SC: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KC: I’ve been an elementary teacher, legal secretary, proofreader, carhop, wife, mother, and writer, and loved them all. Among my careers the most rewarding and challenging is writing. No matter what the future holds, I know I’ll always write. My mind spins stories. That’s just what it does.
SC: How would you describe your books to readers?
KÇ: For anyone who loves a challenging mystery full of twists and turns, a story that has humor, an ongoing romance, a feisty heroine and a tough, sexy hero, an endearing cast, and dynamite endings, pick up any of the Flower Shop mysteries. I recommend that they start at the beginning to see how my two main characters met.
SC: What are you currently working on?
KC: I’m about a fourth of the way through writing #19 in the series, YEWS WITH CAUTION. It’s a plot type I’ve never tried before – I try to do something new in each book – so it’s taking longer than usual.
SC: Of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?
KC: I have a tough time with this question because I love them all. With that said, there are a few that I’m particularly attached to for differing reasons. SHOOTS TO KILL is a favorite because my son suggested the plot – Abby has an evil twin, almost. My mind took off from there and I still think it’s one of the best. SEED NO EVIL is another because of several highly emotional surprises tied in with Abby’s wedding. I also have to mention NIGHT OF THE LIVING DANDELION because it’s a spoof on vampire movies – or is it? THROW IN THE TROWEL has an ending no one sees coming, and MOSS HYSTERIA, my latest release, is based on a true happening in my own neighborhood. It, too, has a dynamite ending. (I could go on but soon I’d have the entire list here.)
SC: What books have most influenced you as a writer?
KÇ: I’ll start with an author I first read when I was twelve years old – Jean Shepherd, who grew up two blocks from my childhood home. His humorous writing style stuck with me and I devoured everything he wrote. If you don’t know who he is, think of the movie about Ralphie, “A Christmas Story.” Next came the Nancy Drew mysteries, which led me to Agatha Christie, the woman who started the whole cozy mystery genre. Then there’s the incomparable Barbara Kingsolver, who writes the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read. I consider “The Poisonwood Bible” to be a classic.
SC: What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing?
KC: Hard to narrow it down, but here are my top four challenges.
- Coming up with a unique plot to keep readers guessing. That’s a biggie. I really try to mix it up so each book is fresh and I’m always seeking new styles to try.
- Being disciplined enough to sit at the computer every day even when the outdoors beckons. Editors don’t like missed deadlines.
- Finding a funny title that mixes flowers with death/murder/disaster. That gets harder with each subsequent book.
- Keeping up with all the various social media sites. Fortunately, my son now has an Internet business (AuthorsWrite.com) that handles my contests and promotions, so he’s taken a big load off my shoulders. I still post on Facebook everyday, however. I love to interact with readers.
And the most rewarding?
KC: Holding the newest book in my hand for the first time, knowing all the work that went into it. Having people stop me at the grocery store to tell me how much they love my books. That’s a real thrill. And getting a great review. That will keep me smiling all day.
SC: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
KC: As long as there’s a demand for the Flower Shop mysteries, I would love to keep writing them, and I have heard that my publisher would like that as well. So I’ll take each book as it comes and let the future decide the rest. I’ve stopped trying to predict.
SC: Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers?
KC: I don’t think there’s an author alive who wouldn’t love to see his/her books made into a TV series or movie, so when I got a call from the head of Motion Picture Corporation of America wanting to option my books for a Hallmark series, I was overjoyed. (Well, first I was sure it was a scam, but then I was overjoyed.)
My editor warned me that optioned books rarely made it to the screen, big or little. My agent warned me that it could be at least a year away, yet within four months I was reading the first draft of MUM’S THE WORD. By the fifth month I was visiting the movie set, meeting the actors who were bringing my words to life, and being a part of the town I created. It was a surreal, delightful experience.
As with every single book that is put on film, changes are made that are beyond an author’s control. But I was so happy that my plot was unchanged and that the actors were capturing the true spirit of my characters that I accepted the fact my characters had aged twenty years. So what? My words were coming to life, as were my characters, my town, and my mystery, and a whole new audience was learning about my series.
I think for fans of my books it’s important to separate the movie series from the book series instead of trying to compare them. It’s what I did and now I can truly sit back and enjoy watching The Flower Shop Mysteries.
Abby and Marco’s new neighborhood isn’t as rosy as it seems in the latest Flower Shop Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Florist Grump and A Root Awakening.
Flower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, are ecstatic to finally be moving into their new home, despite the prospect of unpacking a seemingly infinite number of boxes. After all, Brandywine—their new subdivision—seems like an oasis with its welcoming neighbors and beautifully manicured lawns.
But their idyllic community is suddenly uprooted when a body is found floating in a nearby pond. The police think Abby and Marco’s helpful next door neighbor is the culprit, but the newlyweds aren’t convinced.
Meanwhile, Marco distrusts his mother’s slick new boyfriend, and Abby’s cousin Jillian has agreed to decorate their new home, resulting in comic chaos. Even worse, as Abby and Marco dig through Brandywine’s secrets in search of a killer, they discover that some flowers come from very bad seeds…and danger stalks even the sunniest small-town streets.
Bio: Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series, now a new series on the Hallmark Mystery Movie channel. Book #18, MOSS HYSTERIA, is an April 2016 release. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions. Kate’s historical romances and children’s anthologies are also available in digital format through her website: www.katecollinsbooks.com.