Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Interview With Cozy Mystery Author Katherine Hayton

What got you interested writing Cozy Mystery books?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries—it’s about ALL I read—but I grew a bit tired of the gritty realism of the police procedurals I was writing. I wanted to write about nice people and nice towns for a change and cozy mysteries offered me the perfect opportunity to do that.

Tell us a little about the Sweet Baked series.

This is set in a little township about ninety minutes away from where I live, and was built around some natural hot springs. In the series, Holly Waterston returns home after her marriage and career go kaput to recover and assess her options. She falls back in love with her home town and finds new purpose working in the family bakery while forging a stronger bond with her sister Crystal. Aside from the murder mysteries, the series also charts the progress that Holly is making toward reconnecting with her roots and building new friendships and relationships.

Also, tell readers about the Tea Shop series.

I LOVE this series, it’s so much fun to write. This came out of a desire to write shorter books (more in line with my attention span as a writer) and is set in the lovely fictional town of Aniseed Valley. The main character is Willow Foxglove, a woman in her fifties who is rediscovering herself and building a sense of purpose by solving murder mysteries and also opening her first business—a herbal tea shop using produce from her own garden. She has an ‘accidental’ pet, a Maine Coon kitten bought for her by a sort-of boyfriend who didn’t know she’s allergic to cats. One look, though, and Willow couldn’t bear to give Mavis away, so she’s taking allergy shots. Her best friends are bookworm Harmony and a conspiracy theorist/UFO spotter Reg, also a fellow widower.

If you could live the life of one of your characters, would you?

Goodness, no. I can’t think of anything more horrific in real life than tripping over dead bodies on a weekly basis! I’d be scared to walk out the front door.

What's your favorite character that you have created and why?

I think Willow Foxglove is my favorite because she’s changing her life at a late age and fulfilling a dream, just like I did when I gave up a successful career in insurance to become a struggling writer.

Do you have any real-life stories that you have incorporated into one of your books?

I occasionally piece together bits and pieces from real-life crimes or anecdotes to weave them into a story. With the first of my police procedural series, I pulled the crime together from a real-life ‘exorcism’ that took place in NZ, killing the woman the relatives were trying to save, and various cults that operated in Canterbury during the 1970s. See! This is why I switched to writing cozies – so much nicer. There’s also a bit in the Sweet Baked mystery series about Holly’s fear of the single lane bridge going into Hanmer Springs. That might be based on my own fears, just a little.

If you had to choose a different career other than writing, what would it be?

Book cover design. I love designing covers – it’s so much easier than writing all the stuff inside J I don’t have the patience to deal with clients, though, so I don’t know that I’d make any money

What is your favorite book that you have ever written and why?

I love Deathbed of Roses, one of the Tea Shop cozy mysteries. The idea of working and planning for so long to open a new business, then having nobody turn up on the opening day tickles me for some unknown reason. Don’t worry! It all works out in the end.

What do you like to do with your time when you're not writing?

Watching television and reading. I tend to call this research to justify how much of each I do.

What's a fun fact that your readers might not know about you?

I once nearly stood on a three-foot long lizard in Australia because it was the same color as the concrete. This reminds me that I need to get my eyes tested again!

What do you have in store for your readers next?

Coming up shortly is a new cozy mystery series - the Honey Bee Mysteries – which features an autistic beekeeper as the amateur sleuth. I’ll also keep adding some new stories into the Tea Shop Cozy series until I run out of ideas J and I have another two stories in the Goth Girl Mysteries yet to go.

Buy Katherine Hayton's Books right here

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