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December 13, 2011

Author Interview with Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Blessing

Hi everyone!
I want to say a few words about our special guest today.
 Kathy Bennett and I became acquainted on March of 2005 when we responded to Clues-n- News e-mails to be critique partners. When we read each other's manuscripts, it was spooky over the similarities of our books. She went on to publish A Dozen Deadly Roses and Deadly Blessings is in the works to come to us.
I am so pleased that Kathy and I are much more than critique partners. We became friends who’ve weathered family crisis to job changes and overall life.  I treasure our friendship.
Please welcome Kathy Bennett…. Tell us about yourself. How long have you been writing?  I’ve written most of my life – although my early ‘works’ were newsletters for my family.  In the eighth grade, I did an assignment that the teacher read to the class.  I left the story with a hook and when the class moaned because the story was over, a writer was born.

I joined the Romance Writers of America in 1996.  I didn’t seriously start writing until about 1998--I’m a late bloomer ;-)

How did you get from your day job to writing romance?  At the time, my day job was working as a LAPD officer.  I met my husband on the job…it wasn’t a far stretch.

Who is your favorite author(s) and why? Gosh…I’d start with James Patterson because he tells great stories and does so in a way that keeps me turning pages.  Next, I’d say Jackie Collins.  I love her characters and I like her style of writing.  Lastly, (but not least) Joseph Wambaugh.  No one can write LAPD characters like him.
Tell us about your new book.

My next book is called A Deadly Blessing.  It’s a lightening-fast suspense featuring LAPD detective Maddie Divine.  It’s the first in a series, and I expect it to be release in February of next year.  Here’s a peek at the beginning.

            “Maddie, do not hang up the phone.” 
            “Travis, I’m working.  I can’t talk right now.”
            “You’re always working.  What’s more important, our marriage or your job?”
            My partner, Darius Cutter, plucked my cell phone from my hand.  “Hey, dude, she’ll call you later.  The chief and the mayor are waiting for us.”  He snapped my cell shut and handed it back to me.  “Let’s go.”
            “You shouldn’t have done that.”  Immediately, the phone vibrated in my hand.  The display showed a smiling photo of my husband; a photo taken when Travis was okay and normal.  A pang of sorrow invaded in my chest.
            “Ignore it,” Darius said, referring to the quivering phone.  “Call him back when we’re out of our meeting.”  He led the way out of the noisy detective squad room to the foyer where we’d catch the elevator.
            I knew Darius was right.  When the chief of police calls and orders you to a meeting with the mayor, you hustle your ass to get there.   But my husband was on edge, to say the least.  Guilt weighed heavy on me for putting work ahead of him, but I rationalized that Travis was a cop and knew sometimes it was necessary.  Meanwhile, I followed my partner while we traversed through the new Police Administration Building and then over to City Hall.
            It’s not every day a girl gets to meet both the chief of police and the mayor of Los Angeles.  I wondered why today was my day. 

What is the appeal of writing mystery/suspense genre?  I write in the mystery/suspense genre because I grew up reading Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew mysteries.  People getting into trouble and then being found out interest me.

What kind of writing turns you off?  I’m a reality, ‘give me the facts’ kind of girl.  I’m not into Sci-fi, Fantasy, Vampires, or anything not based in existence.

What stops you from writing?  Family.  I have a mother with Alzheimer’s Disease, whom I adore, and I drive over 70 miles three times a week to visit her.  Currently, I’m dealing with handling her affairs which takes an incredible amount of time.  Throw in some ‘difficult’ family members and life gets complicated very fast.

How have you shocked your readers?   Maybe by giving them insights into the workings of the LAPD through my writing.  I don’t think the average citizen has any idea how police work is really handled…it’s not like you see on TV and in the movies.

How do you get your ideas? What is your writing day like? With my first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses, I held a plotting party with several writer friends.  I had the basic premise and then we plotted major plot point to the rest of the book.

For A Deadly Blessing, I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the idea.  But there are some parallels to ‘real-life’ events, so I’d guess off a news story.  Oh, as for the style of A Deadly Blessing…it’s written in the style of my favorite James Patterson book. 

Can you share three writing tips?  Find a good critique group.  My two smart partners have helped me shine my ‘diamond in the rough’ stories into shiny gems.

Pay attention to the writing world.  Things are changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. But…

Be true to yourself.  There are many ways to publish your book and there is no one right way or wrong way.  Choose the path that works for you.

Fill in this blank: My ideal fictional hero would think me gorgeous no matter what I looked like…he’d love me for being me.  Oh, wait – I’m married to that guy!

What's your favorite dessert? I love most sweets, but I’d have to say French Apple Pie – yum!

I want to thank the Plotting Princesses for having me today.  Through the miracle of the internet, I ‘know’ several members of this group and they are fantastic!


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Good morning, Kathy, and welcome to Plotting Princesses. How long does it take you to write a book?

Marian Lanouette said...

I'm looking forward to Kathy's next book. I loved A Dozen Deadly Roses. Merry Christmas, Marian

Elizabeth Essex said...

