Kathryn Long is a recently retired school teacher who has enjoyed writing mysteries for several years. Credits include mystery shorts, “Betrayal in an Envelope” and “A Good Man”, both published by The Piker Press. Long has ventured into self-publishing the cozy Lilly M. mystery series with titles Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes and Gangs, Illegals, and a Rose Tattoo, as well as a series of YA novels, Cinderella Geek, Not So Snow White and Alice in Realityland under the pen name Jennkrist. Dying to Dream is her latest mystery gone to print with indie publisher, Mainly Murder Press. Future publications include a romantic suspense novel titled A Deadly Deed Grows, which will be coming out next year with The Wild Rose Press. Kathryn is here today stopping on her tour of WHIPS CUFFS AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. You’ll find a giveaway below. Welcome Kathryn.
My husband says he sleeps with one eye open given all my odd internet searches, he never knows what he may walk in and see up on my computer screen. How does your family feel about your writing mysteries and about murder and what I am sure is plenty of research on this grisly subject?
The mystery and murder aspect don’t seem to bother my husband. It’s really the time I need to spend on writing, which at moments when I’m in serious author mode can be several hours a day, tends to make my husband feel neglected. Of course, I am married to a man who loves the blood and gore of war movies. A little murder and mayhem doesn’t rattle him!
You’re a prolific writer working in multiple genres. How long does it take you to write a first draft of a book like WHIPS, CUFFS, AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES and then with all that follows that, how long before the reader gets to see it?
WHIPS is actually my third novel. It took several years to write, revise, and revise some more because it was the point in my writing I think where I really needed to push to prove what I could do. I had written and published two other novels before that, but felt they fell short of my best. However, nowadays I can crank out a rough draft in a matter of a few months, but then there’s always the edits.
To do as much as you do, you must be an incredibly organized person. Would I be correct in assuming you must be a plotter not a pantster?
I don’t know if I’d claim to be incredibly organized, more like driven to write! In any case, I’ve come to realize that I have evolved from pantster to plotter over the years. Early on, I would dig right into writing a story with only a rough plot concept in mind. After fifty or so pages, I’d either trash it (if I saw it wasn’t going anywhere) or with a more promising development, I’d take the time to create a chapter outline for the rest of the story. But it finally dawned on me—I can be slow to notice things!—that I was wasting a ton of valuable time with all that unfinished work tossed into the waste can. Now, I come up with the idea, do some research, then create a chapter outline. When I get into the writing, as always, I tweak the outline details here and there.
How many books are you ahead and what is the next book we can expect to see from you?
I have one in the works contracted with The Wild Rose Press. It’s a romantic suspense and we are in the midst of edits. I’m hoping A DEADLY DEED GROWS (tentatively titled) will be out sometime next year. In the meantime, I have started a third book in the Lilly M series, the first being WHIPS, the second GANGS, ILLEGALS, AND A ROSE TATTOO. I’ve titled this one, DEVIOUS, DIABOLICAL, AND DEADLY IN ONE BITE. It’s about a famous pastry chef who is charged with poisoning a food critic.
You write some of your books under a pseudonym so I was wondering, do you ever get confused who you are, say at a book signing?
Not really. And I always enjoy explaining how I came up with my pseudonym. The K is my first name initial; Sean is the name of my son; Jennkrist combines my daughters’ names. The one thing I always ask people when they buy one of those books is if they prefer me to sign my real name or my pen name.
Is any one of the genres more fun to write than the others and do you have favorites amongst your characters?
My writing passion is in mystery. I love reading it as well. I enjoy the idea of creating stories with clues that readers will attempt to work through to try and solve the mystery before the end of the book! My favorite idea is to include both mysteries from the past and present and find ways to weave the details to show how they connect. It’s complicated to do, but so much fun. As for the characters, in WHIPS my favorites are the three aunts. They are so comical, endearing, and yet definitely a challenge for Lilly. In my paranormal mystery, DYING TO DREAM, I’m so pleased with Tante Louise Picault. She’s a feisty, determined, outspoken, yet loyal older woman who dabbles in voodoo and is a key player in solving the mystery. I’m noticing a trend in my preferences. Strong, entertaining characters are definitely my favorite.
What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you?
