The Real Kathi Daley?

Because this is my first blog I wanted to introduce myself. I invited the readers who hang out at my Kathi Daley Books Group page on Facebook to ask me questions that I would answer. There were almost a hundred questions asked, so I decided to consolidate them into general categories rather than answering them all individually.


Who am I outside of my life as a writer?

I grew up in Lake Tahoe, where I met and married my high school sweetheart. We moved to Sacramento, California, so I could attend college. I received a master’s degree in psychology and then worked with teens at risk for five years. My husband and I then moved back to Tahoe, where we owned our own business. I have two grown sons in their thirties and six grandchildren. I love to hike, bike, kayak, snowshoe, and pretty much anything else I can do outdoors.


5 random non-writing facts:

I love teenagers and have worked and volunteered at both a middle school and a Boys and Girls Club.

My favorite movie is Twister (I don’t know why).

My favorite food is pizza. (I could eat it every day.)

When I was a kid I wanted to be either a veterinarian (I love animals) or a lifeguard (I love the beach).

My handwriting is so bad that even I can’t read it. Really! People are always asking me what stuff says, and my standard answer is that I have no idea.

Meet Echo: Isn’t he adorable?



Who am I in my role as an author?

I published my first cozy mystery in September 2013 and I currently have twenty-seven titles in print. I will publish an additional eight titles in 2015. I write four series: Zoe Donovan Cozy Mysteries, Paradise Lake Mysteries, Whales and Tails Cozy Mysteries, and Seacliff High Mysteries.

Two of my series, the Zoe Donovan Mysteries series and the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake series, are set in the mountains in small towns nestled near large alpine lakes much like Lake Tahoe. My Whales and Tails Mysteries series is set on a fictional island in the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast, and my Seacliff High Mysteries series is set on the Oregon coast.

I spend a lot of time interacting with my fans. I have both a main author page on Facebook as well as a teen page. I also have a birthday club, a recipe exchange, and a group page. Everyone in my birthday club gets a free book on their birthday, and I’m giving away a Kindle a month in 2015. Links are available on my webpage:


Where did I get my inspiration for my first series?

The first series I published was my Zoe Donovan series. Zoe began as a whim when I was on Facebook one day and had an idea to share my Facebook page with my dog. I jotted down a paragraph that began with:

“According to my Facebook bio, which I share with Charlie, my half terrier/ half mystery dog, we’re in a relationship with our two cats, a huge orange tabby named Marlow and a petite black beauty named Spade. We are avid joggers and mystery buffs who work for the Ashton Falls Animal Shelter. When we aren’t rescuing animals and placing them in homes, I volunteer at the senior center, where I horn in on their book club, and Charlie volunteers at the hospital, where he’s a therapy dog.”

I just kept writing, and a week later I had a book. I opened an account with KDP and uploaded it to Amazon. It was the first book I published, so I wasn’t expecting much, but people loved it and now I’m about to publish book 15 in the series.

Hopscotch Homicide Facebook

Do I plot my books and write from an outline?

Blogger Terry Ambrose recently asked me this very question about Matrimony Meltdown (Zoe Donovan 13), so I’m going to share the answer I gave him.

I never plot my books. I never even know who either the victim or killer is when I start. I sit down at the computer and format a new Word document. I type Chapter 1. I ask myself what is going on. In this case it’s a wedding. I ask myself “what is a possible wedding theme?” In this case I came up with either bride gone crazy or mom gone crazy. Zoe is a simple person who wants a wedding on the beach with daisies for flowers and her dog as a ring bearer. Bride gone crazy wouldn’t work, so I went with mom gone crazy. I thought it would be fun to have Zoe alone with Zak’s mom, so I decided to have him go out of town and her show up just as he’s leaving, with a wedding planner and crew. I decided this in about two minutes as I typed the opening paragraph. Once I start I just move the characters around and let them live their lives. In other words, I let the characters tell the story.


How long does it take you to write a book and how do you keep all the characters straight when you’re juggling four series?

It takes me two to three weeks from typing Chapter 1 to completion, depending on what else is going on in my life. As far as keeping the characters straight, they are all very real to me, so I’m no more likely to mix them up than I am to mix up my real friends. The biggest problem I have is with point of view. Two of the series are written from a first person point of view and the other two are third person. If I’ve just written several books from a first person point of view and then switch to a series with a third person POV, it usually takes a chapter or two to transition.


