Meow, Our guest today is author Kathi Daley!
Kathi Daley lives with her husband, kids, grandkids, and Bernese mountain dogs in beautiful Lake Tahoe. When she isn’t writing, she likes to read (preferably at the beach or by the fire), cook (preferably something with chocolate or cheese), and garden (planting and planning, not weeding). She also enjoys spending time on the water when she’s not hiking, biking, or snowshoeing the miles of desolate trails surrounding her home.
Kathi uses the mountain setting in which she lives, along with the animals (wild and domestic) that share her home, as inspiration for her cozy mysteries.
Stay up to date with her newsletter, The Daley Weekly. There’s a link to sign up on both her Facebook page and her website, or you can access the sign-in sheet at: http://eepurl.com/NRPDf
Facebook at Kathi Daley Books, www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks
Twitter at Kathi Daley@kathidaley
Tell us a little about your background –
I grew up in Lake Tahoe where I met and married my high school sweetheart. We moved to Sacramento California so that I could attend college. I received a master’s degree in psychology and then worked with teens at risk for 5 years. My husband and I then moved back to Tahoe where we owned our own business. I have two grown sons in their 30’s and 6 grandchildren. I love to hike, bike, wakeboard, ski, and pretty much anything else I can do outdoors.
Tell us a bit about your latest book Romeow and Juliet
Romeow and Juliet is the first book in a new series that is set on a fictional island in the San Juan Islands off Washington State. The protagonist, Caitlin Hart, is a fourth generation islander with deep roots to the area and the people who live on the island. She lives in a cabin on her aunt’s oceanfront estate where she helps to run a cat sanctuary which was built to deal with the islands feral cat problem. She is also co-owner, along with her best friend Tara, of a coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge. Basically it is a place where you can buy coffee and pastries, buy or borrow books, and if so inclined, lounge with the handful of cats that Cait is currently trying to find forever homes for.
You write two other series, Zoe Donovan and Paradise Lake. Tell us a little about each.
I write the Zoe Donovan Series as well at the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Series. Zoe lives in a small mountain town where she runs a wild and domestic animal rescue and rehabilitation shelter. She is a fun character because in addition to her huge heart she is sort of a spaz. She constantly lets her impulses and emotions get her into dangerous and embarrassing situations. I like to think of her as being perfectly imperfect since her spontaneous nature can also lead to some pretty awesome circumstances.
Tj on the other hand is a bit more level headed and mature. She lives on the lakeside resort her family owns with her father, grandfather, and two half-sisters for whom she is legal guardian. She is a high school coach and gym teacher who loves to get involved in the lives of her students. Tj feels deeply which causes her to lead with her heart. This can get her into trouble at times.
Both series have a romance element and the Zoe Donovan Series has recipes.
How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I really just let the characters reveal themselves to me. I don’t do character outlines I just start writing and then sit back and see what they do. They continually surprise me. Most of the time I don’t know what they will do or say until I type it. I seriously find myself saying “huh” or “damn I didn’t see that coming” all the time.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
Seat of pants for sure. I write a book a month (or more). Basically I sit down at the computer and think to myself “It’s Thanksgiving so what would be going on?” I write that first sentence and then keep going until it is done. I never know who the victim or killer will be until they reveal themselves.
Which do you consider more important, plot or character? Character. I’m sure if your plots were tedious people would stop coming back but the real reason that I have so many emails begging for the next book is because the readers are involved with the characters and want to know what is going to happen next in their lives. Readers tell me that they feel like they know the characters, like they are real people in their lives.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated? I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year and so far everything has gone along fantastic so I really had to think about this, but I guess my biggest challenge is that I have so many new series I want to explore but I only have so much time which makes it necessary to prioritize. I wrote 12 Zoe Donovan’s and 4 Tj’s in my first 16 months. This upcoming year I want to add two new series so I will need to cut back on the Zoe’s. I know that Zoe fans will not be happy to find out that there will only be 4 or maybe 5 Zoe’s in 2015 but I feel like I have other stories that need to be told as well. Hopefully the fans will love the new series and won’t mind too much.
