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, April 27, 2016

Kaye George/Janet Cantrell Interview by E. B. Davis

That’s the thing about concerts. There’s never been a perfect one in the history of the
world, yet every player and every conductor pick apart every little thing afterward.
I guess you can’t grow and improve if you don’t. But you also can’t expect perfection.
I’d been told that so many times, someday I might believe it.
Kaye George
Requiem in Red (Page 142)

Few authors have two book releases within the same week. On April 5th, Berkley Prime Crime released Janet Cantrell’s (one of her pseudonyms) Fat Cat Takes the Cake. Barking Rain Press released Kaye George’s Requiem in Red on April 12th. The Fat Cat series’ genre is cozy mystery, characterized by a bar-cookie bakery located in a village-type setting, a fat cat character, good friends who serve as family, and no graphic violence. The Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series is traditional. The main character, Cressa, a music conductor (as well as keyboardist and vocalist) becomes drawn into the mystery via her proximity to the murder. There are romantic interests/disinterests, friends, career, and a wonderful character arch. 

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

As a new conductor fresh from graduate school, Cressa is asked to interview for a part-time conducting position helping to build a community orchestra. Accepting the position means moving to the small Minnesota town of Hopkins. Is the town real or is it based on another town?

K: Let me first say that I love how you pull quotes from my books that make me look so good! I lived in Minnetonka, which is near Hopkins. Both are outer suburbs of Minneapolis. Some of the places in the book are real, but others are altered or imaginary.

What is the “pure 440 concert” and “A440 tuning pitch?”

K: The only way for an orchestra, or any ensemble, to be in tune with each other is to have a standard, an absolute, that they all can use for tuning. The A above middle C on a piano is, for some reason, the note that orchestras tune to. It vibrates, ideally at 440 hertz per second (440 Hz). So an electronic tuner is usually used for the oboe to tune to, then the oboe gives this pitch to the rest of the musicians.

Here’s an aside. A used to be 435 Hz in Europe, but Americans, a rebellious lot, decided to use a 440 A instead. Today we and the United Kingdom use 440, but it wanders from 440 to 444 in Europe. Very old music played on old instruments used a lower A and other kinds use other vibrations.

Her relocation upsets her current Minneapolis boyfriend, Daryl, but Cressa takes the position anyway. Why?

K: She doesn’t want to be stuck in her current teaching job, which she feels doesn’t give her time for her true love, composition. Just as fiction writers have to write, music composers have to write, too.

The woman who requested Cressa interview, Maddy Streete, has a brother named Barry who is bi-polar. Bi-polar disease varies from patient to patient. What are Barry’s symptoms?

K: He’s angry when he’s manic, then withdraws after an episode. Like many bi-polar people, he feels so normal when he’s on his medicine, that he gets to thinking he doesn’t need it any more. When he’s off his meds, his life’s events affect him much more strongly, spiraling him into depression and shooting him up and down. There’s a bit of it in my family and I’ve always wanted to write a character who has it.

You’ve written in third POV for characters other than Cressa and in first person for her. Why did you decide to present your story in that manner?

K: I had too many stories to tell in this book, and I wanted them told by the people involved. There’s a character with another type of devastating mental illness and he had to tell his story.
There’s a young drug addict who wanted to tell his side, and the people involved in the gay issues needed voices, too. I didn’t see any other way to tell this one.

Cressa’s parents died in a car wreck outside of Minnetonka years before. She is told that it wasn’t an accident. Why doesn’t Cressa research the accident?

K: There was a bit more about it in the first book, and her research had reached a dead end. However, more will happen with this in the third book.

Each chapter starts with a musical temp/mood or other notation I think is in Italian. Are musician’s lives musical scores?

K: Most of the musical terms are Italian, but some are German and even English. These are terms that most classical musicians are familiar with and I think they can be used to describe more than music. A lot of musicians, me included, always have music playing in our heads. Hey, right now I’m humming something, but I don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe it’s something I just heard on the car radio or maybe it’s something I made up. Or a combination. I hate it when a boring song gets stuck in my head. Then, like Cressa, I start on Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach. That will wipe it out.

Homosexual characters are volunteers for and are employed by the church. But none of the church officials voice his/her opinion of the issue. Why not?

K: That’s simple! This is a Methodist church. Mainstream Protestants are nothing at all like the noisy, bigoted, evangelicals who get so much press. Methodists accept everyone. We’re all God’s children. We live by the New Testament, not the Old Testament.

One character, an abused young man, becomes a suspect because he hides and sleeps in the two churches, one Cressa attends and the other, she works for as a keyboardist. In a way he was a red herring, but, due to presenting his POV, I don’t think you really added his character for that purpose. What was your purpose?

K: Yes, I did want him to be a suspect, which he is. He is also instrumental in the climax scene where everything comes together, at first disastrously. I also wanted to depict the attitudes of others toward him, with some hypocrisy and some ungrounded bias.

Is mental illness inherent or do life events drive people insane?

K: You got me there! I know some tendencies are inherited, but what part experiences play is debated by smarter, more knowledgeable people than me.

Fat Cat Takes the Cake is set during the December holiday season. Co-owner of Bar None, Anna Larsen, is getting married on Christmas Eve, working in the bakery, and competing in the baking contest, the Minny Batter Battle. Main character Chase Oliver manages the bakery, attends an impromptu high school class reunion, investigates a murder, and still needs to shop for clothing to wear in Anna’s wedding. Have your characters never learned to say “no?”

