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: www.kathidaley.com
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.
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 (www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks) and newsletter http://eepurl.com/NRPDf.