Writing under the name of Janet Cantrell, Kaye George has stopped by my blog with Fat Cat Takes the Cake. In this, her #3 book in the best selling Fat Cat mystery series, the pudgy cat Quincy stirs up trouble, messes with clues, but in the end still deserves to take the cake. Protagonist Chase Oliver knows she couldn’t have done it without her cat, Quincy.
When their former classmate Richard “Dickie” Byrd throws a high school reunion to gather support for his mayoral campaign, it drums up some not-so-sweet memories for dessert shop proprietor Chase Oliver and her friend Julie Larson. Julie would rather not reconnect with Ron North, the creepy kid who had a crush on her back in the day. His social graces haven’t exactly improved with age, but is he creepy enough to kill?
The next day, Chase is in the park testing a new cat harness for Quincy, who quickly proves that he cannot be leashed. But when his escape leads Chase to Ron’s body, the police wonder who else got away. Now, with Julie suspected of murder, Chase must prove her innocence before the real killer plans another fatal reunion.
Welcome Kaye. Have a seat and stay a while. I have some questions for you.
Linda: I’ve lived in almost as many different states as you have and for varying periods of time. I lived in California twice. You credit some of your moves to your husband’s air force career. I’m curious. How or why did you end up in Knoxville, Tennessee and do you plan on this as your final stop?
Kaye: Since my husband is retired and I’m retired from everything except writing, we moved here to be near one of our children with young kids. We do think this will be where we settle down, finally, but you never know.
Linda: I’m used to hearing about authors who are or were in a profession such as lawyer, teacher, caterer or realtor. Your background is unique with a wide variety of unrelated past jobs. Goodness, you were a janitor, secretary, violinist, bookkeeper, computer programmer, nurse’s aide and a short order cook. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. What motivated you to start writing?
Kaye: Some of those jobs were what was available as I followed my husband’s career across the country. In hindsight, lots of menial jobs were excellent preparation for creating characters and for knowing about a lot of different situations. But I’ve been writing all my life, just not very seriously. When I retired from computer programming, I decided to do writing as a full time job. I had been doing contract work, mostly from home, so it was an easy transition.
Linda: I see you’ve written (and are writing) cozy mysteries under your true name of Kaye George. What prompted you to start the Fat Cat series and why did you use a pseudo name?
Kaye: The Fat Cat books are owned by the publishers and I’m writing them as Work for Hire, as it’s known. They had the initial germ of the idea and contracted with me to write the books. They own the copyright, not me, but I’m paid exactly the same as if I were getting a series that originated with me published by them.
Linda: How interesting. I had no idea such arrangements existed. Sounds like a win-win situation. No wonder you used a pen name for the Fat Cat series instead of your own. Since you wrote the books in their series, I’m sure you developed the characters, so I’m a little curious where you came up with your characters’ names? Were some taken from people you’ve met in the past or now know?
Kaye: I do adore creating names. I try not to use names of people I know, especially for unsavory characters. I collect names, jotting them down when I hear an unusual one, or one that I think would be perfect for a character I’m working on at the time. I have a whole file full of them.
Linda: How do you get so much written so quickly? Do you have a schedule or set deadlines?
Kaye: I didn’t always write quickly, but the Fat Cat books were contracted to come out every 9 months, so I learned. By the time I got this contract, I had written several other mystery novels and had gotten them published. I analyzed what I usually did to put a book together and wrote it down. I follow that for all my books now. In general, I sketch out the basic idea behind the murder, make up most of the main characters and a little bit about them, set down 8-12 major plot points that I think I’ll want to hit upon, and start in.
Linda: You’re also well known as a writer of short stories. Do you have a preference of writing short stories or novels?
Kaye: Yes, I do. My first love will always be short stories. If I somehow hadn’t gotten four different mystery series going, I would be writing a lot more short stories.
Linda: I saw on your website that you have another book coming out in a different series, Requieum in Red, written under your own name. Please tell your readers a little about this book project.
Kaye: This series rose out of a career path I might have taken, if my stars had aligned differently. I’ve played violin for many years and did a bit of composing, arranging, and conducting. But I loved creating a character who dove headlong into music as a profession, but also, of course, stumbles over dead bodies. Here’s the link on Amazon if you’d like to take a peek at it: Requiem in Red Information on Amazon
Linda: Well, Kaye, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you today and feel I know so much more about you and your successes. I have one more question that I think some of your readers would like to know coming from a bestselling author. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers just starting out?
Kaye: I think the things that have helped me the most are networking with other mystery writers. I’ve taken tons of classes and some weekend seminars that have given me guidance and even inspiration. The very most important thing about getting a book published, is not giving up. It may take 10 years, like it did for me, or it may taken longer, but if you don’t give up, keep improving your craft, and keep writing, you’ll get there. I’d also like to urge those who decide to self-publish to do all those things, too—have other writers read your stuff, take classes, read a lot, analyze what you read, and hire an editor, so that you’re putting out a story that’s as good as it can be.
Thank you again, Kaye. Now don’t leave. You may appear on other blogs, but you and your book, Fat Cat Takes The Cake have a solid place on mine through April 25th.
Please leave a comment below to win an autographed copy of FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE. Winner will be chosen after April 23rd.
Kaye George, national-bestselling and multiple-award-winning author,
writes several mystery series: Imogene Duckworthy humorous mysteries,
Cressa Carraway musical mysteries (Barking Rain Press), People of the
Wind Neanderthal mysteries (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell,
Fat Cat (Berkley Prime Crime cozies). The third cozy, FAT CAT TAKES
THE CAKE, has a pub date of April 5th, 2016. The second Cressa
Carraway novel, REQUIEM IN RED, also is published in April, the 12th.
The second People of the Wind, DEATH ON THE TREK, comes out June 13,
2016. Her short stories appear in anthologies, magazines, and her own
collection, A Patchwork of Stories. She lives in Knoxville, TN, where
she also reviews for Suspense Magazine. http://kayegeorge.com/
Note from Linda: This coming Tuesday April 26th, author Marilyn Meredith will be here with an interesting post: The Challenge of Coming up with New and Interesting Topics for a Blog Tour. She has yet another new release. This one, the twelfth book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, A Crushing Death. Hope you’ll stop back by then. Thank you for your visits.