K: Anna is the real go-getter over-achiever, I think. My editors seemed to think that, since she was over 60, she would be “elderly,” so I worked hard to disabuse that notion.

Since Quincy (Fat Cat) often runs away, Chase decides to walk him in a harness. At first, Chase’s inability to fasten the harness accounts for his escapes, but then Quincy takes to the harness. I found that surprising. Is cat walking catching on? Do cats cooperate?

K: I did find some cats who were harness trained when they were adults, but usually it must be done when they’re very young. I think cat walking is more an urban thing, where there isn’t sufficient green space for them to be indoor/outdoor cats and be safe. Some cats are wonderful on the leash, some aren’t. You know, they’re cats.

The victim stalked Chase’s friend Julie, Anna’s granddaughter, in high school. Many young women would have complained to the school administration, but she kept quiet about the harassment. He verbally accosts her at the reunion and takes her scarf. When he is found strangled by her scarf, she becomes the primary suspect. Had his stalking been widespread knowledge, would her being a victim help or worsen her defense?

K: Actually most sexual harassment is not reported, so I think not saying anything is more realistic. She thinks that she would be even more suspect if it were known that he used to stalk her. Not speaking up does turn out to complicate things for her.

Does everyone have unctuous high school classmates?

K: I think that, if you go to public schools, you spend a lot of time with all kinds of people. To me, that’s the value of public schooling, but only if you learn how to deal with all of them. For some people, things get overwhelming no matter how they grow up.

Some of the feelings Chase and Julie have about high school are mirrored in Anna’s cooking competition. As a society, we applaud competition, but aren’t there negative aspects of “sport?”

K: I’m not sure if you mean cooking competitions or not. Of course, there are negative results when children and teen excel at a physical sport and are made to feel superior and entitled because of that. There are many sports where this doesn’t happen, I hope!

Dr. Mike disappoints Chase by not going to the reunion with her. He gets romantic competition when an old boyfriend, who spurned Chase in high school, courts her. Partly reconciling her heart, part sleuthing, Chase accepts the old boyfriend’s invitations even though Mike catches her. Chase feels badly, but doesn’t Mike deserve the competition or should Chase forgive him since there isn’t anything worse than attending someone else’s class reunion?

K: I wanted to give Chase an opportunity to revisit her high school crush and when Mike stands her up at the very last minute, she gets her chance. It’s still early in her relationship with Mike, so it’s a good time to explore and make double sure whether or not she wants to continue with the vet.

Could you ask the doctors in your family why steroids and meth both produce acne?

K: I could, but they give me answers to stuff like this that I have to translate word by word. I do know that they both mess up a person’s hormones and hormonal imbalances do cause a lot of acne.

How are you writing four series and keeping sane, Kaye? Which series will capture your attention next?

K: Call me crazy. I’m writing a proposal for another cozy series. I’m also trying to work on a fourth Imogene Duckworthy book. A 4th Fat Cat book is started. I do plan at least one more for each of the other series, Cressa Carraway and People of the Wind. I know, shoot me now.

If you were to wish for a gift, what would it be?

K: More time, longer days, a maid, a secretary, the lotto numbers so I could pay them. Oh, you said A gift. More time in the day!

                                                                                     al fine


Jim Jackson said...

I was there for the pre-birth of Cressa, so it’s great to see she gets to play the “second movement” of her symphony.

And, I’m with Elaine: agog and aghast at your output when I can’t quite finish a book a year!

Congratulations and best of luck with all. See you in a couple of days at Malice.

Margaret Turkevich said...

best wishes to Kaye, who is also an awesome short story critique partner

Warren Bull said...

I wish you success in all your endeavors, which are many.

Shari Randall said...

Love your Fat Cat series, Kaye/Janet, and I am glad I can look forward to your other work. If there were a prize for Hardest Working Author in Mystery, I think you would have a lock on it.
Big congratulations on your series and best wishes for much success with all of them.

E. B. Davis said...

I read Kaye's first Cressa book--but I fell in love with her main character in Requiem. I'm not sure why, but I felt I got to know Cressa more in this book. Thank you so much for the interview, Kaye. I love reading your books!

KB Inglee said...

The first book was enjoyable but Cressa is much more her own woman in RinR. Both have a strong sense of place.
60 is NOT OLD.

KM Rockwood said...

I love Kaye's books (under both names)I just can't get my mind around how she handles so many different projects and keeps them straight!

Julie Tollefson said...

I, too, stand amazed by your work ethic and output. Congratulations, Kaye!

Kait said...

I love Kaye's books. They are funny, fast, well plotted and great reads. I sure take my hat off to her--four series! I need a nap. Looking forward to meeting, and catching up, with Cressa. Somehow I missed that series! All the best, Kaye.

Writer of Wrongs said...

Congrats on a double book launch! What a busy woman you are. I love the diversity you introduce in your books. Thank you for sharing your insight.

Polly Iyer said...

Reading about Kaye's awesome productivity makes me realize how unproductive I am. She's amazing. Great interview, as always, Elaine. You're the best interviewer because you read the books and work hard at developing intriguing questions. Kudos to you both.

Kaye George said...

I apologize for just now getting over here! I stayed on in the DC area a bit after Malice Domestic, then came home with a bad cold. What lovely comments! Thanks, all of you, especially Elaine and the Writers Who Kill.

Linda Thorne said...

I really enjoyed this. How on earth do you get it all done. You don't have to answer. You may not even know, but you do get it done.

Kaye George said...

I would say bird by bird, but that's taken, Linda. Slugging away every day gets a lot done.