Monday, January 19, 2015

Interview and Giveaway with Karen Anne Golden

1. What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until 1997 that I attempted to make that dream a reality.  I wrote a book, The Cats that Surfed the Net. I tried to have it published in the traditional way, but I could wallpaper a room with the number of rejection letters.  Publishers said I needed an agent; agents said I needed to be published.  Big Catch 22.  My favorite was an agent who said my book was too high on cats.  You gotta laugh, because my readers love the cats in my books.  Last year, I was inspired by my sister, Indie author Alexa Grace, to rework the book and submit it on Amazon.  It took most of 2013 to shorten, polish, and update it to the modern age.  In the smartphone era, I couldn’t have my main character running to the phone booth to make a call.  Thus, with my first book, The Cats that Surfed the Web, The Cats that . . . series was born.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?

I love to write fast-paced mystery novels with a sprinkling of clues to make the reader wonder who did it.  I insert some red herrings along the way so when you finish my book, you’ll think, “Really?  I would have sworn such-and-such did it.”  I’ve been told by readers and reviewers that they clear their schedules so they don’t have to put the book down, which to an author is among the greatest of compliments.  I always begin with an exciting preview of a suspenseful scene set later in the book to get the reader’s blood flowing.  Then the first chapter is set a month earlier.

3. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

I knew the book was going to have a charismatic financial advisor as a key character. I found a stock photo of Wall Street ticker tape machine from the 1930s.  I knew then I’d use “played the market” as one of the book titles in the series.

4. Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

I have many cats, so it’s easy to observe their antics and write about them.  Some of my cats do the Halloween dance where they arch their backs and bounce up and down — usually when they are trying to get me to play with them.  One of my cats hides behind the books on the bottom shelf of my bookcase.  He used to push books out and I’d trip over them.  Then I realized he just wanted an opening to get behind the stack when he’s afraid.  My cats have distinctive voices, and not one of them says “Meow.”  My ginger cat, Redmond, opens latched doors.  It’s not surprising that the cats in my books do these same things. 

I grew up in Indiana and currently live here in a Queen Anne Victorian built in 1897, so I like to include a bit of Hoosier flavor in my books by visiting places, such as covered bridge festivals in The Cats that Told a Fortune or the cake auction in The Cats that Played the Market.  In The Cats that Chased the Storm, I mention an actual bank robbery in Greencastle where John Dillinger stole a then-record sum of money.

5. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Stephen King.  I love the way he pulls the reader into the story from the first page.  I admire the way he writes dialogue.  His characters are so believable, even in fantastic settings.  My favorite books by him are The Shining and The Dead Zone.  I almost flunked out of graduate school because of King.  I was supposed to be studying for a final exam, but I couldn’t put The Shining down.  My fond memory is lying in the sun, on a faded blanket, reading King when I should have been studying.  Fortunately, I finished the book and passed my final.

6. What book are you reading now?

I’m notorious for reading two or three books at a time and taking a long time to finish either one of them.  Since several reviewers compare my books to the late Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who . . .  series, I’m reading her first book, The Cat Who Read Backwards, Thomas Tryon’s Harvest Home, and Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game

7. What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I’m eighty pages into the fifth book of The Cats that . . . cozy mystery series.  I haven’t given it a title yet.  My routine is to write the middle of the book first, then the ending, and write the first four chapters last.  Just something that happens.   Just my style. 

I want to write a holiday novella for December of 2015.  I’d like to write a book about the cats’ previous lives before Katherine (Katz) came into the picture.

8.  Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Just a tiny bit.  Jake’s mother will try to cause problems between her son and Katz.  Katherine will inherit her full fortune and be active in deciding what kind of charitable causes she wants to fund.  Katherine will have some remorse about something she’d done.  A former love interest will show up out of nowhere. She’ll want to escape Erie for some quiet time, so she’ll have to hire a pet sitter.

9.  Who designed the cover of your latest book?

I have a wonderful, very talented graphic cover artist, Christy Carlyle.  I storyboard the cover, find the photos, and she does the magic.  For the first three books, I’ve used actual personal photos somewhere in the cover art.  The fourth book cover is entirely from stock photos.  Abby is a cat character in my books; she lives with four Siamese, so I wanted her to be on the cover of The Cats that Played the Market.  She plays an important role in this book.  The picture of the Abyssinian is exactly how I image Abigail.

10.  Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, read, and read.  Find your genre and read everything you can in that category.  Read non-fiction occasionally, such as current events or history.  Find someone to brainstorm with.  My hubby and I talk about plot points over dinner.  Once you’re published, don’t obsess about your reviews.  Write to make yourself happy and to bring joy to your readers. 

The Cats that Played the Market
The Cats that . . .
Cozy Mystery Series
Book 4
Karen Anne Golden

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Date of Publication: November 25, 2014

ISBN: 13:978-1503033276

Number of pages: 296
Word Count: 37,384

Cover Artist:  Christy Carlyle of Gilded Heart Design

Book Description:

They’re back!  Scout, Abra, Iris, Lilac and Abby — the cats you’ve grown to love — are once again caught up in intrigue and mayhem.

