Hello, today I have an interview with Diane Kelly who has written several books series. If you sign up to follow my blog, you can then enter into the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win one of three autographed copies of the first book in Diane’s new series “Dead As A Door Knocker”. A reminder the contest is only open to those who follow my blog.
A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Lest she end up in an orange jumpsuit, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her “Death and Taxes” romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop “Paw Enforcement” series. In January, Diane launched her first cozy mystery series, the House Flipper series, which stars a female carpenter who fixes up flip houses in Nashville with her cousin Buck. Dead as a Door Knocker was the debut book in this new series.
1. Describe for the readers what category or genre of books you write.
I write humorous crime fiction, though each of my series has a slightly different flavor. So no matter what a reader’s taste might be, one of my series should satisfy it.
My Death & Taxes series are what’s commonly known as a “procedural” mysteries, meaning the focus isn’t so much on whodunit as it is on how law enforcement is going to nail the bad guys. The crimes are white-collar crimes involving fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion, though the criminals are by no means easy to take down. The heroine of the series, IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, is fun and feisty, and the romantic angle with her hunky co-worker adds another fun element to the stories.
My Paw Enforcement series is a more traditional mystery series. Police Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 sidekick Brigit are tasked with sniffing out the clues, determining who committed the crimes, and bringing the lawbreakers to justice. Again, while the crimes are serious, most are not murders, which distinguishes this series from many others.
My newest series, the House Flipper series, is a cozy mystery series. Despite their benign-sounding name, cozies almost always involve murders. The killing takes place off the page, however, with the bodies being found after the fact. Cozies contain few, if any, four-letter words and limited sensuality, focusing more on the character of the amateur sleuth who finds herself inadvertently investigating the deaths.
2. Many authors have what is called an interesting writing quirk. Your two current book series each have intermittent chapter that are told from an animal’s perspective. How do you feel these chapters enrich the stories?
In so many ways! First and foremost, it’s simply entertaining to “hear” what the K-9 Brigit (from the Paw Enforcement series) and kitty-cat Sawdust (from the House Flipper series) are thinking.
In Brigit’s case, her training as a police dog makes her instrumental in finding clues, such as tracking the escape path a criminal used or sniffing out drugs that might be hidden about. Because Brigit is not human, Officer Megan Luz is often more honest and vulnerable with her than she would be with a human partner. Dogs don’t judge. I’m able to show the softer side of Megan through her relationship with Brigit.
Sawdust is a scaredy cat, but his natural curiosity makes him notice things that Whitney, his “mommy”, does not. Like her, he serves as an amateur sleuth, though he has no idea he is digging up clues. Sawdust is also Whitney’s “safe space,” allowing her to let her guard down, and his purr brings her comfort after difficult days.
Readers love the animals’ chapters, and I have to admit that they are my favorite chapters to write, too.
3. Your first book series, Death, Taxes was based in Dallas, and your second series in Fort Worth. Your newest Fixer Upper Series in based in Nashville. What things about Nashville drew you into using it as the background?
I lived just south of Nashville from 2014 to 2016 and loved the city’s vibrant, creative vibe. I wasn’t the only one, judging from the boom that’s taking place there. The rapid population growth and people seeking homes close to the nightlife of downtown led to a lot of renovation in older neighborhoods with easy access to downtown. The fact that the town has a lot of personality, as well as the fact that a building boom is actually taking place there, made Nashville a perfect setting for the series.
4. Your book titles are very clever. How do you come up with them?
I wish I could say there’s a rhyme or reason, but they’ve come from all over the place. I’ve come up with many of them myself, often based on something going on in my life at the time, such as my addictions to chocolate cannoli or sweet potato fries. My friend Angela was the first to suggest “Paw Enforcement” when my editor said my working title (“Bitches on the Beat”) was too edgy. Some titles hint at a theme in the book, such as “Paw of the Jungle” which releases this coming Thanksgiving and involves the kidnapping of animals from the zoo. My publisher suggested “Dead as a Door Knocker” for the first in my House Flipper series, finding my working title of “A House with Good Bones” to be too dark. Naming the books is usually a back-and-forth process with my editor, tossing titles around until we both agree on one.
5. Do you ever base your characters on real life people?
None of my characters is intended to exactly portray any particular person from real life, though I often borrow character traits from people I’ve known who have distinctive personalities. I always add my own spin, though, to make them unique.
6. As a follow up to the previous question, do you ever plan to write a series based on a brilliant red-headed attorney whose former co-worker has become a successful writer? If so, since the title Thelma and Louise is already taken, what would you call it?
What a great idea! “Lawyer Ladies Letting Loose” might work . . . : )
7. What is the best way for readers to find out more about you and your books?
About me? Check out my website at www.DianeKelly.com, or my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DianeKellyBooks/. Or, if they happen to live near New York City, they can come chat with me at the Romance Writers of America Readers for Life book signing for literacy on Saturday, July 27th from 3:00 – 5:00 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Details and a full list of participating authors can be found here: https://bit.ly/2GXdzwZ
About my books? Read them, of course! Ha ha. Or visit the “Books” page on my website.
Thanks for having me on your site, Kerrin! It’s always fun to connect with book people, whether in person or online. Book people are the BEST people!
Who wants to win one of three autographed copies of Diane’s book? Please sign up to follow and my blog, then Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway here: