Yeesh, I’ve been doing very poorly with keeping up with my blog tour posts lately. I don’t mean to but I keep getting dates mixed up in my head. I write them on my calendar but then I think I’m a day behind where I actually am and I end up missing the correct date. This post was supposed to go up yesterday. My apologies to Ms. Dyer-Seeley for it being late.
Lucky for you readers, you’ll get two posts today because what I thought was due tomorrow is due today!
This particular post is an author interview with Kate Dyer-Seeley, author of Natural Thorn Killer, the first in the Rose City mystery series. Information about the book, including purchase links, will be below the interview.
Author Interview with Kate Dyer-Seeley
Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day? Do you enjoy your day job?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: I don’t have a day job any longer. I write full-time which is such a gift. Although when I’m on deadline I might not call it a gift.
Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: I write first thing in the morning. That tends to be when I’m the freshest and have the most energy. Usually by early to mid-afternoon I’m starting to lag. When I’m working on a new manuscript I write 2,000 words every day. Some days that might take me a few hours. Some days it takes the better part of the day. Once I hit my word count, I get outside and take a long walk. Usually the best ideas and inspiration happen when I’m not in front of my laptop. The act of physically moving and getting outside and in touch with nature spurs creative energy.
In terms of noise, when I’m writing I have to be alone. I’m not a writer who can work at a coffee shop. I would get way too distracted people-watching and listening in on conversations for potential dialog. Plus I talk to myself when I’m writing. It would be pretty embarrassing to have a full conversation with my characters out in public. I do listen to music while I write. I create playlists for each character to help me get in their head.
Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: Always! When I was in college I would listen to authors speak and they often talked about how their characters would hijack a story. It seemed so impossible to me. Aren’t we the masters of our own destiny? But then, once I started writing I realized that it happens all of the time. The interesting thing is that I’m a huge outliner. I write 30-40 page outlines before I start a manuscript. I know who the killer is and what each suspect is lying about or hiding. Even with that, as I write the story takes hold. Characters end up doing things that I never anticipated in my outline. I’ve learned to go with the flow. I think that’s the gift of the creative process.
Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: I spent many years attending writers’ conferences, working with professional editors, writing with mystery writers groups, and reading everything I could get my hands on about writing mysteries and how to get published. I attribute that time that I spent educating myself on the publishing industry and honing my craft with my success in getting published. My advice to aspiring writers is to learn everything you can and treat your writing like a profession. I was fortunate to be able to pitch my first series at a writers’ conference. That experience gave me confidence as a number of agents were interested in the concept. From there I went on to query a few of my top agents (I had done lots of research into agents who represented books similar to mine). I ended up with multiple offers from agents, which was a surreal moment.
Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: I typically go through about three to four revisions myself. When I’m working on a manuscript I write it start to finish without making any edits as I go. Then I set it aside for a few months to give myself some distance from it. It’s much easier to see what’s working and what isn’t when you’ve had some time away from a book. After I make changes and edits I send it off to beta readers. Then I incorporate their feedback and deliver it to my editor. It goes through many more rounds of editing through the publishing house. I’m always amazed at how many people touch my book before it ever ends up on the shelves. It really does take a village!
Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: So true! It’s hard not to fall into the trap of writing a one-dimensional villain. One tool that I use is making sure I have an understanding for what motivates the killer. What events in their life have transpired to lead them to such a drastic choice. One other trick that I use is to hangout in a coffee shop or pub and take notes on human interactions. Sadly there’s almost always someone who is rude to a barista or server who I can use as inspiration.
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: For sure. I think it’s impossible not to let our own lens influence our writing. In this series, my inspiration for Britta and her Aunt Elin are a mash-up of people who have influenced my life. One of those people is a professional florist who designed my wedding flowers. She’s world-renowned for her unique floral designs which are more like works of art. The other is the family of my best friend from childhood. They are Swedish and Danish and introduced me to Swedish foods and holidays that have weaved their way into the book.
Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
Amelia Earhart. I’ve always been fascinated with her. Of course there’s the mystery surrounding her disappearance, but even more so the fact that she struck out on such an epic journey as a woman.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer:
- The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd
- Rebel Mechanics, by Shanna Swendson
- A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer:
- Little House on the Prairie (the entire series)
- Betsy, Tacy, Tib (the entire series)
- The complete works of Agatha Christie
Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: I’d spend it with Aunt Elin. We’d tour the Portland wholesale flower market and surround ourselves with beautiful blooms. Then we’d head to Riverplace Village and stop in for an artisan latte at Demitasse. After fully caffeinating ourselves we’d spend the afternoon at Blooma. We’d open the garage doors to allow the gorgeous spring sun flood into the flower shop. We’d listen to music as we immersed ourselves in the creative, colorful process of hand-crafting bright spring bouquets.
Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?
Ms. Dyer-Seeley’s Answer: No. I read trade reviews that my publicist sends me from the national and international magazines, but I don’t read any personal reviews. My philosophy is that once I’ve written a book it’s not my book any longer. It belongs to readers. Every reader brings their own perspective to a book. Reading is subjective. Something that one reader loves, another might loath. If I spent time reading every individual review and changing my writing style to accommodate each person’s unique perspective I would lose my own voice in the process.
Thank you to Ms. Dyer-Seeley for being willing to answer my questions! My apologies again for it being a day late! Below is information about the book itself, including purchase links!
About the Book
Natural Thorn Killer (A Rose City Mystery)
Kensington (March 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B073NPHX8Z
Cut down among the flowers . . .
Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.
For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around—and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .
Thanks for joining me today! To visit more spots on the tour, please click on the banner below to be taken to the main tour page with a list of participants!