Meow, my guest today is author Kaitlyn Dunnett!
Kaitlyn Dunnett is the pseudonym used on her contemporary mysteries because she is better known under her own name (Kathy Lynn Emerson) for historical mysteries, nonfiction, and historical romances. She’s started using yet another pseudonym, Kate Emerson, to write non-mystery historical novels set in the Tudor era.
Kaitlyn/Kathy lives on a Christmas tree farm in Maine with her husband and assorted cats!
And now…Kaitlyn Dunnett!
R: Meow, Kaitlyn, welcome. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
K: I started out by writing newspapers for my dolls when I was about eight and just kept going from there.
R: Tell us about your latest release
K: Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones, as you can probably tell from the title, has a Halloween setting. Liss MacCrimmon, my amateur sleuth, is in charge of the festivities in her small home town of Moosetookalook, Maine, but she gets more than she bargains for when she tries to turn an abandoned mansion into a “haunted house.”
R: What made you decide on a “Scottish” theme for your mysteries?
K: Oddly enough, the title of the first book in the series came to me before anything else: Kilt Dead. Since that was obviously a Scottish reference, I needed a detective with Scottish roots to go with it and came up with a professional Scottish dancer and the job she goes home to—running the family business, Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium—after an injury ends her career with a touring dance company (think Riverdance, only Scottish).
R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
K: I’ve always admired writers who can create eccentric but believable characters, so among my idols are Dorothy Cannell and Joan Hess, along with the late, great Charlotte MacLeod.
R: Which book was the most fun for you to write?
K: This is a touch choice. It’s a toss-up between The Corpse Wore Tartan, in which I strand my characters in a hotel in Moosetookalook during a blizzard, and Scotched, which is set at a gathering of fans of the cozy mystery that, incidentally, is taking place at the same hotel.
R: You are a cat owner (or owned by cats, I should say) how big of an inspiration are your cats to you when you write (I have been trying to get the HUMAN to acknowledge my contributions, but she refuses! Meow!)
K: I couldn’t write the character of Lumpkin in the series without Nefret, who regularly exhibits new and unusual behavior I can attribute to his fictional counterpart. The character of Glenora looks like Bala, but the story of how she comes into Liss’s life is based on a wonderful feline companion, Jeremiah, who lived with us for twenty-one years.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
K: I’ve had two agents over the last fifteen years, but there was nothing remarkable about the way I found either one of them. As for the sale of my first novel, that was so long ago (way back in the early 1980s, before I had an agent at all) that it’s hard for me to remember how I felt!
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
K: I wouldn’t go back in time. I like reading about the past, but I wouldn’t want to visit there and I definitely wouldn’t want to live there.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
K: I don’t have a clear enough visual of my characters to match any of them up with a real person. Of the seven books (so far) in the Liss MacCrimmon series, the most recent one, Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones probably has the best screenplay potential.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
K: The next book in the Liss MacCrimmon series (Ho Ho Homicide) will be my 50th traditionally published book.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
K: I once marched around a supermarket on its opening day playing the bass drum with a bagpipe band.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
K: The sense that they’ve just had an enjoyable experience.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
K: Definitely a pantser.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?
K: Joan Hess’s Murder as a Second Language
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Cat (J)
Beach or Pool? Don’t like to swim or sunbathe, so neither
Steak or salad? Steak
Favorite Drink? Root Beer
Favorite Book? Dorothy Dunnett’s Game of Kings
Favorite TV Series? Castle
Favorite Movie? Romancing the Stone
Favorite Actor: Hugh Jackman
Favorite Actress: Meg Ryan
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Don’t like either one.
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Joss Whedon
I had just one wish, it would be for good health for myself and those dearest to me
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one—I like being me
Thanks for a wonderful interview, Kaitlyn/Kathy! Below are all the places you can find out about her and her books:
Kaitlyn will give away an autographed hardcover copy of Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones to one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Contest closes midnight, Dec. 23. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!