Interview With Author Kaitlyn Dunnett
Having met Kaitlyn Dunnett at a few of the Malice Domestic Mystery Conventions, I can tell you that she is as down-to-earth and pleasant to chat with as anyone could possibly be. She’s very sweet, unassuming and warm – and boy, can she spin a tale! To date, Kaitlyn has published a whopping 62 books including cozy mysteries, historical novels and romance.
INTERVIEW WITH KAITLYN DUNNETT
What made you decide to try your hand at writing?
Failing as a teacher of 7th and 8th grade English. Since no other employment opportunities were readily available, I decided it was time to stop talking about writing a novel and actually do it.
Were there any books you read as a young girl that influenced you to become a writer?
I grew up in the 1950s and although I read Nancy Drew and the other girls’ books, the series that really impressed me was the Beverly Gray Mysteries by Clair Blank. Beverly was a reporter who also wrote a successful novel and a play that was produced on Broadway.
When did you make the decision to become a writer and tell us about your first published book:
It was 1976, when I realized I was not cut out to be a teacher. I loved big historical novels so I wrote five of them, none of which sold. What did sell was a nonfiction book I wrote based on the research I did for the fiction. It came out in 1984. In 1985, my first novel, THE MYSTERY OF HILLIARD’s CASTLE (for young readers), was published.
Currently you have two cozy mystery series out there: Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mysteries and Deadly Edits. I know many of your books and settings are drawn from your own childhood. Which book(s) are based the most on your personal experiences while growing up?
The Deadly Edits series is set in a fictional version of the rural New York town I grew up in and the amateur detective is a woman who is my age who has been living in Maine for the last fifty years (I still live in Maine). I’ve given Mikki a lot of my memories, suitably disguised, of course.
Of all your mysteries, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why:
This is like asking a mother to name her favorite child, but if I have to choose, it would be CRIME & PUNCTUATION, the first Deadly Edits mystery. I got to ask myself “what if?” on a very personal level. What would it be like to go back to my old home town after fifty years away? What would be the same? What would have changed? And what, since I’m writing fiction, could I change to suit myself?
What are your favorite mysteries/or romance novels you’ve written that are still available to our readers?
This is also a hard question to answer. Almost all of my backlist is still available in ebook format except the books for young readers and I’m hoping to make them available by next year. I have a special fondness for some of the novels that didn’t reach as many readers as I’d hoped. Writing the Diana Spaulding 1888 Quartet, a limited series of historical mysteries set in the U.S. at the end of the nineteenth century, was a labor of love, but most people have never heard of them. They are written under the name Kathy Lynn Emerson and feature a scandal sheet reporter. In the first one, DEADLIER THAN THE PEN, she’s assigned to get the scoop on a reclusive writer of horror stories.
Many cozy fans love mysteries that involve holidays. Ho Ho Homicide (Christmas) and Vampires, Bones and Treacle Scones (Halloween) are two of my personal favorites. Do you have any holiday mysteries in the works?
I, too, enjoy reading them, but writing them is hard to do without repeating myself. I have nothing planned for major holidays, but I did get a kick out of centering the plot of CLAUSE & EFFECT, the second Deadly Edits mystery, around plans to celebrate of the founding of my fictional village of Lenape Hollow, New York.
What new books are in the works or coming out in the next year?
Next up I have a standalone historical mystery, THE FINDER OF LOST THINGS (w/a Kathy Lynn Emerson) coming out in October of this year. Then there will be another Deadly Edits mystery, #4, MURDER, SHE EDITED, in August of 2021.
Anything you would like to share with our audience?
If anyone is interested in memoirs or late nineteenth/early twentieth-century history, after having sixty-two books traditionally published, I’ve dipped my toes into self-publishing with my grandfather’s story, THE LIFE OF A PLODDER, and it’s now available as an ebook original at all the usual places. Grampa, who was born in the 1870s, was the person who most inspired me to write, since he compiled his memoirs when he was in his eighties. I also stole shamelessly from his stories about life in the late 1880s when writing novels set in that era.
Visit the BOOK CATEGORY/Mysteries for reviews on Kaitlyn’s A View To A Kilt (A Liss MacCrimmonScottish Mystery) and Crime and Punctuation (A Deadly Edits Mystery). Follow my website for more book reviews on her books, as well as other authors.