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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Interview with Kait Carson

by Grace Topping

Kait Carson has a reputation for diving—into her work, out of airplanes, and into the sea. Her love of diving, especially in the Florida Keys, has given her fodder for some intriguing mysteries. She definitely isn’t someone who is shy about taking on a challenge, which is no surprise for someone, who at age of two, taught herself to read when her father wouldn’t read her the Prince Valiant comic strip she loved. Is it any wonder that she became a writer? She says that one of her greatest challenges has been learning to ration her use of exclamation points.

Kait is the author of Death by Blue Water, Death in Multiples, Zoned for Murder, and other mysteries. Her latest mystery, Death by Sunken Treasure, will be released soon.

It gives me a great deal of pleasure to interview Kait Carson, one of our contributing writers on Writers Who Kill.
Grace Topping

Welcome, Kait.

Diving plays a central part in your Hayden Kent mysteries. The level of detail you’ve included in your books about diving is remarkable. Are you an experienced diver yourself, or did you do a lot of research?

Kait Carson
Both! I am an experienced diver. My first dive was in a manatee-filled spring in central Florida in 1971. You can’t dive there any longer, or with manatees, except by special permission, but I fell in love with those gentle giants and with the sport. Now I hold an advanced diver certification and one of these fine summer days, I’ll do my rescue diver certification. Summer day being the operative term!

Research also plays a huge role. Diving is like anything else that you do frequently. You know what to do and how to do it, but when you need to break it down and make it understandable—it’s back to the books for fact checking. The sport is always evolving. Although the science of diving hasn’t changed, the gear of diving has. It’s important I stay on top of the changes and incorporate them into my books.

Your description of Hayden’s dives illustrates how quickly the sea can kill a diver. According to Hayden, “My experiences on the dive yesterday only served to point up how vulnerable even the best-trained diver was.” Have you had any close calls like Hayden? When finding yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, how do you fight panic and the desire to ascend rapidly?

Yes. I actually used my most horrific experience in Death by Blue Water. I was at 120’ on the wreck of the Thunderbolt (the boat served as a model for the Humboldt) when my first stage, the part of the regulator that controls the airflow from the tank to the mouthpiece, failed. The air was flowing out of my tank with nothing to stop it. Luckily, my training kicked in. I turned off my air, removed the regulator, tucked the tank under my arm and came to the surface by turning the air on as I needed it and sucking in the airflow that blasted out of the tank. Not recommended, and I did omit the safety stops, but I made it back to the boat in good shape. When I learned to dive, we used to practice that maneuver. Without it, I’d be fish food.

In Death by Blue Water and Death by Sunken Treasure, Hayden works as a paralegal, and in your most recent book is dealing with two conflicting Wills. I understand that you also work as a paralegal. Do you ever run into anything as complicated as the Wills in your book? Have any of your cases inspired a book?

When you do probate litigation, complications are part of the practice. Heirs do try to restore Wills that are more beneficial to them and revoke the more recent Will claiming undue influence. So far, murder has not been involved! And I have never dealt with two Wills signed on the same day. That would be a new wrinkle.

None of my cases inspired any of my books. Instead, the most mundane experiences have served as inspiration. A dive on the Thunderbolt inspired Death by Blue Water. I had swum to the wheelhouse and was about to look in through the opening where the window had been. Some wag had put a skeleton there years ago, and I always looked to see if it was still there. At that moment, a Goliath Grouper stuck his head through the door opposite the window and a plastic bag floated out the window past me. The Grouper shows up in Death by Blue Water. The plastic bag inspired the waving hand.

A walk down “Old 7,” the original Seven Mile Bridge that connected Knights Key to Little Duck Key, inspired Death by Sunken Treasure. There’s a wonderful wooden ramp from Old 7 to historic Pigeon Key filled with cross beams. I peered over the edge of Old 7 where the ramp meets the water and my first thought was, what if there was a body down there? A body in full dive regalia? Death by Sunken Treasure was off and running. 

