Meow, this week I’m pleased to have “Dream Club” author Mary Kennedy as my guest!
Mary Kennedy is the national bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice and lives with her husband and eight neurotic cats on the East Coast. Both husband and cats have resisted her attempts to psychoanalyze them but she remains optimistic
R: Hello, Mary! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Thanks so much for having me as a guest! I wrote my first YA a long, long time ago! I didn’t submit a manuscript, an editor from Scholastic contacted me and asked if I’d like to write a YA for them. Of course, I said yes. I’d worked as a radio copywriter, a television news writer and had just taken a job as PR Director of a travel company. I went on to write 33 more books for Scholastic. And then I wrote some YA for Penguin before moving to cozy mysteries. These books will be back as e-books very soon.
R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing? Now that I’m writing cozy mysteries, I’d have to say Carolyn Hart, and all my fellow Cozy Chicks, Lorraine Bartlett, Kate Collins, Leann Sweeney, Ellery Adams, Maggie Sefton, Duffy Brown and Mary Jane Maffini.
R: Tell us about your Dream club mystery series. How did you get the idea for that? I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and since I’m a clinical psychologist I know that dreams can reveal a lot of information about a client’s most hidden thoughts, fears and desires. I thought it would be interesting to use a “Dream Club” as a setting and have the members try to solve crimes using clues from their dreams. (plus some old-fashioned detective work).
R: Who came up with the title, Nightmares can be murder? And are you a dream interpretation enthusiast? I came up with it, but my editor came up with the title for Book 2, DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM that will be released in June.
R: You’ve also written a “Talk Radio” mystery series. Can you tell us about that? The Talk Radio series is a fun series about Dr. Maggie Walsh, a New York psychologist who left Manhattan, moved to sunny Florida and became a radio talk show host. (like Frasier from the TV show.) She solves a murder in every book (like Jessica Fletcher) and my agent pitched it as “Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote.” Book one, DEAD AIR, is up as an e-book and this is a great time to try the series!
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? I guess my case was fairly unusual in that they called me. Once I had seven novels under my belt, I decided it was time to get an agent.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process? I’ve written under such crazy conditions--in hospitals, on planes, in waiting rooms. At midnight or three in the morning. When I don’t have my laptop with me, I used a legal pad. I really can write anytime, anyplace. I could write with a crayon on a paper towel if I had to. I think it’s a necessity in this business. I’d written and sold 44 books and the deadlines roll around like tsunamis.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you? That I want to study Mandarin and Russian. I know both languages are incredibly challenging but I hope to take classes at the local university.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? When I was studying at the University of Grenoble, in the French Alps, I found myself stranded on a mountaintop with a few friends. We’d finished skiing for the day and didn’t realize the last bus had been cancelled because of a blizzard. I really thought we were going to freeze to death and then someone remembered there was an Abbey nearby and we hiked over there in knee-deep snow. The monks took us in, gave us dinner and arranged for transportation for us. It was an exciting experience and it turned out well.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing? I hope they’ll be entertained by the characters and will enjoy solving the mystery.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next? I’m working hard on more releases in the Talk Radio Mysteries. It’s a fun series set in Florida, which is one of my favourite places on earth. And the second in the DREAM CLUB series, DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM, is coming out in June.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Definitely a plotter. We’re required to submit a detailed synopsis to Penguin before starting work on the books. Plus, it’s nice to have a road map. I never get “lost” in the manuscript, I know exactly where I am and what has to happen when I sit down at the computer every day.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work? My website is www.marykennedy.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.kennedy.948 ,
I also blog every Saturday on the Cozy Chicks. www.cozychicksblog.com
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers? Find the book that only you can write, the book you were meant to write. Take a long hard look at the marketplace and see what’s selling, then capitalize on your strengths and see where you fit in.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? I’m a night owl
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I have to say cats because I have 8 rescued cats and my husband is allergic to dogs. (we love dogs, though.)
Beach or Pool? The beach, always the beach. I keep a photo of the Ft. Lauderdale beachfront condo on my desk for inspiration. It gets me through the long dreary days in the northeast.
Steak or salad? Salad (I’m a vegetarian.)
Favorite Drink? Club soda with a twist of lemon or lime. I used to drink diet sodas and ditched them all.
Favorite Book? Hemingway’s THE SUN ALSO RISES
Favorite TV Series? House of Cards.
Favorite Movie? Annie Hall
Favorite Actor: Kevin Spacey
Favorite Actress: Keri Russell in The Americans
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii, definitely.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be ___Oscar Wilde________________
If I had just one wish, it would be that everyone became a vegetarian and stopped wearing fur coats.________________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be… I couldn’t trade places with anyone because then I’d lose my family and friends and cats!____
Thanks for a great interview, Mary! Folks, here’s where you can find out all about Mary:
Mary will giveaway either choice of a 16 ounce “Crazy Cat Lady Mug” or a Native American dreamcather, to one lucky commenter! Just leave a comment stating which you’d like to win in our comments section along with your email address so we can contact you! 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. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends midnight, Jan. 25. Good luck!