Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Interview with mystery author Kate George
Mystery writer Kate George is today's guest. Be ready to laugh as she talks about herself, her writing, and, of course, her newest release, California Schemin’.
Ms. George has always been easily distracted by books and has a lifelong love affair with mysteries. Her early influences include Mary Stewart, Enid Blyton, and Agatha Christie. At one time she owned the entire collection of Ms. Christie’s work, including individual copies of the novels that had alternate titles. Ms. George enjoys PD James’s Inspector Dagliesh, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, and Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall and Spenser. Ms. George began writing at an early age and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella about a marine biologist. She then wisely took a break from writing.
When Ms. George discovered Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie she realized that she could use her own off-beat sense of humor in her novels and she began writing seriously again.
Ms. George has always loved animals and they find their way into her novels on a regular basis. The dogs are often based on her canine children and their fictional antics are usually rooted in the truth. The incident with the crazy skunk in California Schemin’ is not fictional, and although Ms. George did not actually tame the skunk in question, the attack is a true account and her house stank for days. For the record, the dogs would rather stink than be washed with peroxide, baking soda, or dishwashing soap ever again.
Although born in California and raised in British Columbia, Ms. George is currently living in Central Vermont with her husband, four children, three dogs, and two cats. She once had 28 chickens, all named, none of them especially keen to lay eggs. I'm sorry to tell you that Hermione and Speckles were eaten by coyotes. The rest were given to good homes to avoid any further emotional distress.
Kate, please tell us about your current release.
California Schemin’ is the second in a series starting with Moonlighting in Vermont. Our protagonist, Bree MacGowan is vacationing in California with her boyfriend Beau when a series of bizarre events put her life in jeopardy and send her chasing back and forth across America. She meets a shape shifting alien (no, this isn’t a paranormal!), a bad guy who she’s pretty sure is a good guy and a bad guy with way too much power.
What inspired you to write this book?
I knew Bree’s story wasn’t over when I finished Moonlighting in Vermont. She just wouldn’t let it go. So I sat down and typed up the second book in the saga, which include the region of California I haunted as a teen, and the current day exploits of skunks and dogs. Apparently I’m still not done with Bree, as I’m working on the third book in the series and I have a feeling her luck with men is about to change.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently finishing up a paranormal romance called Glimmer Girls, and beginning How Much Is That Dead Guy in the Window – the third Bree MacGowan Mystery.
“Dead Guy” takes place back in Vermont and features some of my favorite characters from California Schemin’. It promises to be as fast paced and funny as California Schemin’.
Glimmer Girls is a story of love and self acceptance, written with a sense of humor and a touch of magic. It’s about Laura Delamare, a young woman born with scales growing over parts of her body. Her struggle to find self acceptance and love in a world that has thus far exploited her. It sounds kind of stuffy when I put it like that, but it’s not. It’s full of magic and secrets and lost souls.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer since I can remember. It’s just that I took a little time off. You know a short hiatus of twenty-five years or so.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I adored my life when I was able to write full time. That was the absolute best, but with four kids and college on the horizon I needed a larger income. So I work full time in our local school. I’m administrative support, better known as the permanent substitute. I’m an oxymoron. Any way what that really means is I’m the person who fills in when a teacher or office staff or nurse or you name it, can’t be at work. We are a K through 12 school so there’s a lot of scope for variety.
It keeps me from getting bored and that’s a good thing. I either write in the morning before work, or if I’m really lucky I’ll get a free period and get a chance to write during the day. I try and fit promoting books into the afternoons and evenings.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure it’s a writing quirk, but I started writing again on a dare. I was boasting that I could write like Janet Evanovich and my friends called me on my bluff. It was write or eat my words. So I wrote.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I figured someone would be driving by on the road (half a mile away) and hear me playing piano and I’d be discovered. Mind you I’d never had any lessons and couldn’t play worth beans… I also wanted to be a veterinarian, but I’m allergic to most animals. I wanted to train horses or be an artist, but my mother said I was going to marry Prince Andrew so I didn’t pursue those careers. After all, Prince Andrew probably didn’t want to be married to a veterinarian with swollen eyes and a runny nose.
Anyway I decided I’d turn him down if he asked me. Who needs that kind of pressure?
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I often hear the words “Curse you, Kate George. I couldn’t put that book down and I didn’t get any sleep last night. If I get fired it’s your fault.” So be careful. Bree MacGowan has a way of sucking readers into her crazy life.
Readers are free to read more, or contact me through my website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Kate, thanks for the laughs, insight into your writing, and a bit about you. It's been a fun interview!