Friday, October 26, 2012

An Interview with Kaye George

by Jean Henry Mead

Kaye George is a short story writer and novelist who has been nominated twice for Agatha awards. She's the author of three mystery series: the Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas series, the Cressa Carraway musical mystery series, and the Fat Cat cozy series with Berkley Prime Crime. Her last two novels will debut in 2013. Kaye's short stories can be found in her collection, A Patchwork of Stories, as well as in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, All Things Dark and Dastardly, Grimm Tales and in various online and print magazines. She reviews for Suspense Magazine, writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Kaye is agented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary and lives in Texas, near Waco.

Kaye, how do you manage to write three mystery series?

With a great deal of difficulty right now! I fell into all three at once, but parts of them have been written over the last four years or so.

Please describe each one.

The Imogene Duckworthy series, of which I have three out, is a humorous mystery series set in west Texas. Immy lives with her retired librarian mother, Hortense, and her small daughter, Nancy Drew (nicknamed Drew), in a single-wide in Saltlick where as the series starts, she's waiting tables for Uncle Huey. She wants, more than anything, to be a PI, but that's the last thing her mother wants for her, since Louis Duckworthy, Immy's father, was shot and killed as a police detective a few years ago. I'm self-publishing these after the first was published by a small press with which I've parted company. (These three books are complete and published.)
The Cressa Carraway traditional amateur sleuth series will follow classical musician and composer as she pursues her dream to become a conductor, encountering bodies along the way. The series, so far, takes place in the Midwest, but may branch out to just about anywhere. The first of these will be published next spring by Barking Rain Press. (The first in this series is being edited.)

My agent, Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary, got me the contract for a three-book cozy series with Berkley Prime Crime, called the Fat Cat mysteries. (BTW, I snagged the agent by submitting my novel, CHOKE, the first Imogene Duckworthy book to her agency, but that's not the usual method.) Chase Oliver, co-owner of a dessert bar shop in the Dinkeytown area of Minneapolis, has a cat named Quincy who is pudgy. He dislikes his diet cat food and, being a clever feline, escapes to lead Chase to dead bodies and clues. The first of these, as yet untitled, will be out next fall, tentatively. The publication dates are not yet definitely set, nor is the name I'll write them under, since these will require an author name specific to the series. (The first in this series is being written.)

I'll add that I may have another coming out, a Neanderthal mystery. It's being considered by a publisher now and I should know soon. (This book is finished, unless some editing is desired by the publisher.)

As a Suspense Magazine reviewer, what turns you off about current books in general?

About the only mysteries that I can say turn me off are a few that have run on too long. I'm sure the authors are only producing books in old, tired series at the behest of publishers, but some of them need to be retired.

And what makes you want to review another book by the same author?

If I get a good feeling, some sort of satisfaction, I'll want to read more by an author. Usually this is because I've connected with the characters and want to spend more time with them. Sometimes, as happened with Hillerman's books, it's also because I love the setting and want to be there.

How important are organizations such as Sisters in Crime to both fledgling and journeymen authors? And how long have you been a member of SinC?

For much of the last 10 years, the length of time I've been writing full-time, I haven't had access to other mystery writers in person, so the online groups, Sisters in Crime and Guppies, have been my lifelines. It's so important for humans to connect with each other, and also with others who think the same. Only other writers completely understand each other, I think. Online contact is the next best thing to getting together with a group of other mystery writers for a good chat.

What’s the most important way for a mystery writer to promote a novel? And the worst?

I sure wish I knew that! I'd be selling tons of books if I knew better how to do that. I just try things that I see others doing, things I see suggested, and do as much of it as I can. I have no idea what matters and what doesn't, but, on the chance that one of the things I do is the deciding factor--facebook, twitter, blogging, conferences, book club and library talks--I'm compelled to continue all the promotion I can fit in.

Which do you enjoy writing most? Short stories or novels?

Definitely short stories. Novels are work for me and short stories are play. I relax between heavy novel-writing sessions with shorts. I think writers tend toward one or the other. What I like about a short story, being a simple-minded person, is that I can hold the whole story line in my head while I'm setting it down. With a novel, I have to keep track of things. Like where was this character yesterday, and what kind of car does that character drive, and is the sleuth wearing the same thing every day?

Who influenced your own work?

O. Henry and Mark Twain, for stories. Dame Agatha, Nero Wolfe, and Dick Francis were early influences for mysteries. I discovered Dorothy Hughes fairly recently and love her noir writing.

Advice for novice authors?

Read a whole heck of a lot, and write all you can. It doesn't hurt to get advice, take classes, and get critiques. But be careful of rewriting to suit someone else. You need to write your own voice, and it won't be like any one else's.

Your social media links.

Since you asked (told you I'm trying to do a lot):

Facebook author page: https://www.fa

1 comment:

Patricia Stoltey said...

Great interview, Jean and Kaye. I'm always amazed at the number of beginning writers I meet who don't read much, and have read very little in the genre they're writing. I agree with Kaye's advice to read a lot. The more the better.