LKBR: Thank you, Kathryn, for joining us today.
KL: Thank you! I’m so excited to be here. It’s fun connecting with readers.
LKBR: Please tell us a bit about your new book.
KL: Boarding with Murder is a cozy mystery taking place in Sierra Pines, located in the foothills and pine forest near Lake Tahoe. The Victorian house turned B&B has been passed down to Alexis Winston, and the kind but quirky Bellwether siblings help her run the place. When a murder happens right under their roof, the siblings are primary suspects, so Ali is determined to discover who the real killer is before her dear friends are permanently placed behind bars.
LKBR: How many hours a week do you work in order to meet your deadline(s)?
KL: Unfortunately, I am totally undisciplined in that my writing schedule is nonexistent most days, but deadlines are definitely a motivator. Right now, I have the third book in the B&B series due to the publisher by July 15th. So, I’ll map out how many words a week I need to write to have it finished by, let’s say June, thus giving me time to read over, maybe reach out to beta readers to also run through it, and then polish the work before turning it in. Hours spent will be sporadic because, as always, personal stuff will get in the way. I can say I usually write 1,000 to 3,000 words a day, once I get focused on that deadline. And I typically write only during the week, saving the weekends for personal fun time with the family. Oh, and promoting my work by posting on social media, etc. take up a ton of time!
LKBR: Are you working on any new projects?
KL: I don’t know if you’d count this as new, but I do have another cozy mystery series written under my pen name, Bailee Abbott. The first one, A BRUSH WITH MURDER, is up for preorder. I have to write the second by November 15th. As you can see, I have my plate full this year with two to write. It amazes me how some authors can write as many as a half dozen or more books a year. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
LKBR: How many books do put out annually (if more than one)?
KL: No more than two. I couldn’t handle more than that.
LKBR: What is your brainstorming process like? Do you have a certain order you use when starting a new story? Such as, main character development, do you already have a murder in mind, the location it takes place?
KL: It differs from series to series. Usually, I start with a setting, a place I’ve been to or am greatly interested in. I do have a murder in mind, but then my creative brain goes all over the place. Characters pop up in my head, what they do, how they fit, and I quickly start outlining to see how it works. The plot is reworked several times before I can sit down to write the story. For BOARDING WITH MURDER, it started with watching ARSENIC AND OLD LACE. I thought about the eccentric Brewster sisters and how poor nephew Mortimer stumbles on their alarming activity. I love movie classics, and the idea of making the cast of book characters part of show business developed.
LKBR: What publishing decisions are made by you, and what are made by the publisher? Such as, cover design, paperback/hardcover, publishing date, pricing, and so on.
KL: It varies with publishers. Small ones tend to give the author more input and decision making. Bigger ones, not so much. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I haven’t been published by one of the big four! I had a lot of input on the cover design for BOARDING WITH MURDER. In the case of A BRUSH WITH MURDER, the cover artist first made a sketch and it was sent to me for approval. Then, they sent the finished product for approval. (Not sure what would’ve happened if I didn’t like it. I think they get final approval, no matter what.) They asked for title suggestions, but in the end, came up with their own. The rest—PB vs HB, release date, pricing, etc.—is decided by them only.
LKBR: Have you done both self-publishing and traditional publishing? If yes, how do they differ? And do you as the author have to promote them equally, or does a publisher handle a lot of the promoting?
KL: I’ve done both. In the early years of my writing, I used Amazon and Smashwords self-publishing to release my work. Back then, it was frowned upon by traditional publishers, and that made it harder for self-pubbed authors to break into the traditional market. All that’s changed, thank goodness. My experience was underwhelming. It’s hard when you don’t have a budget for things like hiring an editor or having dollars for marketing. It was fun to explore the various aspects of the publishing process, but I wouldn’t delve into it again. Promoting, however, is another matter. With smaller publishers, a lot of it falls on the author’s shoulders. Even with the midlist and bigger publishers, unless you are a big name in the industry, you’ll do a lot on your own.
LKBR: Multiple questions here. Have you ever thought about giving up on writing? If yes, why? What kept you going? What would you see yourself doing instead? If no, YAY! J
KL: I will probably keep writing until my brain gives out or I stop enjoying it. My motivation comes from finishing a story and thinking how awesome and blessed I am for being able to create such work. And feedback from readers always validate my efforts. I love that part especially. What would I do instead of writing? Well, I’ve had many jobs—I taught special needs kids for several years. Prior to that, I was a manager of a bookstore. But hey, if my fantasy could’ve come true, I’d have been rocking it out on stage as a singer! LOL…as if.
LKBR: If you could make one request of a reader, what would that be?
KL: Tell me what you thought about my work and hopefully write a review. Reviews are a great way to let authors know you appreciate what they do, and they do help others in deciding whether they want to read the book.
LKBR: Thank you for joining us here today, Kathryn!
KL: Thank YOU! I really enjoy talking about writing and sharing with readers what makes it happen!
About Kathryn Long
Retired teacher, Kathryn Long now spends her days plotting and writing mysteries. Her most recent credits are romantic suspense novel, A DEADLY DEED GROWS and mystery, BURIED IN SIN. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Under the pen name, Bailee Abbott this author writes the Paint by Murder cozy series, starting with A BRUSH WITH MURDER soon to be released. Kathryn lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio.