Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Interview with Krista Davis


Krista let's start at the beginning, give us your story on when and how you became an author.

Like so many of my writer friends, I wrote manuscripts and sent queries for years.  During that time, I went through two agents.  My third agent submitted a proposal for a series to my (current) editor, who asked if the series would appeal to readers of Real Simple.  I had no idea what Real Simple was all about, so I dashed to CVS.  It was in the drugstore that the idea for the Domestic Diva Mysteries came to me.  It seemed to me that Real Simple is the anti-Martha.  I realized that while most of us would love to live the Martha dream, we don't have a 40 acre garden (or anyone to help tend it) and we don't have time to hand embroider dinner napkins for a party.  In spite of that, we want to eat delicious food that is easy to make, we want to live in nice homes, and we all want our children to have wonderful, warm memories of growing up.  It seemed logical to develop two domestic divas.  Sophie Winston loves to entertain but keeps things simple.  Her old friend, Natasha, fancies herself the Martha of the South and has never met a complicated craft she didn't embrace.


What genres do you write and how many books have you written?
My agent called me with the news that Berkley was buying the series on the very day of the massacre at Virginia Tech.  I live in Virginia Tech territory, and we were all glued to the TV watching with horror as the death toll rose.  In the middle of all that terror, I received the good news.  It seemed surreal.  How could something so wonderful happen when all those innocent people had just been slaughtered?  I almost felt guilty about it. I shared the good news with my mom, though, who called me the next morning to make sure she had heard me correctly.  The shock of the events at Tech overshadowed everything.I write mysteries.  My first book, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, was nominated for an Agatha award.  The Diva Takes the Cake was released second, and The Diva Paints the Town came out in February.  I'm having a two book year in 2010, because The Diva Cooks A Goose will be in bookstores in December.  I'm very excited about it because it deals with families around the holidays -- something to which we can surely all relate! 

If you were going to mentor another writer on becoming an author. What advice would you give to them and what pitfalls would you warn against them?
Join an on-line writing group in your genre.  There's just no point in reinventing the wheel and learning everything by trial and error.  Publishing is unlike any other industry.  You'll learn more from other writers than you will in any class.  For mysteries, I'm particularly fond of Sisters In Crime and their Guppy Chapter.  Every genre has it's own group, though, and it's important to be tied in to the right group for your writing.
Pitfalls -- oof.  Unfortunately, a lot of unsavory people are onto the fact that it's hard to find an agent and get published.  Don't be depressed.  I'm living proof that it happens!  No one was born writing, it's something you have to work on.  But there's an impatience that I understand completely.  You will avoid pitfalls if you learn about the publishing business.  There are so many options available today.  Small and large publishers, e-publishers, publishers that focus on niches like library sales, and, of course, self-publishing.  All of those options have their place in the business.  It's up to you as the author to research the alternatives and chose the one that is right for you.  Do not just jump into anything without understanding how it works and what to expect.  That can be a terrible disappointment.  Fortunately the Internet is a perfect vehicle for that kind of research!

Follow Writer Beware (www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/ ).  Before you send *anyone* money, read http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/thumbs-down-agency/ very carefully!  You have a lot to learn about the business and the pitfalls if you're new to the world of writing

 
Tell us about your writing schedule and do you have a daily page count or word count?

I don't have a daily page or word count.  I generally write during the day, though I have been known to write into the wee hours of the night when I'm on a roll!



How much research goes into your books?



It depends on the book.  There's often quite a bit of research that doesn't really show in the book.  I often find I have to understand something better to be able to write about it.  That's especially true for the crimes.  While my books are not gory, I do need to be sure the method of, um, dispatch, is effective.




 What is the hardest character you have created? 
Natasha, without a doubt.  She's tall, slender, and quite beautiful.  When she was younger, she participated in beauty pageants.  Unfortunately, she's completely self-absorbed.  She's very competitive, and it drives her crazy that Sophie could be as good or better at something.  Natasha is terrible at relationships with women friends.  Her level of self-absorption, and her belief that she is always right, can make her seem like a dreadful person but she means well and thinks she's just doing the right thing.





What conventions, workshops, panels do you attend?
 
Malice Domestic has to be my favorite convention.  Fun fans, friendly authors, and it's all about mysteries.  I had the opportunity to attend The Virginia Festival of the Book this year and recommend it to both writers and readers.  They had a wonderful children's track.  Honestly, there was something for everyone!



What are your favorite movies, desserts, and things to do when you're not writing books?
 
It's funny but, as much as I love mysteries, they're rarely my favorite movies.  I don't read science fiction, but I love science fiction movies!  Go figure.  One of my all time favorites is Galaxy Quest.  Of course, I'm a pushover for a great chick flick, too.

Desserts?  There aren't many I don't love!  I'm partial to tortes, and French pastries, and plain old chocolate chip cookies, especially warm from the oven so that the chocolate is soft.  Aren't you sorry you asked?  I love ice cream, too.  There's a delicious recipe for an Ice Cream Bombe in The Diva Cooks A Goose.



Is there something you would like to say to your reading groups, readers and those who attend your book signings?
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I never expected to hear from so many readers.  They're all delightful people.  It's amazing how they pick up on little details in the books.  I adore my readers!




Leave us with a personal quote from one of your characters.
One of my favorites makes the rounds every Thanksgiving.  Sophie is giving advice about preparing a big Thanksgiving dinner.

"Years from now, no one will remember the perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake, but they'll laugh about the time the electricity went out in the middle of roasting the turkey. Enjoy yourself, your friends, and your family, because that's what the holidays are about.”

 



6 comments:

  1. Great interview. I am so glad to hear that there will be another Diva book in December. Perfect timing. I know what I'll be doing Christmas day. LOL

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  2. This was a nice interview. I can't wait to read this next book in the series.

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  3. Thank you so much for interviewing me, Pamela and Terri! It's an honor to be here.

    Mare F, you're so sweet. I hope you'll love The Diva Cooks A Goose. It was fun contemplating mayhem and mischief around Christmas.

    Thanks, Dru! There can't be too many people named Dru, so I'm guessing you're the same terrific Dru I met at Malice, Right? We had such a great time!

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  4. Hi Krista,

    Yes, I'm the Dru you met at Malice and yes, we had a blast.

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  5. Hi Krista, I'm hoping you'll be at the Virgina Writer's Festival next year so I'll have a friendly face with me.

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  6. Aha! I thought you were our Dru Ann. You were so kind to pitch in and help us set up our button bags. You all should have seen Dru and Heather Webber -- they were in charge of the buttons!

    Anita, I hope I'll be invited back. The festival was so well organized, and I loved meeting so many interesting people. I hope we're there together!

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