Today I’d like to introduce you to my fellow CIR author, Katherine Brown. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself, Katherine?
Hi! I write cozy mysteries and a few children’s books under Katherine H. Brown, but friends and family call me Katie. I am a lover of words and find the challenge of creating something brand new for the imagination out of words to be the highlight of my job as an author. I’ve been “making” books since I was eight or nine out of anything – paper and cardboard stapled together, for example – and feel incredibly blessed to now be writing as a career. I’m a stay-at-home mom to an incredible stepdaughter and in the last trimester of my first pregnancy. Keeping up with writing during that first trimester was rough; I was exhausted and couldn’t make it through a day without a nap. Now, I’m happy to say that I’m back in the swing of things and looking forward to the challenge of working in writing around loving on my baby girl in a few months. (Ha – wish me luck and sleep, right?) I prefer to write accompanied by tea, chocolate, and quiet.
Well, we wish you all the best with the new challenge you’re undertaking! So, let’s hear a bit more about you, and to do so I’m going to have you answer three questions. First, if you could tell your younger self something you know now, with respect to your writing career, what would it be?
The biggest piece of advice that I would give my younger self is: DO NOT stop writing. I took a break for several years to get “a real job” because I didn’t have confidence in myself to make it as an author. Don’t get me wrong, income and bills paid and debts cleared because of that job were a necessity and I would do it again. But I never should have stopped writing in the meantime. If I could do it over, I would write at whatever pace was comfortable during those years and stockpile books and stories. Then, when I finally made the leap to publishing my books, I would have had a strong backlist of titles ready to go. Writing fast enough to keep up with reader appetites is very difficult when you also have to focus on the marketing, advertising, editing, etc that goes with this business.
Isn’t that the truth, and something I wish someone had told me to do as well. But, we do the best we can now, and keep looking forward. Next question, where are your books set? And have you been there, or spent significant time there?
My Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series takes place in a fictional town on the beach in Alabama. I prefer to use fictional places loosely based on trips I’ve taken or places I visit because getting to imagine and build all of the details myself is more fun, not to mention you don’t run the risk of describing something about a place inaccurately and upsetting a reader. The books spend quite a bit of their time in the Ooey Gooey Goodness Bakery, owned by main character Piper, and I like to think the bakery is a combination of how I would want to run a bakery as well as fond thoughts of a favorite place in my hometown where I go for cupcakes sometimes.
Yes, I too prefer to write stories in fictional settings, but they do drop into real places from time to time as well. Oh, and I also love cupcakes! Now, one last question and then we’ll hear more about your books. What makes you happiest as an author?
I love to hear from readers. It is so fulfilling to have my words in the hands of someone else. It is especially thrilling when they point out specific things they liked or related to in one of the books. Holding the paperback copy of my book for the first time on each printing is a close second. I mean, come on, how cool is that to have created an entire book that didn’t exist before?
Oh, I agree totally on both those answers. I love reader feedback, and having my books on my shelves is just sooo special. Now, speaking of books, let’s hear a bit about yours and where we can find them.
As I said earlier, I have both cozy mysteries and a selection of children’s books available. My children’s books were where my publishing adventure began. You see, even though I knew I wanted to be an author, the thought of writing a “big” book was overwhelming at the beginning. That is a lot of words which translates into a lot of hours and when I started, I was also working a full-time job 55 hours a week already in the construction industry. Nowadays, my cozy mystery stories are where I prefer to spend my time and energy. The first series I wrote is the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery Series, a collection of 4 full books and a short story so far. I love fiction, I never had any interest in reading or writing non-fiction, but when I began my cozies, I had a desire to write something not just entertaining but that could be beneficial. Something I could be proud of. With book 1, I introduced the problem of human trafficking throughout the storyline, expanding upon it in book 2. In the back matter of both books are resources for recognizing and reporting the signs of human trafficking. It is, unfortunately, a crime that is only spreading and many people don’t recognize that it has become a worldwide problem that absolutely ruins and steals lives. Sounds heavy, right? And I said these were cozy mysteries? Well, they are. They are clean, witty, I’ve been told satisfactorily suspenseful by several reviewers, and full of delectable descriptions of goodies baked up by the main character, Piper, and her best friend Sam. The human trafficking thread flows in a way that doesn’t appear to be the focus and doesn’t take away from the entertaining characters and their problems.
The first in the series is Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life.
If you get the opportunity to read any of them, please consider leaving a review of your honest opinion. Those are so helpful to other readers and to myself in shaping the next books. You are also welcome to send me a little note through the contact page on my website; I love meeting new readers!