Author Spotlight: Kaz Delaney Has a New Release and a Fun Giveaway!
WE HAVE A WINNER! Congratulations, Sharon Forrest, you are the winner of Kaz’s giveaway–a $20 Amazon gift card! Kaz will be in touch with you! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and chatting!!
You know what I love? Getting to know my fellow Tule Publishing authors. They are all such great women, full of enthusiasm and talent and kindness. Kaz Delaney was a joy to interview! Award winning YA & children’s author, Kaz Delaney, and her alter ego, have currently sold 73 titles between them over a 28-year career.
Her books have won many awards, among them the prestigious Aurealis Award for best paranormal and ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) awards. Her novel ‘Dead, Actually’ (Allen & Unwin) was nominated for a Davitt Award, (Best crime novel, Sisters In Crime) in the YA section. Dividing her time between teaching and writing, Kaz formerly tutored Creative Writing for CSU’s Enrichment Program as well as teaching and creating courses for the Australian College of Journalism. Having always had a love of cozy mysteries, Kaz is having so much fun writing her Hart of Texas Mystery Series for TULE Publishing, that she worries it’s not legal!
With their family grown and gone, Kaz lives with her wonderful husband at beautiful Lake Macquarie, Australia, a place she describes as a strip of land between the ocean and lake. Like Rosie, Kaz loves to bake and grow vegetables and unlike Rosie, manages to make a mess of every crochet and craft task she undertakes.
GIVEAWAY! Kaz is giving a $20 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, so be sure to say howdy before you leave! (We’ll choose a name at random on Friday, March 25 at 10 a.m. EST.)
N: Welcome to the blog, Kaz! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: If I’m honest Nan – when I growing up I thought it was the only thing I was good at! My mother had fostered in me a love of books from a very early age, and as many children of my age group, there never seemed to be enough books, and so of course, I took to writing my own. And I never tired of it. As an adult, and after teaching for many years I better understood the drive: I believe I didn’t really have a choice; that it was ‘in me’. You see, I believe writers are born with this passion. It’s something in us that we can’t let go; can’t ignore. In fact, I worry about what will happen if I live to be a very old lady and can’t get the stories out of my head!! Ha!
N: What comes first—the plot or the characters? Tricky question because I write series mysteries. Cozy mysteries to be precise, which are generally quite plot driven. Maybe when the first book was conceived it was character, to get all the recurring players in place, but for subsequent books, having the main players in place meant that plot naturally came first. Like, what kind of dilemma will Rosie find herself in this time – and then it’s going back to find out who created this dilemma. I haven’t always written cozies but still, I think this creation style suits me as I’ve always been drawn to “character situation” and maybe that harks back to my days of writing for children.
N: Your new cozy mystery with Tule Publishing, A Bittersweet Murder released yesterday—that’s so exciting! What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing A Bittersweet Murder?
A: Thank you Nan! I’m incredibly excited. And thrilled that Tule picked up the series: they’ve been a dream to work with. So, to your question: Easy answer, but possibly a basic one. Overall, I discovered how much I truly love this genre, and that maybe I should have followed this path earlier in my career. I’ve always – eternally – been drawn to puzzles and mystery, but I discovered how natural it felt, and how comfortable I was in this new (genre) skin. I also realized that I can’t seem to write anything without adding some romance to it. Ha! I was wary. A seasoned cozy reader told me right in the beginning that cozy readers don’t like romance in their books, but somehow it just felt right for Rosie to find Jonah, and I couldn’t bring myself to take that thread out. And you know – so many of the recent reviewers have said how much they love that thread, like it’s something more to draw them to the series. So, I’m pretty pleased I didn’t, though tempted, heed that advice.
N: Talk to us about writing cozy mysteries. Do you plot out the entire story or does it simply unfold as you write?
A: I’ve done both. However, I’m far more productive – and it’s way less stressful – if I have a grip on where the story is going. I now take a fair bit of planning time before beginning each new book where I list each character (the required 5 or so suspects) and plot out their stories – so that as Rosie is investigating, each could feasibly be the murderer. I give them each a possible motive, clarify how each relates the situation and give them a secret. Once this is done, I write up a basic overview of the story. Unlike some cozy writers, I always know ‘who dunnit’ before I begin. For me, at least, it’s a lot easier than going back and planting clues and red herrings afterwards and trying to tie them in seamlessly. So, do I know every step of the story before I begin? No. How Rosie goes about finding these people and discovering their stories is still organic. I guess maybe what I’m saying is that I know the characters pretty well before I begin, I know the broad overview of the story and who the culprit is – but I don’t know the nitty-gritty, every-moment details. Does that make sense?