What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I am finishing up Romeow and Juliet which is the first book in the Whales and Tails series. There will be a total of 3 books from this series in 2015. I plan to do 3 Tj’s and 4 or 5 Zoe’s. I also have another series in mind which will take place in Alaska. I hope to be able to get at least two complete from this series as well. I also just put together a cookbook which will go on sale around Nov. 1. It was a spur of the moment thing that I decided to do after a reader asked me to put all the recipes in the Zoe books into one book. It’s a cookbook but there are graphics and anecdotes as well so it is a fun cookbook.
What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
It varies from day to day but I treat this as a full time job and usually put in at least 40 hours a week (usually more.)
If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
Assuming there is no internet I would take a dictionary, thesaurus, and a book I have that gives you interesting ways to look at words. It’s good if you need a word that rhymes or a word that is commonly misused. That sort of thing.
What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Write what you would want to read. My books are never going to be considered “important” novels but I am fine with that. My books are light and cozy and they leave you feeling happy. To me that is enough.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Hum. That is a tough one. While I’m sure there are those that think that some of the things I do are crazy I never really think about it that way. Some might say that it was crazy of me to quit my day job to write a cozy mystery when I had never even taken a single creative writing class, but to me it wasn’t crazy it was just part of the plan.
What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m such an open book on Facebook that I doubt there is much people don’t know. I will say that I am horrible at spelling and punctuation and my handwriting is so bad even I can’t read it. (I’m not kidding.)
What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
What is your favorite food? Pizza.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
I am very active on Facebook. I post many times a day and do a ton of giveaways. I probably give away a couple hundred books (Kindle and paperback) a month. I have two pages, Kathi Daley Books – www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks and Kathi Daley Books Group page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/569578823146850/ I also have a web page – www.kathidaley.com and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org I am on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Kathi-Daley/e/B00F3BOX4K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1414107784&sr=8-2-ent and twitter at https://twitter.com/kathidaley I have a weekly newsletter called The Daley Weekly which has its own giveaways as well as updates and sneak peeks of all the books. The link to subscribe is http://eepurl.com/NRPDf Oh and Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278377.Kathi_Daley
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? .day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Yikes, I love both and I know I should say cat but living where I live I have to say dog. Those of you who follow my Facebook page see the photos of bears, coyotes, and even the occasional mountain lion that I share my space with. Unless you have an indoor cat that NEVER gets out it isn’t a good idea to have one. I have two BIG dogs that I walk with. They provide company and security in a deserted forest.
Beach or Pool? beach
Steak or salad? Salad although not because I am all that healthy of an eater I just don’t like steak.
Favorite Drink? wine
Favorite Book? Halloween Hijinks. It is the book that started my life as a writer.
Favorite TV Series? Castle and Big Bang are my current favorites but Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all-time favorite. I have the DVD’s and watch them first episode to last every year.
Favorite Movie? For some reason I really like Twister. I don’t know why.
Favorite Actor: Don’t really have one but I do like Ryan Reynolds and Brad Cooper.
Favorite Actress: Again I don’t have anyone I absolutely love above all others but I guess I would say Sandra Bullock or Alyson Hannigan.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Dirty martini
Hawaii or Alaska? Yikes I love them both so I really can’t choose. I guess I go to Hawaii more often.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _____Bon Jovi and Joss Whedon for completely different reasons._____________
If I had just one wish, it would be To have had more time to spend with Xavier – a grandson who died as an infant. ____________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be ___no one. My life is perfect.____
Thank you Kathi!
Folks, Kathi will give away a signed paperback of Romeow and Juliet to one lucky commenter (US residents only) OR…if any of our International friends wish to enter, she’ll substitute a Kindle copy!
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:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
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* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
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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, January 5! Good luck!