1) Tell us about your book.
A lovable screw-up finds a patient murdered in the psychiatric firm’s waiting room where she works. Convinced the bad publicity from the murder will cause the demise of the fledgling firm, she appoints herself unofficial investigator and finds a host of quirky characters who could have done it. But can she solve the crime, bring the killer to justice, save her job - and maybe even her life - before the murderer strikes again?
2) What inspired this book?
My husband and I had been through some major health challenges and up until then I was writing romantic suspense. Dark and scary stories. After all we’d been through, I decided I wanted to switch genres and have some light-hearted fun killing people and solving the murders. Out of this came my main character, Becca Reynolds. Becca is a lot like me. A younger, thinner version of me with much better hair.
She holds a job very similar to one I once held. As I came up with her personality traits and quirks, I also asked myself what would happen if this character was running late and chattering away and all the while a dead person was sitting in the office. And my imagination took it from there.
3) Mystery remains one of the most popular genres of fiction. What do you think is responsible for its continuing appeal?
I believe there are a lot of readers who love a good whodunit. They love to go along with the story and try to solve the case. It appeals to the natural curiosity in all of us.
4) What do you think forms the core of a good mystery?
For me it’s proper motivation. I want to believe the reason the killer did it was a genuinely good reason and not just there for a plot twist or surprise. It’s important to play fair with the reader. Plant the clues and allow them to have a chance to solve the murder.
One of the few times I’ve been truly upset at reading a book was when a writer failed to solve the case by the end of the book! She had threads continuing on to other books in the series, and I can certainly understand that, but she didn’t solve the murders in that book. After reading over 300 pages, I wanted to know. I didn’t want to wait until the next book in the series. In fact, I didn’t buy the next book even though up until then I’d read all of the previous books.
In The River City Mysteries, I have many unanswered questions about the characters and their interconnections and back stories. These will be answered in future books as I develop the characters. But I always solve the murders and try to play fair with the reader.
5) Mystery runs the range from deadly serious to wacky fun. Why did you choose to create a humorous story?
It was purely selfish. I wanted to laugh and have fun while I was writing. What did I love to read? The early Stephanie Plum books made me laugh out loud. I wanted to create a world where the reader could lose themselves for a period of time in a cute story where there are misadventures, but there’s still a happy ever after ending. Well, for everyone except the murderer.
Since readers have given me lots of positive feedback that this book reminds them of the early Evanovich books, I think I was successful in what I set out to achieve. I love that I can make people forget their troubles and have a good laugh. That is just the best feeling.
6) Did you find it hard to balance the humor and mystery elements?
Actually, I don’t think I thought much about it while I was writing. This book flowed and even though I went back through the manuscript several times to layer, I really didn’t change the basic structure of the book.
My personal favorite scene in the book is the camera scene. I still laugh out loud every time I read it. But it comes at a time in the story when I could have continued to let the story deepen and grow dark. To keep the tone of the book light, I decided to write a funny scene rather than a more serious one.
As I’m writing the next book in the series, Your Time Is Up, I do have to plan for serious vs. funny scenes, but I think it’s just part of Becca and my personality to know when it’s needed.
7) You've created a quirky, likable heroine with Becca. How many books do you have planned for the series?
I know there’ll be at least 6. I need that many to do all that I want to with the character development and growth. As I mentioned, I’m writing book 2 now and hope to have it out in the spring or early summer. And I have book 3 (Your Lights Are Out) plotted out. I’ve brainstormed book 4 (as yet untitled) and I know once I work more on that book, I’ll figure out the future books. I do know how I want the series to end. So it could be 6 books, but I think it’ll be more like nine. I’ll keep going as long as I’m having fun and the readers are enjoying my work.
Thanks for stopping by, Kat.
You can see more from Kat at her blog at www.katjorgensen.com.
You can purchase Your Eight O'Clock Is Dead at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.