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Friday, February 11, 2011

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY -- GUEST AUTHOR KATE GEORGE


Today we have something a little different for Book Club Friday. Author Lois Winston is interviewing award winning writer, Kate George. Kate is the author of Moonlighting in Vermont and California Schemin’ (due out March 1, 2011.) She lives in Vermont with dogs, kids, and currently, snow. You can read more about Kate at www.kategeorge.com. Her books are available at www.mainlymurderpress.com, amazon.com or can be ordered from any bookstore.

Kate has graciously offered a copy of Moonlighting in Vermont to one lucky person who posts a comment to the blog this week. -- AP

LW: Welcome, Kate! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you write full time, or do you have a day job?

KG: I long for the days when I could write all day long! I took them for granted. I have a day job, now, at our local K through 12 school, where my job title is Admin Support. That means I do everything from substitute teaching to answering phones. It’s great to work at the same school my kids attend. And in most of the country it wouldn’t be possible because my youngest is in fifth grade and my oldest is a junior in high school. There aren’t a bunch of K-12 schools around any more.

I’m not sure my kids like having me around all the time. They can’t get away with much.

I write either late at night or very early in the morning. When I can stay awake!

LW: You call your books “mystery with a side of laughter.” Given that mysteries usually involve dead bodies, in what ways do you infuse humor into your writing?

KG: It’s just my personality. I don’t take anything that happens in my stories too seriously. My odd sense of humor takes over and the next thing you know a madcap adventure appears on the page.  My aim is to give readers a good time. You shouldn’t have to think too hard when you read my books. It’s not literature, but if you need to relax and have a laugh, then my books are for you.

By the way, I don’t actually laugh at the dead people, well at least not in these two books, the next Bree novel; How Much is that Dead Guy in the Window (working title) is a little more irreverent. The body has diapers duct taped to it.

LW: Tell us a little bit about Bree MacGowan. How did you come up WITH her as your protagonist?

KG: I wanted to write about the period of my own life when I wasn’t a kid anymore but I didn’t really feel like an adult. I was sort of feeling my way along, not sure of how to get what I wanted out of life. Bree is a little more confident than I was, so it’s kind of like I got to rewrite a section of my life.

Bree evolved as I wrote. I knew some about her when I started; I know a lot more now. Bree has a lot of what she wants, but there’s still a lot that she hasn’t figured out yet. She’s miserable at relationships. She doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up. But she has this lovely old farmhouse and tons of animals and she likes her life.

She’s a little tired of finding dead people.

LW: How close is Bree MacGowan to Kate George?

KG: Bree is who I wish I’d been when I was thirty. She’s far more self confident than I was. She has more fun. She knows she’s attractive and she enjoys flirting for fun. She knows she doesn’t have to marry, date or sleep with every guy she’s attracted to.

On the other hand, Bree has my sense of humor and my love for animals. She appreciates life in the same way I do. She loves living out in the sticks and hanging out with her friends. All traits she gets from me.

But she’s also a typical Vermonter, whereas I’ll always be a Californian.

LW:  How much of your plots do you draw from real life, if any? Or your life in particular?

KG: My plots tend to be products of my imagination. The details though, the dogs, the chickens, getting stopped by state troopers come from my life. It’s a mash-up. I think the details make the stories more believable.

LW: I see that besides your current book, Moonlighting in Vermont, you have another Bree MacGowan book coming out in March, California Schemin’. Tell us a little about both books.

KG: We first meet Bree MacGowan in Moonlighting in Vermont just as she’s discovering her dead boss. As sometimes happens when you discover a body, she becomes a suspect in the murder. Bree knows she’s innocent, which means the murderer is still on the loose. The trouble is the cops don’t seem to be interested in looking for the real killer.

Moonlighting is full of Mud, Snow, Dogs, Danger and of course, some sex.

California Schemin’ finds Bree in – you guessed it – in California. She’s hanging out in the Sierras with Beau Maverick relaxing and recovering after her run in with a murderer, and a body falls out of the sky. Well, off a bridge, but it seemed like it fell from the sky. Once again Bree is in danger, and the story takes her from California to Vermont and back again. Twice.
California Schemin’ is full of handcuffs, FBI agents, knock out pills and airplanes but not much sex. Bree is too busy in this one to be thinking much about romance.

LW: Are there more Bree MacGowan adventures in the planning stage?

KG: Yes, as I mentioned above I’m working on the next Bree now. It’s called How Much is that Dead Guy in the Window. At least it’s called that for now. I like book titles that play off song titles but I couldn’t think of any more good ones with state names in them. But titles often change so I try not to get too attached.

Bree is back in Vermont for this book and there will be some new characters and some old standbys. I can’t say what’s going to happen with Bree’s love life. It’s hard to say what will happen until I’ve written “the end.” Plots have a way of changing – and I don’t really work off an outline anyway. It’s much more fun (and nerve wracking) when I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

LW: Did your dog really eat your flash drive?