A blizzard blows into Indiana, bringing gifts, gala events, and a ghastly murder to heiress Katherine “Katz” Kendall. It’s Katherine’s birthday, and she gets more than she bargains for when Colleen and her mum visit the Victorian mansion to celebrate. Handsome boyfriend Jake adds to the joys of the season.

After all hell breaks loose at the Erie Museum’s opening, Katherine and her five cats unwittingly stumble upon clues that help solve a mystery. But has Scout lost her special abilities? Or will Katz find that another one of her amazing felines is a super-sleuth? With the cats providing clues, it’s up to Katherine and her friends to piece together the murderous puzzle . . . before the town goes bust!

Available at Amazon

Series Reading Order

Book 1
The Cats that Surfed the Web

Book 2
The Cats that Chased the Storm

Book 3
The Cats that Told a Fortune

Book 4
The Cats that Played the Market

Excerpt: Prologue

Katherine ran to her car, opened the door, and jumped in. Nervously fumbling with the clasp on her crossover bag, she extracted her cell and called Jake. “I’ve got an emergency,” she said breathlessly. “Chief London wants me out of town.”
“Why?” Jake asked in disbelief.
Katherine turned the ignition, floored the accelerator, and peeled out on Main Street. “I’m heading to the pink mansion now. I don’t have time to explain.”
“Katz, I’m not far. I’ll meet you there and help corral the cats. We’ll decide later where to go.”
“Colleen’s with Daryl, but her mum’s home. Park in back and use your key to the basement. I’ll see you in a few.”
Driving in front of the house, she was shocked to see a red pickup blocking her parking spot. Surely that’s not the stolen vehicle, she thought.
Quickly getting out of the car, she rushed up the steps to the front porch landing. She was startled when Colleen’s mum opened the door.
“Hello, Katz. I was just headin’ to the kitchen to make a bit of tea,” she slurred.
Katherine took one whiff of Mum’s breath and knew she’d been drinking. “Is everything okay?” she asked worriedly.
“Why do you ask, dear? You look like you’ve been touched by a banshee!”
“Whose truck is that?”
“I’ve been talkin’ a bit of treason with your friend from the library. They’re waitin’ for you in the living room. I’ll fix some tea.”
Katherine took Mum by the arm. “Come with me,” she insisted. She directed her to the stairwell.
Mum resisted. “Whatever ‘tis the matter?”
Katherine said firmly, “Shhh! Lower your voice. Go to your room and lock the door. I only have one friend from the library, and Michelle doesn’t drive a red pickup with out of state plates.”
“Oh, it’s somebody else. I didn’t catch their name. What’s goin’ on?”
“I beg of you. Just do as I ask,” Katherine implored. “When you get to your room, call Colleen and tell her to not come back to the house until she hears from me.”
“In the name of all the saints,” Mum said, as she staggered upstairs.
Katherine sprinted past Mum to her back hallway bedroom. She was alarmed to see the door standing wide-open. She had specifically shut the door so the cats wouldn’t bother Colleen’s mum while she was away.
“Dammit,” she said, surveying the room. The cats were not there. She pulled the Glock out of the gun safe and joined Mum outside her door.
“You’re not goin’ to use that thing, are you?” Mum said frantically. “Why don’t we call the police?”
“I’m going to call the police! Please relax,” Katherine reassured and then, with rising alarm in her voice, “Where are the cats?”
“The last time I saw them, they were toastin’ their buns on the kitchen register.”
“Hurry! Get in your room.”
Mum finally went in and locked the door.
Katherine yanked her cell out of her bag and called Chief London. “I think the stolen vehicle is parked in front of my house,” she said anxiously. “It’s a red pickup.”
“Katz, stay in your vehicle. Do NOT go inside,” the chief ordered. “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“That’s a problem because I’m already inside.” She disconnected the call and tapped Jake’s number. It rang and rang, then went into voice mail. “Don’t come. Chief’s on his way.” She put the cell in her back pocket.
Gripping the Glock with both hands, she cautiously walked downstairs. Suspecting the person in the living room was armed, Katherine swiftly searched downstairs, leaving the living room for last. She had to get to the cats in the kitchen, and shut that door so they wouldn’t run into the living room. Entering the kitchen, she was shocked to find the cats weren’t on the register or on the window valance. Oh, my God. They’re in the living room with a murderer.

About the Author:

Karen Anne Golden released her first book, “The Cats that Surfed the Web,” in December 2013.  In one year, she added three other books to The Cats that ...Cozy Animal Mystery series. “The Cats That Played the Market” is the fourth book.

Karen received a bachelor’s degree in History/Education from Columbus College, Columbus, Georgia. She obtained a master's degree in anthropology at Purdue University, and then conducted ethnographic field research (all-but-the Ph.D. dissertation) in Brighton Beach, New York.

When she decided that an academic career wasn't for her, she worked for a major computer company, riding the subway from Brooklyn to mid-town Manhattan. But her heart wasn't in the big city. Karen saved for years until she was able to buy a Victorian house in Indiana.

Now she lives in a Queen Anne built in 1897; it's a "painted lady" with four colors in the paint scheme. She’s spent many hours restoring her beloved house. With the house finished, she has time to do what she’s passionate about — writing.  She has opened her house to many cats, mostly "rescues.”

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Maria D. said...

Great interview! I love cozy mysteries and this series sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway