Kaye George AKA Janet Cantrell Interview

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.

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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,Kaye George
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.



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Kaye George AKA Janet Cantrell Interview — 122 Comments

  1. Lots of irons in the fire for this lady. Wow! Interesting info about the Fat Cat series. I wish I could write on contract, but given a deadline, I fade into the sunset. Wish you tons of success with your writing.

  2. Thank you Amy. It was Kaye’s answers that made the interview so good. She’s definitely had a variety of jobs in her life, and even now, being a writer, she’s a writer of a variety of subjects.

    • I’m just trying to sell the book right now! This series isn’t eliminated…yet. It’s teetering on the cusp, so I hope it makes it. They’re not eliminated all cozies. They’re “refining” them. So whoever makes it out of the blast furnace without getting flung onto the slag heap will keep going.

    • Mystery is mystery no matter what its intensity. Critics (and sometimes editors) may want to introduce new pet categories to prove their worth in the literary world. However, changing common terms/qualities of a known genre’s can confuse the buyer/reader. For instance, personally, I would have never classified Linda Thorne’s “Just Another Termination” as a cozie. It simply was a mystery with class, a mystery that did not need to dwell on the gore of a murder or to present the crotch view of sex. Tastefulness is harder to write than crassness; exact word meanings are harder to choose than is profanity. Sometimes I watch Turner Classics just to refresh my memory on how old movies relegated horror to a quick glimpse or an off-scene description as done by a Greek Chorus. Somehow a shot ringing through the night or described as such) or a bedroom door closing produces greater images in the imagination of a viewer/reader than a graphic display that repels/disgusts/invades the mind.

      • Thank you, Beth. I’m glad you liked the book. We’ll see you here next month with your interview.

  3. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but going by your cover, I want to read this book! The book description helps, too, of course. As to the “death” of cozies at one publisher, other genres have “died” in places but never really died at all. Penguin/Random House is concerned with profits and some bean-counter has forgotten quite where the “profits” actually come from. Now they’re putting their eggs in too few baskets and, eventually, they’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, publishers offering cozies will make more money than they did before without the extra competition. Good luck publisher-hunting. I think it will be good for whatever publisher you find, to be honest.

  4. Great interview, Janet/Kaye. I’m always interested in how writers come up with character names.

  5. The interview stirred my interest, especially the fact that you followed your husband’s military career and took whatever job was available. I can both celebrate and commiserate with that work history.

    • Hey, you do what you have to do. I’ve had some great jobs and some miserable ones, but I learned something from each one. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. We’ve had lots of guests today, but this will be ongoing this evening and into tomorrow. Thank all of you for stopping by. I’m almost two-thirds through reading The Fat Cat Takes the Cake. I don’t think this series will fall by the wayside even in with Penguin/Random house eliminating so many of their cozies.

  7. It was nice having you aboard today, Kaye, you certainly drew some attention. This is a good book series. We’ll see what the next days here bring.

  8. Interesting interview! Love the Fat Cat series. Have not read the newest one yet, looking forward to it. 🙂

  9. Kaye, you are one busy lady! Love the Fat Cat series and looking forward to reading the new book.

  10. Great interview! I’ve often wondered why people use another name other than their own. Interesting to find out at least one reason. I love the Fat Cat books and will have to check out her other series.

  11. Just starting to read the Fat Cat series and really enjoying it. Great interview and
    I look forward to meeting you at your book signing in Knoxville.

  12. What an insightful and interesting interview. Thank you for sharing so much about your creative process. I’m really looking forward to reading #3.

  13. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity! I enjoyed the first two in this series. Love this cover!

  14. I’m enjoying reading these comments. Some of you are fans of the series. I’ve been reading this book mostly on my lunch break at work sitting in my car outside. Weather has allowed for that. I’m within three or four chapters to the ending. I think I know who the killer is now, but not positive. It’s hard to put down and I wish I wasn’t so busy.

  15. Good interview. I now have found 2 new authors to put on my TBR pile. Thanks ladies for your stories.

  16. Congratulations on “The Fat Cat Takes the Cake”. This is a great series and looking forward to reading the latest book. Always enjoy books with cats, they just seem to go together. Hope the series continues.

  17. Really enjoyed the interview. The Fat Cat book looks like a good one to read. Hope to win. Thanks

  18. The Fat Cat series has the best covers. One of the first thing that catches my attention is the cover of a book. Once I am interested in to looking at the book, I enjoy learning about the author and then the synopsis of the book. Thank you for including Kay George aka Janet Cantrell on your blog today. Such a multi-talented lady. robeader53@yahoo.com

  19. I enjoyed reading the wonderful interview, ladies. I love Cozy Mysteries, and cats, and the ‘Fat Cat Series’ sounds fabulous. I am looking forward to reading them all. Love the covers! Thank you for this lovely opportunity. Happy reading and writing.

  20. Kaye, you are an example to all aspiring writers in all areas–various story styles (novels and short stories), topics/themes, and amazing out-put. All the while, you maintain a high standard of quality. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Great interview, Kaye. Found out some things about you that I didn’t know. I am in awe of your dedication and consistency, and at how prolific you are. Keep up the great work.

  22. I loved that interview,I’m inspiring writer,you definitely gave me some ideas,thank you Kaye?

  23. Awesome interview ?? Would love to read this Great sounding book 🙂 I have two wonderful cats whom keep us laughing daily :)Thank you for a chance to win ?

  24. Great interview. I am in awe of people that can get so much done. Thanks for the giveaway. Really enjoy the series.

  25. Thanks for the chance to win. I love books about cats. Interesting life you have led.

  26. What a great interview.. Thanks for giving aspiring authors like myself encouragement not to ever give up! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  27. Thank you Linda for having Kaye on your blog today. Great interview! Kaye is a new-to-me-author. Her fat cat series sounds fun! Thanks for the chance to win!

  28. I’m glad you liked the interview, Sandy. Thank you. I am honored to have such an interesting person as Kaye on my blog. Her book is really good.

  29. I attended my 50th High School Reunion,last year. We had a good turn out. 14th is an unusual reunion number.

    • Rachelle, thanks for stopping by. I didn’t attend my 50th. Mine was a big graduating class and it was on the other side of the United States. I would’ve gone if it had been closer.

  30. Really enjoyed this interview. After our 50th class reunion two years ago, we probably won’t be going to any others unless they are done with JUST our class. For ours, they had the reunion for every class in one big room and although the graduates from our class sat near to one another, there were too many others coming over to talk and it made it too difficult to renew old friendships that way.

    I enjoyed our earlier reunions a lot more as they were dinners just for our class only so you had a chance to catch up with everyone that way.

    Now I feel like FAT CAT and prefer to have everyone remember me in my THINNER CAT days. 🙂

    • Cynthia, Fat cat may be getting up in years too (like me) and thinner. But I would say reading the book will keep all of us younger. It was a healthy vitamin pill to me.

  31. Oh, the first thing that struck me about this book was its cover…it looks just like my own fat cat, Thomas!

    I love mysteries, especially cozy ones, and my young daughter is just beginning to find some interest in them, too. She adores the photo of the cat on the cover of this book, and as it’s a series we’re new to, I’m going to go back to get your first book, probably the print version, so she can share it with me (as long as it’s not too frightening…she’s only 11!).

    • I’ve heard from a LOT of people that Quincy looks like their cats! We’ve never had a tabby, but close friends have.

      Let me know what you think about your daughter reading the books. They would have been fine for me at age 11, but kids aren’t all the same. I’d love it if you’d message me when you decide.

  32. I really enjoyed learning about her process of writing. I have no idea how she’s able to do all that she does!!

  33. I’m always reading. I like science fiction, horror, mysteries, but a good cozy is my favorite. These are the books that I can relax with and enjoy good reoccurring characters. I’ve always wondered what inspired an author to write a cozy and with this interview I’ve learned a lot. It’s wonderful to hear how an author goes about the process of writing. Great interview and it looks like I have another cozy author to follow. Thank you.

  34. I love Fat Cat! Over the last 5 years I have became the neighborhood “Cat Lady”.
    If you don’t know anyone named Marsha, you have my permission to use the name for a “semi” unsavory character!
    Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

  35. A most interesting post. It was nice getting to know something about Kaye, Janet. I have yet to have the pleasure of reading one of her books. I am hoping this will be an early start rather than waiting till later. I appreciate the chance to do so.

  36. I just finished Requium in Red and loved your inclusion of HOPKINS UMC and Mizpah UCC in the plot. It took me back to those years in HOPKINS with you. Sad to think that HOPKINS UMC is no longer a church. At least there’s a Koean congregation using the building now!

  37. Fabulous interview! I always love getting to know more about different authors, but it’s an even bigger thrill when the author is actually one that I’ve read something by. (As is the case with Kaye/Janet.) Thank you as well for the chance to win the latest in this great series.

    • Becky, it’s very hard work and a tough way to make a living unless you are in the top small percentage. Still, most of us who are authors can’t stop what we do because we love it so much.

  38. WINNER! Random.org picked JILL LAUDER as the winner. Jill, if you message or email me your address, I’ll send you the autographed copy tomorrow.


    • Yay! Thank you so very much! I have sent an email with my home address. Really looking forward to it!!!