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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

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

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

An Interview with A. R. Kennedy by E. B. Davis

Saving Ferris by A. R. Kennedy

Is your pet family or property?

When Cecilia’s husband dies, she’s forced to become his dog's caregiver, something she does not immediately warm to. But when Ferris’s life is threatened by an intruder, she shoots the intruder to save the golden retriever. The law says Ferris is property but she's learning he's family.

When I found Saving Ferris on Kindle Unlimited, I downloaded it. Look at the cover. Who could resist a good dog read? But I found it was more than a dog story. A. R. Kennedy primarily focuses on how state statutes define dogs. That’s the legal issue, but the personal backstory will evoke readers’ sympathy.

Cecilia, her main character, is a young widow, who moved to the small town of Folley with her husband, Joey, after his father’s death, to run the family construction business. Joey dies in a construction accident. Cecilia’s a city girl. She’s not used to animals or the provincial thinking of the townsfolk. She makes her living online so she can live anywhere. Joey and Cecilia have a good marriage, one that can survive Joey spending a thousand dollars on a dog and bringing Ferris home unexpectedly.

Many of the scenes depict the court case and witness testimony. I thought it might be dry and boring. It wasn’t. In fact, some of it was amusing. Go over the Amazon and download this book—you’ll like it, too.

Please welcome A. R. Kennedy to WWK.                                     E. B. Davis  

Do you own a dog?

Yes, I have two. One is a four-year-old rescue. We think he is a schnauzer yorkie mix. The other is a mini schnauzer puppy.

You state that the story was the result of attending the Writers’ Police Academy. What happened there that prompted the story?

If you are a fiction crime writer, the Writers’ Police Academy is an amazing experience. I’ve attended for over seven years. They have classes on all aspects of law enforcement. FBI, DEA, Secret Service agents as well as local police officers give lectures. Classes are also held on criminal profiling, crime scene investigation and emergency procedures and so much more. Many classes are hands-on. Lee Lofland organizes the informative, informational and fun event.

I attended a class on guns that led to a discussion on self-defense laws, which are different in every state. My next class was taught by a K9 officer. The teacher, a K9 handler, informed us their dogs are considered property. And the idea for Saving Ferris was born.

Ferris is a golden retriever. Most goldens are known as the blond airheads of the dog world. Not without their charms, of course, but Ferris was named due to his circuitous running, like a Ferris Wheel. When Joey unexpectantly brings him home, Cecilia asks if the name is due to his behavior, like Ferris Bueller’s. So, when Joey says Ferris has failed service dog training, it’s of no surprise. But the surprise to me was that a Golden would be trained for that at all. Are there many golden retriever service dogs?

Yes, golden retrievers are often used as service dogs. I chose a golden retriever because years ago my parents were asked to foster golden retriever service dogs. Because we would become too attached to one, they declined the offer.

I couldn’t locate any statistics but many service dog training websites note that golden retrievers are often used because they are intelligent, trainable, gentle, and loyal dogs.

Cecilia considers Ferris to be Joey’s dog, even after Joey dies. But that all changes after the attack. When Cecilia gets home from the hospital, she freaks out that Ferris isn’t in her home. Why the change?

It’s in the moment of the attack and its aftermath that she realizes how much time she has spent with Ferris since her husband’s death and how much she actually loves him.
Unfortunately, we often realize how much we love someone only after they are gone.

Cecilia is a strong woman. How did she get that way? Is there a reason her sister and she don’t get along?

Cecilia is strong because life has forced her to be strong. Her mother died when she was a teenager. Her father handled his grief by escaping into drugs, leaving her to raise her younger sister.

Cecilia and her sister don’t get along because some siblings just don’t. Her sister doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that Cecilia made for her (and she’s tired of hearing about it). Plus, they view their father very differently. Cecilia sees him as a lost cause, but her sister thinks he’s redeemable.

You started the story in the present after Joey has died but show the past with him living in subsequent chapters. What did you achieve by this presentation?

I felt this presentation revealed Cecilia’s character in the best way. She can come off as cold, but through her love for Joey and their relationship you learn she is not. This is furthered by the development of the relationship with Holden.

Where is Folley? It seemed very provincial.

Folley is a fictional town in the Midwest.

Cecilia’s loving relationships with her father-in-law and husband guide her decisions to stay in Folley. What are her obligations to them and what was in their wills?

When her father-in-law learns he is ill, he has frank discussions with both his children. He wanted to ensure a fair division of his estate and avoid any acrimony between his two children after his death.

He knew his daughter and her husband could not be trusted with the business he had worked most of his life developing. He knew Joey would be better suited for it. The business was important to Joey’s father, so it was important to him, and then to Cecilia as well. Joe Senior treated Cecilia as a daughter when she joined the family and she wanted to repay that love.

Are you a lawyer?

No, I work in healthcare. I have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Master’s in Business Administration. 

Cecilia was in her backyard with Ferris when a local eighteen-year-old delinquent attacks, assaulting, hurting, and trying to rape her. She fights back and runs into the house. Joey tried and failed to train her to shoot a gun, but he impressed the fact that the police would need more than twenty minutes to get to their house. Cecilia gets the gun. By that time, the attacker has a knife to Ferris’s throat warning he will cut his throat. Cecilia fires a warning shot that goes astray and actually kills the attacker by accident. The focus of her second-degree murder trial is the question of how pets are treated under the law. How do laws differ among states/federal law? And why is that the focus of her defense?

There are three types of self-defense laws—Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrine, and Duty to Retreat. Each state has their own laws. Stand Your Ground states, one can use deadly force to defend yourself if you fear for your or someone else’s life, or are afraid of serious bodily injury.

In Castle Doctrine states, like Folley, if you are in your home, you are not required to retreat prior to using deadly force in self-defense.

Duty to Retreat states, you have a duty to retreat when possible (even in your own house) before using deadly force.

Regardless of state, you must prove you felt your life was endangered. You can protect yourself or others but not property. In all states, pets are considered property.

Reminder, I am not a lawyer and these are very basic explanations.

Your courtroom narrative is riveting as Cecilia’s defense lawyer gets witnesses to define how they treat their pets, as property or family. But I found the testimony of the veterinarian and the K-9 cop the most interesting. How did their views differ?

Thank you! “Riveting”— I need that on the cover!

To a K9 officer, their dog is their partner. According to all the K9 handlers I’ve met, the dog lives with them. Often when the dog retires, they live with the handler. There is a great bond between the two officers.

To a veterinarian, treating your pet is their livelihood. Yes, I’m sure they love their jobs and love your pet, but it’s a business. I’ve seen more than one vet who has overcharged/overtreated in order to plump up the bill, which they ensure is paid before you leave the building. (Please note, doctors for humans do this as well.)
The malpractice premiums I found very interesting and supported Sewell’s argument.

**Just in case my vet is reading this, I’m very blessed to have a good veterinarian. Over the past five years, he has treated three of my dogs and treats all of us with kindness and compassion. And when my Heidi passed away last year, they did let me leave without paying. (I went back the next day.) They saved me from bawling in a crowded lobby.

Why would the townsfolk defend one of their own, even though he was a known low life criminal? I was surprised his brother’s actions against Cecilia wasn’t brought into the trial. Didn’t it cause anyone to stop supporting the murdered man or his mother?

As a native New Yorker who has lived in many states throughout the country, I have found I was often treated as an outsider. In my first year after college, a co-worker once asked me, “Are you one of those New Yorkers?” It was not a compliment. For some towns, (and even some well-known cities), once an outsider, always an outsider.

The brother in law’s actions were deplorable, but defense lawyer Sewell couldn’t use it to defend her. It doesn’t matter why the attacker was there, Cecilia shot him. The attacker’s actions, why he was on her property, are only known to the police, and prosecutor office, and defense team. The rest of the town are unaware of it.

Is this a one-off book? What else do you write?

Yes, this is a stand-alone novel.

I have also written The Nathan Miccoli mystery series, which started on Valentine’s Day! (Available here. https://www.amazon.com/A-R-Kennedy/e/B00GOKCWHE)

I’m currently seeking representation for a cozy mystery series, The Traveling Detective.



Annette said...

The topic of pets as property is heartwrenching. I'm afraid I'd end up in prison if anyone tried to harm my cat. I'm sure I'd go all "mother bear" on them.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

A construction worker ran over a sleeping dog and the insurance company said it was "damaged property" and depreciated the dog based on age. The stories I hear...

If you have workers in or around the house, keep the dogs gated inside.

carla said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing your work with us!

Warren Bull said...

Interesting concept for a book. Good luck!

Gloria Alden said...

I have a beautiful and very sweet collie. She has only growled once in the nine years I've had her and it was when I was house sitting with my daughter-in-law's yappy little dog that kept attacking my Maggie. She didn't hurt him just let him know she wasn't going to put up with him.
She's not the first collie I've had. I've had quite a few over the years.

E. B. Davis said...

Your courtroom scenes were awesome to read, AR. Keep up the good work. Illustrating the idiocy of one legal principle in a heart wrenching way makes people aware of what can happen. It was a totally believable story. Good job!

A R Kennedy said...

Thank you E. B. for the kind words and for hosting me on your blog.