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Guest Kate George Interview + Giveaway!

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My guest today, Kate George, won first place in the prestigous Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense with her manuscript Moonlighting In Vermont, now available from Mainly Muder Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Leave a comment or question to be entered for a chance to WIN!!
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!
 
 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I read. Mysteries and Romances, mostly.

Why mystery?

I grew up reading mysteries. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorites, PD James, Mary Stewart who combined mystery and romance – oh heck tons of different writers. I loved Nancy Drew and a gang of English Jr. Sleuths that I can’t remember the name of anymore. The Chalet School series that my Nanna sent me from England also had a lot of suspense written in. So you see, I come by it naturally, all that reading got into my brain.

Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?

Oh, there’s a hefty dose of romance in my writing. In fact I’m just finishing a paranormal romance with no mystery in it at all. Back on track here – humor is the other element I slice into my mysteries. It’s actually more important to me that my novels are entertaining and make readers laugh than the whole solving the mystery thing.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I’m not really an expert on good writing, and as sacrilegious as this may seem, I think the story telling is much more important than the writing. Most readers will put up with imperfect writing when the story is engaging. Don’t get me wrong, I like well written books but give me a good story with grammatical mistakes over flawless writing and a boring story any day.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t use a formula, and I tried plotting but that doesn’t work well for me either. What I do is start with a character and an idea of what the situation is going to be.
For example, in California Schemin’ I already had my main character because I knew I wanted to write more about Bree. She’s really fun to write about. I knew she was going to California with Beau, because he asked her at the end of Moonlighting in Vermont. And I knew that instead of relaxing she was going to discover another dead body. With that knowledge in place I sat down and started writing. Believe it or not, doing that works out much better for me than plotting.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I get to go into my local Library and see my books on the shelf. That’s pretty awesome.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Good question. I think the answer is it depends on the book. California Schemin’ took me six months to write, Moonlighting in Vermont a year. Glimmer Girls still isn’t finished!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Because I have kids and a full time non-writing job my writing schedule is a bit hectic. I try and write in the early morning when it’s quiet. It’s far easier to write when it’s quiet in the house, but sometimes I have to just suck it up and write regardless of the noise level.

I set a daily word count, somewhere between one and five thousand words a day, and try to write until I’ve reached my minimum count.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I’ve had a rather eclectic life and I get my inspiration from incidents in my life. Bree rides motorcycles because I rode motorcycles. Something in my environment sparks my imagination and the next thing I know there’s a story begging to come out.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to have either Jennifer Crusie or Janet Evanovich as a mentor. They both write excellent books that make me laugh, and have characters I can relate to.

What are your writing strengths?

I think story telling is my strength. Once I get into my “zone” and I’m into my story the words fairly fly from my fingertips.

What are your writing weaknesses?

Spelling, grammar and correct punctuation. Thank God for copy editors. I have a weird way of looking at words, and although I’ve gotten better over the years I still have problems, especially with spelling.

What new author has grasped your interest?

Rosemary Harris. She has the Dirty Business mysteries. She’s very fun to read.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté. It’s a non-fiction book about addiction and how the war on drugs is making the situation worse.

Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?

What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy? Female protagonist/sleuth is my subgenre. I’m not quite a cozy writer – when sex crops up I tend to leave the bedroom door cracked open, and when there is violence the description tends toward vivid. Both are no-nos in cozies, but I’m not a suspense writer at all. You might put me with the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, light, fun reading that tends to make you laugh and keep turning the pages.

Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?

I do enjoy reading all kinds of fiction, crime or not, but when I’m writing I stay away from works that I might mimic. It’s important to me that my voice is genuine and stays light.

Does your sleuth have a sidekick?

Bree doesn’t really have a sidekick, but she has a best friend to ride shotgun when Bree needs company. She also has a slew of friends, people she grew up with. They share loyalty and trust each other. I think that’s kind of rare these days. Most people move away from where they were raised, or they get moved around when they’re kids and don’t form those kind of attachements. Here in Vermont the communities are still really close knit. Several generations of families still live in the same town and people have the benefit of really knowing the people in their communities.

I didn’t have that growing up – my parents moved us around a lot. And I like it, but it would make a lot of people crazy, I think. Nothing like having your life be an open book!

When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?

Moonlighting in Vermont started out with a place, everything else developed from that. California Schemin’ was Bree plopped down in an unfamiliar place.

Where is the mystery set?

Does the setting play a role in the book? Setting is a huge part of my stories. The places set the tone, and become almost like a character in themselves.

Leave a comment or question to be entered for a chance to WIN!!
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!


US/Canada shipping only.

*MUST* leave a contact email to win!

Bio:  Ms. George has always been easily distracted by books and has a life long love affair with mysteries. Her early influences include Mary Stewart, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. At one time she owned the entire collection of Ms. Christie’s work including individual copies of the novels that had alternate titles. Ms. George enjoys PD James’s Inspector Dagliesh, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, and Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall and Spenser. Ms. George began writing at an early age and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella about a marine biologist. She then wisely took a break from writing.

