8/4 Sherry Harris, A Time to Swill
8/11 Authors of The Fish That Got Away
8/18 Authors of Mutt Murders, To Fetch A Killer
8/25 Alyssa Maxwell, Murder at Wakehurst
8/21 Nancy Nau Sullivan
WWK Special Blogger
8/7 V. M. Burns-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
KD Easley Interview Part 1
After a short stint in college, a slightly longer marriage and the birth of two children, not necessarily in that order, she went back to her true love, words. From poetry and song writing as a child and early teenager, she moved her talents to the mystery world where she finally found a home.
Fate likes to play cruel tricks and the first one it played on Ms. Easley was cruel indeed. Her first short story, After Hours, was published by the first magazine it was submitted to. With her writing dreams seemingly within reach, she sent off the manuscript of her novel knowing that in a short time, she’d be holding a copy of it in her hands. What she held instead were hundreds of rejection letters. Ten years worth to be exact. But she persevered and finally in August of 2009, she actually held a copy of Where the Dreams End, her first published mystery novel. Now in 2010, her first baby has been joined by a second, Murder at Timber Bridge.
When not wearing her snappy mystery writer fedora, Ms. Easley can be found wearing a dashing hard hat and building scaffold in various nuclear power plants around the United States. Visit Ms. Easley at her website, http://www.kdwrites.com/, or drop by http://kdblog.kdwrites.com/ and leave her a message.
KDE: To get to the repo man part, we have to start with how Brocs got his name. I was working at an International truck dealership and one of my coworkers was named Broc. He bought a new Harley Davidson motorcycle and rode it in to work to show it off. When I was driving the kids home after school that day, I mentioned that I saw Broc’s Harley. My youngest son looked at me and said, “Who the heck is Brocs Harley.
Ooh, my writing instincts pinged. Brocs Harley, great name. I’d have to write a book about him some day. So I tucked the name into a file on my computer and continued on with the book I was working on. As time went on, other things caught my fancy and I added them to the file. Brocs was ex military. Brocs didn’t get along with his dad. Then, years ago, when the first repo man show came on cable it hit me. Brocs was a repo man. That was the last piece of information I needed to be able to start the book. It took about a year from getting the name to knowing enough about Brocs to tell his story.
EBD: Do you think most families have complex situations, such as the one in which Brockston finds himself?
KDE: Lord yes. People are complicated beings and relationships are a tangle even when everything is perfect. Add just a pinch of ugly, and you have the start of a festering sore of discontent. I think most families are good at keeping the ugly out of the public eye, and some, like mine are just plain boring. No deep dark secrets hidden in my family closet, of course, we don’t talk about things like that, so maybe I just don’t know about them.
KDE: I am a union carpenter, and very proud of my trade. I work mostly in nuclear power plants building scaffold for repair work done during plant outages, but I’ve also worked at some oil refineries. I love my work. I love the people I work with and I love working in the nuclear industry especially. And if you haven’t ever been in a nuclear power plant, you can’t imagine all the cool places there are to hide a body. Or all the amazing causes of friction that could lead to bloodshed. It is a background that just begs for a mystery series.
And I will write one, one of these days I’m sure. The material available from my years of traveling and working nukes would be an endless source to pull from. But I can’t seem to write it yet. I’ve started the story a few times, but it just hasn’t gelled yet. Like Brocs Harley, I think it just needs to percolate until it’s ready to hit the page.
EBD: You mentioned in your bio that you live with two cats. One of my favorite characters in Where the Dreams End is Baldwin, Brocs’s cat. He reflects Brocs’s moods and provides comfort. Do your cats serve the same function?
KDE: I have lived with cats my entire life. My first babysitter was a cat named Niki that my mom got before I was born. When she wasn’t taking care of me, she was adding her bloodline to every cat in Callaway County. Back in the day, you had a cat you had kittens. Now days, not so much, but Niki was much too busy being a mother to be the kind of comfort that Baldwin is for Brocs.
I have had some cats over the years that provided that for me, but the one’s I have now, not so much. Merlin was my mom’s cat. He’s a rescue and he is very sweet, but he’s not a lapsitter, or a snuggler and he’s really hard to pet because he has such an awful case of elevator butt. Luna likes to hang out with me. She especially likes to sleep on my laptop or lean against my desktop monitor so I can’t see what I’m doing. She also bites if you pet her a millisecond longer than she wishes to be petted. This is a random amount of time that changes every time you touch her, so she’s not really much of a comfort either. And you don’t even want to pick her up without wearing welding gauntlets and long sleeves. But, she’s smart, she likes to play fetch and she kept my mom entertained while she was going through Chemo, so she’s earned her place in the family.
EBD: I grew up in a small town in PA, which some have said resembles Peyton Place. Does your town provide models for characters in your books?
KDE: I use the town and the surrounding ones as kind of models of my fictional places as far as layout, architecture and structure. But I don’t really base my characters on local people. My characters are mostly combinations of many people I’ve run into over my years of traveling and people watching.
EBD: Did you start writing short stories before you wrote novels?
KDE: I actually had written two novels before I ever tried a short story. I kind of did it on a whim. The first short I ever wrote was “After Hours” and it was actually published in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine. The first place I submitted it the day after I wrote it. I thought I had the whole publishing thing knocked out. I just needed to edit my books, submit them and boom I would be published. That was over ten years ago. I do think short stories are harder to write than novel length fiction. And they used to be easier to publish, but the last few years have been hard for ezines and print magazines as well and the market for short mystery fiction are growing smaller and smaller.
EBD: Most women write “women’s stories,” but Where the Dreams End is very much a man’s story. How did that come about since many of your short stories do feature women as the main character?
KDE: I went to my first automobile race when I was eighteen months old. I spent every weekend at the races with my folks when I was young or by myself as I grew older until I was in my thirties. I learned to ride a motorcycle when I was eight, started racing go-karts when I was ten and started crewing on racecars when I was sixteen.
In my twenties, I was part of a racing team that traveled all over the United States. Along the way, I learned to build engines, back up a thirty-foot trailer, stay awake all night driving so everyone else could sleep, and set up an open wheel car on a dirt track. During those same years, I worked in a printing plant, went to school to be a mechanic, and sold auto parts. I’ve spent my entire life around men. What I have trouble with is writing women. I’ve never spent much time around them and I’ve never had what would be considered a woman’s job. Women are hard, men are easy.
EBD: Do you blog, facebook and/or twitter to promote your books? Why or why not?
KDE: I have a website, blog, facebook account and a twitter account. I do use them to promote my writing. I also use them to meet and make friends. If the only thing you use your social media for is sales and promotion, I think you’re kind of missing the point, or that could just be me. Like I mentioned earlier, I spend so much time in front of the computer that human interactions are few and far between. I enjoy the chance to make friends. On the flip side, when I’m working twelve hours a day and all I have time for is a quick glance at my email before I fall into bed, I find everything a bit overwhelming. And all of those things are time suckers that keep you busy doing other things when you could be writing. It’s a hard balance to keep and I’m not very good at it.
EBD: Do you attend conferences such as Malice Domestic?
KDE: I love writer’s conference. So many writers, so many books, it’s awesome. And if you’re at a mystery conference, no one thinks it’s odd if you walk by a park and say something like, “Whoa that would be an awesome place to find a body.” I haven’t ever been to Malice Domestic. I would love to go sometime, but it falls right in the middle of the spring nuclear outage season and I am usually working. I hope to get there someday. This year I’m going to Killer Nashville in August and Bouchercon by the Bay in San Francisco in October. I’m really excited because it’s been years since I’ve had the chance to go to a conference.