Five random writing facts:

Whenever I get stuck (more commonly known as writer’s block) I go for a walk. I find that once I get my blood flowing my creativity begins to flow as well, and I usually “realize” what needs to happen next.

I write sitting at my kitchen counter. Yes, it’s a busy place to work, but I live in a full house (husband, son, grandkids, dogs) so this is the only space left unoccupied.

Prior to a few months before I wrote Halloween Hijinks, I had never read a cozy mystery and had no idea what they were. A friend suggested I try one, I did and loved it, and the rest is history.

Although I made it all the way through graduate school with a 4.0 GPA, I’m a terrible speller. Really. I have to ask my grandchildren how to spell stuff all the time. Thank God for Spell Check and awesome editors.

My dog Echo is featured in my Paradise Lake series, although the fictional Echo minds a lot better than the real one, who is just a big goof.


It has been awesome spending time with you today. I am going to start by blogging every Friday. I will also continue with my newsletter every Wednesday.

June is Murder Mystery Month at Kathi Daley Books, so please be sure to head over for a scavenger hunt, murder mystery dinner party, and random swagging. The events will take place on my main Facebook page ( and newsletter


65 thoughts on “The Real Kathi Daley?

  1. Nancy farris says:

    I got into your blog and got to comment. I did not see anything about “joining” it. It’s wonderful, just like you, Kathi!

  2. Martie says:

    Comments appear to work. You say you are a bad speller and have poor penmanship. We have that in common. The nuns use to get so mad at me. But with sloppy handwriting they never knew if I was writing an “a” or an “o” or an “e” or an “I”. Unfortunately it carried over beyond grade and high school. When I would ask someone how to spell something they would always say to “look it up.” A lot of good that does you when sometimes you didn’t know where to start. Thank goodness for spell check.

  3. alice ihnen says:

    Your blog is going to great! Echo is so awesome! It really amazes me how you just keep on writing on such a tight schedule. Have you ever gotten writer’s block??

  4. Peggy says:

    Kathi, I got into your blog and found where to comment, but I don’t see anything about “joining” it. I have a “connect” on the top middle portion of my screen and a follow on the bottom right corner. I signed up to follow … looks like I’m number 3020 ??

  5. Debbie S says:

    I love your comments, your off to a great start. I can’t believe you have kids in their 30’s you look too young.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your first post in your new blog! Congratulations on your new endeavor!!You were definitely meant to be a writer! Looking forward to being here every week, and signed up to follow. Really enjoy your weekly newsletter as well! Echo is beautiful, as are all of your dogs! I think it’s wonderful for you and your fans that your love of animals has led you to this successful career path!

  7. Linda Paterson says:

    Love it that you shared with us! You r one of my favorite authors. Love the Zoe series, read them all. Reading Secrets now.

  8. Donna Zapp says:

    I am happy to follow your musings… I love animals, books, and food and will look forward to what you have to say.

  9. Roberta Hall says:

    Love your blog! Great to get to know a little about you. I just love your books and I have read ALL your series! I can’t wait for the next book!

  10. Jill Broussard says:

    Congratulations on your first blog. I liked it. I think it’s great how you interact with all of us. You write great books and truly care about the people who read them! Thankyou!

  11. Pamela Woodfield says:

    “Random Thoughts and Meaningless Musings” I love it! I’m just starting to read blogs & I’m glad to see that you now have one. I’m sure that you will do great. I can’t find the follow button either but then I have that problem on many blogs. Maybe it’s because I’m using my mobile.

  12. Ruth Nixon says:

    Kathi, wanted to say spmething about you late night baseball but it doesn’t work right from the email you sent. The joys of being good grandparents and I know you and hubby are.

  13. I enjoyed reading about you, your family and the way you manage (?) your life. Could you bottle some of that energy? Your writing is so much fun to read, keep it up. Isn’t being a grandparent the best. You get tired – you give them back LOL

  14. Faye says:

    I’m reading through the Whales and Tails series and had to look you up because I was convinced you lived in Washington. The overarching plot of the series is so similar to the kerfluffle that happened over proposed land development in the Chuckanut Mountains. 😉

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