I'm happy to welcome Kait Carson to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Kait writes the Hayden Kent Mystery series. DEATH BY SUNKEN TREASURE is the second book in the series and will be released this coming Tuesday!
Kathy: Like Hayden Kent, you too are a SCUBA diver. How did you get interested in diving?
KC: I went to school at the University of Miami. In my sophomore year, I fell in love, with a SCUBA diver. He had been up for the role of Sandy in Flipper but lost it to Luke. Diving was a big part of his life, and he was a certified instructor. He introduced me to the underwater world and taught me to dive. For a girl used to the cold waters of New Jersey, the lure was inescapable.
Kathy: Do you have any tips for people who may want to start diving?
KC: Yes. Get the best instruction you can find. NAUI and PADI both have great classes, as does the “Y.” Learn to be a safe diver, learn the tables and how to use them, even if you don’t think you will ever need them. I can promise you that there will come a time when your computer battery will die and the dive tables will become your best friend. Don’t worry about all the bells and whistles. Get a comfortable mask that fits well, swim fins, and a regulator you can trust. Then always dive your training and your comfort level.
Kathy: Have you ever searched for underwater treasure?
KC: Much to my father’s dismay, no. He used pet sit for me and would audibly wonder every time I came home from a dive trip why I didn’t find treasure. I think he thought I was holding out on him. The truth is, underwater treasure seeking is regulated by the State. It’s a very specialized type of enterprise, and a very expensive one to do properly. That’s not to say I don’t look for the shine of gold when I dive, I do. It never tarnishes.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
KC: My first exposure to mysteries was the Nancy Drew series. At their heart, they are cozies. They take place in a small town, have an amateur sleuth, and the gore takes place off the page. When I got a little older, but still of an age to read the Nancy Drew books, I started wandering around the small town I lived in looking for things that were out of place. Eventually, I started spinning my own cozy mysteries, and things took off from there. Cozies offer something that no other genre do. That’s possibility. They are everyman stories. There’s no reason you couldn’t discover the body in the creek bed.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
KC: Yes, I write short romances and true confession stories. I have a romance kicking around in the back of my mind that I hope to bring to life at some point. Hasn’t happened yet.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
KC: Hayden Kent is a paralegal living in the Florida Keys. In the first book, she finds a body underwater. In the second her best friend’s son has drowned while hunting for treasure. In both cases, the underlying theme is about the strength of friendship. Because nothing in the mysteries is as it seems, to discover the killer Hayden must peel back multiple layers of deception to uncover the truth and bring justice to the dead and closure to the living.
My first series features Catherine Swope. Catherine is a former cop turned first dog walker as she recovers from the events that resulted in her leaving the force, and ultimately becomes a Realtor in Miami, Florida. Catherine because of her background, faces a different set of problems and decisions. In both the Swope books, Catherine’s knowledge of law enforcement techniques makes her both the prime suspect and the chief investigator. The Swope books, while still cozies, deal with larger issues, graft and corruption in small town governments and drug dealing.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
KC: The sidekicks are my favorite characters. Mallory Corbett is Hayden’s best friend. Mike Reardon is Catherine’s boyfriend. They serve as the balance and the conscious for the main characters while always being a part of the action and in on all the fun.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
KC: On a philosophical level, I wanted to explore what happens when someone is in a bad situation through no fault of her own and left to figure out how to get out of trouble. Life happens so fast these days that we often find ourselves in situations where things are snowballing out of our control. It interests me to see how people take charge of their destiny and resolve the issues.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
KC: Peer pressure! I joined Sisters in Crime, and learned of the Guppies chapter. Guppies is an Internet chapter and the name stands for Great Unpublished. Through my association with the Guppies, I took a number of classes, honed my writing skills, learned about marketing, blurbs, synopsis, and all the nuts and bolts of what writers do (it’s a lot more than putting fingers on the keyboard and telling a story). With the support and encouragement of the Guppies, I decided to embark on the great publishing adventure. Anyone considering writing, and taking their own writing to the next level, would be well advised to sign on to Sisters and Guppies.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
KC: Mark Twain. Now there’s a man who can turn a phrase. PD James. She revolutionized the modern mystery. Hank Phillippi Ryan. An amazing woman and writer who makes it look so easy. Daphne DuMaurier. Her books always took my breath away.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
KC: WRITES OF PASSAGE. An anthology published by Henery Press that gives writers inspiration. The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
KC: SCUBA diving, of course. Crocheting. I love to have something to do with my hands when I watch movies. Running. It keeps me sane and I find it’s a great way to work out plot points. I’m learning to throw things. Potting that is. I’ve bought a wheel and right now, I’m making wonderful mud pies. Someday I’ll get this centering thing down.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
KC: Wine. Marinated mushrooms. Frank’s Red Hot. Granny Smith apples.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
KC: Yes, and yes. I’m currently at work on the third Hayden Kent book, tentatively titled Death Dive. Catherine Swope is knocking at my imagination for her third book. And I’m developing a three book arc for a new series that features a woman private pilot. Then there’s that romance I’m always considering.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
KC: Meeting readers. I love visiting blogs, doing book signings and public speaking. It gives me a huge amount of pleasure.