.

  7. Debbie Price says:

    I am so excited to read this book! A bookmobile would be so much fun to have!
    Great interview!

  8. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    I know about the unexpected loss of a spouse and I miss mine so much.
    Thanks Karen and (Nora) Cleo.

  9. Helen Drake says:

    Hi Nora,
    I saw another post yesterday that showed this book is coming out. It’s definitely one I want to read. I love mysteries that feature books. I’m the president of my local library booster group. I hope it does well!

  10. Jane B. says:

    I can’t wait to read “Better Off Read!” When I was in junior high school, my mom was a librarian. She retired before she was Cleo Jane’s age. I don’t think she was ever tempted to be a sleuth, but then again, how well do we know our parents? Cleo Jane sounds like a really fun person!

  11. Carol Cacchione says:

    I love this interview with Cleo Jane! So interesting to know some of her backstory. I’m on Chapter 8, and the plot is thickening. Can’t wait to have Cleo find out whodunnit!

  12. bn100 says:

    interesting questions

  13. Eileen AW says:

    I like this senor lady Cleo. She has spunk!! I want to read more about her story. Thanks so much for introducing her and your series to us.

  14. Sheryl Sens says:

    Cute interview and some very interesting, out of the ordinary questions. My cat ( he’s a Hemingway and a rescue) pulls my hair as soon as the sun rises to get me up so he can eat.
    Congrats on your book, sounds like a super fun read!!! nani_geplca(at)yahoo(dot)com

  15. Judy Tulloch says:

    Loved reading your interview Cleo. It was fun reDing it. You said your were in diapers about 75yrs ago. I was too. I also have a scar on my knee but didn’t get it sleuthing with my girlfriend. I’ve been single for 20 years and enjoy my independence. I’m no longer controlled, except for maybe by my cat who will be 16 yrs. old the end of June. She’s my alarm clock. Every morning she’ll sit on my chest, pats my face and meows loudly until I wake up and feed her. The vet said she is a Tortie. She maybe an old lady but she looks and acts like a youngster. She loves to play. She makes me laugh!

    • Nora Page says:

      Aw, Judy, that’s amazing! You and Cleo have so much in common (although I hope you don’t stumble into crimes like she does). Your cat sounds great too. I just read something about Torties that stuck with me–they’re said to have “Tortie-tude” attitudes. Cute! If I’d known that earlier, I might have made my cat character a Tortie.

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