N: How much of you is in your character Rosie Hart?
A: Dare I be honest here? Obviously, I’m not young and gorgeous like Rosie, but we do share a lot of similarities. Maybe her worst traits? Ha! Rosie is nosy, and while I hope I’m not nosy, I guess I like to know what’s going on. (Hmmm, Did I just admit to being nosy?) I adore puzzles and mysteries and devour cozy mystery books. Just like Rosie.
We also love to cook and bake and yes, just like Rosie, it’s my love language. Rosie is generous and wants to take care of everybody, and I have been guilty of that as well. And let me tell you, it hasn’t always been the most prudent call. Some people want to solve their own problems. Who knew? Perhaps on a deeper level we also share some other similarities. Rosie’s childhood was very different to mine, but we were both lonely children to some degree. I got my reward in a beautiful husband and we’ve shared a lovely life. I wanted that for Rosie as well – so she found Jonah. Or was it the other way around? So, yes, more than any other character through countless books, Rosie is possibly most like me. Poor girl…
N: Who are your favorite cozy mystery authors?
A: I have devoured all of Candace Havens series. Of course Agatha Christie – the queen of cozies. I found my first one when I was about 14 and was instantly hooked. I have her complete series. GK Chesterton’s Father Brown series. I have a bit of a thing for the older writers – Mignon G Eberhart who wrote in the nineteen forties, yet often her stories were set a few decades earlier. I adore the mystery writers of the nineteen twenties and have a bit of a collection. Earl Derr Biggers with his Charlie Chan books set in Hawaii are brilliant, for example. S.S. Van Dine’s Philo Vance stories? Fabulous. I could honestly fill a page here…
N: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell your readers about?
A: Well, four books in the series will debut this year, which is beyond thrilling. Just two months after A Bittersweet Murder is released, the second book, Preserving the Evidence will hit all the regular platforms. And right now? Nan, I’m having so much fun crafting the fifth book as we speak. The working title is ‘Silence of the Limes’ and obviously I’m easily amused because it makes me laugh every time I open the document. I doubt very much that I’ll be allowed to keep it, but for now, I’m happy to be amused. In this book, someone has tampered with the paved area at the back of Jonah’s house and lo and behold not one, but two dead bodies are discovered buried there. One is recent but one dates back some time. I have to say that’s one thing I’m having so much fun with in this series and it’s accidentally turned into a recurring theme – “tying the past to the present.”
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I haven’t always been good at balancing life with work. I tend to let the work obsess me, which isn’t healthy for me or for my family. So, of late I’ve tried to be mindful and tried to bring in more balance. We’re fortunate that we live quite near the beach so I’ve always been a beach walker, and on warm days we often sneak around there. But now I’ve added Tai Chi (I’m the ungainly one so I’m easy to pick out) and other various groups that force me out of my ‘hole’. Of course, I bake and read, often together which isn’t always advisable. The youngest of our ten grandsons, just 3 years old, is with us three days a week. He’s my husband’s shadow, and he brings such fun and laughter into our lives. I’m a trivia addict so I play pub trivia at every opportunity and travel when we are able.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A nurse, a teacher, a journalist, a psychologist and a writer. Probably all at the same time!!! And I didn’t miss the mark by much. Writer, teacher and psychologist – because I reckon all authors are darned good at analyzing people (a.k.a. characters). We have to be, don’t we? Otherwise, how can we present them as believable people?
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: Series really: The Bobbsey Twins, Nurse Cherry Ames. Then, Little Women, of course. My mum and I used to read it together. In the original movie version starring Kate Hepburn I was fascinated by the drawled accent. They pronounced Mommy and Marmey. When I was at boarding school, my letters to her always began, “Dear Marmey”, and afterward, my mother adopted that as her grandmother’s name when my children were born. It was quickly abbreviated to “Marm” and continued through 9 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: First and foremost, Dame Agatha Christie. I would sit at her feet and absorb every word she had to utter. Mignon Eberhart for similar reasons. Actually, I’d invite them together and discuss the cultural differences of writing mysteries in settings on opposite sides of the world. Finally, my paternal grandfather—a man I adored. He was kind and generous and funny, and he had such an interesting life. He was one of ten children, nine boys and one girl. Eight of those boys banded together and hand-dug coal tunnels that resulted in them owning successful coal mines. Actually, house on land owned by that mine was my first home as a newborn and the mine is still a going concern to this day. Now of course it’s a huge corporation and ownership passed from my family about forty odd years ago, but it was an amazing family and community legacy. I was always going to write down all his stories – and I missed the opportunity. I’d love a second chance. Caveat: At first, I felt I should nominate someone noble here, as these names seemed a bit frivolous at first but you know, these are people who immediately came to mind, and in my mind—these three are indeed noble, so I’m going with them.
