If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Interview with Kaye George

“This placid lake had a long history of violence. 
Maybe every place did,
if only you delved deep enough.”
                                                Kaye George, Eine Kleine Murder (Kindle #2980)

 Writer Kaye George tackles a diversity of subjects. She’s written novels featuring vastly different main characters such as Imogene Duckworthy, a private detective wannabe who solves whodunits in her own way, Cressa Carraway, a graduate student of music composition, Enga, a courageous crime-solving Neanderthal woman, and Quincy, a fat cat with a questionable disposition who puts his paw prints in mayhem. This diversity leads me to believe that Kaye possesses multiple personalities or an unbound imagination! Her eclectic approach to publishing has led to a successful writing career including two Agatha nominations.

Please welcome back Kaye George to WWK.                                    E. B. Davis

In Death In The Time Of Ice, women held leadership roles to govern, hunt and heal the tribe. Did your research in Neanderthal society lead you to this conclusion or is this a concept that begs exploration?

Kaye: I came to this by deduction. Older societies were often matriarchal, in different meanings of the word, and the matrilineal concept makes sense to me. If one doesn’t know the exact biology of reproduction, and the society isn’t monogamous, one wouldn’t always know who one’s father is. There’s no reason for society to be strictly monogamous before the introduction of taboos in modern times, and even in modern times, none of them actually are. But you can always know who your mother is. It’s easy to trace lineage through the mother’s line, not always through the father’s. I made this society monogamous, mostly, to make it more acceptable to modern readers. The members do trade partners sometimes, though.

The history of the tribe was chronicled by storytelling. They sought the way to the future by looking to methods used in the past. It is often said that in learning history, past mistakes can be avoided. In the case of the Neanderthals, knowing the past may not have saved them. Do you think humankind is in the same situation?

Kaye: It’s way too early to tell about our branch of homo sapiens. The Neanderthals were around a lot longer than we have been. In that sense, I consider their culture a success. They were around for at least 200,000 years, maybe 300,000. Modern humans have been here for much less. We may have been here, in an early form 60,000 years ago. The Chinese culture is traced back to 7000 BC, less than 10,000 years ago. Besides, everyone who has European lineage is 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal. In that sense, they’re not really gone. I had myself tested and I’m 2.9 percent. 

The Storyteller held a place of honor in the tribe. He could tweak the leader’s decisions by his choice of what story to tell when. Are hierarchy, power, and politics endemic to all animals?

Kaye: I think hierarchy is necessary for all social animals. Dog and wolf packs have their leaders, as do other social animals. It’s hard to imagine how a society would function without a leader and followers. Let me note that, by giving the Storyteller a place of honor and also by giving him that name (rather than Historian), I’m playing up the importance of stories to people of all kinds. I think that relating tales, whether of ancestors or of pure fantasy, is an essential part of being human. I also took the name that Native Americans call this person.

Enga’s tribe didn’t verbalize much. Instead they had the ability to read each other’s thoughts, although they also possessed the ability to block their thoughts to ensure privacy. Telepathic ability showed an individual’s affinity or gulf to the rest of the tribe and to others. What was the impetus for creating this type of communication?

Kaye: I think it was a brilliant (if I may say so) solution to a problem. I started out creating a language for them. I’m a frustrated linguist (I’ve always regretted I didn’t go down that path!), so I seized the opportunity to do a lot of reading and research in linguistics. I studied baby language and speech pathology problems, trying to figure out what a very primitive language would be, especially if the speakers might have had limited physical capacity for speech. The genetic material has been found in their DNA, but their physical structure, for some, argues against the ability. After months of study, the language I came up with was too rudimentary to use for a novel. So I kind of punted. I know their brains were larger than ours, so I wondered what the extra parts were used for. Enhanced sense of smell? Possibly. Smarter? Better eyesight? But the best idea I came up with was telepathy. I’ve seen random, limited examples of it in my own life, and the aborigine use of it is well known. So I used the invented language for the rare oral speech announcements and telepathy for other communications. How I ended up doing that is another few paragraphs of discourse.

Okay—so was Enga a Neanderthal or that new smart species that may end up committing mundicide (the dictionary said this meant killing the entire world)?

Kaye: Yes, Enga and her sisters were Neanderthals who had been abandoned by their own tribe. It’s not known why. In this book, you see the example of a tribe in trouble, and this may have been the case for them. In fact, Enga’s adopted tribe is in grave danger of dying out when the story starts. I worked in a Cro Magnon (early modern human is the currently accepted term) and intend to weave in some other kinds of early people in later books. There have been a lot and many co-existed. That fascinates me.

Untreed Reads published the Neanderthal series. You had a contract with a small publisher for your Imogene Duckworthy series but pulled it and put it on Amazon (and perhaps other formats?)? Why? And why Untreed Reads?

Kaye: We had our artistic differences. I’ll always be grateful to Mainly Murder Press for publishing my very first novel, and for the fact that it was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. I feel that was a huge boost to my writing career. After I took the series back, I quickly put out the next two, which were ready to go. The three in that series are available as paperbacks and e-books. The first one, CHOKE, is newly an audio book, also. I’m planning on having the other two read and hope to have them out next year.

You went back to a publisher for the Cressa Carraway series. How do you like working with Barking Rain Press?

Kaye: I can’t say enough good things about Barking Rain Press. They work hard for their writers and are complete professionals. I was very happy when they accepted that book and their editing was superb.

Since you are currently working on a new series for Berkley Crime, will you write other Immy, Enga or Cressa novels?

Kaye: The next Cressa novel is very close to completion. The next Immy and Enga novels are concepts at this point, but yes, I’d love to continue all the series if I live long enough! Or if someone figures out how to cram more hours in a day, or exist without sleep.

How did the deal with Berkley Crime come about?

Kaye: This is another reason for be grateful to my first publisher. I sent a copy of my re-edited CHOKE to BookEnds as an audition. I had submitted other auditions over the years and had even been their candidate for a series once. Berkley picked another writer for that one. It was a big disappointment, but taught me to be sure and have those eggs in the basket before I start counting. The agent was impressed with my voice in CHOKE and
contracted with me because of that.

Have you received feedback, and has the experience with one of the big five met your expectations?

Kaye: I’m still in early stages with Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve turned in my first manuscript and am working on the second one. I’m about to receive the edits on the one I turned in, so that will be my first official feedback. I think that the sales figures next September will be the most important feedback!

Can you give us a synopsis of your first Quincy fat-cat novel? (What’s the title?)

Kaye: FAT CAT AT LARGE is my newly minted title. No cover yet. Here’s a short version: The series features Quincy, a pudgy and adorable cat who is always hungry on his diet. He gets into a lot of trouble, serving as a catalyst for murder and mayhem. The series takes place in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Dessert bar (and diet cat treat) recipes will be included!

Where can readers find your newest short stories?

Kaye: My newest story is “A Fine Kettle of Fish” at Untreed Reads.  
The next newest is "The Last Wave" in NIGHTFALLS: Notes from the end of the world, edited by Dark Valentine's Katherine Tomlinson. Available at Amazon. 

A few more anthologies are in the works. I see the edits for one in my inbox today. It will be a bunch of detective stories and will be put out by Untreed Reads. Mine features Immy as a child, solving an early case.

Your preference: Pot roast or hot-fudge sundae?

Kaye: That’s a hard one! I love both. If I can only have one, though, it’ll have to be the sundae.


Jim Jackson said...

I was an early critic partner with Kaye on both Choke and Death in the Time of Ice at the same time I put Bad Policy and Cabin Fever through the group. It’s fun to see these finally published – and to see how each of these four novels improved from the critic group drafts through rewrites and later edits.

After reading Elaine's excellent interview, I was exhausted just thinking about trying to keep three series going AND writing short stories.

~ Jim

Kaye George said...

I'll admit, I'm a little exhausted too. But I love each series I'm working on, so it's not much like work.

Thanks so much for having me here today, WWK!

Gloria Alden said...

