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.
*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.
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.
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!
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