Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meet Kaye George ~ Two Time Nominee for The Agatha Awards!!

It is my pleasure to bring you Kaye George today.

Kaye is a short story writer and novelist who has been nominated for Agatha awards twice. She is the author of four mystery series: the Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas series, the Cressa Carraway musical mystery series, the Fat Cat cozy series, and The People of the Wind Neanderthal series.

Her short stories can be found in her collection, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, as well as in several anthologies, various online and print magazines. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and promotion. Kaye is agented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary and lives in Knoxville, TN.

LA:  Kaye, thank you for being with us today. And for your excerpt on Saturday. What’s next for you?

KG: Since I’ve gotten myself into the situation of writing 4 series, lots more books, with short stories sandwiched in between. After this most recent release, EINE KLEINE MURDER (the first Cressa Carraway Classical Music Mystery), the first People of the Wind (a Neanderthal mystery) will come out from Untreed Reads. I don’t have a publication date, but it will be later this year. At the moment, I’m working on the 1st in the FAT CAT series, which will debut in 2014 from Berkley Prime Crime. It’s a cozy series set in Minneapolis and featuring a pudgy, adorable cat named Quincy and his owner, the sleuth. I’ll be writing three of those under the name Janet Cantrell. Eventually, I’d like to put out a 4th Imogene Duckworthy book in the humorous Texas series that I started in 2011. The tentative title for that one is STROKE.

LA: How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?

KG:  Probably not enough, since none of my books has yet funded a new home gym and a personal assistant. I do what I can, mostly by trying to make as many personal appearances as I can and by showing up in cyberspace where I can. I do a personal blog (Travels with Kaye) and a group one (Make Mine Mystery), and guest blogs, of course. I think hosting guest bloggers doesn’t hurt anything either--might help both of us.

LA: Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

KG: I published my first couple of short stories under my real name, Judy Egner. But, at the time, my husband was a brand new Methodist minister and I wanted to leave myself open to writing hard-boiled if I felt like it, or anything really. So I went with Kaye George, which is my middle name and my husband’s. It was my clever daughter’s idea. Since the FAT CAT series will be owned by the publisher, I’m required to pick another name for it, hence Janet Cantrell.

LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

KG: I get a huge thrill out of people telling me they like certain parts of my books, or having a favorite character. I’m pleased that they read the books, and beyond pleased that they like them!

LA: Which aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

KG: I guess actual writing is my favorite part. After all, that’s why I do it, because I love it. I don’t especially like trying to find a publisher (although I love it when I’ve found one). I also don’t like promotional stuff, but I’m getting used to it and like it better than I used to. I used to be terrified of speaking in front of people, but--miracle of miracles--I’m getting over that.

LA: What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

KG: My two Agatha nominations. You could have knocked me over both times when I got the phone calls. I’m blown away by the fact that at least more than one person nominated me both times. I think it would have to be more than one, anyway. My writing must be OK.

LA: What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

KG: Panic. It’s like I can’t remember how to put one word down after another. Then I get out my folder where I’ve left myself notes, kind of like the guy in the movie, “Memento”. Then, oh yeah, there are plot points, three acts, all that stuff that’s in the folder. And first draft is all well and good (and not easy, don’t think I’m saying that), but the real work starts when I begin to edit. I have another folder for that. Check goals and obstacles for each scene, check involvement of as many of the 5 senses as possible, try to even out the pacing and the chapter lengths, balance dialogue and exposition, all that stuff.

LA: Coffee, tea or other?

KG: For some reason (maybe the fact that my mother drank enough for two generations), my body can’t handle coffee. I swill a lot of tea, though. Scotch at night.

(Ah, a woman after my own heart.  Scotch at night or after 5 o'clock! ~ LA)

LA: Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

KG: Maybe you wouldn’t expect this. I mentioned this online recently and was told it was unexpected. I love ice hockey--my favorite sport to watch.

LA: Do you have a day job, too?

KG: This isn’t really a day job, because it doesn’t pay anything, but I’m serving a two-year term as president of the Guppies, and the Guppies are my favorite online writing group.

If you don’t know, the Guppies are a Sisters in Crime chapter. We’re completely online and therefore it’s easy for us to have the members that we do--they’re from around the world, Italy, Finland, Australia, and more. Our curious name comes from the original moniker, The Great Unpublished. It got shortened to Guppies and comes complete with a cute fishie logo: GUPPIES. We exist to help each other get published and, when that happens, which is more and more often, we help each other with promotion, how to do signings, and answer any and all questions from our nearly 500 members.

Here are Kaye's links, and don't forget her excerpt on Saturday.  
Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find some peace and quiet so she can finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree in Composition. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake.
The authorities dismiss the death as an accidental drowning, but when Gram’s best friend drowns in the exact same spot, Cressa just knows something is off-key in this idyllic setting. Convinced that her grandmother’s death was anything but an accident, she fights her instinct to flee and starts looking into things herself.
There are lots of people and facts to consider, from the self-important property manager and his brow-beaten wife, to their salacious son, to the elderly widow who may be lacing her home-baked cookies with a dash of poison. As the body count rises, Cressa doesn’t know which will be finished first—her symphony or her life.
Eine Kleine Murder is the first novel in the Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series.



  1. Hi Kaye,
    I'm so happy you're here with us today.

    Two time Agatha nominee is super. I can't wait to read your books.


  2. A Neanderthal mystery series? How unique, and I wish I'd thought of it. :)Can't wait to read that one. Great interview, and I was nice to learn more about you.
    Marja McGraw

  3. Thanks, LA!

    Marja, it was a crazy idea and a lot of hard work, but I think I pulled it off. I'll let the readers be the judges. It's being released in June!

  4. Kaye,
    I loved having you as a guest on my blog last month and now I've enjoyed getting to know more about you. Four series! OMG is about all I can say. :)

  5. I've been going around saying that, too, Patricia.

  6. Great interview, Kaye and Leslie Ann!

  7. A very interesting interview! Nice to learn more about you and your work.
    Wishing you much success.

  8. Thanks, Marilyn and Jacqueline both!

  9. Nice interview today, Kate. Your Agatha nominations are quite impressive.

  10. Thank you Kathleen. They were a total shock to me!

  11. Ice hockey? Very interrresting, Kaye. I really want to read the Neanderthal series, and I can't wait to meet you when you come to Sisters in Crime in Greenville. So glad you moved east!

  12. I'm glad you're interested in the series, Ellis, and I'm very much looking forward to meeting the group in Greenville!

  13. Wow! Two-time nominee for the Agatha Awards? Very impressive, Kaye. And your blurb for "Eine Kleine Murder" tells why with a fresh spin on a murder mystery. I wish you the best of luck in your marketing and promotion journey.

  14. Thanks so much, Lisa! We always have to try something new, eh?

  15. I'm also looking forward to meeting you in Greenville, Kaye, and to listen to you talk about your books.

  16. Hi Guys,
    It's so good to see familiar faces here and new ones as well.

    Welcome to you all!!

    I too can't wait for the Neanderthal series.

    Kaye, will you post your cover and an excerpt here for us? Pretty please?


  17. Of course! I have the cover, but the edits aren't done yet. I'll put you on my list for June. Not sure of my exact publication date, so maybe late June or early July?

  18. Actually, here's the cover: