Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Interview with novelist Kate Dyer-Seeley

Novelist Kate Dyer-Seeley is here today to chat about her new mystery, Violet Tendencies.

Kate Dyer-Seeley is the author of In Cave Danger, Scene of the Climb and Slayed on the Slopes in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series, as well as the memoir Underneath the Ash and Natural Thorn Killer, the first book in her Rose City Mystery series. Kate’s writing has appeared in a number of regional and national publications, including Climbing Magazine, The Oregonian, The Columbian, Portland Family Magazine, Seattle Backpackers Magazine, and The Vancouver Voice. She is an active member of the Willamette Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

Welcome, Kate. Please tell us about your current release.
I’m so excited to share the 2nd book in the Rose City Mysteries with readers! In Violet Tendencies, floral artist Britta Johnston and her Aunt Elin have been chosen to design the signature float for Portland, Oregon’s annual Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. They’re busy gluing seeds to their two-story float and stringing together beautiful strands of violets when a violent protest breaks out and threatens the entire parade.

What inspired you to write this book?
Growing up in Portland meant that Rose Festival was always a highlight of the year. The Grand Floral Parade was one of my favorite traditions. I loved watching the colorful floats and even had an opportunity to march in the parade during high school. I pulled from those memories for inspiration for the book. While the murder is fictional, everything that I’ve weaved in about the Rose Festival is real. I spent time volunteering as a float decorator when I was working on the book to get a better understanding of how the magnificent floats come together. One fun fact: everything on the floats has to be organic. That means that volunteers spend hours and hours painstakingly gluing tapioca pearls and polenta and draping branches of evergreen boughs and roses onto every float.

Excerpt from Violet Tendencies:
An uneasy sensation swelled through my body as I walked with trepidation toward our float. Something about the huge, cavernous space felt foreboding.

“Hello!” I called again.

The only answer was the sound of my own voice bouncing off the walls.

Shouldn’t the other decorators and volunteers be here by now? We were supposed to report by
seven thirty for the morning meeting. Had I missed a message? Was the parade canceled? I thought about turning around but I willed myself forward.

Bad choice.

When I made it to our float I looked up in horror. Our float had been destroyed. The arbor and
grapevines that we had meticulously secured had been torn apart and were scattered in broken pieces throughout the floor.

I stepped forward and let out a scream.

Sham’s body was sprawled out among the ruins.

A noose of purple violets twisted around his lifeless neck . . .

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently working on a ton of research for my next project. Research is one of my favorite things about the writing process. I used to say that I wished I could be a perennial college student. Writing fulfills that dream. I love getting to immerse myself in new worlds and learn new skills.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself a writer until my first book was published, despite the fact that I had been writing for newspapers and magazines for many years before that and getting paid for my writing. I can’t exactly pinpoint what the shift was, but there was something about the fact that I had a full-fledged book published that made me suddenly realize, “Oh, I am a writer.”

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 do write full time. I write multiple mystery series so I’m basically always on a deadline. I find that I do much better when I have structure and a daily word count to hit. I like the routine of writing every day. I think it lends to even more creativity because you’re constantly exercising your writing muscle.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I completely change out my office every time I start a new book. I have a playlist for my protagonists to help me get “in their head” so to speak. For example, when I was working on Violet Tendencies I had pictures of violets and pictures from the Grand Floral Parade posted on my office walls. I edited the manuscript with a purple pen and lit a violet scented candle when I was writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to write, and I actually wrote my first mystery when I was in second grade. However, in college I took a more practical approach and minored in creative writing, while earning a degree in speech therapy. At the time I had no idea what I wanted to write. It took me a lot of terrible first drafts and years of writing workshops and conferences before I took the plunge.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks so much for having me on today, and to all of the readers who help champion books and share them out in the world.


Thanks for joining me today, Kate.

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