KAY: The idea for the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries came through a brainstorming session with my agent about two years ago, so I can't take full credit. After our phone conversation, I set about inventing the town of Lavender in the Texas Hill Country, the fictional Glidden River, my mystery writer protagonist Sabrina Tate (who by the way does not believe any cat brings bad luck), the despicable victim Bobby Joe Flowers, and last but not least Hitchcock, the alleged bad luck cat.
MM2: The first book will not be released until September 2015. Have you started other books in the series?
KAY: Yes. I'm currently working on the second Bad Luck Cat Mystery, which is tentatively set for publication in June 2016.
MM2: Kay, how many books have you written? How many series have you written?
KAY: I have three previously published novels. A few not-quite-polished manuscripts reside in my closet and may or may not be resurrected at some point in time. Two of the published books - Final Decree and Final Cut - are a series featuring Corie McKenna, a Houston PI. Relative Chaos features Poppy Cartwright, a professional organizer who finds a body in a messy garage. My plan for Relative Chaos to be the first of the Klutter Killer series stalled when the publisher went out of business.
MM2: When writing a book what comes first the plot, setting, character ?
KAY: For me, setting seems to always come first. I have to think about where the character lives before I learn more about the character herself. Of these elements plot may come in third while I'm in the planning stages of the novel, but it's definitely the most important. Without a gripping plot, I personally wouldn't care enough about the character or the setting whether I'm the writer or the reader.
MM2: Tell us what you like to do when you're not writing mysteries?
KAY: Of course, I love to read mysteries. I also enjoy spending time with our four grandchildren who all live nearby and range in age from one to nine. Now that the older children have learned to read I face some touchy questions, such as "Grandma Kay, why do so many of your books have 'kill' and 'murder' in the title?" And I probably shouldn't use the coffee mug around the kids that says "Do not annoy the writer - she may put you in a book and kill you." I spend a lot of time playing with our pets, a tuxedo cat named Alice, a Border Collie mix named Dawson, and a Catahoula Leopard Hound mix named Pepper. They can't read, so the coffee mug doesn't bother them.
MM2: What advice do you have for beginning authors and especially anyone who wants to write a series?
Find a great critique group that holds regular meetings, ideally one made up of writers in the same genre. Many novels by Leann Sweeney and Dean a/k/a Miranda James were born in our fabulous group, and they inspired me.
Listen to audio books because you'll learn a lot from hearing the rhythm of a book.
Read your own work aloud. What may look great on the page might not sound quite right when you hear the words spoken.
If you want to write a series, read lots of series. After you've read enough, you'll have a feel for how to write your own.
MM2: Last but never least what would you like to say to your readers?
KAY: The Texas Hill Country is a fun place to visit and covers enough territory that I could probably vacation there every year for the rest of my life and never see the same thing twice. If you live far away from Texas, I hope you'll enjoy visiting through the pages of Black Cat Crossing. Hitchcock, my fictional cat, has become so real to me that I can imagine him sitting with me as I write. I hope he'll become one of your best friends, too. The joy of delving into a new world in the pages of a brand new novel never grows old.
MM2: Leave us with your character's sage words of wisdom about you?
SABRINA TATE: Kay Finch has a quiet personality and doesn't seek the limelight. But watch out once this homebody leaves the house. She's likely to say things like "wow, that would be a great place to hide a body!" They always say it's the quiet ones you have to watch.
Enjoyed spending time with you. Have a great week.