Kathy: Setting is very important to a story. Your new series is set in Savannah, Georgia. How did you choose this location?
Kathy: Allison dreams of running an old fashioned candy store. I could get in trouble in her shop; rock candy, candy buttons, marshmallow ice cream cones, root beer barrels, Charleston Chews, satellite wafers...Do you have a favorite old fashioned candy?
MK: I love licorice! When I was researching the book (what fun!) I discovered all kinds of delicious licorice, everything from peach to pineapple.
Kathy: I've always found the study of dreams and dream interpretation interesting. I wish I could film my dreams, sometimes they're even better than TV. Do you often remember your dreams?
MK: I do, and I always advise people to keep a notepad by their bed. If you wake up in the night, just write down a word or two about any dream you remember. Even a fragment helps, and maybe you can reconstruct the dream the next day.
Kathy: You've written a non-fiction companion to the series, Dream Interpretation. Can you tell us about this guide?
MK: It's only 99 cents on Kindle and all profits go to a wonderful animal rescue group, the Wayne County Humane Society in Lyons, NY. it's one of the few shelters in the country that rescues farm animals as well as domestic pets.
Kathy: How has your work as a clinical psychologist helped in your writing?
MK: It's made me more conscious of body language and speech patterns. It helps when I'm writing "tags" for a character.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
MK: It was a pretty natural progression. I'd written dozens of middle grade novels and young adult novels. They all were written in the first person. And I love to write humor, and I adore mysteries, so it seemed like a logical step.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
MK: I'm re-releasing three of my Penguin YA's this summer with new covers and new titles and adding a sequel to one.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
MK: The Dream Club is about a group of Savannah women who meet once a week to analyze their dreams, eat some delicious pastries and solve a murder or two! The Talk Radio Mysteries is about a psychologist who closes up her Manhattan practice to move to sunny Florida and become a radio talk show host like "Frasier." And she solves a murder in every book (like Jessica Fletcher). My agent sold the series to Penguin-Random House with five words: "Frasier meets Murder She Wrote." The two YA series are Hollywood Diaries and South Beach Tales. Hollywood Diaries is about a girl from a small New England town who finds herself starring in a Hollywood movie and later becomes a teen correspondent for an entertainment magazine. South Beach Tales are about a Miami beauty who learns that life in fast lane isn't all it's cracked up to be. They'll be on the website in the Fall.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
MK: I love Lola in the Talk Radio Mysteries, she's mid-fifties and a B-list actress still waiting for "her big break." I did modeling, acting and television news writing before turning to novels, so I know exactly how she feels.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
MK: I had a dream about a place where people could talk about their dreams--seriously! I thought, "It would be like a book club and the same people would meet every week, but instead of talking about books, they'd analyze their dreams. And then I thought, "Whoa--it would be even better if they solve a murder or two!"
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
MK: Someone offered me quite a bit of money to write a YA. That's exactly what happened. I'd worked as a copywriter for a rock radio station, and then written TV news for a CBS affiliate and I thought, "Why not?" It was a bit of a challenge because I'd just accepted a job as PR Director for a travel company the very same day and I only had 8 weeks to write the book. But it was for a Big Six publisher and they offered me money, so I said yes and signed on the dotted line!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
MK: Oscar Wilde, Woody Allen, James Patterson and Janet Evanovich.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
MK: Currently reading Cliff's Edge by Carolyn Hart. It's set in first century Rome and is fascinating. Also reading Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett and Never Tell by Alafair Burke.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
MK: My main (and very pricey) hobby is cat rescue. I love all animals, especially cats, and have 8 rescued (and highly neurotic) indoor cats. I've done my best to psychoanalyze them, but have failed miserably. They'll just have to be "charming neurotics." It's surprising how many writers are animal lovers. I support about ten animal charities and I donate all my speaking fees to a cat welfare group.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
MK: Dolphin-safe, water-packed tuna fish (for the cats). Gourmet salmon in tomato sauce (for the cats.) Fancy Feast (obviously for the cats) and CD vet food (again, for the cats.) I bet you're beginning to see a pattern here.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
MK: I hope to continue both the Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries,along with the two young adult series I've revived.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
MK: Meeting readers from all over the country, either by e-mail or social media the occasional book signing. I recently wrote a funny blog on The Cozy Chicks about some rather disastrous book signings. The Cozy Chicks are a group of seven "cozy" mystery writers and we take turns blogging each week. You can read it here. http://www.cozychicksblog.com/search/label/Mary%20Kennedy And I did a sequel the following Saturday, More Book signings from Hell.
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Mary has generously offered a signed ARC of Nightmares Can Be Murder to one lucky reader. In order to qualify all you have to do is leave a comment here by Thursday night, July 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST telling us about your dreams. Are they vivid? In color? Do you remember them? Would you like to learn more about them? I'll use random.org to pick the lucky comment. Be sure to leave your e-mail address as well, so that I'm able to contact you should you win!
For more information about Mary and her books, check out the following links:
http://www.marykennedy.net -visit Mary's website.
Nightmares Can Be Murder, the first in The Dream Club Mysteries, available as pre-order right now! http://www.amazon.com/
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Mary blogs every Saturday with the Cozy Chicks. http://www.cozychicksblog.com