Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Writing the Purrfect Mystery: An Interview with Krista Davis

If love cats or dogs and are looking for fun reads, this is the author for you. Krista Davis is the author of the national bestselling Domestic Diva Mysteries. Set in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the books feature Sophie Winston, a domestic diva who loves to entertain but keeps things simple. 

Her second series, Paws and Claws Mysteries, is set in a resort town that caters to people who want to vacation with their dogs and cats. The books include recipes and entertaining tips.

What drew you to the idea of writing mysteries? Was there a specific book or author that made you think – I could write like that?
I have always loved mysteries. Like a lot of authors, I was crazy about Nancy Drew and kept reading mysteries. I never had the “I could write like that” feeling. I was simply fascinated by mysteries.

Are you active in any writing critique groups?
Not anymore. I don’t have the time! But I used to be very active in an online critique group with Janet Bolin (now Ginger Bolton) and Daryl Wood Gerber. These days we’re too busy to critique but we still keep in touch and ask one another questions once in a while.

What type of research do you do for your books? Tell me about the process.
It depends on the book. Most of my research is done online, though I also refer to books on relevant subjects. As I write the story and need information, I start looking things up online. Here are three examples:

In The Diva Serves High Tea, I wondered if there was such a thing as a tea knife. That lead me to a type of tea that is packed tightly and allowed to ferment for a number of years. To serve the tea, one uses a special knife to break off a wedge. That knife became important to the story.

There is a matchmaking event in my upcoming book, Mission Impawsible. So I did some research on matchmaking. What attracts us to potential mates? Some of the answers surprised me!

And I did a lot of research on ghosts for The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, including a visit to a haunted sanatorium.

What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?
Learn the rules and then break them all because there are no rules. That may sound strange. It’s important to understand the basics of writing. But ultimately, we need to write in our own voices. That comes with time and the confidence to write in our own original way.

What surprised you the most in a good way in writing your novels?
The most surprising? People read and like my books. It’s a wonderful feeling!

What’s been the most frustrating?
 I wish I could write faster. Some of my friends are great at that, but I need time for things to percolate.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you’ve had, and how you learned to write past it.
My agent and editor liked my first proposal for a cozy series. It went to an editorial meeting and in one second, it was shot dead. The editor felt terrible about it and was willing to look at something else, which opened the door for the Domestic Diva Mysteries. I took the reasons they gave me for shooting down the first one, learned from them, and moved on.

I think that can be a very hard lesson when you’re new to writing. I have seen people get stuck on one book and revise it for years. Sometimes you just have to move on.

What is the best advice you've been given about writing or that you've learned that you would like to pass along?
Join an online group in your genre. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel all by yourself when you can get instant answers. I remember standing in a bookstore looking through books on writing and hoping one of them would tell me what font and size to use! Such a basic thing. Sisters in Crime (especially the Guppies chapter) is a fabulous organization for fledgling authors.

What other works do you have in the process?
At the moment I am working on a Christmas book set in Wagtail to be released in November 2017. The tentative title is Not a Creature Was Purring. And I’m working on the outline for the next Domestic Diva Mystery.

That's it for today's interview. If you would like to know more about Krista's writing and upcoming events, here are some links to help you out.

BONUS!! If you'd like the chance to win The Diva Serves High Tea, add a comment below as to why you like mysteries and/or Krista's books. Or become a follower of this blog. From all entries received, I'll do a random drawing for one winner. The winner will be chosen 1/16/2017 at noon. I will then contact the winner.