>Guest Kate George Interview + Giveaway!

>

My guest today, Kate George, won first place in the prestigous Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense with her manuscript Moonlighting In Vermont, now available from Mainly Muder Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Leave a comment or question to be entered for a chance to WIN!!
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!
 
 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I read. Mysteries and Romances, mostly.

Why mystery?

I grew up reading mysteries. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorites, PD James, Mary Stewart who combined mystery and romance – oh heck tons of different writers. I loved Nancy Drew and a gang of English Jr. Sleuths that I can’t remember the name of anymore. The Chalet School series that my Nanna sent me from England also had a lot of suspense written in. So you see, I come by it naturally, all that reading got into my brain.

Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?

Oh, there’s a hefty dose of romance in my writing. In fact I’m just finishing a paranormal romance with no mystery in it at all. Back on track here – humor is the other element I slice into my mysteries. It’s actually more important to me that my novels are entertaining and make readers laugh than the whole solving the mystery thing.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I’m not really an expert on good writing, and as sacrilegious as this may seem, I think the story telling is much more important than the writing. Most readers will put up with imperfect writing when the story is engaging. Don’t get me wrong, I like well written books but give me a good story with grammatical mistakes over flawless writing and a boring story any day.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t use a formula, and I tried plotting but that doesn’t work well for me either. What I do is start with a character and an idea of what the situation is going to be.
For example, in California Schemin’ I already had my main character because I knew I wanted to write more about Bree. She’s really fun to write about. I knew she was going to California with Beau, because he asked her at the end of Moonlighting in Vermont. And I knew that instead of relaxing she was going to discover another dead body. With that knowledge in place I sat down and started writing. Believe it or not, doing that works out much better for me than plotting.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I get to go into my local Library and see my books on the shelf. That’s pretty awesome.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Good question. I think the answer is it depends on the book. California Schemin’ took me six months to write, Moonlighting in Vermont a year. Glimmer Girls still isn’t finished!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Because I have kids and a full time non-writing job my writing schedule is a bit hectic. I try and write in the early morning when it’s quiet. It’s far easier to write when it’s quiet in the house, but sometimes I have to just suck it up and write regardless of the noise level.

I set a daily word count, somewhere between one and five thousand words a day, and try to write until I’ve reached my minimum count.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I’ve had a rather eclectic life and I get my inspiration from incidents in my life. Bree rides motorcycles because I rode motorcycles. Something in my environment sparks my imagination and the next thing I know there’s a story begging to come out.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to have either Jennifer Crusie or Janet Evanovich as a mentor. They both write excellent books that make me laugh, and have characters I can relate to.

What are your writing strengths?

I think story telling is my strength. Once I get into my “zone” and I’m into my story the words fairly fly from my fingertips.

What are your writing weaknesses?

Spelling, grammar and correct punctuation. Thank God for copy editors. I have a weird way of looking at words, and although I’ve gotten better over the years I still have problems, especially with spelling.

What new author has grasped your interest?

Rosemary Harris. She has the Dirty Business mysteries. She’s very fun to read.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté. It’s a non-fiction book about addiction and how the war on drugs is making the situation worse.

Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?

What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy? Female protagonist/sleuth is my subgenre. I’m not quite a cozy writer – when sex crops up I tend to leave the bedroom door cracked open, and when there is violence the description tends toward vivid. Both are no-nos in cozies, but I’m not a suspense writer at all. You might put me with the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, light, fun reading that tends to make you laugh and keep turning the pages.

Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?

I do enjoy reading all kinds of fiction, crime or not, but when I’m writing I stay away from works that I might mimic. It’s important to me that my voice is genuine and stays light.

Does your sleuth have a sidekick?

Bree doesn’t really have a sidekick, but she has a best friend to ride shotgun when Bree needs company. She also has a slew of friends, people she grew up with. They share loyalty and trust each other. I think that’s kind of rare these days. Most people move away from where they were raised, or they get moved around when they’re kids and don’t form those kind of attachements. Here in Vermont the communities are still really close knit. Several generations of families still live in the same town and people have the benefit of really knowing the people in their communities.

I didn’t have that growing up – my parents moved us around a lot. And I like it, but it would make a lot of people crazy, I think. Nothing like having your life be an open book!

When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?

Moonlighting in Vermont started out with a place, everything else developed from that. California Schemin’ was Bree plopped down in an unfamiliar place.

Where is the mystery set?

Does the setting play a role in the book? Setting is a huge part of my stories. The places set the tone, and become almost like a character in themselves.

Leave a comment or question to be entered for a chance to WIN!!
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!


US/Canada shipping only.

*MUST* leave a contact email to win!

Bio:  Ms. George has always been easily distracted by books and has a life long love affair with mysteries. Her early influences include Mary Stewart, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. At one time she owned the entire collection of Ms. Christie’s work including individual copies of the novels that had alternate titles. Ms. George enjoys PD James’s Inspector Dagliesh, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, and Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall and Spenser. Ms. George began writing at an early age and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella about a marine biologist. She then wisely took a break from writing.

Revising Fun

> Gotta make revisions fun somehow right? How about a game where someone wins a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble?

My day is devoted to revisions…with a little break here and there for a load or two of laundry, a plotting nap, the usual.

I’m starting on page 125, Chapter 9.

You guess where I’ll end up when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer or when I just can’t stand editing another word…which are basically synonymous.

The person closest to my end point wins! If necessary, we’ll get down to chapter, page, line, word.

Post your guesses on Twitter to @ultraswan or on facebook at joan@joanswan.com or her in the comments.

Good luck!

>Revising Fun

> Gotta make revisions fun somehow right? How about a game where someone wins a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble?

My day is devoted to revisions…with a little break here and there for a load or two of laundry, a plotting nap, the usual.

I’m starting on page 125, Chapter 9.

You guess where I’ll end up when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer or when I just can’t stand editing another word…which are basically synonymous.

The person closest to my end point wins! If necessary, we’ll get down to chapter, page, line, word.

Post your guesses on Twitter to @ultraswan or on facebook at joan@joanswan.com or her in the comments.

Good luck!

Cool Promo Gidget & BIG Contest!!!

>Gidget…it’s different from a widget. It’s kind of a gadget and a widget blended. 🙂

I created this custom 1.0L SIGG water bottle on Cafepress.com. It’s a giveaway for my CP’s contest (Elisabeth Naughton) celebrating her new release, MARKED. (Retail value $28!)

Everyone is eligible in one of the two parts of the contest…so everyone has a chance to win!!

Here’s the remaining info on the contest–be sure to enter–GREAT prizes:

PART ONE:

Starting April 17th, 2010 (Yes, that’s a SATURDAY) for 10 days I’ll be posting a daily question. Each person who answers the question correctly will be entered into that day’s drawing. I’m going to be strict about ONLY counting the correct answers added THAT DAY. I operate on PST, which you can see on my blog comment bar. So long as you post your comment before midnight PST on the given day, you’ll be entered.

One winner will be chosen at random each day. That winner will get to pick their prize from the many goodies donated by some very awesome authors. Once a prize has been picked, it’s crossed off the list. So be sure you look at the prize list to see what you want.

Participating authors and prizes include:

PART TWO:

As an added prize…I’m giving away three $25 gift cards to three very lucky winners (your choice of online book store).

All you have to do to enter this portion of the contest is email me at elisabeth@elisabethnaughton.com to tell me where you posted about either this contest or the release of MARKED.

Simply put “MARKED Release Contest” in the subject line of your email. (If you post the above MARKED widget or book cover somewhere you get entered twice!).

THIS PORTION OF THE CONTEST BEGINS RIGHT NOW!!!! You can enter as many times as you like. The more times/places you talk up MARKED, the more chances you have to win.

>Cool Promo Gidget & BIG Contest!!!

>Gidget…it’s different from a widget. It’s kind of a gadget and a widget blended. 🙂

I created this custom 1.0L SIGG water bottle on Cafepress.com. It’s a giveaway for my CP’s contest (Elisabeth Naughton) celebrating her new release, MARKED. (Retail value $28!)

Everyone is eligible in one of the two parts of the contest…so everyone has a chance to win!!

Here’s the remaining info on the contest–be sure to enter–GREAT prizes:

PART ONE:

Starting April 17th, 2010 (Yes, that’s a SATURDAY) for 10 days I’ll be posting a daily question. Each person who answers the question correctly will be entered into that day’s drawing. I’m going to be strict about ONLY counting the correct answers added THAT DAY. I operate on PST, which you can see on my blog comment bar. So long as you post your comment before midnight PST on the given day, you’ll be entered.

One winner will be chosen at random each day. That winner will get to pick their prize from the many goodies donated by some very awesome authors. Once a prize has been picked, it’s crossed off the list. So be sure you look at the prize list to see what you want.

Participating authors and prizes include:

PART TWO:

As an added prize…I’m giving away three $25 gift cards to three very lucky winners (your choice of online book store).

All you have to do to enter this portion of the contest is email me at elisabeth@elisabethnaughton.com to tell me where you posted about either this contest or the release of MARKED.

Simply put “MARKED Release Contest” in the subject line of your email. (If you post the above MARKED widget or book cover somewhere you get entered twice!).

THIS PORTION OF THE CONTEST BEGINS RIGHT NOW!!!! You can enter as many times as you like. The more times/places you talk up MARKED, the more chances you have to win.