KMOT: When you are writing is it coffee, tea or something else that sustains you?
KB: In the morning I make a cup of French roast in my Keurig machine and take it up to my office. I use the same coffee cup every day--my good-writing talisman. I had the cup shipped from a quaint shop in Canada. It has three pine trees depicted on the front and “Vive Gamache” on the back. Louise Penny is one of my favorite mystery writers and the cup was made as homage to the fictional town of Three Pines depicted in her Inspector Gamache series.
After lunch, I switch to non-caffeinated tea that I drink in my favorite tea cup which has a fabulous drawing of a butterfly on the inside, and of course because I’m an antiques addict, I use a sterling nineteenth-century tea strainer for my tea bag.
As you can see, I’m a creature of habit.
KMOT: How did you come up with the idea for this series?
KB: I was in Montauk sitting on the balcony of an oceanfront condo we had rented for the week. I had my laptop open and was writing an exercise for the creative writing group I was in at my local library. The sun was shining, the beach deserted (I love Montauk in the off-season) and I thought, what I wouldn’t give to own a modest cottage on the ocean. I’ve always loved reading mysteries. Nancy Drew was a big influence in my adolescence, then came the Gothic suspense novels of Victoria Holt. Hmmm...a murder mystery set in Hamptons with a protagonist who decorates cottages with her fixer-uppers (I am an antiques writer and dealer). Before I came to Manhattan to be a buyer at Lord & Taylor, I lived in Michigan. My grandparents had lived in Detroit where my mother grew up, so I got the idea of having my main character’s father be a retired Homicide Detective on the Detroit PD. The idea of making him a gourmet chef came to me organically, because I’ve been spoiled by fabulous Manhattan and Hamptons restaurants—
along with the fact I love to eat!
KMOT: Your main character Meg is written in such a wonderful way, I was so moved when reading your first book about how Meg's hearing loss is more of a super power then a disability which doesn't hold her back, can you tell us a little more about Meg's background?
KB: I love that you call her hearing loss a super power. My daughter has the same kind of hearing loss as Meg, which we didn’t even realize she had until she was in middle school. My daughter was always mainstreamed and never got special treatment at school. She models, does acting, and wants to be a forensic scientist. And I’m sure she will be one day. I thought it would be fun to have Meg read lips, like my daughter does, to help her solve crimes. I also wanted the fact Meg has a hearing loss to stay in the background of the story--because to Meg her loss isn’t a loss at all.
KMOT: How much research on the Hampton's and the world of design did you do in preparation for the book?
KB:I I love interior design. I don’t have clients, but I display my antiques and vintage items at my shop in room-like settings, and I have advised friends and family on their home’s interior design. I am a Home and Garden magazine addict. I rip out pages then divide them into folders ie: gardening, decor, cooking, antiques/vintage and the Hamptons/Montauk. I also take tons of pictures of Montauk and the Hamptons, and of course there are my boards on Pinterest (a couple secret ones where I put ideas for my next book). The Hamptons is rich in history and there are numerous high-profile events going on 24/7 that I can draw inspiration from, like the Hamptons International Film Festival, which I’ve incorporated into Hearse and Gardens (And yes, I have attended). I enjoy researching things I know little about, so I can learn at the same time.
KMOT: One of the things I love most in cozies is the companion animals, can you tell us a little more about the kitten on the cover of Hearse and Gardens?
KB:Well that’s a tough one. I think you’ll have to read the book to find out. Let’s just say Meg and the Maine coon pictured on the cover have a ying/yang relationship.
Thank you Kathleen, if there is anything you would like to add or anything you would like my readers to know please add them here.
KB: Yes, I want your readers to know what an awesome service you and many others offer to get the word out about cozy mystery authors and their books. Your generous spirit shines through loud and clear and I want you to know it is appreciated. It is so fun to be a part of this cozy community and it wouldn’t be possible without people like you. I am lifting my tea cup in the air in a virtual toast--Cheers Karen!
Thank you Kathleen for joining us today and sharing about your writing process, inspiration and a little of what is in your cup!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org