Kate Carlisle is the bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries). Her latest Bibliophile Mystery—Once upon a Spine—is a must-read for mystery readers who love books about books. RT Book Reviews calls Once upon a Spine “Truly laugh-out-loud hysterical… a great tale of who didn’t do it!” Read Chapters 1 and 2 free at KateCarlisle.com.
Jann: We’re here today with the marvelous Mystery Author, Kate Carlisle. Welcome Kate to A Slice of Orange.Let’s get started.
What is it like having your Fixer-Upper Mysteries made into a movie series by Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. What’s the coolest part of the process?
Kate: It’s been a marvelous experience, right from the first. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has done me proud, starting with great scripts, wonderful casting, and terrific production value. The quality of their movies is truly superb.
Prior to this, I knew Jewel only as a singer, but I’m not surprised that she’s a terrific actress, as well. Both require her to tap into her emotions and to elicit emotions in the viewer/listener. And Colin Ferguson is adorable and sexy in the role of Mac. I couldn’t be happier.
The coolest part of the process is seeing scenes that originated in my head—mere ideas—come to life on screen. There are changes, of course, because film is a different medium than writing, and there are different limitations, but the essence of the stories is something that I came up with, starting with nothing more than a passing thought that took hold.
Visiting the set and having a cameo with my husband was also pretty darn cool.
Jann: Have you changed the way you write the books based on the movies?
Kate: I try not to let the movies affect my writing process. The movies are being made because readers loved my books, so I try to be true to the type of stories I was already telling.
The reality is, filmmakers can’t do everything I can. I’m limited only by my imagination. They’re limited by things like budget, available actors, the physical realities of getting a camera crew down a cliff face (just for example). But if I try to fence myself in to what could be easily filmed, then my stories may fall flat.
Jann: How do you juggle writing two mystery series—Bibliophile Mysteries, with lead character Brooklyn Wainwright and Fixer-Upper Mysteries, with lead character Shannon Hammer?
Kate: In my mind, Brooklyn and Shannon are very different characters, so that makes it easier for me to switch back and forth between the series. It’s really no harder than watching two different television series. My brain is usually ready to switch gears when it’s time to start a new book, so I actually enjoy the juggling act. Time management, on the other hand, will always be a challenge!
Jann: Do you plan to stick with cozy/traditional mysteries or do you have any romances planned in the future? How about a suspense or thriller?
Kate: I plan to stick with traditional mysteries, in the vein of Agatha Christie, for the foreseeable future. It’s what I love to write, and what my readers love to read. I admit I do have an idea for a romantic suspense tucked inside the back of my brain, but right now, the mysteries keep me very busy—and very happy.
Jann: I love your website—it’s so interactive. What can you tell about its creation?
Kate: My very talented web designer, Maddee at xuni.com, gets all the credit for the design. She does involve authors in the process a lot, to make sure that the website accurately reflects a client’s vision and vibe, but the design work is hers.
As for the interactive part, thank you so much for mentioning that! I wanted to think of creative ways to reward members of my mailing list, so I created the Secret Room. A mailing list member’s email address is the key to enter. In the Secret Room, I host contests, and have lots of puzzles and games. Word searches for every Bibliophile Mystery, book cover puzzles where you find changes or find the hidden object, and lots of other goodies. There are also recipes, maps of my fictional towns, a bookmark offer, a paper pattern and a quilt pattern, and pictures that inspired some of my books. It’s free to join.
Jann: When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
Kate: In my life, I’ve had many careers. (Though truthfully, some of them were just jobs and nowhere near as lofty as a career.) I loved my life at every point, but never really felt that “click” that told me I was doing what I was meant to do. I always felt a little restless. Not dissatisfied, really, but never completely satisfied, either. After working for a time as a legal secretary, I decided that maybe I should go to law school. It was there that I began to daydream about various ways to murder a slightly sadistic professor, and then to write down these dark fantasies. That’s when I caught the writing bug.
I wrote both romance and mystery, the two genres I most loved to read. After many (many, many) rejections, I managed to sell in both genres. I was first published in July 2009, and by December of that year, I had three books out. When the mysteries took off, I had to let the romance go, and now I have the pleasure of writing two ongoing mystery series. Pinch me! I still can’t believe how lucky I am.
Jann: I read that you like to watch other people cook. When you find yourself in the kitchen, what’s your favorite recipe to prepare?
Kidding! (Not really kidding.)
Jann: You like to travel. Do you have a favorite location that you find yourself going back to? Do you have a bucket list of future destinations?
Kate: One of my favorite cities in the world is Edinburgh. It’s been quite a while since I’ve visited, and yes, I’d love to go back. I also frequently visit San Francisco, home to the Bibliophile Mysteries.
There are so many places on my bucket list! I’d love to spend a month touring every museum in Paris. I’d love to take a pasta tour of Italy. Oh, and to go on a literary tour of England would be amazing. For that matter, a literary tour of America would be very interesting, don’t you think?
Jann: You were one of the hardest working unpublished writers’ way back in the day, how did you keep going before you sold your first novel?
Kate: It wasn’t easy to keep going in the face of rejection. There were many times when I thought of giving up. But then I would remember all the other jobs I’d tried. As frustrating and as painful as writing could be, there was still nothing else I’d rather do.
So I would let myself mope for an hour or two, and then I would get back to work. Because through all those years of ups and downs I kept thinking, a published book is the best revenge. I was a determined little engine. I continued to tell myself that a book doesn’t write itself. You have to be there, butt in the chair, to make it happen. And finally it did.
I would like to thank Kate Carlisle for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have any questions or comments for Kate, please use the comment form below.
Jann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life
and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.
Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined Romance Writers of America. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.