Mystery writer Kate George has graciously agreed to sit for a spell and answer some questions about her books and writing. Kate started writing on a dare! She writes mysteries with "a side of laughter" -- and I can tell you it's a good-sized portion. Currently, she writes about things she has experiences with...yes, she used to be a type-setter, paste-up tech and motorcycle safety instructor. The housekeeping department of a swank hotel has been graced with her skills, as well. That’s why her main character, Bree McGowan, does those things. Count on stints as an actor, answering service operator, assistant to the dean of a medical school, instructional assistant, and computer instructor providing fodder for upcoming novels.
She'd really like to write about a back-up singer, but claims she doesn't know a thing about it. How much you want to bet it won't stop her!
I loved your book Moonlighting in Vermont, and can't wait to read California Schemin' -- coming out in March. It's the continuing adventures of Bree McGowan, "queen of chaos" and collector of animals. What's she up to this time?
In this book our intrepid Bree goes to California to rest up, per se, from the events surrounding her boss’s death. Beau is hoping that things will settle down and they can live a normal life. Well, as normal as life ever is with Bree.
Unfortunately, there are probably more dead bodies in California than Vermont. Yes, you guessed it; one of those bodies literally falls into Bree’s lap. Madcap adventures ensue, including a couple of flights back and forth between Vermont and California, and Beau gets dragged unwittingly into the fray.
How did the plot for California Schemin' take root in your mind?
Well, I’m a “out of the mist” writer. I start with a basic premise and see where it takes me. The premise for California Schemin’ was that Bree would accept Beau’s offer to spend some time with him in California. She’d get to relax, but in reality adventures would find he there. The thing is Bree’s not all that great at relaxing. She likes to be doing things. That sometimes gets her in trouble.
Once I started writing my memories of growing up in the Sierra Foothills started kicking in and supplying me with details. And really it all just flows out of my head when I’m writing.
Oh, in case you were wondering how I got a shape shifting alien – While on facebook one day, early in the book, I jokingly commented that I was going to write one into CAS. One of my friends jumped in and said she liked it. So I did. I’m kind of impulsive like that.
What is your favorite part of writing your stories?
The beginning when the story is new and I’m in total denial about how much time and effort it’s going to take to finish the book. It’s the rosy honeymoon period when I’m in love with my hero and my villains start to take shape in my mind.
That period lasts about five minutes! No really some books take much longer to go sour.
My other best part is the very end. When it’s done. And the Very Best Part would be the last read for typos and I still get into the story. Like when I re-read California Schemin’ after several months of ignoring it and I still liked the story. I think you’ll have fun reading it.
Do you have more plans for Bree and company?
Yes! I’ve started writing the third Bree MacGowan mystery already. Its working title is How Much is that Dead Guy in the Window. I hope I get to keep that title, it makes me laugh. Quite a few of the characters from Moonlighting and CAS will be in that story too.
You mention that you started writing on a dare. What was the dare? What carried you forward to be persistent enough to publish?
Well, you know, I foolishly declared to my friends that I could write a Stephanie Plum novel. I don’t know if you are familiar with Stephanie Plum. Her books are written by New York Times Best Selling Author, Janet Evanovich. She’s sold millions of those books. They’re fun, and highly addictive.
Anyway, one of my friends immediately said, “Then why don’t you.” And then the two of them dared me to do it. They dared me! So I had to try.
I started writing a chapter a week and passing them to those friends. (You know who you are Buffy and Sara!) And before long I was having fun. Then I thought I should join a writing workshop so I could improve my writing – which I did, and it did. Thank you very much, Joni B.Cole!
I was enjoying writing so much that it didn’t occur to me to quit. Plus I had people expecting chapters from me. I finished it, (It being Moonlighting in Vermont) and got myself come critique partners. Critique partners are crucial for me. They did a lot of correcting style and noticing repeating words. And spelling. I’m a horrible speller.
Eventually I sold Moonlighting to Mainly Murder Press. It takes a while sometimes and you have to have faith, or blinders, and just keep submitting. It’s not so much that I was persistent as I was just sure that I’d eventually find the write publisher. Being blind to your book’s faults is extremely helpful when you are shopping it around.
What advice do you have for new writers?
I firmly believe in the ABC method of writing:
Apply Butt to Chair. You can’t be a writer if you don’t devote time to writing. And, you’ll know this if you read my books, the more you write the better you get. Don’t let life get in the way.
There. That’s my advice.
Where can we keep an eye on you (mention blogs & websites here), and where can your books be purchased?
Books can be purchased at MainlyMurderPress.com, Amazon.com, or ordered from any bookstore. My web site is www.kategeorge.com and that’s where my blog is as well. I have Author pages at Amazon, Goodreads and a handful of other sites. Hope to see you all around!
Thank you, Kate, for stopping by! I can't wait to read California Schemin' and am looking forward to How Much Is That Dead Guy In The Window? Kate's provided us with a chance to view her book trailer for California Schemin' -- have fun!! Then leave some tough questions in the comments section!