Well, I know I spend way too much time on social networking, so I have resorted to disconnecting the internet while I’m writing! Seriously though, I have some adjusting to do since I recently retired from teaching. With so much time on my hands, I can’t spend it all on writing or I’d go crazy. I take walks with my dog, spend time with family, read, watch my favorite mystery programs on television – CASTLE is my absolute favorite—listen to music, and take rides to visit wineries and other local interests.
Now three things that have nothing to do with writing or your book:
- What is your favorite food? A boston strip steak, baked potato, and salad – okay, I know that’s a meal, but it only works when all three are together!
- What is your favorite TV show? I mentioned CASTLE, so I’ll add to that and pick a sitcom instead, just to show I have diversity J THE BIG BANG THEORY
- What is your favorite music? My favorite type is R & B, but there are all kinds of music I love besides that. Pop, blues, classic rock, indie rock, electronic, and the list goes on.
Thank you so much for being here today Kathryn, and good luck with the tour and your new book.
Aunt Fran is missing. Those words echoed throughout the town, worrying family and friends. So, Lilly Millenovanovich, a mystery writer, decides to help the authorities find her aunt. The Barton police have very few leads and Lilly is between novels with time on her hands. Her search becomes a hazardous journey in Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes. Thrown into awkward situations is familiar to Lilly Millenovanovich, like hiding in a stranger’s bedroom closet and discovering a naked man cuffed to the bed. Though events sometimes turn dangerous Lilly continues her sleuthing and recruits Mona, her cousin and best friend, to assist in the search.
Complications erupt, making their quest almost impossible. A chain of store robberies, the unusual behavior of Aunt Fran’s husband, and death threats from the mob are just a few. No matter where the search takes them, Lilly sees one common element – Ron Kinecki, known by women in town as Slick Dick Ron. He’s the owner of Repo Ron’s Used Cars, but might be selling more than automobiles.
As luck would have it, not all eyes watching Lilly intend harm. Her eccentric neighbor, Kooky Colonel Crockett, proves to be a helpful witness as he stands guard over the neighborhood. Aunt Sadie, the bold matriarch of Lilly’s family, who may tip the bottle once too often, executes strong will and bold opinions to keep Lilly on a straight path. Even an anonymous emailer feeds Lilly clues.
Before it’s over, Lilly must face more trouble than she can manage alone. Still, with friends and family to lend their support, everything turns out well in the end. Certainly, it doesn’t happen without a murder or two, but then all is back to normal. At least until the next mystery hits town.
This is a very funny book and I did enjoy it. A lot. It has all the elements of a good cozy; mystery, romance and humor. But there are some issues. First the cover. Not a cozy cover. It looks like it would be a cover for an erotica book. I have seen the cover for the second book in the series and it is much more like a cozy cover (although I would suggest the font needs work on that). But this cover could put off a lot of traditional cozy readers. As could the use of the F word. Not a lot at all – certainly not as much as I use it on any given day – but foul language is the type of criticism you see all the time in reviews written by traditional cozy readers. The whole side story of the sex clubs shouldn’t even be there. There are so many other things going on it was just unnecessary. And while the book has no sex scenes, once again, something that would not go over well with many traditional cozy readers. And the murder. I am a firm believer a mystery must have a murder. If I had not been reading this for review, I would have tossed it aside, which would have been a shame because it is a very good book. But the murder did not happen until I was at the 54% point – according to my Kindle. I once took a class with a very well known mystery writer and she said, “A mystery book must have a murder and it is a good idea if you can get it in in the first ten pages.” Once again let me say this is a very good book. Fast paced. Fantastic characters. But a good editor would have changed it from a good book to a great book. ♥♥♥½
Purchase Book: AMAZON
GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win an ebook copy of WHIPS CUFFS AND LITTLE BROWN BOXES just 1) leave a comment below then 2) click HERE 3) go to other tour stops to get additional entries (they are listed below).
December 2 – Brooke Blogs – Interview, Giveaway
December 3 – According to Squenn – Review
December 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Giveaway
December 5 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Giveaway
December 6 – Darla King Series – Review
December 8 – Socrates’ Book Review Blog – Review, Giveaway
December 9 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
December 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway
December 11 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway
December 12 – Dr. Pepper Diva – Review, Giveaway