I'm happy to welcome Dana Dratch to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Dana pens the Red Herring Mystery series. Confessions of a Red Herring, the first book in the series was released this week.
Kathy: In Confessions of a Red Herring we meet reporter Alex Vlodnachek. Have you ever worked as a reporter? Or wanted to?
DD: Yes. And yes.
Kathy: Alex is also known as Vlod the Impaler. Are you a fan of Dracula?
DD: Vlad the Impaler, not so much. But I wouldn’t mind owning the licensing rights for Bram Stoker’s character.
Alex Vlodnachek’s P.R. co-workers craft the nickname Vlod the Impaler – and a compelling back story -- to frame her for murder. Let’s just say this is one company with a lot to hide. When the boss is murdered, they don’t want the authorities digging too deeply. So they produce an obvious suspect and fabricate an open-and-shut case. Alex, who’s only been there a few months (and who had a very loud, very recent altercation with the boss), is the perfect red herring.
Kathy: As if being a murder suspect isn't enough, Alex also has to deal with her family. Does her family have any resemblance to yours?
DD: No. And I’m grateful for that!
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
DD: Who doesn’t love cozies? When I started writing, the plot was definitely a murder mystery. I also wanted it to be a light, funny read – something that makes you feel good. I describe Confessions of a Red Herring as part mystery, part chick lit, and part humor. Alex’s life is in free-fall, but she’s smart and resourceful. And she’s not giving up.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
DD: Not yet. I love writing mysteries. And Alex has a lot going on in her life – so there’s plenty to tell.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
DD: Former reporter Alex Vlodnachek is just a few months into a career change to public relations. The money’s great, but the environment is truly toxic. Then her boss is killed, and she’s framed for his murder. So she uses the skills she’s honed as a reporter to find out who really did it. Along the way she gets help from her best friend, Trip, who’s an editor at her former paper. And her family – in the form of her brother Nick, new sister-in-law, Gabby, their rescue dog Lucy, and her grandmother, Baba -- show up “to help.”
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character?
DD: I love each of them for different reasons. Alex thinks for herself. Trip is confident, funny and successful. Easy-going Nick has the charm of a con man. Gabby’s a mess – but she’s all heart. Baba is, as Alex notes, “nobody’s fool.” And Lucy is a puppy, so everything’s new and fascinating – from butterflies to bacon. Crammed into one small house, they get on each other’s nerves. But they also make a surprisingly effective team.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
DD: I come from a newspaper background, so I wanted a heroine who would have those skills and use them. But not necessarily in the ways they teach you in J-school.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
DD: I wanted to write a book that I’d enjoy reading. When I finished Confessions of a Red Herring, getting it published felt like the natural next step. My agent, Erin Niumata, of Folio Literary, loved the book. And working with Kensington Publishing has been a dream.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
DD: Well, I’d stick with the living. The dead are a logistical nightmare. They don’t bring wine, and they refuse to help clear the table.
Seriously, this is a rough one. I have so many questions I want to ask of so many writers. For starters: Neil Gaiman, Louise Penny, Harlan Coben, and J.K. Rowling. All of them create worlds and characters that pull me in and keep me turning pages – no matter how late it is, or how early I have to get up in the morning.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
DD: I stick with non-fiction when I’m writing (which I am now). I’m reading Stacy Schiff’s The Witches -- a historical account of the Salem witch trials. For me, it’s American history meets true crime: loaded with false accusations, red herrings, and some really craven motives.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
DD: Right now, I’m spending every minute writing Seeing Red, which follows what happens next with Alex, Trip, rescue-pup Lucy, and the whole crazy Vlodnachek family.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
DD: Chocolate, coffee creamer, salad-in-a-bag, and a couple of nearly empty take-out cartons. Alex is a better cook than I am – and that’s saying something.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
DD: Definitely! In the sequel, Seeing Red, Alex gets tangled up with spies, art thieves and a very single-minded killer. Along the way, she learns a bit more about the enigmatic Ian Sterling, who owns the B&B across the street.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
DD: Creating characters and watching what they do next. It’s always a surprise. Holding a finished book is pretty nice, too.
CONFESSIONS OF A RED HERRINGAs a reporter, she’s used to covering the news.
Now she’s the headline.
Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency's double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.
Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.
Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story
And unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.
What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list. And Alex is on it.
Dana Dratch is the author of CONFESSIONS OF A RED HERRING, out May 29. A former newspaper reporter and current personal finance writer, she’s currently writing the sequel, SEEING RED, which has Alex, rescue-pup Lucy, and the whole crazy Vlodnachek family going up against spies, art thieves and a very determined murderer.
a Rafflecopter giveaway