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An Interview with Kathi Daley


MM: Kathi, give us the backstory about how you became an author?
It was really sort of a fluke. My husband and I had sold our business and were ‘semi-retired’ but we both knew we wanted to do something part time. He got a Real Estate License and I decided to try my hand at writing. I figured I could write whenever and from wherever which was a must since at the time we planned to do a lot of traveling. I do not have a background in English or literature or creative writing or really anything that would qualify me to be a writer, so although I jotted down some ideas I was far from publishing anything. Then one day I was on Facebook and I had the idea to share a Facebook page with my dog. I jotted down the following paragraph:
     My name is Zoe Donovan. I’m a third-generation Ashtonite (our unofficial name for the citizens of our little community). The by-product of my wealthy mother’s single act of teenage rebellion, and my locally beloved but financially lacking, blue-collar father’s tender act of love, I’ve overcome my scandalous entry into the world and carved out a satisfying and peaceful existence. While some of the crustier old geezers in town would say I have a tendency toward the absurd, I like to think that I’m actually a normal and well-rounded twenty-four-year-old with a few adorable quirks that make me, me.
     According to my Facebook page, which I share with Charlie, my half terrier/ half mystery dog, we’re in a relationship with our two cats, a huge orange tabby named Marlow (after detective Phillip Marlow) and a petite black beauty named Spade (named for Sam Spade and not the playing card suit.) We are avid joggers and mystery buffs who work for the Ashton Falls branch of the Timberland County Animal Shelter. When we aren’t rescuing animals and placing them in homes around the community, I volunteer at the senior center, where I horn in on their book club, and Charlie volunteers at the hospital, where he’s a therapy dog. I like to wakeboard in the summer and snowboard in the winter, while Charlie prefers chasing a Frisbee on the beach or hiking the miles of unmarred forest around the lake. We both like to relax by curling up in front of the fire with a good book in the converted boathouse we call home.
I just kept writing and in about a week I had a book (Halloween Hijinks). It was really an impulse that caused me to whip together a cover and upload it to Amazon but I did and I sold a bunch of copies and the rest is history.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write? The beach. I live in Lake Tahoe so it is not all that hard to pack up my laptop, find a deserted picnic table, and write until my battery runs out. I also enjoy writing on the lanai of the condo we like to spend time at in Maui. It overlooks the water and is so peaceful.

MM: Tell what genres of books you write? Mystery and Romance with a little YA thrown in.

MM: What comes first, the plot, the characters, setting or something else? It depends. With the Zoe Donovan series the character of Zoe and her dog came first. With my Whales and Tails series the setting came first – I knew I wanted to write a series set in the San Juan Islands. With my Paradise Lake Series, I think the setting came first as well since it is set in a ‘Tahoe-like’ location and with my Seacliff High Series I guess it was mostly the plot of the first book in the series that made me want to write it.

MM: Do you have a certain word count or amount of pages you write everyday? As many as I need to in order to meet my deadlines. This usually falls around 5,000.

MM: If you were going to invite some authors to have dinner with you, who would they be and what would you ask them? Oh and the authors can be dead or alive? Yes I have a wicked sense of humor. Wow, I really don’t know the answer to this question. I have made a lot of friends in the writing community most who I have never met in person so ten or fifteen names come to mind right off the bat. Then of course there are the authors whose books I grew up reading. Hum, this will take some thought.

MM: Are there some television shows you binge watch? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I own the DVD’s and watch them over and over again.

MM: Be our tour guide and tell us about where you live and where you love to spend your time? I am lucky enough to live in beautiful Lake Tahoe. We have sunshine and beaches in the summer and snow and skiing in the winter. I love to take my dogs hiking or snowshoeing in the forest. We have a boat that I enjoy cruising around on during the summer. And of course there is the beach. I love the beach. It really is an awesome place to live.

MM: Let's talk about your latest book/s? What would you like readers to have as a take away after they finish reading your book? My books are cozy mysteries with plenty of romance, family, friends, animals, and food, but they are really about relationships. My fans tell me that the reason they look forward to my books is because the characters are like friends they have grown to love and they are anxious to return time and time again so that they can share the lives of these characters who seem very real to them.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you? Probably that I am a crazy lady when I am driving the development of a book who veers off all willy-nilly as the mood strikes. I never plot my books so at times they can be pretty unpredictable but it all works out in the end.

MM: What is your favorite place to vacation, your favorite song, meal, dessert, movie/, books you like to reread, snack and favorite artist?

Favorite vacation is a road trip. I love to just get in a car with my husband and drive with no particular route in mind and no sort of timeline. My husband and I have driven back and forth across the United States many times. We just pick a direction, drive until we are tired, find a hotel, and the get up the next morning and decide which direction to head that day. I have been to all 50 states although I didn’t drive to Hawaii.

My favorite song is It’s My Life by Jon Bon Jovi, who by the way is my favorite artist.

My favorite meal is champagne and pizza – cheese or pepperoni

My favorite move is Twister – I don’t know why except that I love weather and road trips.

My favorite dessert is cheesecake

I like to read books that create a mood so I like to read books set at the beach in the summer and holiday books during the holidays.

Favorite snack is potato chips

MM: What are you looking forward to in 2016?
I’m doing some reader events for the first time. I will be attending Romancing the Smokies in Knoxville with the amazing Tonya Kappes in March. I am also one of four authors, along with Tonya Kappes, Laura Bradford, and Duffy Brown, doing a mystery train in Jackson MO in October. I also plan to attend Boucheron and Left Coast Crime. Beyond that????

MM: What would you like to say to your readers, teachers, mentors, any groups you are a member, the village that helped you along the way?
Wow, you are all so awesome and I love each and every one of you so very much. I really do have the very best fans. You not only buy my books, but you support and encourage me, you send me emails and whimsical cards, you offer advice or suggestions when I need it, and you give me a reason to get up each day and do what I do. I also want to thank my author community. Your support and encouragement truly has made all the difference.

MM: Lastly, what is your favorite conventions, retreats, bookstores and libraries?
This will be my first year going to conventions so I don’t have a favorite, yet. I absolutely LOVE the library on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. It is a converted firehouse with a fireplace in the center, an awesome children’s area, an enclosed reading room for adults who want some peace and quiet, and tons and tons of books. All of this on an island that only has a couple thousand residents. It is really awesome.

Thank you so much for the interview.


  1. Thanks Kathi and Congratulations on the release of A Tale of Two Tabbies today!

  2. Thank you for having me. It has been fun chatting with you.

  3. Great interview so glad that it got posted!

  4. Kathi,

    I enjoyed doing the interview. I love the book covers and titles. Congratulations on A Tale of Two Tabbies today.


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