featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, November 15, 2013

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--INTERVIEW WITH RETIRED L.A.P.D. OFFICER AND AUTHOR KATHY BENNETT

Award-winning author Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. She served twenty-nine years with the Los Angeles Police Department - eight as a civilian employee and twenty-one years as a sworn police officer. Law enforcement personnel laud her authentic stories of crime and suspense for “getting it right.” Kathy has performed many interrogations. Today she subjects herself to one of ours. Learn more about Kathy and her books at her website and blog.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

Sometime in the early 1990's. I was in a bad marriage and began reading a lot of romance novels. Like many people, I thought to myself, I could write a book like this.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?

After retiring from a career as a police officer for the LAPD, I published my first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses in June of 2011.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?

I've self-published all three of my books. With that said, I had a team of people behind me, helping me to produce the best books I could deliver.

Where do you write?

Most of the time I write in my home office. Occasionally, I'll write on my laptop while sitting in my recliner or lying in bed.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

I prefer to have it quiet while I write. I have noise-cancelling headphones for when the dogs bark or a teenager in the neighborhood wants everyone to listen to the horrible music blasting from their vehicle.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?

I would say that all of my books have bits and pieces of real events and people in them. However, I take the best tidbits and patchwork them into my books, creating a literary Frankenstein. No one would ever recognize themselves in my books, and as for events, most of the time they're disguised as well.

Describe your process for naming your character?

I love naming characters. So much about a person can be visualized with the right name. There's a big mental image difference between Lance Steel and Larry Limply. I choose names very carefully, often using a computer name generator. I can go through hundreds of names to find the perfect combination.

Real settings or fictional towns?

I like writing real settings. I think readers get a kick out of 'seeing' places they know in books. I also think knowing the locations, or at least the area, can draw a reader into a book more easily.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?

One of the characters who appears in several of my books, a detective named Darius Cutter, likes to woo women with music sung by Barry White.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?

I don't have any :-) , but my family would tell you something different. My quirkiest quirk…I often 'talk' for our animals, saying what I think they'd say in a voice that I think they'd use - if our 'four-legged kids' could talk.

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. I've read the book over twenty times. I'm sure I'm not alone in re-reading the story of Scarlett and Rhett. If their epic tale captivated me so much, I'm sure it's influenced many others as well. I'd love to have that kind of impact.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?

I was speaking in front of a group of about two hundred people – many of them my peers. I was supposed to talk about my latest book. The only problem was, I couldn't remember a thing about the book, my characters, or what the story was about. It was a true case of going brain dead. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.

Even worse, it was the first day of the event. All weekend I imagined people were pointing and whispering, "That's the poor girl who can't speak publicly and doesn't have a clue what her books are about."

I was imagining that, right?

By the way, I can speak very well in public and have done so before and since that unfortunate incident. And I do know what my books are about.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I've mellowed over the years. Now, the thing that gets me most upset is people not taking responsibility for their actions.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

Food, fresh water, and fire. I'm very good at entertaining myself.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?

For a very brief period of time I was a waitress at a Bob's Big Boy restaurant. I didn't like being a server and was lousy at it. I'm sorry to those of you who had me bringing you your food. I really was doing my best.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

There are too many to select just one.

What’s your favorite movie?

It depends upon my mood. When I'm looking for a laugh, Airplane, Elf or Meet the Parents are good choices.

What’s your favorite TV show?

Hmm…right now, probably Gold Rush. I keep telling my husband, if I were younger, I'd go up to Alaska and hunt for gold. I'm rooting for Parker to hit it big.

Who’s your favorite actor?

Not sure if these folks count as my favorite, but they're the most versatile…Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

What’s your favorite song?

Wow, my brain almost exploded trying to come up with just one. There are SO many songs I love. I can't make a choice. I can say it would probably be a soft pop star from the seventies or a true western singer from the 1950's or 1960's…or earlier.

What’s your favorite food?