KG: Yes, I have three dogs. One is a rather large yellow cross that looks like a lab, but probably is a cross between a goat and bear. He eats everything. Especially if it belongs to me. I either dropped my flash drive, or he stole it off my desk. Either is entirely possible.
There was material on that drive that I hadn’t backed up yet. That’ll teach me to be more diligent about backing up my work, but I was pretty cranky re-writing those scenes.

LW: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

KG: Well besides mysteries I’m starting to write paranormal romance. I thought it might be nice to switch off once in a while, to keep everything fresh. The first one is set on what would be the east coast of the US – if the east coast had mermaids, magic, cliffs and coves.
That’s about it. Feel free to ask questions. I very rarely bite.

You heard her, readers. Kate rarely bites. So ask away! One of you could win a copy of Moonlighting in Vermont. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday to see if you’re the winner. -- AP

18 comments:

Silverhearts7 said...

Kate,

I like that you include pieces of your life in your books. You're correct; it gives more realism and depth to stories to do so.

As for your pup who ate the thumb drive...he may have been trying to fully digest the material so he could give a better critique.

I do have one question. Will you be writing your paranormal romances under a pseudonym or using your name which you already use for mysteries? What is your reason behind your choice to use or not use one?

Laura

Marguerite Lafayette said...

Great interview. I was just wondering are your a plotter or a pantser when you write?

Margie

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Okay - answers! Silverhearts, First of all, if Moose starts critiquing my books I'm in big trouble. I'm pretty sure there aren't enough heroic dog deeds for him!

A pseudonym? You know, I think so. It's a difficult decision. On one hand I'd love my mystery readers to migrate over and read all my books. On the other hand paranormal romance is pretty far removed from the mysteries I write and I don't want to disappoint my readers. I was kind of hoping that an editor would make that decision for me! The cowards way out.

Marguerite, I am a panster. Total and complete. That said I plotted Moonlighting to the nth degree. It wasn't nearly as much fun as my other books have been.

More questions anyone?

Carol-Lynn Rossel said...

I'm partial both to humor and New England settings in mysteries.
I must check out your books.

Laura B said...

Hi Kate,

Just a question for you. What advice would you give to someone trying to write their first book? I am currently in the process of trying to do so, but always seem to run into writer's block and have a hard time getting back into it. Any advice or tricks that have worked for you, on how to overcome this, as I have such a huge passion for writing. Thanks!

petite said...

I enjoyed this interesting interview and learning about your writing and characters. What a great job you have. How fortunate. Love the titles and Moonlighting is unique. Best wishes.

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Carol-Lynn, I'd love for you to check out my books! Did you know that I'm offering a free copy of California Schemin' to anyone willing to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads close to March first? I'm happy to send you one if you care to read it.

Laura,
When working on novels I have a rule - write so many words every day. Because I've discovered the writing is the same if it's hard to write or if it's easy to write. So even if it takes me all day I write my minimum word count everyday.

You can always go back and change or cut scenes. But really once I've written something I can't really tell if it was excruciating to write or easy.

And I'm a pantser so I can't use the excuse I didn't know where the story was going. I just write. Even if it's drivel. So that's my advice to you. Decide what your minimum word count is and write that much in your novel every day. Even one page a day will get you a book in a year. Better than no book at all!

Janel said...

I am so glad my dog doesn't eat anything he isn't supposed to! I love humorous mysteries. Thanks for the introduction to this series!

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Hi Janel,

Love your avatar - dogs are near and dear to my heart!

lynda said...

I am off to the bookstore to look for your book now...sounds like something I would really enjoy!

Anonymous said...

this would be the first book that I have read set in Vermont. Books with humor are at the top of my TBR list. Thanks for the interview.

Helen Kiker
hdkiker@comcast.net

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Thanks to Lois for such a great time today. And Hi to all of you who have made comments or asked questions. I'll keep coming back to answer questions as long as you have them.

And if you want to trade a review for an e-copy of California Schemin;'

email me at CASchemin@gmail.com and I'll get you one.

jenny milchman said...

Kaye, I'm glad to see you blog-hopping around--I am really interested in your work, and your perceptions on the industry.

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Hi Jenny,

This is kind of funny but there is another author who writes comedic mystery named Kaye George - so when you say Kaye I'm wondering if you are mixing me up with Kaye! We are both published by the same publisher, which confuses the issue even more. I'm wondering how this is going to affect our careers! Anyway, if it's me you've been watching hop around, Thanks! If not, well I'm glad you found me..

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

Kate, thanks for being our guest today! For those of you who have posted a comment, be sure to check back on Sunday to see if you're the lucky winner of MOONLIGHTING IN VERMONT.

pennyt said...

I smiled at your comment about your kids not liking you being an admin assistant at the school. When I was growing up, I was in the same situation - I couldn't get away with anything since Mom was right there!! I have dogs (and cats) probably my flash drives survive because I have a child gate across the door to the computer room to let cats in and keep dogs out!! Keep up the great books.
pennyt at hotmail dot com

shirley said...

I love a book with humor. I'll be looking for yours.

Kate George/Bodacious Betty said...

Thanks, Shirley! I hope you enjoy it...