Meow –my guest this weekend is National Bestselling author Krista Davis!
Krista Davis lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She resided in Northern Virginia for many years and lived for a time in Old Town, Alexandria.
She really does have a gregarious Ocicat named Mochie who can open cabinets and leap to amazing heights. Her dogs, including a Golden Retriever who isn’t golden and won’t retrieve, consider Krista’s writing career a convenient second job that allows her to be available for her primary job as door opener, canine cuisine chef, and walking assistant.
Krista’s fascination with mysteries was fueled by Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie. Like her protagonist, Sophie Winston, Krista loves to entertain friends and family, but would just as soon leave cleaning to someone else.
R: Welcome, Krista! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Thanks ROCCO! My parents and grandparents were avid readers. I can’t remember seeing my mother’s mother without a book. They passed that love on to us. When I was still in grade school, I finished a book one day and realized their power to transport us. They can take us to places we’ve never been, introduce us to different lifestyles and cultures, even take us to the moon and beyond. I thought it must be wonderful to be a writer. I never imagined I would be lucky enough to become one.
R: You write two series, the Domestic Diva and Paws and Claws. How did each of them come about?
I had a different series in mind when my editor asked if it would appeal to readers of Real Simple. I had never heard of the magazine. So off I went to the drugstore to buy a copy. I realized it was the anti-Martha. The magazine for people who want a nice house, good food, and clever ideas but without all the fuss. I was standing in the CVS looking at it when the idea of two domestic divas with different styles came to me. One would be over-the-top, a perfectionist who never met a craft she didn’t love, the other one would be laid back, who loved to cook for family and friends but kept things simple – and the divas were born. My other project was killed, my agent pitched the divas, and, happily, Berkley liked it.
As for Paws & Claws, I knew that I wanted to write about cats and dogs. Most series seem to be about one or the other but I love them both. For some reason, I kept running across articles about swanky hotels that had started catering to pets, especially dogs. People don’t want to leave their furry sweethearts at home when they travel so hotels are offering special menus, massages, cute little bathrobes, turndown service with treats, dog walkers, all kinds of things! I thought – what if there was a town where dogs and cats were welcome? I
In the mountains where I live there are a lot of towns that thrived 200 years ago when people traveled to them for the waters, either hot springs or mineral springs. We don’t do that much anymore so they have had to come up with other attractions to draw tourists. And that’s how Wagtail, the premier destination for people vacationing with pets, and the Paws and Claws Mysteries came about!
R: Which of your character’s adventures in either series was the most fun to write? Any the least fun?
THE DIVA TAKES THE CAKE was the book that could have gone on and on. I had to take out an entire sub-plot to cut it down to a proper length! I can’t think of an adventure that wasn’t fun to write. I love intricate plots. My editor calls me Twisty Kristy. LOL! But the more complicated the plot, the harder it is to unravel, which sometimes has me tearing my hair out.
The scene that worried me the most was the kiss between Sophie and Mars in THE DIVA HAUNTS THE HOUSE. I didn’t know how readers would react to it, and I felt that it had to be set up just right to pull it off.
R: Tell us about your new release, THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP.
It’s a Christmas book so if it’s hot and humid where you are, it will be cold and snowy in Old Town Alexandria. A new neighbor wants to outdo Natasha as the top domestic diva. Let’s just say that her cookie swap doesn’t go quite as well as she might have hoped. There are lots of cookie recipes in the book, and they’re all from readers! I hope other readers will find some new favorites among them.
It’s beginning to look a lot like murder…
The holidays are domestic diva Sophie Winston’s favorite time of year. But this season, there seem to be more mishaps than mistletoe. First, Horace Scroggins tumbles from a balcony during his office Christmas party. Then, Sophie’s neighbor takes a fall from his ladder while decorating his roof with lights. But it’s the cookie swap that really starts her wondering who’s naughty or nice….
Sophie arrives at the annual event with high spirits and thirteen dozen chocolate-drizzled gingersnaps. But when an argument erupts and a murder ensues, it becomes clear that the recent string of events is anything but accidental. Now Sophie has to make a list of suspects…and check it twice!
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?
Jessica Faust in my fourth agent. Poor Jessica inherited me from her partner who left the business. I was a little worried because who knew how that would work out? Turns out we’re well suited for each other! Jessica is a foodie and a dog lover, so we work very well together. I think we would be friends if we had met in some other way.
R: How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
It was an awful day. The first thing I saw on the news that morning was a very familiar place in Blacksburg, Virginia, not far from where I live. It was the day of the horrible massacre at Virginia Tech. Everyone was glued to the TV, watching the death count rise, and rise, and rise. We were sick, and sad, and horrified. In the afternoon, I received the good news that Berkley was buying the Domestic Diva Mysteries. I was numb. How could anything good happen to me when so many wonderful, innocent people had just been killed? There wasn’t any shrieking or celebrating. Who could be happy under those circumstances? So many lives had been cut short when they had so much to live for. I told my mom my news, of course, but all we could talk about was the massacre at Tech. The next morning, my mom called me and asked, “Did you tell me you sold a book?” It just wasn’t important in the greater scheme of things.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Hot tea with milk and sugar. That’s it. Must have my tea by my side.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
I think I would go forward to a historical moment that hasn’t happened yet. Life has changed so much in the last hundred years, I believe I’ll turn the dial and check things out in 500 years. I bet I won’t recognize our world!
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I have a dog shower in my laundry room. My previous house didn’t have a bathtub or a shower on the first floor. There’s nothing quite like accompanying a muddy (or skunked) dog through the house and upstairs to clean up! So I installed a dog shower in my current home. Turns out it’s very handy for muddy boots and wet coats, too.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
I slept on a bench outside of a train station in Amsterdam. Okay, not the smartest thing to do. It was interesting though. Lots of nice young British people were there, and we actually had a good time. A real camaraderie arose between the strangers who were there by happenstance. Hmm, seems like there could be a book in that . . .
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
This is where I’m supposed to say something deep and meaningful. The truth is that I hope they’ll have fun. I hope my mysteries are entertaining and intriguing. I hope they take readers away from their troubles. I hope they’ll laugh and wonder who-done-it, and when they reach the end, I hope they’ll look forward to seeing the characters again, like they’re good friends.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
My website, of course. http://kristadavis.com
I also blog at http://killercharacters.com and http://mysteryloverskitchen.com
I have some Pinterest boards set up for my books, too. You’ll find pictures of Old Town Alexandria and some fun boards for the Paws & Claws series! pinterest.com/kristadavisbook
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Absolutely. I’m not sure I would be writing today if it weren’t for the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime. Whatever genre you write, find an online group about that genre. Join it and be active! You’ll learn so much from a great group. Writing doesn’t have to be as solitary as it once was. Ask questions and learn!
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
Both! But I’m not a super early riser.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
Both! I know some people have preferences but I never felt that way. Love, love, love cats and dogs.
Beach or Pool?
Pool for swimming, beach for walking.
Steak or salad?
Are you kidding? Steak. Now, steak or dessert, that would be a tough one.
Hot tea with milk and sugar.
I have favorites but I’m not telling. I have too many author friends!
Favorite TV Series?
Big Bang Theory!
I’m in love with Galaxy Quest (so funny and perfectly written), While You Were Sleeping, Home Alone, and Christmas Vacation. Hmm, heavy on comedies, I see!
Just about everyone in Ocean’s Eleven.
Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
Hawaii or Alaska?
I have never been to either, so I can’t say. I have watched Buying Alaska, and I can tell you that at 40 degrees below, I do not want to use an outhouse in the dark in bear territory.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my paternal grandparents, whom I never met because of the iron curtain.
If I had just one wish, it would be cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s. I know that’s two but we need both of them so desperately.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one.
Everyone in the world has burdens, and I’m not sure I would want to take the chance of swapping my burdens for theirs. They could be much worse.
Thanks for a great interview, Krista!
Krista will give away a copy of THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP to one lucky commenter!
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends midnight, June 15. Good luck!