I'm so tempted to say donuts because, after all, I was a cop, and I do love a good donut. However, I'd have to go with pizza – preferably plain cheese…oh, wait! Mexican food is also one of my favorites. I think it's the Margaritas that I like best!

Ocean or mountains?

Mountains all the way. Although I've always been afraid of driving my car off the side of a mountain. I suspect I saw that happen in a movie when I was a little girl and it stuck with me.

City girl or country girl?

I think I'm a mixture of both…but I probably lean more toward a country girl.

What’s on the horizon for you?

Writing more books, my husband's retirement, a new grandchild…what more could I ask for?

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?

When writing my books I work very hard to keep the reader guessing. Never assume that a beloved character is automatically 'safe.' I write about the police, crime, life and death. And just like real life, the situations aren't always pretty or predictable, but my stories are authentic and, I hope, entertaining.

A Deadly Justice

A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

18 comments:

Roz Lee said...

Awesome to see you here, Kathy! Loved the interview. So glad to know I'm not alone with the brain suddenly shutting down, especially in regards to my own books! LOL What did I name that character??? If we can't laugh at ourselves, what can we laugh at?

I'm a big fan of the Deadly series. Can't wait for the fourth, so get busy, woman!

christopher J. Lynch said...

Great interview Kathy! Finishing "A Deadly Justice" now. Bravo for pulling off what most writers can't.

Nancy Sorensen said...

What I love most about your books Kathy is that they are based in reality---the terminology, crimes, settings, etc.

Morgan Mandel said...

I need to take your example and mellow more!

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Roz!

Thanks so much for stopping by and making me feel a little better about my most humiliating moment.

I'm working on the next Maddie Divine book right now and I'm excited about it.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Christopher!

Ha ha! I was often reminded of the Abbott and Costello bit about 'whose on first.' I had no clue who had done what in the story. But it all came together at the end.

Thanks for taking time to visit me here!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Nancy!

I do my best to keep things as authentic as I can. Occasionally I'll need to fudge something, but I try hard not to.

I'm so glad you stopped by. Thank you!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Morgan!

Ha! I still haven't mastered being mellow, but I'm WAY better than I was in my 20's and 30's. It gets better with age!

Thank you for coming to see me here.

Robena Grant said...

Great interview, and I love your stories, Kathy.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Robena!

Thank you! An interview is only as good as the questions, and Lois came up with some good ones!

Thanks for stopping by!

Angela Adams said...

Streep and Hanks are two of my favorites, too! I enjoyed your interview!! Thanks.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Angela!

Thanks for stopping by for a brief chat. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite actor, but those two always make believe they're the people they portray. I can't say that about all actors.

Sally Carpenter said...

Greetings from a fellow SinC/LA member! Great interview. I talk for my pets, too, which generally consists of "I'm so hungry," "let me outside" or "come on, pet me!" Good luck with your new book!

Pat Marinelli said...

Hi Kathy,

Love that you talk as your pets. I do that but tell Hubby I am writing their dialogue as I have them talking back to him.

Love your books. So glad you are working on Maddie's next book. Can't wait.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Sally!

I always good to see another sister from Sisters in Crime L.A.

Prior to our two oldest dogs passing, it was a toss up who was talking more around our house…the 3 dogs or their two 'parents'!

Thanks for coming by…we'll have to swap pet stories.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Pat!

Okay, so I'm learning that pets all over America (and possibly the world) DO have a voice. I guess it's not that surprising…we spend so much time with our 'kids' and know their personalities. We know what they'd say if they only could.

Thank you for stopping by to chat!

Marsha said...

Hey, Kathy. Good interview. Sorry for the loss of your two pups. Very sad when that happens. I like real life places for the setting. Everyone who has read my book who live in Fort Worth comment it was fun to see things they recognized. Love your books. Neat the way you've been able to bring them out yourself. Continued good writing and success.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Marsha!

Thank you for your kind words about Bucky and D.J.

The tricky thing about using real locations is that readers can point out anything you might get wrong or change because it works better for your story. I try to stay as accurate as I can.

Thanks for your support and for stopping in to chat.