Kate and I met through HCRW in Raleigh – she travels slightly farther than I do, but we meet in the middle – and I love New Bern! – spent a week there every summer with my cousins, so it’s kinda home…
* You are going to be new to many of my readers. Tell us about yourself. I was born and raised in the Washington DC area, went to college nearby at the University of Maryland, and spent most of my working life in the northern Virginia suburbs. When I retired, my husband and I decided that the city we’d grown up in had changed and grown too much for us to want to stay, plus our children had moved away. So we looked at a map, chose eastern North Carolina, and moved here.
It was here, living in the swamps near the coast, that I finally found a subgenre I could successfully write – traditional historical mysteries with a bit of a love story.
* Tell us about the book that’s just come out. Deadly Scandal is the first in the Deadly series. It features a young woman, Olivia Denis, who is suddenly thrown out of her ordinary, comfortable life as a wife and homemaker in 1937 London with the violent death of her husband. While the police believe her husband committed suicide, Olivia knows he was murdered. To support herself, she must find her first job. She is hired by the father of a friend to be a society reporter for his daily newspaper, but the job comes with a secret, secondary assignment. Olivia learns that not only has her life been upended, but Europe is sliding toward disaster.
* What started you on your love of writing? My mother had a complete collection of mysteries from the “Golden Age” that I read as a child. Both my parents were avid readers: history, biography, fiction. My father was a journalist and editor, and I felt a need to copy him. However, I found non-fiction too boring. I wanted to make up my stories and then write them down.
* Do you write in more than one genre – tell us a little about each one and the books you’re working on in each? Everything I write is comes under the blanket of historical mystery. However, I write in three different series.
First are the novellas I write with fellow HCRW member Hannah Meredith along with Louisa Cornell and Anna D. Allen. The series is called Christmas Revels, set in Regency England, and we are currently working on volume 3 to come out in October.
Second is the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries featuring Georgia Fenchurch and her friends that make up the Archivist Society. This is a group that take on the cases that Scotland Yard can’t solve. There have been four in the series so far, The Vanishing Thief, The Counterfeit Lady, The Royal Assassin, and The Conspiring Woman. At the end of The Conspiring Woman, Georgia finally becomes engaged to the Duke of Blackford whom she met in The Vanishing Thief. Her next case will come out next year as Georgia tries to solve a case while getting ready for her wedding.
Third is the Deadly Series, the first of which is Deadly Scandal. More about that is above. The second will be out this year and is called Deadly Wedding.
* Have you attended any writing conference or classes? Tell us about some that and some that have been especially helpful. I’ve found Craftfest, part of the International Thriller Writers conference, Thrillerfest, to be very helpful. For several years I attended the RWA conference and found their workshops useful. Sisters in Crime, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and Pamlico Writers Group all put on good workshops.
* Are you a member of any writing groups? Yes, Sisters in Crime and RWA and various chapters of both as well as New Bern Fiction Writers and Pamlico Writers Group.
* How attached do you get to your characters? Do you know what happens after the book ends? I need to figure out what happens after the end of the book because that leads me to write the next book in the series. I don’t think I could write a series where I didn’t like my main characters. As a result, my stories are not “hard boiled” or edgy. My characters may be stubborn or batty, but they are ultimately decent.
* Describe your ‘perfect’ writing day. A day where I can spend hours in front of my computer, successfully creating new scenes, without telemarketers ringing my phone. They drive me nutty. My mother will soon be 94 and lives in another state. When the phone rings, I need to see who is calling.
* Could you tell us the one question you wish people would ask about your writing… and don’t forget the answer. How long were you writing on a nearly daily basis before your work was clever enough and well written enough to present to the reading public? Twelve years and sixteen manuscripts. That proves I’m either dedicated or crazy.
Kate Parker grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books by Christie, Sayers, and others. Now she can’t write a story without someone being murdered, and everyday items are studied for their lethal potential. It’s taken her years to convince her husband she hasn’t poisoned dinner; that funny taste is because she can’t cook. Her children have grown up to be surprisingly normal, but two of them are developing their own love of literary mayhem, so the term “normal” may have to be revised.
Living in a nineteenth century town has inspired Kate’s love of history. Her Victorian Bookshop Mystery series features a single woman in late Victorian London who, besides running a bookshop, is part of an informal detective agency known as the Archivist Society. This society solves cases that have baffled Scotland Yard, allowing the victims and their families to find closure. The Vanishing Thief, The Counterfeit Lady, The Royal Assassin and The Conspiring Woman are now available online and in bookstores.
This year has brought a new series featuring a young widow in late thirties London who lands a job as a society reporter for a major newspaper. With Europe on the brink of war, the newspaper publisher finds a second assignment for her, one that can’t appear in the paper. The first in the series is Deadly Scanda, the next will be Deadly Wedding.