ABOUT THE BOOKWhen Hayden Kent’s mentor and friend discovers her son Mike’s dead body, dressed in full scuba attire, washed up on Pigeon Key, she needs Hayden. Her paralegal and dive skills may help unravel the tragedy of Mike’s last days. He’d recently discovered a sunken Spanish galleon and rumors that he hit the mother lode ran through the Keys like wildfire.
Hayden’s dive on the treasure site uncovers gold, and clues that Mike’s death was something far more sinister than an accident. When two different wills, both signed the day Mike died, are delivered to the courthouse, the suspect list grows, as do the threats against her. The danger escalates as she tries to save herself, discover the motive, and find the killer.
INTERVIEW WITH KAIT CARSON
Kait, how did you get started writing?
A lucky break. I only wish I’d known it then. When I was twelve, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper. The letter appeared (and I remember being very offended that they edited it) and a week or so later, I was contacted by an agent. I wrote short stories in teen magazines under various pen names throughout high school. Sounds glamorous, right? No. I had signed the contract, when the poor man discovered I was not only under twenty-one, but under eighteen, he dropped me like a hot potato. That wasn’t so bad, I didn’t write in college. Study and party took up too much time. A few decades later when I returned to writing, I discovered how lucky younger me had been! Still looking for an agent. It’s on my to do list for this year. Make that a wish list!
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes there’s a moment when the characters and images in your mind meld with the words on the page and become one. At that point, it’s not writing, it’s taking dictation and the pages fly.
Do you have a writing routine?
How funny, we were just discussing this today on Jungle Reds. I did when I wrote by typewriter. Now that I write on a laptop, no. I should though. I think every writer needs a routine. It tells your brain to shut off the everyday and enter creative world.
Do you write every day?
My bad, no. I do something writing related every day though. Read and respond to blogs, visit Facebook, do some marketing, editing, reading. Something that confirms to me that I’m a working writer.
What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I’d taken the time (or had the ability — there is always that) to become more technologically knowledgeable. So much of getting the word out is technologically dependent. I haven’t done a newsletter yet because the set-up has me befuddled. I know the banner I want, but not how to construct it.
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
I keep a tube of Boudreaux's Butt Paste next to my laptop. It’s a reminder that the only way to write is to get the butt in the chair and keep it there. That’s the hardest thing for me. I mean, there’s always laundry to be done, Facebook to visit, friends to call . . . and I can always crank out those words later . . . after I feed the cats, take a five mile run, go for a swim.
What’s more important – characters or plot?
Characters for me. The plot doesn’t spring from them, because my characters are often dumped into a situation not of their making. What does spring from characters is reality. Your characters have to be likable, but flawed (just like real folks — and even your villains have to have good qualities), and they have to react in ways that are consistent. If you have that, you have a story that will hold people.
How often do you read?
Every day without exception. I can’t fall asleep without a book. I was the kid under the covers with the flashlight.
What is your writing style?
I’ve been told my style is light and breezy. Lots of short sentences, and action. I like to have fun writing, and I think my characters like to enjoy their roles in the story as well. Well, maybe not the victim so much . . . but everyone else. I wish I could write with more humor, but it plum eludes me.
What do you think makes a good story?
Heart. I write murder mysteries, so that may seem a strange answer, but you have to have heart. You have to care about your characters, care about your readers, tell a story that readers care about, always play fair, and have the story hang together logically. Then there is the second prong. Action. Keep it moving, carry your reader along on a breathtaking adventure. Both are equally important.
What books do you currently have published?
I have two series published. The Catherine Swope Mysteries are my self-published books. The titles are Zoned for Murder and Murder in the Multiples. My Hayden Kent series is published by Henery Press, those titles are Death by Blue Water and Death by Sunken Treasure. I’m currently hard at work on the third in the series, Death Dive.