Have you ever based a character or murder victim on any of your co-workers or clients or been tempted to? 

No. Not yet, anyway. Opposing counsel, now that's a different story!

From Death by Sunken Treasure, I learned that the weather and water can be fairly cold in Florida, even down in the Keys. What else can you tell us about living in the Florida Keys? Are you a conch?

Not a conch. Not even a fresh water conch. A conch is someone born in the Keys. And believe me, they are a very protective society! A fresh water conch is someone who has lived in the Keys for a long time—usually from childhood or young adulthood.

Life in the Keys is unique, which is why it’s so much fun. The pace is slower, but because of the high cost of living, most residents work at least two jobs. Usually a day job and often a night gig as an entertainer or waiter. The locals refer to the Keys as “the Rock” and escape to the mainland when Rock fever hits--usually around the middle of tourist season, which can be hectic. Water rules. Everyone swims, dives, boats, lobsters, crabs, fishes, jet skis, paddles, and kayaks. And the best coffee in the world is sold in a place called Baby’s Coffee in Baypoint. I’m partial to their Baby’s Private Buzz.

Here’s secret few will share. If you are looking for great prices in the Keys, mid-September to mid- October is the time. It’s locals appreciation month and many restaurants and hotels lower prices until the tourists come back to town.

You’ve written several books and short stories under different names. What has been the greatest challenge in keeping the voices in your different works distinct?

I had worried that it would be difficult to do. As it turns out, it’s not. My characters are so different that once I am in their heads my voice changes to accommodate the character. I even snack on different things when I write different series. Salty stuff for Catherine. Hayden tends more toward savory tapenade and cheese and crackers.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since writing your first book?

I’ve learned so much and been so lucky to have so many willing teachers along the way. My first published book, Zoned for Murder, was wonderful, but if I were writing it now, it would be very different. I’ve learned the importance of pacing and letting the reader get to know the protagonist at the start of the novel. To do that, I’ve learned to keep my early cast small. Letting it grow in a more organic way. The second most important thing I have learned is theme. The theme really unifies the story and keeps the author from getting lost along the way. The theme of both Death by Blue Water and Death by Sunken Treasure is nothing is as it seems. The theme of Death Dive, the third Hayden Kent book, is quite different. That theme is about love, loyalty, and betrayal.

What’s your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?

The end to both questions. Typing #30# is sweet. The story is done and hopefully well told. I generally have the next book in the mental planning stage and I’m eager to get started drafting it out. It’s a very satisfying feeling. It’s also my least favorite part. I’ve gotten to know all these people, had a relationship with them, they’ve become a part of my life, and now, I’m saying goodbye, sometimes forever. It’s a bittersweet time.

Who do you read when you have time? And which writers have influenced you the most?

Everything! Even the back of a cereal box. Because I like a number of genres, I find my reading list alternates between cozy, thriller, traditional mystery, romance, and biography. The current writers who have influenced me the most are two of the most prolific writers I know of. They are Hank Philippi Ryan and Diane Vallere. Both are masters of their craft. When I’m stuck in a plot point I will often ask myself what one or the other them would do. I generally get my answer.

You’ve lived and worked in places like Britain, Washington, DC, NYC, the far reaches of Maine and the Florida Keys. Have you found inspiration better in one place than another?

Each venue has provided a different kind of inspiration. Britain, the Keys, and Florida all inspire mysteries of one sort or another. I’d love to write a classic gothic set in the Lake District of the UK. DC and NYC I find extremely romantic. Maine satisfies on all levels.

What’s next for Hayden Kent? And do you plan to write any more books in the Catherine Swope series?

Hayden is going to undertake a new investigation as a paralegal working for an insurance company. Mallory has a client who disappeared while diving in the Blue Hole of Belize. His body was never recovered, his wife is desperate to have him declared dead for her and her children’s sake, and Hayden is convinced he is still alive.

I hope to have a new Catherine Swope book out by the end of this year. Right now it’s in the brainstorming process, so it’s too early to share information.

Writing is such an isolated activity. How do you stay connected to others?

I wish I were better at it. I try to keep up by text and e-mail. I rarely use the phone. I have to try to get back to that, voices are so much more intimate than letters on a screen. Face to face is always best of course, but my friends are so far-flung it isn’t possible. Maybe I should learn to Skype!

The Internet is the saving grace for most writers, and I am no exception. As an active member of Sisters in Crime (we have brothers in crime, too) and as a member and past president of Guppies, an Internet chapter of Sisters in Crime geared toward the great unpublished, I feel I'm surrounded with a wonderful, supportive, group of writers who are always ready to share an encouraging word or helpful advice. Every writer trods the path alone. Having an Internet full of mentors and friends who can truly relate make the isolation of writing more of a community effort. 

Describe your favorite place to work, not necessarily your most productive place.

Oh, that's easy. There is a rocky ledge on the edge of the woods on our property in Maine. It’s far enough from habitation that the only sounds are from the woodland, but close enough to the house to be an easy hike. I don’t write there, but I do brainstorm there. And I always come back with perfect scenes that write themselves.

Thank you, Kait.

You can learn more about Kait Carson and her books at http://www.kaitcarson.com


KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for the insights into how you work.

Your books show that you are very familiar with what your write about, including the diving and the paralegal work, and you make us feel comfortable with these elements, even though they may be unfamiliar to us.

Kait said...

Thank you Kathleen, that is a lovely thing to say, and I am glad to hear it. Diving especially can be confusing because of the technical aspects. I always hope that I hit the happy medium of giving just enough information to inform and bring the reader into the scene, but not so much that the scene sounds like an instruction manual!

Julie Tollefson said...

Great interview, Kait. What an adventurous spirit you have! And thanks for sharing it in your books for those of us who are a little less so.

Cynthia Kuhn said...

What a wonderful interview. I didn't know you were such a traveler--how cool! And I would definitely read your gothics, as I'm already a huge fan of your other books.

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, you amaze me. I thought I was brave taking up backpacking when I was sixty. It's nothing to what you do. I enjoyed your books even though I have no desire to do any deep sea diving. I have yet to read your Catherine Swopes books, but I put them on my list to order. Even though I've gotten to know you better because you're a fellow WWK blogger, I learned so many other new things about you from this interview.

Warren Bull said...

A great interview. I'm happy to be on the same blog as you.

Kait said...

Thank you to all. I don't see myself as adventurous, not at all. I think of myself as a stick in the mud type. But I admit, I do have my moments! I think each of us are adventurous in our own way. Warren, I'm not sure I could move across the country. I admire you for doing so, Gloria - rough camping is fun, I loved it, but I don't know if I could do it again. My last camping extravaganza was in Maine, yes it was rough, but we were still on our own land (we have 167 wooded acres) and I knew I could get to the house if I had to. So, it was not really rough camping although we were out for five days.

Cynthia, as for travel, I worked for a man who would take my passport away when we were working on special projects. He would lock it in his drawer. Said he didn't trust me since I had to go past the airport on my way to and from work! It was a different time, of course. These days a bit more planning is required!

Shari Randall said...

I'm with Cynthia, I'd love to see you write a gothic! Best wishes for success with both of your series. I have to say that the covers of your Hayden Kent series are some of my favorites. Just gorgeous.

Margaret Turkevich said...

great interview and looking forward to reading your books and learning more about diving.

Billie Jackson said...

Great interview. I love that I learn something new with each blog post I read. These bits and piece make you and Hayden seem more real.

Kait said...

Thanks Shari. I loved reading gothics for a long time and Cornwall is the perfect setting. Someday, maybe I will pull all those notes from the box and have at it. The Hayden Kent covers are wonderful. Stephanie Chontos does a great job capturing the theme of the books and the underwater world.

Thank you Margaret. I love diving and I love being able to give readers a dry introduction to a fantastic sport.

Billie, what a lovely thing to say! Thank you.