Kaye, I can't imagine writing four series, which is what it will be if you continue them all, plus writing short stories, too. You amaze me.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Kaye, I loved Death in the Time of Ice and The Last Wave, and, having had the privilege of being a beta reader for the first FAT CAT, I am really anticipating that series. AND, I look forward to seeing both you and Jim Jackson on a panel at Murder in the Magic City soon!

Patg said...

Nice interview, Kaye.

E. B. Davis said...

I love Kaye's novels and short stories. But I have to admit, I'm really curious about this fat cat cozy series. I enjoy cozies for every third book, so I'm sure I'll like this new series. This fall, I'd appreciate a return visit with us when the book is released, Kaye. I'll get my answers then.

Kaye George said...

Gloria, I'm still not sure how to pull this off!

Paula, that will be so fun next month! Can't wait.

Thanks, Pat, and thanks E.B. for the excellent interview!

Anonymous said...

What a roadmap for those of us who are looking for models we can consider in our own writing careers! Of course no one can duplicate it, but it's encouraging to hear about it.

I'm sure you enjoy your writing, and you must be super-organized to carry that schedule off.

Your comments about cultures that trace through the maternal line remind me of the old straw, "Mama's baby, Papa's maybe."

Kaye George said...

For sure, my path can't be duplicated! When I started my blog, Travels With Kaye, I thought it would chronicle my path toward and, I hoped, to publication. It turned out to be a long and winding road, full of thorny sideroads and byways.

If any of you get a chance to read Daryl Wood Gerber's article in the current Suspense Magazine, you'll see another twisty, turny road to publication. (http://www.suspensemagazine.com/)

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great interview, Kaye & Elaine. Loved Death in the Time of Ice. Look forward to the Fat Cat books.

Kaye George said...

Thanks so much, Marilyn!

carla said...

Kaye, you sure know how to juggle characters and series! Congrats on all of your success!

Michele Drier said...

Wow, you're an inspiration, Kaye! I'm trying to juggle a traditional mystery series and a paranormal romance series and keeping characters straight (and in their correct book!)is work. Loved Death in the Time of Ice and am impressed at the thought and research you put into it!

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for reminding Michele--What's all this about testing for a person's percentage of Neanderthal blood? I've never heard of that before, and it sort of makes me nervous. I'd never guess your ancestors possessed a low brow line.

Kaye George said...

Thanks, Carla and Michele!

OK, here's your Neanderthal DNA lesson, E.B. I guess I mentioned that all people of European extraction carry some Neanderthal genes. This was determined after the Nean. genome was completely mapped and compared to those of modern humans. I used a service called 23andMe. It charges $99 and gives you feedback on certain markers. You can ask for the ones you want and can exclude ones you don't want to know about. For that amount of money, you don't have 100% certainty and they point out that their results are probable results. But it's a fun exercise.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the lesson, Kaye. I think it's funny, but I doubt I'll spend the money unless I need to find out some other information and can throw that in too.

Your book research was well done! I wish the "human" guy in the book was a bit nicer, but then lack of communication is a big problem in the here and now, so I guess you portrayed him correctly.

Kaye George said...

I was thrilled to find I don't have markers for breast cancer and Alzheimer's. This doesn't mean I won't get them, but it's less likely.

Warren Bull said...

It's nice to catch up on what you're doing.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

All I can say is: Wow! You're really doing great. Congrats. I know you work hard on your writing and deserve the success. Best wishes.

Kaye George said...

Thanks Warren and Jacqui!

Polly Iyer said...

I'm exhausted reading about your accomplishments. You must parse out your time in an organized manner; otherwise, how could anyone complete so much work. Now I'm ashamed of myself for being so DIS-organized. Going to work now, but first, congrats on all your successes.

Kaye George said...

Thank you, Polly! You know, so many people tell me how organized they think I am. I'm by nature very DISorganized. I guess I try to compensate for that in my writing life. I make lists. That's about it. I enjoy crossing things off my lists. Doesn't always get done, but it's the only way I know to proceed. Good luck to you with your next projects!