I'm happy to welcome Winona Kent back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Winona writes the Jason Davey Mystery series. Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in the series and was released last month.
Kathy: In Ticket to Ride a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns the band of impending danger. Have you ever had your fortune told? What method did they use?
WR: I've never actually been to a fortune-teller, but when I was working on my MFA at UBC, one of my fellow students did a Tarot card reading for me. I was astounded by just how accurate that reading was. She was absolutely bang on with nearly everything she told me--about my background, influences in my life, my writing, everything. And she really didn't know me that well at all--everything she was telling me had apparently come from the cards I'd chosen. Many years later, I decided to learn how to do readings for myself, and I invested in a pack of traditional Rider-Waite cards. I've never really done a reading for anyone else, but I did a lot of self-readings during a particularly troubled time in my life...and I have to say, what I learned about myself was extremely helpful--and very healing.
Kathy: The book also includes a wartime ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a paranormal encounter?
WR: Absolutely. I do believe in ghosts, and I have had several paranormal experiences. One of them happened just after my father died. We'd gathered in the house and my sister and I were having some kind of argument about World War Two (my dad was a paratrooper in the British Army in 1944-45). I turned to walk out of the living room, and all of a sudden a book flew out of the bookcase behind me. It landed in the middle of the room, too far away from the shelves to have simply fallen out. My sister witnessed this too. We looked at the book--and it was a history of World War Two.
I had a second paranormal encounter in a hotel room in Toronto when I was a travel agent. I was woken up in the middle of the night by a dark figure wearing an overcoat and a hat. He was smoking a cigarette. He stood at the foot of my bed, and then, without a word, disappeared. But I could smell the smoke from his cigarette. I have no idea who he was, or why he was there, or if there was any history of anyone like that connected to that hotel or the room I was in. But I used a variation of that encounter in Ticket to Ride.
I also used a third paranormal experience in Ticket to Ride. At a certain point in the novel, my main character Jason describes a visit to the chapel at Biggin Hill, best known for its role during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War, when it served as one of the principal fighter bases protecting London and South East England. During that visit, he distinctly recalls a ghostly encounter where he hears the sound of a coin dropping and rolling across the chapel floor. An investigation results in nothing—there is no coin, and nobody else was in the chapel except Jason, his mother and grandmother. That is exactly what happened to me, my mum, my sister and a friend when we visited the Biggin Hill chapel in 1971. I’ve described it exactly as I remember it. It still gives me shivers, though I was never frightened, and only ever experienced a sense of calm and gratitude.
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
WR: The idea actually came from Lost Time, the novel I wrote just before Ticket to Ride. Normally, my main character, Jason Davey, can be found at the Blue Devil Club in London’s Soho, where he has a permanent gig with his jazz combo. But in Lost Time, Jason has taken a leave of absence from his Blue Devil residency, and is rehearsing for a tour of England with his mum’s old folky-pop band, Figgis Green, while he solves the mystery of a young woman who went missing in the 1970s.
I had so many notes, and so much wonderful research left over from Lost Time, that I thought it would be a great idea to write a book about the actual tour. So in Ticket to Ride, Jason and the Figs are on the road. While they travel around England, Jason tries to get to the bottom of who his maternal grandfather really is—and at the same time deals with a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps that eventually lead to a deadly encounter at a concert in Tunbridge Wells.
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Jason Davey?
WR: Yes, I'm just starting to outline the next novel in the series. This will be Book #5 in my Jason Davey Mysteries. It'll be called Bad Boy (after a very old and somewhat obscure Beatles song) and it'll start at The Shard in London. I just came back from England, as a matter of fact, where I was doing some research. I actually went over to scatter my mother's ashes (she died last May) but while I was there, I reacquainted myself with London and visited a few places I'd never been before (including The Shard). I also visited some relatives who live in Derbyshire, and I'm confident that entire experience is going to turn up Bad Boy. The book will also mark the return of one of my favourite baddies, Arthur Braskey from Notes on a Missing G-String (Book #2 in the series).
Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?
WR: I am totally a plotter. For most of my adult life, I've had to write in my spare time--weekends, evenings, holidays--because I've always had a full-time job in order to earn a living. When I went to Vancouver Film School to learn how to write screenplays, I was taught how to start with really a effective outline. I found that an incredibly useful skill, since the better part of my day was always spent working for someone else. Working with an outline helped me to keep my plots and complicatons straight in my mind, so that I was never lost trying to remember where I last was with the story, or where I was trying to go.Now that I've retired from working, and I'm a full-time writer (at last!), starting with an outline is a habit that's stayed with me. There's no rule that says the outline you start with has to be the same one you end with. In fact, I constantly tinker with the details and the plotting and quite often, the ending is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers. I've tried a couple of different plotting software programs, by the way--and my current favourite is Plottr. It's perfect for me because my creative brain is very visually-oriented--and I can see the entire plot and all its threads in so many different ways.
Kathy: Authors are required to do a lot of their own marketing, especially for a new release. What's your favorite part of marketing your work? What do you dislike about marketing?
WR: I actually really enjoy filling out questionnaires like this. Like many writers, I'm not a natural marketer, nor am I very outgoing. I'm really very timid and quiet and introverted, and having a chance to answer questions in this format is actually very exciting for me. I love talking about my books and sharing little tidbits of inside information, and hopefully I'm entertaining your readers at the same time.
What I really dislike is trying to source out all of the other places and people I think should be approaching. It's a lot of work and it takes so much time--time that I'd rather be spending researching and writing. For this novel and the last one (Lost Time), I signed up for a blog tour, and I find that to be an incredibly good way to get the word out and to expose my books to more readers. Blog tours also very good value for the money! They're like an old-fashioned book tour, but they're virtual.
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
WR: See above for my next Jason Davey Mystery. Also, I have a short story coming up in Sisters in Crime - Canada West's new anthology, Women of a Certain Age, which will be out this October. The story's called "Terminal Lucidity" and I actually started writing it as I was sitting by my mother's bedside at a hospice in North Vancouver. She passed away, aged 95, last May, as I was in the middle of working on Ticket to Ride.
****************************************************************************In Lost Time, professional musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey was rehearsing for Figgis Green's 50th Anniversary Tour of England. Now they're on the road.
But when a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns them of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps.
After Jason is attacked and nearly killed in Cambridge, and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy's hotel room, it becomes clear they're being targeted by someone with a serious grudge.
And when Figgis Green plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known.
Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram "guardian angel," and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.
My website is http://www.winonakent.com
And you can read the first 2 chapters of Ticket to Ride on my website here:
Links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo are on that page.
My publisher Brian Richmond (Blue Devil Books) and I have also created a rather good “tour website” for Jason's band, Figgis Green, where you can discover all kinds of things like their set lists, who else is in the band, the tour itinerary…and Jason’s Instagram feed, which is filled with his tour-related posts.
Links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo are also on that page.
The buy links are here also (if you have room to include them):
Barnes & Noble