An Interview with Kathi Daley, USA Today Best Selling Author of 9 Mystery Series

James:                          How long have you been writing?

Kathi:                           About 5 years.

James:                          What motivated you to become a writer?

Kathi:                          It was really just a fluke. I had an idea for a book, I decided to jot it down, a week later I uploaded it to Amazon, people loved it, and the rest is history.

James:                          How many hours a week do you commit to your craft?

Kathi:                           40 – 60.

James:                          Do you use a formula for your books?

Kathi:                           No. I never use a formula or outline. I just start writing and see where it goes.

James:                          What is the source of your inspiration?

Kathi:                          I live in Lake Tahoe and spend a lot of time in nature. If you read my books you will know that there are a lot of animals and nature scenes in all my stories.

James:                          What are some common traps aspiring writers should avoid?

Kathi:                          Hum I’m not sure what you mean by traps but I would say that it is important to write your own story rather than striving to be the next (famous name).

James:                         What advice would you give to a writer whose manuscript has been rejected several times and told he or she will never make it as a writer?

Kathi:                          I went the self publishing route from day one. There is a LOT more money in self publishing and I like having total control of my work and publishing schedule. I guess if someone really wanted to go the traditional route I’d simply say to never give up on your dream.

James:                          What is the most important tip you can share with other writers?

Kathi:                           People often ask me what I would consider to be the secret of my success. The easy answer is that I work hard. I show up every day with my butt in the seat and I write whether I feel like it or not. A lot of people talk about wanting to be a writer but to actually be a writer you simply need to write!

James:                          What was one challenge you had to overcome to become an author?

Kathi:                          I honestly can’t answer this question. As I said above, my becoming an author was a fluke. I had an idea for a book, I decided to jot it down, a week later I uploaded it to Amazon, and immediately started on book 2.

James:                          Pick one excerpt from one of your books you would like to share with readers.

Kathi:                           This is from the opening of my newest book – The Inn at Holiday Bay: Boxes in the Basement.

Maybe it had been insanity that caused me to sell my condo, pack my belongings, and buy a huge old house I had never even seen. Maybe it had been my unwillingness to face the grief I would not deal with and could not escape, that caused me to move to a town I knew nothing about and had never even visited. Or maybe, just maybe, when I’d seen the ad for the rundown old house perched on a bluff overlooking the sea, I hadn’t been running at all. Maybe, I tried desperately to convince myself, I’d simply seen the opportunity to do something fun. Creative. Different.

No, I admitted as I gingerly placed a foot on the first of three rotted steps leading to the decayed front porch. It hadn’t been insanity, an unwillingness to deal, or a longing for fun that caused me to give up my life in California to move to a tiny town in coastal Maine where no one knew who I was or what I had been through. What it had been, I decided, was preservation.

I sighed in relief when I made it to the front door without falling through the rotted wood. I took out the brand-new key I’d been given by the Realtor after he’d had the locks changed prior to my arrival, opened the door, and then stepped into the entry. The floor was damaged and would need to be replaced, and the wallpaper was peeling and would need to be stripped, but the rooms were totally empty, and empty rooms, I knew, even those in disrepair, were preferable to rooms filled with well-meaning friends who were unable to deal with your grief and wanted to help but felt helpless to do so.

The entrance to the home was large and airy and opened up to twin staircases spiraling toward the second story. I’d been told the house had three stories of living space, ten bedrooms, eight baths, and a large living area consisting of several rooms including a parlor and a library, on the first floor. I was also promised the property included a separate guesthouse that could be used as a mother-in-law unit. Apparently, the English gentleman who built the house back in 1895 had grand plans to marry his one true love and fill those ten bedrooms with chubby-cheeked children, but his dream, like mine, had never come to fruition, and so like me, he’d moved away. I knew there had been several owners between Chamberlain Westminster and Bodine Devine, the man from whom I’d bought the house. I wasn’t certain of the entire history, but I supposed it didn’t really matter.

While my move to the small town of Holiday Bay might not have been well-thought-out, the challenge to gently nudge the old girl back to her former glory had come at the perfect time. The house, I decided, would occupy my energy and my mind. Rehabilitating it would give me focus and provide a safe harbor from which I could fight my demons and finally begin to heal.