October 30, 2016

Kate Collins - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuting on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole. 

Today I will be showcasing Kate Collins

About this author:
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series, now a new series on the Hallmark Movie and Mystery channel. Book #19 in the series, YEWS WITH CAUTION, will be an April 2017 release. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions. The first three books are available on audio. Kate’s historical romances and children’s anthologies are also available in digital format through her website.

Where to follow this author:
Author assistant Jason Eberhardt: www.authorswriteinc.com

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I never considered a career as a writer until after my first child was born. Then I looked around for a creative outlet and tried a number of crafts, including sewing, rug hooking, macramé, tole painting, and crocheting. One day I saw an ad for a writing course for children in the Chicago Tribune and decided to take it. I started selling short stories to children’s magazines and my new career was born.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
Usually I have to step away from the computer, take a walk, do some yoga, or do something to free my mind so I can gain a new perspective. It really helps to talk over the plot problem with my son (my writing assistant). Another tip is to imagine the scene from a different character’s point of view.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?

I usually do my internet work and household tasks in the mornings and write in the afternoons. My goal is to do five pages at least a day. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but sometimes I’ll spend an hour getting one scene just right.

4. How did you choose this genre to write?
I originally wanted to write historical romances and went on to publish seven of them, still available as e-books on my website. I finally did some soul searching and realized what I really enjoyed doing best was writing mysteries with a little romance in them, and that’s where I found my niche. Writing the Flower Shop Mystery series has been a dream come true. Having the books made into Hallmark Mysteries and getting to know the star of the series, Brooke Shields, is way beyond my wildest dreams.

5. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Mainly from the local news or bits of gossip. I love to eavesdrop at restaurants. My friends and neighbors know that any story they tell me may end up as a murder mystery. The plots for two of my books came from real life events from my neighborhood.

6. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I love to walk, do yoga, read, and garden. For me, working in my garden is my zen. Besides flowers, I also grow herbs and a few vegetables. I planted a cherry and a grape tomato plant three years ago and made the mistake of letting the vines stay in the ground over the winter. Ever since then, they’ve come up on their own, so many that I have to thin them out. They’ve actually cross pollinated into a new variety I call the “chape.” I harvest so many that I’m thinking putting a tomato stand in front of my house.

7. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
I’d rather make that two pieces of advice. First is to write from your heart. If you aren’t finding the joy in your story, you might be writing in the wrong genre. The second is to join a writing group. They can help you find the right market for your work and give you critique help.

8. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
My current favorite author is Liane Moriarty. Her books, THE HUSBAND’S SECRET, and BIG LITTLE LIES really hooked me. They’re clever and humorous.

9. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why?
My first choice would be Agatha Christie, the mother of the cozy mystery genre. I’d love to pick her brain as to how she plotted her stories.

My second choice would be Jean Shepherd, the comedic writer who wrote the book, A CHRISTMAS STORY, among others. Mr. Shepherd grew up a few blocks from my childhood home, and I became an avid fan of his books from an early age. He was my inspiration for the humor I use in my own stories. Having dinner with him would be a joyful experience.

10. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
Santorini, Greece, one of the Greek Islands. To me, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

11. Five interesting facts about yourself.
I wish I could say I was so interesting that I’d have five things to list. About the only truly interesting thing is that I was once kidnapped by a camel driver in Giza, Egypt, until my husband paid ransom money to get me down from the camel. The driver wanted $50 to take my photo (with my own camera). My husband the lawyer bargained with him until they came to an agreement. My net value was $5.00. This was in full view of the other tourists and police, by the way.

What did I learn about this author:
I learned that Kate was kidnapped by a camel driver in Egyt. Her advice to new writers is to write from your heart. Also Kate likes to do yoga both for fun and as a cure for writer's block. What did you learn about Kate?

Stay tuned for our last author in this series!

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