Monkey Bread Business by Jodi Rath

Mystery Fiction

Monkey Bread Business by Jodi Rath

I am thrilled to have Jodi Rath here for a visit today! 

Hi Jodi, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me here today! I’m Jodi Rath and I taught high school English for twenty-three years. Currently, I own a business, MYS ED LLC, where I teach seven online courses to Ohio educators, write for educational blogs, affiliations, and publishers, write Cast Iron Skillet Cozy Mystery Series, and recently I signed a contract to write a script for a psychological series. I write under different pen names and believe it or not, I also write kids and YA books too.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I have a brown belt (one away from black) in Kenpo Kickboxing.
  2. I’ve raced a race car on Laguna Seca racetrack and did a racing school and I do auto-crossing.
  3. I’m EXTREMELY introverted and a homebody—like Emily Dickinson homebody.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Choose Your Own Adventure books and Nancy Drew books—but I know my mom read to me and I remember her getting the Seasame Street book of the month where I got a hardback book every month—I remember it feeling like I got Christmas once a month!

What are you reading now?

Kristen Lepionka’s The Last Place You Look, Engage the Brain: how to Design for Learning That Taps into the Power of Emotion by Allison Posey, Writing the Thriller by T. Macdonald Skillman and a textbook The Process of Investigation for the script. I’m normally reading anywhere from five to twelve books at once.

What books have most inspired you?

And She Was by Cindy Dyson, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and everything by both Sara Paretsky and Agatha Christie.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

When I taught high school English,—I was also the high school Reading teacher for struggling readers with comprehension AND students that had dyslexia—I used to use two and five minute mysteries as bell ringers. I felt like Choose Your Own Adventure books were mysteries to solve too.

I’m a life-long learner and a child of trauma and a late teen—all of my twenties woman of trauma who is thankful for all the good and all the bad in my life. I am who I am because of every experience I’ve faced. Life is beautiful—even the ugliness can bring beauty. Life is a huge mystery. Many people think what they think or believe IS the only right answer but there are so many different races, religions, cultures, backgrounds, variables that make up each individual person in this world—with seven to eight BILLION people—no one will ever agree on everything. So being open-minded and tolerant and finding a way to be thankful is key. Figuring out how to that alone is a huge mystery to many of us. Yet, we persevere.

So, what was the question again? Oh yeah, all of that makes me want to continue to write all types of mysteries but also do all types of writing, too.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Always at home—again, very Dickinson-like—but in my office is my main place—my office is on the second floor of our home overlooking our woods. Our deck overlooks the woods too—so in good weather, you’ll find me out there or in bed or in my fave chair with legs up on the rust-colored ottoman with episodes of Gilmore Girls, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, or NYPD Blue playing in the background.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Life. Teaching high school for all those years helps me with topics for some of the writing I do—including this cozy series. Most of my students and I are still friends and follow each other on social media and many of them read the series.

I’ve dealt with my own trauma in life but there’s so much I never experienced but saw my students struggle with things. News stories, TV shows, music, poetry, nature, literary writers (classics—I was an English Literature undergrad in college), research, pictures—oh yeah—I sketch and paint too—I find ideas everywhere—from many of my readers.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Time. I love every single part of my business. As you see, I do a lot of writing and I’m diverse in all the types of writing I do—I want more time to write more.

What do you think makes a good story?

Universal themes that readers can connect to and reflect on as they read and walk away feeling they related to the characters and themes.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

The protagonist. This is my first cozy mystery series—so, I wrote in first person and created a character that has some similarities to myself. Jolie Tucker is in her late twenties now and is just starting to grow up. I grew up at a young age but had lots of friends in my twenties that were just starting to grow up in their mid to late twenties—many of the students I’ve taught—I see that they are figuring more out in their twenties too. So, I liked the idea of getting to be a person who got to grow up in my twenties through Jolie instead of Jodi—who had to grow up at age four.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

It’s a cozy mystery but there is a lot of diversity in the series. There’s teens without homes, gentrification, urban sprawl, dysfunctional families, communities at war BUT also people learning how to accept each other along the way and be able to solve their own problems and take responsibility for themselves as adults, members of society, and a greater whole as well.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I signed a contract to write this script on 2/1/21 and I wasn’t expecting that to happen while writing Monkey Bread Business. So, I’m learning scriptwriting software, film industry terms, and how to structure and write a script.

There are also two more books in the Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series coming out in 2021 after Monkey  Bread Business in April of 2021, too.

Thank you for having me here today!

Thank you Jodi for stopping by today!

About Monkey Bread Business


Monkey Bread Business (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)

Monkey Bread Business by Jodi Rath,  Nature breeds new life with the sign of Spring in the air in Leavensport, Ohio, and Jolie and Ava find their new families’ lives turned upside down! With properties in Leavensport beginning to sell, Nina Sanchez opened a bakery after purchasing the lot next to M&M’s Italian restaurant. She is new to town and swears to Ava and Jolie she has no connection to the Dominican Republic Sanchez mafia family. Yet, Ava is skeptical, and this sends Jolie and Ava off on yet another investigation looking at how organized crime connects to their little village and the politics that surround it.

Meanwhile, Nina Sanchez is not thrilled to feel obliged to cross-sell and become a full-fledged member of Leavensport, especially not with Jolie and Ava investigating her history. She has no choice when her son discovers a murdered homeless woman on the street on his way to deliver bread to the local shelter—it looks a lot like a mob hit and the reveal of who the homeless woman is will send all of Leavensport on alert making Jolie question the future of her town.

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

More About Jodi Rath

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.


Coming July 23, 2021

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