Great to have you here, Kathleen. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
The Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, published by Henery Press, has been out for about a year and a half. My first book, PROTOCOL, debuted in September of 2017. It was followed by 39 WINKS in May of 2018. I’m excited for the launch of the series’ third book, AS DIRECTED, which releases this month.
Nice. I featured a spotlight on 39 Winks and am happy to feature your new title.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your books?
In the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series, sometime pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley cures mysteries with wit, the scientific method, and her wise-cracking best friend, Constantine. The first book in the series, PROTOCOL, was nominated for the prestigious Agatha and Lefty awards and was followed by fan favorite, 39 WINKS. AS DIRECTED, released on March 12, 2019.
Congratulations for publishing the latest of what sounds like a wonderful series. Alicia’s friend Gilly in my Cobble Cove mystery series might be a lot like Maggie’s friend Constantine.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I hope to introduce more readers to Maggie by reaching out to them through outlets like this (thank you for hosting me!) and via my social media channels. Please come say hello on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenvalentiauthor
I already “like” your page and hope that readers of this blog will do so, too.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I’m looking for readers who love books with suspense, twisty plots, and witty dialogue.
A good target group.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Keep at it! It’s a tough business to break into, but don’t lose hope. If you continue to hone your craft and write the best book you can, you’ll find people who believe in it as much as you do.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
There are so many great avenues for getting a book out into the world these days, but I decided I wanted to go the traditional route. More than ever, that means securing an agent. For me, that was by far the most difficult and daunting part of the process. The rejection rate of agents responding to queries is 99%. 99%!! That’s where the perseverance I mentioned above comes in. While searching for the right agent, I made sure I had the right book. It took an enormous amount of time, energy and effort, but it was absolutely worth it.
I’m still trying to find an agent, but I’m happy that I’ve been published with several publishers, although I hope to publish with a large one eventually.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I belong to Sisters in Crime, a fantastic organization that supports sisters (and misters!) who write crime fiction, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. I’m also a blogger on two multi-author blogs: Chicks on the Case and Mysteristas.
I agree Sisters in Crime is a wonderful group. I belong to them, too, as well as International Thriller Writers. I must check out the blogs you mentioned, and I hope my readers will, too. They sound great. I also blog on a multi-author, blog, Pens, Paws, and Claws and my character cat, Sneaky the Library Cat, has his own blog.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Of course reading is near the top of the list. I also love to snowmobile, camp, hike, run and Jazzercise.
It’s good you stay active when you’re an author and have to spend a lot of time at the computer writing. As a librarian, I love to read, too, but I make it a point to exercise daily. I enjoy the Leslie Sansone walking videos. I imagine Jazzercise must be fun.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I love the puzzle of writing a mystery. The toughest challenge is marketing. There are so many wonderful books out there that it can be difficult to be seen and heard in the marketplace.
I know exactly what you mean.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
My books actually aren’t cozies. They’re traditional mysteries with a medical angle. I love the traditional mystery genre for its ability to create interest and intrigue while engaging the reader.
While I have a cozy series, I have written a traditional mystery, Reason to Die, and have just signed with another publisher for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title o?
Here’s an excerpt from AS DIRECTED:
Claudia Warren took too long to die.
She should have been dead when her lungs stopped inflating, when her brain stopped communicating with the rest of her body. But her heart kept beating, even as her cells began to necrotize and the blood pooled in her muscles.
Claudia couldn’t even die right.
Then again, she’d never been murdered before, so maybe that was to be expected.
Claudia died alone, as she did most things. She came home from the grocery store, carefully inserted her key into the deadbolt, jiggling it up and down to engage the tumblers, then tossed her purse on the counter next to yesterday’s mail. She deposited white plastic grocery bags on the counter—she couldn’t be bothered with toting around cloth ones—and began to unpack the fruits of her Pick-N-Save foraging.
A pack of single-serving puddings.
A box of single-serving juices.
An array of Lean Cuisine entrées, the accent capping the “e” an attempt to catapult the food from TV dinner to culinary experience.
Single serving food for her table-for-one life.
Not that she minded living alone. She relished it. She had her rescue cat, Todd, a fat tabby who bumped her chin with his head when she bent to fill his dish, and her work as an advertising account exec, which followed her home every night like a stalker.
Human beings? She found them overrated. They were too critical of her missteps. Too overbearing in their suggestions. Too there.
And yet the moment she knew something was wrong, very wrong, she had a sudden and intense urging for that thereness.
Her cheating ex-husband. Her meddling mother. The woman next door who pilfered coupons from her mailbox. It didn’t matter. She would’ve taken any of them. She needed help. She needed someone there. She needed someone to stop her heart from stopping.
Exciting excerpt. Thank you for sharing. I’ve added you to my TBR author list.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
When I’m not writing mysteries, I work as an advertising copywriter, writing ads for everything from banks and healthcare to athletic apparel and transmissions. Really!
Interesting. You certainly are a wordsmith, Kathleen.
Thanks so much for a great interview. I’m sharing the information about your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and future mysteries.
Thank you again for having me!
(A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti
About the Book
As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
3rd in Series
Henery Press (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
Digital ASIN: B07LB6N22B
In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.
But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.
The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.
As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.
About the Author
Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.
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