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A Bittersweet Murder
Everyone knows everyone in small town Airlie Falls, so where could the killer be hiding?
For one brief hour on a sunny Texas morning, amateur baker Rosie Hart glimpses the life she’s always dreamed about—thanks to a surprise inheritance from the late Miss Alice. But her benefactor is barely cold in the ground when Rosie is accused of her murder.
As the only stranger in the tight-knit Airlie Falls community, and the only person with an obvious motive, all eyes turn to Rosie. Especially when more bodies begin to pile up and mysterious letters from the grave start circulating faster than Rosie can pull a tray of cherry nut clusters out of the oven.
When Rosie begins to suspect the murders have links to a sixty-year-old suspicious death on the very property she’s just inherited, town locals become uneasy. But how can Rosie prove the two are related—and prove her innocence—before the killer strikes again?
What a great interview. I enjoyed learning more about you, your writing process and books.
Thank you Janine. As I’ve already said, I tend to overshare sometimes. But it’s so nice to connect with readers and other authors.
Loved everything about this!! Especially the part about your mother, I personally am a huge fan of this genre and the book sounds wonderful!! Looking forward to more
Than k you Jordan! So great of you to drop by. And I’m so glad you loved that bit about my mom. Her life wasn’t easy, but she really found her calling as a grandmother, and I was very grateful for that.
HOwdy Kaz! YOu are a new to me author! I look frrward to readin your books! 🙂
And Howdy back to you lovely Sabrina. Thank you for such a warm, cheerful welcome. I’m so so glad you’re going to join the Rosie team. As long as you’re not a murder victim (grin) Rosie’s world is a great place to be. Everybody wants to live there! Maybe you and I could be neighbors!
Hi! I love reading interviews! And finding new to me authors! Your books sound fantastic! I’m definitely going to check them out!
Hi Shannon! I love reading interviews as well. Maybe that’s another reason we love cozy mysteries because we’re so fascinated by the lives of others and seeing inside their worlds. I’m very partial to Rosie’s world and her stories and I sincerely hope you get to love them as well.
Happy Book Birthday Kaz! This sounds wonderful! Thanks for answering all the questions in the earlier comments! I don’t need to ask any now. 😉 I’m looking forward to reading this.
Hi Glenda! Thank you for dropping by. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading Rosie’s first adventure – and you’re very kind to just to pop in to say ‘hi’. Nan and I both really appreciate it. Have a great weekend – with luck you’ll find some time to read some great books!
Fabulous interview! I grew up with my grandma reading Agatha Christie books! I’m definitely going to be adding your series to my TBR pile! That pile keeps getting bigger! I need to schedule some reading time in!
Thank you Kim! Those are very kind words and I’m very grateful for such warm support. I found my first (Dame) Agatha Christie under my stepbrother’s bed. My bed actually. He’d come to stay for the weekend (we were exactly the same age) and Mom gave him my room and I slept somewhere else. We were both 13 or 14. After he left I was tidying my room and found what was originally entitled ‘Ten Little Indians’. I read it and was totally hooked. I’d grown up on The Bobbsey Twins and mystery series such as those, but this was my first adult mystery. And here I am today – trying to emulate the great master of cozies the amazing Dame herself… Have a great day!
I enjoyed spending time on Tule and this sounds like a fun series! I really love cozy titles! Wonder what Dame Agatha would have come up with in the vein of today’s titles?
Hi Peggy! Tule is great isn’t it? Everyone involved is just so fabulous and I’m loving being there. I met Nan (in the cyber sense) through Tule and that’s been another gift I didn’t expect. Like you, and many here, I adore ‘cozies’ and enjoying this part of my career more than I have in a long time. It’s just fun! I’m not even sure one should refer to work as fun – and I’m not saying there isn’t loads and loads of work, because there is – but it’s still fun and I look forward to getting to my computer every day. That’s a blessing.
