IR– What does it mean to you to be called an author?
KB– I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for over twenty years. Being an author means being willing to work hard at the business of publishing in order to enjoy the joy of writing.
IR– Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?
KB– War correspondent Kate Tessler has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?
Injured in a bombing, Kate returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age (49), even though she’s living like a teenager again: staying with her father, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still think of her as Kitty.
Seeing her mother in an Alzheimer’s unit is the hardest part – until an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at that nursing home. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.
If Kate can’t uncover the truth, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.
IR– What inspired the idea for your book?
KB– Kate was inspired by my own experiences. Okay, the part about turning fifty, not traveling the world as a war correspondent. I traveled a lot when younger, but not to war zones. But as I faced fifty, I wanted to create a mystery lead dealing with some of the same issues: aging parents, concerns about financing retirement someday, and a body that doesn’t recover like it once did. I also wanted to give Kate a reason to be adventurous and fearless, thus the background as a war correspondent.
IR– Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
KB– I get some of my best ideas while jogging. I’ll get moving and then start thinking about a story problem. Maybe the adrenaline is inspiring – or maybe the feeling of running is reminiscent of being chased, which encourages exciting plot ideas! As a bonus, it makes the jogging time go more quickly.
IR– What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
KB– I didn’t necessarily intend to write humor, but both my agent and my editor said they laughed a lot. That comes from how Kate sees the world, which is how I see the world. Laughter helps with the pain. So I guess I’m a humor writer.
IR– Tell us about a favorite character from the book.
KB– A lot of readers really love Kate, I think because she’s relatable. Another favorite character of mine is her father. They have to learn to live together again as adults. Kate tries to hide her investigation from him, but because he’s not stupid, he figures out she’s up to something. He confronts her, which leads to a lovely moment as they agree that he won’t give her a curfew or advice on dating if she won’t try to “protect” him by keeping secrets.
IR– Where did you come up with the names in the story?
KB– I wanted Kate’s name to have changed, so she was known as Kitty in high school but switched to Kate in college as sounding more professional. Now she’s running into people who knew her back then and still think of her as Kitty, which adds to the bizarre sense of being a stranger in her own hometown. I needed a name that worked with a nickname she might not appreciate now. (I grew up as Christy and switched to Chris in college, but I thought it might be confusing if the character had the same name as the author.)
For other names, I looked at popular names for each generation. The book features characters in their teens, in their twenties, in their forties, and over seventy. Using names that were popular in each decade might help readers remember who’s who.
IR– If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?
KB– Kate’s father has a friend to has gotten into baking in his retirement. As the group of people helping Kate with her investigations grows, they spend a lot of time drinking coffee and eating cookies or muffins or cupcakes. I prefer tea to coffee, but chatting and eating baked goods sounds great!
IR– How do you define success as an author?
KB– If you’re lucky enough to do something that you love in a way that makes you happy, that’s success. For me, that means writing full time and taking jobs for pay in order to write novels that may or may not make money.
IR– Can you share a day in the life of an author?
KB– I am a full-time writer, working from home. I usually spend an hour or so catching up on e-mail and other tasks. Then I work on a novel for a few hours. In the afternoon, I may tackle research, nonfiction books or articles, critiques, or marketing and publicity. A lot of my income comes from educational publishing for young people, which I do under the names Chris Eboch and MM Eboch. I generally don’t work on novels on the weekends, though I may do other business-related activities.
IR– What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
KB– Find a community, whether it’s a branch of a big organization or a local writers group or both. You need emotional support, critique feedback from kind, experienced people, and information on the industry. NEVER publish until you understand the different types of publishing or you could lose a lot of money.
IR– Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?
KB– I enjoy hiking, archery, and reading. I like baking but I try not to do too much of it, for the same reason that I try not to eat as much chocolate as I’d like. Is eating chocolate a hobby?
IR– What are you working on in the near future?
KB– I have three more Accidental Detective books written and scheduled for publication. I’m also writing a series with my brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama (yes, the movie starring Reese Witherspoon). Our new young adult comedy series features “Felony Melanie,” Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie. It’s a lot of fun to work with a writing partner, especially one I’ve known my whole life.
