Welcome to Indie Spyglass, where we feature an Indie author, giving you insight into the person and the process. Today, I’m speaking with Kathryn Lively. She’s the author of the newly released mystery Dead Barchetta,
as well as Pithed: An Andy Farmer Mystery
and Little Flowers
. She has also published Pray for us Sinners
and Murder Most Trivial
as L.K. Ellwood..
|Author Kathryn Lively pictured with a copy of her latest mystery, Dead Barchetta
She is an award-winning writer and editor, and executive editor of Phaze Books. She is an EPIC Award nominee and has edited EPIC Award nominated titles for Phaze Books, Whiskey Creek Press, and FrancisIsidore ePress. Kathryn assists businesses with Virginia Beach social media services, and also works as a freelance writer.
In January 2011, I reviewed her latest release Dead Barchetta on this blog. It was a fun mystery and I’ve asked her a few questions about this book and the life of a writer.
Thank you so much for chatting with me for Indie Spyglass. Could you tell us a little about Dead Barchetta and what inspired you to write this story?
Thanks for having me!
The idea to write a novel with a main character in a tribute band had brewed in my mind for a few years. About six years ago, I attended a convention for Rush fans in Toronto, where I participated in the charity auction. I put up a catalog of my books and the promise to make the winning bidder a character.
While in Toronto, aspects of the story hit me while hanging out at the bars and talking with people I’d known previously through fan message boards. Originally the main character was to be a female, but after trying out the first chapter it didn’t work for me, so I changed genders. For some reason that helped move the story along, even though it did take a few years to write.
I have always loved mysteries, though I write a variety of genres. Dead Barchetta is my first mystery in six years, so I’m very happy to have it released.
Your latest mystery, Dead Barchetta, features a male main character who plays in a Rush/Grateful Dead coverband as well as teaches guitar. What is your favorite band and genre of music? And do you listen to music while you write?
Obviously, Rush is one of my favorite groups. 😀 Of course, I enjoy a variety of classic rock acts. The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin come to mind. I do listen to music as I write, and it will vary. One romance novel I completed was done while listening to Traffic’s greatest hits over and over.
Being female, did you find it hard to get in the mindset to write a male protagonist?
Actually, no. I don’t write first-person POV often, but when I do the lead is usually male. If I believed in reincarnation I might suspect that has something to do it. 😀
If I had to guess, it may be because I have read so many male sleuths over the years. Poirot, and most of Dick Francis’ works. I suppose it’s more comfortable for me.
In Dead Barchetta, you describe in vivid detail Lerxst’s home town of Virginia Beach, as well as his travels to New York City. How much research and travelling did you have to do to do these real life places justice?
I travel to New York a few times a year for book events and other business, so I’m well familiar with that drive up the Eastern Shore, then up the Jersey Turnpike. Over the last few visits, I had a friend take me around Manhattan to get a better feel for the city, and we spent most of the visit walking – trying to imagine Lerxst walking the same streets to find what he needed.
You have several other novels published. Can you describe how going the Indie route of publication has been?
Well, I’m not a millionaire yet, but I find the indie route is just as much (if not more) work as going through a more traditional publisher. I like that I can control every aspect of the book from the cover to distribution, but there are days when I may question myself. Did I create a good enough cover? Am I spending enough in advertising? Am I tweeting enough? Sales are decent, but I’ll forever work to turn decent into amazing.
When I was perusing your website, I saw that you are not only an author, but also an editor. When you are writing a novel, is it hard to turn off the editor part of yourself?
It is, and when I need to be in a zone where I must get the bones down it can be frustrating. I have a tendency to want to edit as I write, and sometimes that causes me to lag. Lately, though, I compose on my iTouch and I find the small screen is good for me because I can just write and write and not think about checking for mistakes until later.
Some writers base their characters off of real life people. Is this a technique that you sometimes use?
Sometimes, yes. My last book, Pithed
, is based on an idea by my father, and he is sort of modeled on the main character. With Dead Barchetta
, though, none of the characters are really inspired by anybody.
Your current book is a mystery/thriller. What draws you to this genre and keeps you coming back for more?
I started young, simple as that. My father liked to read mysteries, and when I was young I started on Nancy Drew then moved on to Agatha Christie. I suppose it is the problem solving aspect of the stories that attracts. I want to challenge readers and try to tell a story that keeps them guessing.
With the recent success of Indie authors like J.A. Konrath and Amanda Hocking publishing their books directly to ebook retailers, such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, do you think the publishing industry will change to meet this emerging market of book lovers who love high-quality, lower priced ebooks? Will Indie publishing be the way to go for many aspiring novelists?
I think we will see more independent authors going this route. As to whether or not everybody will reach the Konrath/Hocking level of success, it’s not likely. To succeed, an indie author needs to have a great product, a solid marketing plan, and great word of mouth backing it. One can offer a $.99 novel, but if it doesn’t attraction attention it won’t sell. Authors just have to hit the right audience at the right time.
Do you have another novel in the pipe line? And will we be seeing Lerxst Johnston again in a sequel?
I have a few works in progress, one of which is the Dead sequel. That one, I think, will be a more traditional whodunnit than the first, but it will still be a fun read.
Now for the fun questions:
If you could replace any member of any band, who would that be?
Good one. 🙂 Truthfully, what I would do is restore Van Halen to its original line-up of Roth, Anthony, and the Van Halen brothers.
Do you have any phobias?
Heights. I have to drive over so many tall bridges when I travel for book events, and it’s a mess on my nerves!
What book and musician are you currently enjoying?
I am reading The Hunger Games right now. I don’t normally read YA, but people have recommended it to me. I recently bought a new album from a musician named Julie Slick, which is quite good.
Kathryn Lively can be found:
Thanks for stopping by and chatting, this was a fun interview. Be sure to check out Dead Barchetta. I really loved this book.
Kathryn has generously offered an ebook copy of Dead Barchetta for us to giveaway. All you have to do is comment on this post and tell us your favorite band. Don’t forget to include your email so I can contact you if you win! This giveaway ends at midnight CST on March 7, 2011. Please pass this interview along, whether you tweet it, facebook it, email it, whatever! Good luck!