What would Dame Agatha have thought of today’s titles? Such a great question. I think she may have a little giggle. Her own titles were either prosaic like ‘The 4.50 from Paddington’, or a bit lighter and frivolous when she used nursery rhymes, in titles like ‘A Pocket Full of Rye’ or ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’. The ABC Murders is one that could be used today, I guess.
I wonder whether she drew some of the stories from nursery rhymes? I’d love to know where her inspiration came from.
Thank you, Peggy, for such a fun question. As you can see, I could chat with you all day about this!
Thank you so very much for hosting me here today. You are very generous and I loved the questions you set. I’m also very grateful for this opportunity to chat about Rosie and the Hart of Texas Mysteries. I’ll be popping back in to see if anyone else drops in, but for now, I’m going to dive back into ‘working author mode’.
The manuscript (Book #5) awaits patiently, having been side-lined so I could pop my head up and have some fun promoting A Bittersweet Murder. Plus, this morning I received both the proof reading for Book #3 (A Candy Covered Conspiracy) and a request for cover information for Book#5.
See folks? it’s not all sunglasses and autographs. Hahahahah…
And good luck to you all (in the draw for the card). If it was possible, I would give each of you an Amazon card. And maybe one day when I’m mega rich, I’ll be able to do that. (Wouldn’t that be amazing. I’d be like Oprah: “And YOU get a card, and YOU get a card and YOU etc…) For now though, I wish you all loads of luck, and I thank you once more. .
Hello lovely Paula – fellow Aussie! I can’t thank you enough for all the support you’ve shown me over the release of this series. Thank you now for you kind words, and I truly hope you enjoy reading about Rosie and helping her solve the murder mysteries that come her way. Is it raining where you are? It’s pouring here on the mid east coast – such crazy weather. Yesterday my husband and 3yr old played at the beach, today I want to curl up with hot chocolate and a blanket! Thank you again, and whatever the weather I hope you have a fabulous day.
Thanks for sharing! I love reading new cozies.
Thank you so much Sharon. I adore them too, and always have. In fact, I’m not sure why it took so long for me to actually get to write them. I think I’m here to stay now, though. I’m enjoying writing this series more than anything else I’ve ever written – and that’s saying something! I just said to my publisher yesterday that it will be a real wrench for me when it comes time to end it – a time that’s, thankfully, a way off yet. Phew.
Wonderful interview. Honestly haven’t read any cozy mysteries just yet but they are definitely a genre I want to dive into. I love how the author says that it was just in her to write. I always felt the same way growing up❤️
Hi Tina, thank you for dropping by. Yes, I’m with you. I think authors are just born with this need to write. I’ve known so many successful authors who, for one reason or another, announce their retirement. And then after a little break, you see them back again and they all say the same thing – that after a while they
re just drawn back; can’t stay away. I hope you enjoy cozies when you get to them. They’re pure joy.
Fabulous interview. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Hi Debra! I met you yesterday and it’s so lovely to see you here. You’re a truly wonderful support for us authors and I thank you for that. God Bless you – as I know He will and is.
This book sounds great.
Hey Kelly! We met yesterday as well and it’s fabulous of you to support both Nan and I here today. Thank you for those lovely words. I think it’s a great book, but then I’m prejudiced. Ha! But if you love small towns with a strong sense on community, a juicy mystery, a bit of romance and a few giggles along the way, then you might actually enjoy this book.
I loved your interview, especially the part about your mother becoming Marm.
Hi Liz! Thank you for dropping by. I’m so glad that part about my mother touched you. It’s a story I’m proud of and it meant so much to us – her and I. I’m not even sure that all the great grandchildren know why they, and we, called her Marm, and I must rectify that so the story isn’t lost. It’s nice when a name has a deeper meaning, isn’t it?
Denise M Austin
I am so looking forward to reading this book. It sounds amazing. I am so glad it will be a series. Great interview thanks for a chance to get to know Kaz better.
Hi Denise, thank you so much for dropping by, and for such kind words. Yes. it most definitely is a series. As I said 4 books out this year – March, May, July and October which is a Christmas one. Then one in February 2023 and another (I think) July 2023. Those last two are officially contracted but, very naughtily, I can’t remember the exact release dates at the moment. It’s been lovely being here and Nan is such a generous and warm interviewer.