Great interview Vicki and Kathy! Loved the excerpt. Thanks for introducing me to a new author I'm going to have to read! Where can we find A DEADLY BLESSING?

chris keniston said...

I love a good mystery with a female lead - not long ago I discovered Julia Spencer Flemming's books and now I have a new name for my shopping list!!

And it's always fun to read a story where the author knows what she's talking about - LAPD - sounds great!

thanks for coming to our little party!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Vicki!

Each of my books have taken me over two years to write. However...I was working full-time 12-hour shifts, plus being a caregiver - first to my brother (who had a stroke) and now to my mother.

I retired from the LAPD in February and I'm hoping my next book can be completed and for sale in a year's time.

Thank you for visiting me here on the Plotting Princesses!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Marian L!

Thank you very much and I'm so glad you enjoyed A Dozen Deadly Roses.

I will say that A Deadly Blessing is more suspense than romance, but it's a heck of a ride.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for coming today to chat!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Elizabeth!

You guys ask the greatest questions! ;-)

I'm hoping to release A Deadly Blessing in February on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iPad, Kobo, and Sony.

I'm also planning to do a print version, but that might be available a little later.

Thank you for your comments and please let me know how you like A Deadly Blessing!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Chris!

I like to promote myself and my work as 'Authentic Crime...Arresting Stories.'

Being a cop is life-changing experience. While many writers do an excellent job of creating cop stories, there is no substitute for having 'walked the walk.'

I loved being a cop and love the fact I can still get in the action by creating crime on the page.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment today.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Kathy and welcome to the Plotting Princesses.

You've done very well with your first book, going the self-publishing route.

Was this a deliberate decision on your part or did you try the usual publication route first, querying the big publishers and e-publishers?

Unknown said...

I was looking forward to A Deadly Blessing, then you went and put that excerpt up, and now I'm tapping fingers on the desk impatiently. Not that I want to rush you or anything, but...

Great interview, Kathy!

L. j. Charles said...

Love the cover of your new book, Kathy. Very excited for the release date to get here so I can put it on my Keeper shelf next to A Dozen Deadly Roses. After I read it, of course! ;-)

lucie j.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Kathy!

I've been very blessed with my book A Dozen Deadly Roses.

In 2010 I was doggedly pursuing finding an agent with most responses being positive, but: 'It's just not right for me.'

I also had some interest from a major publisher.

But about that same time, I began hearing about self-publishing and how some authors were doing very well by publishing their own books.

I had a well-respected agent interested in representing me, but I chose to self-publish instead - and I haven't regretted it for a minute.

I was attracted by the control I'd have over my work. If I was a success it was MY success. If I tanked...I had no one to blame but myself. I'm happy to say I've enjoyed more success than I would have ever imagined.

Thank you for asking this question.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Roz!

I'm glad you liked it. I'm sure it's probably really tacky to say that I like my own work...but I think readers are really going to like A Deadly Blessing.

At least I hope so!

Thanks for taking the time to visit me here on the Plotting Princesses.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hey L.J.!

Thanks regarding the book cover and your kind words about A Dozen Deadly Roses.

I love my cover for A Deadly Blessing and that's one of the things I love about self-publishing. This cover was my vision for the book. My fantastic cover designer - Digital Donna took my vision and made it come to life.

Thanks for taking time out of your writing schedule to visit me here on The Plotting Princesses!

Misty Dietz said...

Hi Kathy! I wondered how you were feeling about retirement, but writing about crime probably gives you a similar rush to figure out the puzzle. Only this time you're in the villain's seat too...and you can always make it a happy ending...or at least close the case. :) So happy for all your success!!

Alicia Street said...

Fun interview, Kathy! Must be great to be able to draw on your past knowledge in LAPD for your mysteries. And, yes, let's hear it for French Apple pie!

Elyse Mady said...

Hi Kathy - it sounds like you're the epitome of 'write what you know'. The new novel sounds great.

Liz Lipperman said...

Great interview, you two. Kathy, loved the excerpt. I have to agree with the other Liz who said Deadly Blessings sounds like something I need to add to my TBR pile.

And welcome to Plotting Princesses, BTW.

Phyllis said...

Hey Kathy!

I just love your interview. I also can't wait for Deadly Blessings.



Maria Powers said...

Just stopping by to say hi! Great interview and now that I have some time off this holiday season, I may finally get to read your book, Kathy. WOOT!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Kathy!


Patricia said...

I want to know what happens now that I've read the excerpt. Loved your writing, Kathy. Good luck in your future.

Unknown said... may or may not know just how much I admire you as a writer and person. I've followed your blogs and interviews for a while now and feel like I know you. The intergrity and strength that keeps you who you are shows through every time I cyber-meet you. When I saw Kathy Bennett and Vicki Batman in the same email announcement I knew the interview was going to rock. It did.

Thank you both!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Misty!

Ha ha! My critique partners are always telling me to slow down and cover the emotions of my characters.

I'm all about the action...which is funny since police work is about 95% sheer boredom and 5% sheer terror.

So yes, I DO like to write about the exciting parts of police work. Those scenes usually seem to fly right out of my fingertips. It's wonderful.

Thank you so much for visiting me here with the 'princesses.'

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Alicia!

Adding to my previous remark about police work and boredom vs. terror...

Most of what cops do wouldn't make good stories because most of it can be downright boring. Then, the stuff that is exciting is often so bizarre no one would believe it. So, as a writer, I pick and choose what facts or experiences I use carefully.

Thanks for taking the time to visit with me here.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Elyse!

One thing about police never know it all. I have to do research just like everyone else. But I can take an educated guess at how the characters would react to certain situations and the possible repercussions of those actions.

Usually, it involves a lot of drama ;-)

Thanks for stopping by and chatting with me today.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi 'Other' Liz!

Yes, I'll make a big announcement when I get A Deadly Blessing up for sale. No stone will go un-turned...(in true cop fashion.)

As for all you Plotting Princesses...this is such a wonderful reception here!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you having me!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Phyllis!

Thank you! I must say that Vicki did an outstanding job with the questions so it made me sound half-way interesting.

Even my family is impressed with the response I've had here.

You guys rock!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Maria!

I appreciate you stopping by during a break from work.

One thing I think we ALL can appreciate is how busy we get and how large our TBR (too be read) piles get.

I hope you like A Dozen Deadly Roses and you'll be inspired to read A Deadly Blessing too.

Thanks for visiting me here with the Plotting Princesses.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Victoria!

Victoria is a chapter mate at the Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA). She is the new Program Director for the group, so I really appreciate her taking the time to take a look at the interview.

I KNOW how busy she is because we're working together on next year's activities!

Thank you for stopping by!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Patti!

Oh good! It's always nice to hear when people are intrigued by the opening of a book.

I promise you, come early 2012 you CAN find out what happens to Maddie. I think you'll like it!

Thank you for visiting me here today and leaving a comment.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Kathy,
It was nice meeting you on PP today! Your books sound right down my alley. I'll have to go check you out!

Happy Holidays!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Karen!

I can't tell you how much it means to me that you commented on my integrity. I spent 29 years with the LAPD (8 of those years as a civilian) and I was known for my integrity and hard work. It served me well as a cop, and I hope people recognize that I'm trying to do the same thing as a writer.

I learned long ago that I have to be true to myself. I'm actually very quiet and reserved in person - and some people might take that as shy. It's more that I'm watching and observing and filing away little tidbits I see and hear.

And yet, put me up to speak to a crowd and you can't shut me up!

I appreciate the fact you've been so loyal to my efforts to reach out to people to entertain them and educate them. Thank you!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Karilyn!

Is that alley dark? That makes a suspense writer's heart go pitter-patter with the possibilities.

In reality - dark alleys usually smell like urine and are littered with old couches and beer cans!

Check my work out. If you DO decide to give me a try, let me know what you think.

Linda Andrews said...

Great interview! I'll be sure to check out your mysteries.

Pat Marinelli said...

Hi Kathy,

I loved A Dozen Deadly Roses and can't wait for A Deadly Blessing. Now I have somethig exciting to look forward to after the Christmas Holidays.

I wish you well with you second book.

Jennifer Mathis said...

i love the picture of you and the gun lol it looks like you had alot of fun with it

great interview

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Linda!

That's so nice of you to say. I hope you find my books and if you like them, I hope you'll let me know that too.

If you don't like them, I'd love to hear from you as to what didn't work for you.

Thank you for joining me here on the Plotting Princesses.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Pat!

We've known each other via cyberspace for a while now. I'm so glad you liked A Dozen Deadly Roses.

I'll be anxious to see what you think of A Deadly Blessing.

Thank you for finding me here and leaving a comment!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Jennifer!

Well, I don't think a lot of writers have firearms in their head shots. That's me - always wanting to be just slightly different.

I'm nowhere near the shot my husband is (he's a world champion), but I can hold my own.

Thank you for your visit and your comments.

Edie Ramer said...

Kathy, your excerpt was short, but I loved it! It made me wonder about the husband and why the chief of police and the mayor wanted to see. her.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Love reading anything Kathy writes--and this was a fun interview.


Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Edie!

Well, thank you! That's exactly what I hoped with those first paragraphs.

Hmm...what IS up with the husband? Why is Maddie having a meeting with the Chief of Police AND the Mayor.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting me at the Plotting Princesses!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Marilyn!

Thank you for the compliments.

I really like A Deadly Blessing and I sure hope readers will too!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to visit me here!

Jodi said...

Good afternoon, Kathy and Vicki. Great read, A Dozen Deadly Roses. Having been vicariously involved in LE for the better part of ten years (married to a detective), at the top of my list of faves would be crime thrillers and police procedurals. My favorites are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, early Patterson (Alex Cross), and Patricia Cornwell.
Looking forward to A Deadly Blessing.
Joelle Walker