I ‘met’ Bart in the Mystery Most Cozy group on Facebook. First of all, guys are relatively rare in the cozy genre and quite a few of them are part of a husband and wife team. So when you have one show up in a group like that, you just sort of wait and see. Because many are the type of group joiners who are totally into self promotion – make a post about their book and leave. But Bart hung around and ‘chatted’. So that got him noticed. And his book title is a good one, DEATHBED AND BREAKFAST. Actually, I’m kind of amazed no one has come up with it before now, it’s so good. Actually, I’m mad I didn’t think of it first because it would have gone so well with the play on words thing I’m doing with my titles. But then he holds a book signing at a Dairy Queen. Seriously. And he sold a lot of books! So I decided I had to have this guy on my blog. Bart is giving away a Kindle copy of his book so leave a comment – with your email – before midnight for a chance to win! So welcome Bart.
Pookotz. I want you to know this is my new word. I’m using it to replace stunad in my vocabulary. Where did you come up with it? And by the way, very effective – I google it to see if it is a real name and you filled the first 8 pages before I gave up looking.
And that is why I chose that particular name! My sister and I were up late one night catching up on things and she was telling me about a cozy
she was reading at the time by Joanne Fluke. Before long, we were coming up with our own ideas for a cozy mystery of our own, laughing and having a good time. We didn’t know it then, but we were laying the foundation for what would become “Deathbed & Breakfast”, the first in a planned series of mysteries. Pookotz! Haha…I told my sister that if this was going to work we needed to accomplish two things right off the bat. One, we would need a book title that hadn’t been used before. I searched all the book websites I could think of and not ONE of them had a book called “Deathbed & Breakfast”. Two, we would need to come up with a name that was quirky, yet endearing. But most importantly, NOT used. It was my sister who came up with Pookotz. So once again, we Googled it and found nothing. And so, the Pookotz Sisters, Edna and Mildred, were born. And I LOVE that it is your new “word” by the way…haha.
Why did you decide to have a book signing in a Dairy Queen? Buy a Blizzard and a book? And 39 books! Are you just the most popular guy in town? Because I know big name, well established authors who are thrilled if they manage to sell 10 at one of these things.
It just seemed to me like a great place to have a Book Release Party. The local DQ here in O’Neill (Nebraska)
has an excellent reputation, largely due to the owner George Holm. He is a real good guy, salt of the earth. Everyone loves him and he is well respected in the community. In fact, there was a real nice article for him on The Viewpoint website (I’ll enclose the link to it at the end of this for you). So we put our heads together and made it work. I had flyers up all over town, and a newspaper ad out. We went down to KBRX and recorded a spontaneous radio ad for the event. “Come down and meet local author Bart J. Gilbertson and get your signed copy of his light mystery. And don’t forget to get a blizzard or smoothie while you’re there too! Now there is more than one reason to come down to your favorite Dairy Queen!” It was golden. I took 40 books to the event and sold 39 of them. I walked out with only 1 book left. I feel that sometimes it is good to think outside of the box. Take a little chance, and have fun with it!
Why a cozy? Have you been a cozy fan and if so, which one series first hooked you?
Actually, I grew up reading fantasy novels by authors like Lloyd Alexander, Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony. I envisioned myself being the next big epic fantasy author. However, I always had love for a good mystery. I remember reading the Hardy Boys books as well in those days, and whenever an Agatha Christie movie adaptation came on, I was there watching it. I was also a big fan of Murder, She Wrote. I always knew that someday, I was going to write a mystery too. Believe it or not, I really haven’t read too much in my chosen genre! I have to credit my sister for getting me going with my own cozy. Once I started writing it, I found I had a knack for it. And I loved it. I’m hooked! I have since been reading cozies, starting with authors from the company I’m signed with, Cozy Cat Press.
How do you find time for writing? Is it grab time when you can or are you very disciplined and set aside a certain time you put butt to chair and write every single day?
I prefer to write in the evenings. Most of “Deathbed & Breakfast” was actually written late at night by candlelight. I sometimes will have something New Age playing softly in the background to help set the mood like Enya, Andreas Vollenweider or Loreena McKennitt. I find that is when my creative juices are flowing the best. I’m undisturbed and concentrated. With the flame flickering off the walls around me, I am lost in my “other” world. I wish I was as structured as some writers are. But for me, it is a mood thing. When I get started though, I will sometimes go for hours at a time and good luck trying to get my attention. Haha!
