Friday, June 26, 2015

An Interview with Janet Cantrell/Kaye George

Interview With  Janet Cantrell/aka Kaye George by Pamela James

> MM2: Good Morning Janet, tell us about your cat series and do you own cats?

Quincy is the Fat Cat featured in this series. His vet has put him on a diet, but he detests dry diet cat food! Being a clever feline, he knows how to escape from almost anywhere and go looking for better things to eat. He finds them, and clues--and dead bodies. I've owned many, many cats. One recent one, now buried under a lantana plant because he was a tough little guy, was Agamemnon, a rescued feral who was the smartest one we ever had. Quincy learned some of his antics from Agamemnon!

> MM2: Do you belong to writing groups?

I'm a long time member of Sisters in Crime. When I've lived near a local chapter, I've belonged, twice--in Dallas and in Austin. I was president of the Guppies online chapter for 2 years and can't say enough good things about them. I've been in several face to face writing critique groups, as well as some through the Guppies. Great experiences!

> MM2: What are some of the challenges of writing  mystery series?

Just in writing a mystery, there are a few. Creating interesting plots, likable characters, planting clues so that you play fair with the reader (while hiding them well enough so the killer isn't obvious). In writing a series, of course, keeping the characters and plots fresh is a challenge.

> MM2: In total how many series and books have you written?

I'm doing 4 series. (I know, I'm nuts.) I self-published three Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas mysteries, CHOKE, SMOKE, and BROKE. 

With Barking Rain Press, one Cressa Carraway Musical mystery is out, EINE KLEINE MURDER, and the second is coming in April, REQUIEM IN RED.

With Untreed Reads, the first People of the Wind Neanderthal mystery is DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE. The second, DEATH ON THE TREK, will be out next June.

All of the above are written as Kaye George.

For Berkley Prime Crime, writing as Janet Cantrell, there are two of the Fat Cat mysteries out, FAT CAT AT LARGE and FAT CAT SPREADS OUT. The third, FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, will be published in March.

> MM2: What comes first setting, the plot or the character?

I guess that varies! Usually the character(s), though. They tend to come to me WITH their settings. The plots sometimes develop easily, sometimes I have to really squeeze them out.

> MM2: Do you have some favorite minor characters?

I do! Hortense Duckworthy, Imogene's mother, is one of my favorites. I also like Ralph in that same series. However, at the end of the first book he became somewhat more than an minor character, much to my surprise.

Neek, the unseen phone seer and friend to Cressa Carraway is a favorite, too.

 In my Neanderthal series (talk about a challenging series to write!), a young lad named Jeek (funny how that's so close to Neek) took over part of the narrative, becoming an ally of Enga Dancing Flower, the adult female main character.

> MM2: Take us through a typical writing day for you?

I'm not a morning person, so I do internet things, promotion and interfacing, earlier in the day. If there are errands or shopping, those are for the early afternoon. Late afternoon is when I get serious about cranking out the words. If I haven't had time during the day, I write late a night. I wish my typical day involved more regular exercise. I'm working on it.

> MM2: Okay fun questions. Where would you like to visit for vacation that you
> haven't already seen? Do you have a favorite movie, song, day of the week?

Australia! And I'd like to tack on New Zealand. I would also love to spend New Year's Eve in Iceland.

Lots and lots of favorite songs. Too many to list! 

My favorite day is always Friday the 13th. We were engaged and married on the 13th, so I consider that my lucky number.

  > MM2: Do you reread some of your favorite books by other authors etc...?

I haven't time to reread lately, but I do like to reread things that make me laugh. James Thurber, Ogden Nash, Douglas Adams. I'm constantly reading for Suspense Magazine reviews and new mysteries. I like to throw in biography and true crime for variety.

> MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

I suppose they get a little upset at what I put them through. They might utter some strong opinions about that. But if they lived boring, easy lives, they wouldn't be very interesting. I think all of them would like me to write their stories more quickly. I DO have too many series going.

> MM2: What would be your dream car? Do you own it or have you owned it in the
> past?

I love my PT Cruiser. They don't make them any more, so I'll have to pick something else when Petey goes to the Great Junkyard in the Sky. I'm not sure yet. I like Smart Cars, but am not quite convinced. I also like that little Chevy truck thing. The SSR.

> MM2: Tell us what you like about where you live?

After living in Texas with heat, drought, and fires for many years, it's good to be where it rains, Knoxville, TN. We have 3 small grandchildren here and are closer to the other two young ones, which is a delight. We moved away from one son and his family and do miss seeing them so often.

> MM2: Leave us with some writing words of wisdom. Direct us to your website
> or blogs?

The best advice I ever got when trying to get published was to not give up. It took me about 10 years of serious writing (and learning how to do it) before I got a novel published (CHOKE). It won an Agatha nomination, so it was worth it to take all that time to learn to do it well. Read widely, take courses, get feedback whenever and wherever you can--but don't take all of it seriously. If two or more people have trouble with a passage I wrote, I know it needs fixing. I hardly ever do what was suggested, because we're all different writers, but I do know that a change has to be made.

My website: 

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