Why do you write cozy mysteries?
Cozy mysteries allow me to combine all the best things in life: family, friends, animals, small towns, romance, food, and of course a whodunit type mystery. The characters I develop for my mysteries are like real people to me, and I believe to my readers. I love hanging out with them and catching up with the latest developments in their lives. Cozy mysteries allow me to delve into a mystery while spending quality time with these characters as their lives evolve and their personalities change and develop.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
The Tj Jensen Paradise Lake series is set in the small town of Serenity, Nevada, which is perched on the shoreline of Paradise Lake. I live in Lake Tahoe, and I wanted to write a series set in Lake Tahoe but I didn’t want to deal with the limitations inherent in writing about a real place so I developed Paradise Lake. If you read the series and are familiar with the Lake Tahoe area it will be clear that Paradise Lake is a fictionalized Lake Tahoe. Tj is a physical education teacher and coach at the local high school. I used to be a teacher and while I am happy to be an author and not a teacher, there are aspects of life in a high school setting that I do miss and wanted a chance to revisit. I am also big on holidays and family so I tend to set my stories around the holidays and Tj, like me, has a large extended family that play into her everyday interactions.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Actually I don’t have an ideal reader, or any reader for that matter, in mind when I write. I write primarily for my personal enjoyment and I hope that in the end others will allow exploring the fictional worlds and lives I have developed along the way. The first book I ever wrote, but not the first one I published, was a Christmas romance (Road to Christmas Past). I wrote this book during December when I couldn’t find a book that quite matched the story I was in the mood to read. Writing that book allowed me to take the journey my heart and mind longed to take, and I found that I rather liked being in the driver’s seat. The first book I published (Halloween Hijinks) was written in about a week on a whim when I had an idea to share a Facebook page with my dog. Pumpkins in Paradise was developed so that I could explore the themes of my actual life which include: mountain living, small towns, and a large and loving multi-generation family.
Please describe your writing routine.
I don’t plot and I don’t plan. I currently write five series. When I start a new project, I decide which set of characters I want to write and the basic background for the story. Going into a book I might know that I am writing a story from the Tj Jensen series and that it is Halloween, but that is usually the extent of my pre-writing plotting. I then format a Word document and type in chapter 1. I figure out a fun opening paragraph and then keep typing until I have the number of words I set out to write. For me writing is like driving in the fog. You can see just far enough ahead to continue on but not to see where you are heading, but the reality is that, in the end, that is enough to complete the whole journey. I think I’d be bored with a story before I began writing if I plotted the whole thing out. Where is the discovery? The surprise? Letting the story develop as I write has the same feel as reading a story where you are eager to find out what will happen next. I’m always surprised and often enchanted by what my characters do and say.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Just do it. I don’t think there is a magic formula to success. I have a lot of writer friends and those who are the most successful have followed their heart and their passion rather than following a plan. I will say that relationships are important. I’m certain it has been my relationships with readers, other authors, bloggers, and editors that has allowed me to find the success I have.
More about Pumpkins in Paradise:
Between volunteering for the annual pumpkin festival and coaching her girls to the state soccer finals, high school teacher Tj Jensen finds her good friend Zachary Collins dead in his favorite chair. When the handsome new deputy closes the case without so much as a “why” or “how,” Tj turns her attention from chili cook-offs and pumpkin carving to complex puzzles, prophetic riddles, and a decades-old secret she seems destined to unravel.
Grab your copy here: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B01GQPYU8U]
Count Down to Paradise Launch Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/848072505336998/
Pumpkins in Paradise Book Club – https://www.facebook.com/events/1408072279209347/
More about Kathi:
Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series.
Come for the murder, stay for the romance.
Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.
Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.