If your book became a TV series – and I think it should, we have been too long without a Jessica Fletcher replacement – who would play your permanent characters like the sisters, the sheriff and doctor and Deputy Ross Moss? And does the deputy have a just touch of Barney Fife?
Great question! I’ve always imagined that if the Pookotz Sisters should find their way to either the big or small screen that Maggie Smith would play the part of Edna Pookotz, Betty White the part of Mildred Pookotz and Tim Conway as Felix Stiffman, the cook. Wow! Just the thought of those three working together gives me shivers! I hadn’t given much thought to who could play Sheriff Blackwood, Doc Meecham or Deputy Ross Moss, though I had to laugh when you mentioned Barney Fife. I love Don Knotts, but whoever played his role would have to be taller. Just get me Maggie, Betty and Tim and I’d be happy with whoever else was cast.
If you were stranded on an island and could have only three books you would be rereading for the rest of your life, what would those three books be?
In my case, it would have to be 5 books. And those are the 5 books of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. It was that series of YA Fantasy books that really opened my eyes and heart to the world of books. Never before had I ever been so enamored and never again since. It is your classic good –vs- evil backdrop that revolves around the adventures of a young man called Taran and his friends. But it was much more than that. It was also the story of how a young boy became a man, how he learned the value of true friendship, honor and self worth. I read them at least once a year.
Now three things that have nothing to do with writing:
- What is your favorite food? Love anything oriental, stir fry, teriyaki…etc.
- What is your favorite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of tv these days. I gravitate more towards movies and books. But when I was watching regularly, MacGyver was always my first choice with Murder, She Wrote a close second.
- What is your favorite music? I’m an 80’s child through and through, so I always have something 80’s playing (usually), rock, metal, pop, new wave, synth…whatever. If it’s 80’s, it’s me.
Thank you so much for being here today, Bart, and continued good luck with the book. I can’t wait for the next one. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?
I just want to thank you Kate for this opportunity. I also want to extend my thanks to everyone who has been supportive of me and my book. Thank you to Patricia Rockwell, my publisher/editor for her help. She is just excellent to work with. But most especially to my sister for her invaluable contributions and motivation. Authors truly are a special breed and I’m proud to call myself one. I have some other ideas brewing for another possible cozy series, as well as short stories and stand alone novels. So keep your eyes open!
Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series. Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho. He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for PleasantLake and its inhabitants.
He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors.
Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer.
He currently resides in O’Neill, NE. He has two children.
Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one evening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the murder investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he–and the sisters–set forth to discover who the murderer is.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this first ‘whodunit’ of the Pookotz Sisters Bed & Breakfast Mystery series which introduces you to the quaint mountain Oregon town of Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants.
Readers of the cozy mystery genre will fall in love with Edna and Mildred Pookotz, sisters and amateur senior sleuths, as they juggle the responsibilities of running a Bed & Breakfast and solving most bizarre mysteries!
I had just finished two very noir books and wanted to get back to my cozy comfort zone. As I was reading the first chapter of this book, I felt it was stilted, unnatural. But then I realized the people were just… Nice. Polite. Helpful. Am I that jaded that I just don’t like nice? Um. Yeah. But as I read, I realized it was just a very clever device used by the author at the beginning. We are supposed to be lulled into believing everything in Pleasant Lake is pleasant and nice. But in reality, nothing is as it seems. Which just shows you, people should never just read a couple of pages and toss a book aside. A grandfather is travelling with his granddaughter to see a specialist. He has cancer and is clearly near death’s door. On his first night at the Pookotz Bed and Breakfast, he dies. But it wasn’t the cancer. Turns out he was struck, injected and strangled. And he wasn’t the kindly grandfather he seemed – he was Richard Forester, a suspected but never proven embezzler. And none of the guests at the B&B are what they seem. There are the newlyweds who have dollar signs rather than stars in their eyes. The insurance agent and photographer who are really federal agents. And the father and son who lost their wife and mother as a direct result of the embezzlement. And the help isn’t looking all that innocent either. Everybody is under house arrest while the sheriff gets to the bottom of things. But after the sheriff has his killer – his confessed killer, it is Edna and Mildred Pookotz who solve the mystery and get the real killer in a brilliant twist and bit of detective work. If you are a fan of Jessica Fletcher, you are going to love Edna and Mildred Pookotz. This is a really fun read – go get it now for your weekend read. ♥♥♥♥♥