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
How rewarding it is to write novels. I started out with short stories, and I still write them, but novels, they are love at a different level. Getting something you worked so hard for into the hands of readers and getting feedback is a very special kind of wonderful. Okay, sometimes the feedback is not so wonderful, but not everyone is going to like your books. It says something about the reader/author bond that a person cares enough to comment. One way or another.
Do you have any secret talents? I can take any three ingredients and make a full meal out of it. I have an innate sense of direction that beats out a GPS, and I can fold a bottom sheet!
I'm impressed! Is writing your dream job?
What an easy question. YES!
What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?
I’ve never had a bad job. Oh, there have been parts of jobs I didn’t like, but the jobs themselves were always good at the time, and I’ve had a bunch. Maybe the lesson was always see the glass half full. I am a terrible Pollyanna!
Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Yes, network. Get to know as many people as you can, authors and readers. Readers are your best friend. Find your best place to find them. Always be generous of your time and help promote other authors as well. They will return the favor.
If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Blush – Home and Garden TV – I may be a house voyeur. I love seeing how other people live and what features they have in their homes.
How often do you tweet?
Not often enough. I try to hit the Twitter board at least once a day, but most often it becomes once a week. And on that one day, I think the Twitterati get well and truly sick of me, because I’m busy tweeting everything I’m just discovering! Twitter recently changed their posting protocol. I’m curious to see how the new system works.
How do you feel about Facebook?
I love it. I have a Kait Carson page and a Kait Carson Author page. I like to keep up with friends on FB, personal and professional. I like to share things with my followers on my author page and get feedback. I think it’s great fun.
For what would you like to be remembered?
For empathy. I think life is hard these days, harder than it was twenty years ago because it happens so fast. I like letting people know they are not alone and that they matter. I try to bring that to my writing as well.
What scares you the most?
Cruelty and injustice. Neither has a place in my world.
Would you make a good character in a book?
Probably not, but some of my experiences would make great stories!
What five things would you never want to live without?
Books, my Kindle, my SCUBA gear, a good pair of running shoes, and fountain pens.
What’s one THING you never leave the house without?
My Garmin watch. I want to know how many steps I’ve done. Even if I’m dressed up, the watch is in my evening bag.
What do you love about where you live?
It’s rural. I’m a country girl at heart. I like to go out at night and see the stars so close that I feel I could touch them.
What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
Pack a picnic dinner and head to the beach or a lake. Of course, this is Florida, so in mosquito season Plan B goes into effect. That’s a fun restaurant usually one with a pinball machine, followed by a walk around the neighborhood or on a beach.
What's your favorite treat for movie night?
We don’t go out for movies usually. At home, we like to make chicken wings, put out some cheese and crackers and nibble away. Of course, if it’s a theme movie, then we’ll fix something that fits. Pizza or antipasto for an Italian movie, fried green tomatoes and fried chicken tenders for a Southern theme . . .
What's the biggest lie you ever told?
My biggest lie turned into my secret talent. A bit of backstory . . . when I was in college, I wanted to travel the Caribbean. I scraped together enough money to fly to St. Thomas and rent a room in a student rooming house. I didn’t want to leave. It was wonderful. I heard about a job, cooking on an interisland freighter. It sounded perfect, so I went. I had no crew papers, and no passport. I told the Captain that I was an accomplished cook. At the time, boiling water was a challenge. The men and women of that crew took me under their wing (they wanted to eat) and taught me to cook. It was a great time. And I saw the Caribbean.
What’s your favorite fast food?
Yellowtail snapper. Ever seen them swim? Whopper with Cheese, and large fries, please.
What’s your favorite beverage?
Earl Grey Tea.
What drives you crazy?
What is your superpower?
I’m able to get by on four hours of sleep a night. And I can type 100 words a minute on an IBM Selectric.
Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m great at SCUBA diving. My handwriting is illegible, but I try.
What do you wish you could do?
I wish I could fly.
What is one of your happiest moments?
Trite, but the day I was married, the second time.
What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Meditate. It clears the mind.
Where is your favorite place to visit?
The wreck of the Thunderbolt. It’s in 120’ of water off Marathon in the Florida Keys.
What would you name your autobiography?
What’s your least favorite chore?
Cleaning litter boxes. We have six cats. ‘Nuff said.
Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?
Sports star – Indy car driver.
Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
What bad traits? LOL. No. I tried to form my characters when I first started writing. They fought back. It was the strangest thing.
Do you procrastinate?
I’ve had this questionnaire for a month. I might slightly procrastinate, even with fun things.
What’s one thing that drives you crazy?
Besides rudeness? Scratchy wool. They should be able to do something about that in this day and age.
What’s your favorite Internet site?
Fiddlehead Focus. It’s the local newspaper of the St. John Valley in Maine. We have a house there, and I love it. It’s how I keep up with the news when I’m away. Other than that, Goodreads. It’s the library of the Internet.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Homemade leek potato soup and a bottle of red wine from a label named “Chateau Les Paws.” A portion of the proceeds benefits no kill shelters. That’s important.
What is the most daring thing you've done?
I learned how to skydive when I was 16.
What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Some would say my answer above.
I have found that the two usually do go hand in hand! What is your most embarrassing moment?
Thinking someone was flirting madly with me only to discover that what they were really doing was staring at my wardrobe malfunction!
What choices in life would you like to have a redo on (Besides the wardrobe malfunction)?
I don’t have many regrets but there are times I wish I had known were so precious and that I had the sense to be more in the moment.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
It’s a line from an Eagles song. “Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.”
What would your main character say about you?
Catherine would tell me to lighten up. (She gets into some really sticky situations). Hayden would say I need to let her follow her gut more.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
My bio and the back of book blurbs. I don’t like talking about myself, just not that interesting, and the back of book blurbs walk such a fine line between trying to entice a reader but not give too much away.
Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street. My father used to take me there when I was a child. I thought it was a church of books. I would love to get turned loose in their back stacks.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Torn here. Jo March. She made me want to be a writer. Nancy Drew because she was my first mystery icon.
If you had a talk show who would your dream guest be?
I should say something really deep here, but in fact, Jimmy Buffet. I love the way his mind works and how he turns a phrase.
What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I grew up speaking four languages and I learned English last. These days I struggle with all four, English included! It’s a tough language to get right.
You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?
Just for the night? Oh, not enough time. Red Snapper Louisianan (a wonderful sauce with a hint of hot, artichoke hearts, and bay scallops sautéed in butter), fresh asparagus with a hint of lemon lightly steamed, roasted tri-color potatoes, a wonderful fresh Caesar salad with anchovies, thank you, a perfect pear and Wensleydale cheese for dessert, followed by a Frankfurter Kranz cake to blow the entire diet!
How do you like your pizza?
Very thin crust, baked in a coal oven with tomato sauce, mushrooms and lots of fresh basil.
What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Oh dear, I’m not sure I should say. It’s a photo of me aiming my Glock. (If you look closely, you’ll see it’s in slide-lock. Firearms are not for fun!)
Do you have any hidden talents?
I crochet. One year for Christmas, I gave everyone afghans I had made.
Describe yourself in five words.
Cheerful, resourceful, prepared, funny, happy.
What’s your favorite song?
Jimmy Buffet’s "Life is Just a Tire Swing."
What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
Spellcheck not getting colloquial English.
What would you do for a Klondike bar?
What is your favorite movie?
Twelve O’Clock High. It’s an amazing story of just how far one can go and still come back.
Do you have a favorite book?
More than I can count, but I keep returning to two books from the James Clavell series, Tai Pan and Noble House. There is a spirit of perfection in both that intrigues me.
If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
The saying on the first bookmark I ever had – When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade. I warned you I was a Pollyanna.
What are you working on now?
The third Hayden Kent book, Death Dive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connect with Kait:
Website | Blog 1 | Blog 2 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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