Roseann McGrath Brooks
Good cozy mysteries are hard to find; I look forward to reading this one!
Hi Roseann, I agree with you that a great series is always a blessing, and so good when you find one that resonates with you. Tule are such astute publishers, and I’m proud and pleased to be joining them for this series. I hope you enjoy Rosie’s adventures. And thank you so very much for dropping by and taking the time to say ‘hi’. It’s such a joy to get to meet readers and other authors as well.
Kathleen L Shaputis
I love the name Marmey for a grandmother, how clever is that! Your mom sounds wonderful and totally jealous with the 15 great-grandchildren. I totally agree that as writers we are pseudo psychologists with our characters. We do have to understand their angsts and dreams. Congratulations on the new series! I love Tule books and so glad you’re a new part of the family.
Hi Kathleen! What a lovely welcome and thank you so much for that. Yes, we are in full agreement on the psychoanalyzing thing. Possibly like me, and whole slew of other authors you’re a people-watcher? I adore watching people; making up stories about them in my head; watching their reactions… And yes, Marmey. It is very unique and I’ve never heard of another. Had my mother passed when I became a grandmother, and thankfully she hadn’t, I’d have been tempted to carry it on. But then again – there is/was only one and perhaps it’s best to allow her that honor. She was very loved by her grandchildren and those great grandies that she got to meet. There are 16 great grandchildren now and 10 of those are my grandchildren. All boys – ranging from 24 this year, down to 4 this year. And they are all very adored. I’m a very proud grandmother.
Kathleen I forgot to add that my mother’s real name was Kathleen. As was my mother-in law. It’s a name that fosters very warm feelings in me.
Congratulations this sounds amazing
Thank you so much both for dropping by and for your comment, Katherine. I happen to think the series is amazing – but of course there IS a slight chance that I’m biased. Ha! If you choose to give it a go I’d love to hear what you think. But most of all, I just hope you enjoy the story. Have a great day (it’s just 10am here so we’re just into a new day).
I love to read interviews from the author and learn about her life and the books she writes. Thanks for your great generosity.
What a wonderful interview. I enjoyed your writing process.
Hi Denise! Thank you so very much for those kind words. It’s honestly fabulous to have the opportunity to reach out and connect with readers and other authors, and I’m very grateful to nan for providing that today. And it’s always fun to talk about our books and what’s happening in our author lives. And even more fun to have an attentive audience who actually care, so thank you again.
Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this interview. Nan is very experienced and very generous with her questions and I’m very grateful to her. On my part, I’m a classic over-sharer, so people often learn more about me than I intend. Ha! I have a couple of author friends who have a persona they keep totally separate from their real lives, and thus when interviewed, they remain in that persona. It’s not wrong, it’s just their way, but in honesty? I’d forget what I said last time and get myself into a load of trouble. (insert crazy laughter emojis) Thank you for dropping by, I really appreciate it, and getting to know you a little as well.
Ladies! Good Morning! Kaz had a great rollout on TBC last night! I just wanted to send my support today. I’ve got to run, I’m meeting Megan’s just discovered twin sister!!!
“Not fair! Come back,” she pleads – laughing as she does. Meghan has a just discovered twin sister? That’s quite a bombshell to drop and then run. This a story you’re writing, right? If not, I’m stealing it – there I’ve said it out loud. Haha… I’m so intrigued and story lines are going crazy in my head. I can almost see the wires fizzing and arcing, the sparks shooting out in a spectacular fireworks display. (NB, if my head actually catches fire or explodes before I get to respond to all you truly lovely people, then we can blame William, okay? Ha!)
William, thank you so much, again, for your wonderful support. I had such a fabulous time at Tule Book Club yesterday. Everyone was so welcoming and kind. And I appreciate you dropping by, even when you’re so busy.
Good morning! I love reading interviews with authors about what got them started writing and how they come up with their characters. It’s so fascinating to read all the different answers!
Good morning Misty! I remember meeting you yesterday and I love your name by the way. It immediately invokes all kinds of beautiful, serene images. It’s very calming.
And yes, despite being published for many years now – it must be getting close to thirty years, I guess, (Note to self: hunt out first book and check the imprint page) – anyway, despite that, I too, adore reading how authors got started. I never, ever tire of their process stories; I find them endlessly fascinating. Everyone is different and we each have a different tale to tell.
Thank you so much for dropping by, I know both Nan and (especially) I really appreciate it.