(Find the first two books at Amazon US or other e-book retailers. You can check out the series for free if you sign up for our Rom-Com newsletter and get Felony Melanie Destroys the Moonshiner’s Cabin.)
IR– What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?
KB– For the Accidental Detective mystery series, I started with a character who is trying to reinvent her life as she turns 50. She spent 30 years as a war correspondent, so she’s pretty fearless, but that doesn’t always help her with the challenges of aging. She’s dealing with elderly parents who have health problems, a resentful sister, and a damaged body. These challenges provide complications as she narrates her attempts to solve local mysteries and build a new life.
For my cat café romance novels (Furrever Friends Sweet Romance), I was inspired by the idea of a cat café, where people could hang out with adoptable cats in a café setting. That concept led to the characters, the people who work at the café or visit it regularly (plus plenty of cats).
For some of my other novels, plot came first. My romantic mystery, What We Found, was inspired by finding the body of a murder victim while hiking in the woods. True story! (Learn more here.)
IR– What has been your favorite reader feedback?
KB– My editor is my first reader and biggest fan. It makes the process such a joy when you get feedback such as this: “I have had such a lovely few days reading through your story again. I loved it even more than I did when the team was reading it and thinking about acquiring the manuscript I just LOVE Kate your protagonist and the cast of characters that you built. Your world building is so effective and visual… One of the things I loved was how you had the three generations all working together. Everyone had value.”
Or a more succinct comment from a BookBub review: “Buckle up, because this book is a wild ride.”
IR– How do you interact with your readers?
KB– I send out my Kris Bock Mystery and Romance newsletter every other week. I share funny voice recognition software mistakes, photos of my ferrets and New Mexico scenery, news, and special book promos. Sometimes readers will write back to me, which is always fun.
Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter and get a free Accidental Detective short story and bonus material. This collection includes a ten-page mystery short story set in the world of “The Accidental Detective” series, information about the series, and the first chapter of book 1. After that are three fun, short stories originally written for children. You’ll also get Lions and Love at the Cat Café, a free 30-page sweet romance set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café sweet romance series
IR– What do you look for in a story as a reader?
KB– Some of that depends on my mood, but mainly I like a story that pulls me in so deeply I forget I’m a writer. Otherwise, I tend to analyze the story as I read. I need to care about the characters and understand why they need to do what they think they should do.
IR– What is the first book that you remember reading?
KB– I don’t remember the title, but I remember being annoyed that my dad made me stop reading because the neighbor’s house was on fire.
IR– If you could have lunch with 3 authors who would they be?
KB– I would probably just want to hang out with some author friends, such as Louise Spiegler, Cece Barlow, and Suzanne Morgan Williams. We would talk about writing, of course, and life, which is practically the same thing.
IR– If you went on a road trip with them where would you go?
KB– Hey, a road trip is even better than lunch! Or how about a retreat, with lots of time for talking, writing, and good food? I host a retreat at an abbey outside of Albuquerque every year, and it’s fantastic.
IR– What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?
KB– Make pie crust. I don’t do any of the fancy things you are supposed to do, like chill everything, yet everyone agrees my pie crusts are the best. The trick is to avoid overworking it. If it looks like a big mess when you start to roll it out, you’re on the right track. You could probably say the same thing about writing a book.
About The Book
She’s pursued the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?
Injured in a bombing, war correspondent Kate Tessler returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age of nearly fifty despite living like a teenager again: staying in her childhood bedroom with only a cat for company, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still refer to her as Kitty. The hardest part? Seeing her once-sharp and witty mother stuck in an Alzheimer’s unit.
When an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at the nursing home, Kate limps into action. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.
If Kate can’t uncover the truth quickly, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.
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About the Author
Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance, many with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Get a free Accidental Detective short story and bonus material when you sign up for her newsletter. You’ll also get a free 30-page sweet romance set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café and a printable copy of the recipes mentioned in the cat café novels
Kris is also writing a series with her brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Follow the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie. Sign up for our romantic comedy newsletter and get Felony Melanie Destroys the Moonshiner’s Cabin. Or find the books on Amazon US or All E-book retailers
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