Today, Madi’s Musings is featuring an interview with author Kathy Cretsigner, whose book, Bogged Down by Murder (Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley, Book One) released last Friday (August 31st).
Kathy Cretsinger is has been the owner of Mantle Rock Publishing LLC.
Mantle Rock Publishing LLC is a small Christian publisher, for the past seven years. We publish Christian Romantic Suspense, Christian Historical Romance, Christian Cozy Mysteries, and Christian Contemporary Romance.
Kathy and her husband, Jerry, live in Kentucky. They have two grown children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Their time is spent in the fall between football games and other activities involving the grands.
Kathy also speaks at writer’s conferences. She is deeply involved with KenTen Writers Retreat, which will have their next retreat August 6-8, 2020. You can find more information about the retreat at kentenwriters.org. She is a member of KenTen Writers Group.
Kathy and Mantle Rock Publishing LLC are devoted to help the author find their way in the marketing industry. Kathy is also an author writing under the name of Katt Anderson and now Kathy Cretsinger. Her latest book, Coastal Promises, released in 2019. Another book will be out soon, Daisy’s Story, Nothin’ Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley. You may reach her through http://mantlerockpublishingllc.com . She will have a new website, http://kathycretsinger.com coming soon.
Kathy, it’s great to meet with you today.
Thank you, Madi, for having me on your blog. I love telling people about my writing.
What first inspired or gave you the “spark” to write? Is there a particular author whose books or writing style inspired you?
I was caring for my mother after my father passed away. I always wanted to write, but at that time I had no idea how to go about writing or publishing. A writer friend came to visit and speak at a Ladies Day at church. She sat in our family room and said to me, “Kathy, I know you can write a book.” I thought she had more faith in me than I did, but she helped me to write. She taught me and didn’t laugh when I made horrible mistakes. I will also love Wilburta Arrowood for having faith in me.
Every writer has a message(s) they want to impart to their readers. What is/are yours?
First of all, I want to write clean/Christian fiction. I want readers to enjoy my books. I hope I can help readers to laugh and enjoy their world. I’ve almost died twice, and every day is important to me. Have fun and enjoy this beautiful world we live in.
What is your go-to space for writing?
I have to write in my office. I had to move out of it during the summer because our internet was not dependable in my office. I’m back in the office now. I was in my husband’s space, and he talks all the time. I need quiet.
Do you have a WIP? If so, could you give us a teaser?
I do have a WIP or two or three. The second book, Death by Doubloons, is underway. This is about Liberty Garcia who works for Daisy McQueen Greer in her company, Smart Living. Liberty has to hide out in Shady Valley because someone is trying to steal her gold doubloons. This takes us into more parts of Shady Valley. It should be out in the spring.
What munchies do you like to snack on while writing?
I don’t do much snacking, but I love ice cream. I also make a No Bake Energy Bite that I love. It’s easy and on the internet.
How did you come to be a writer? Was this something that you always knew you were destined to be, or did you arrive at this point via another path?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. I think I felt I had something to say, but when I married and raised my family, I didn’t have time to write. I did tell my children stories all the time. They remind me of the stories to this day.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I love Romantic Suspense and Cozy Mysteries.
Where would be your favorite place to live?
There are two places. I love the beach. We have loved Tybee Island, Georgia for a long time. We’ll be back there in October. I even wrote a novella about Tybee Island in Coastal Promises. My other place would be Scotland. I have family there, and I love to visit. We were there last year, and I loved it. My ancestors came from the Highlands, so I’m Scottish.
What place(s) have you not been that you would like to visit?
I would love to go to South Dakota and the Northwest.
Any words of wisdom for those who are just starting out on the path of writing?
Study the craft. It is so important to learn what to do to write well. Also, get to know authors. They are just like the rest of us. Nothing special except they write well. You can learn from them.
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing. I hate editing. I also read my manuscript aloud before it goes to be formatted. This is such an important step, but I hate to do it.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love to research.
Tell us a bit about your typical (if there is such a thing as typical) day.
I try to get up by 6:30, and I go to my office and read my Bible. Praying and Bible study are very important to me. I also play some games to get my mind working. A normal day is breakfast doing laundry before I go to my office. I like to write some in the mornings, but I prepare lunch almost every day, and that cuts my writing time short. I like to write two or three hours in the afternoon. I owned a publishing company until July 1, but I still kept a few authors that are friends who didn’t want to go with another publishing company. If I am publishing, my writing takes a backseat. I think my clients are the most important. My husband and I walk in the evenings, then I wind down to get ready for bed by either reading or watching a movie on tv.
You just finished your book several days before your deadline. How will you celebrate or reward yourself?
My husband and I went to Red Lobster for lunch.
What’s up next for your readers?
Several years ago, our editor and me wrote a Christmas Bride book. We have taken it and will be releasing each of our stories before Christmas. I’m working on rewording it in places. The name of my book is Keeper of the Stars. It’s about a young woman who works for a country music recording company in public relations. She meets a young man who is a doctor at Vanderbilt Hospital, and they fall in love. Her job is to promote her agents to platinum records. It is a novella, or a short novel. I hope to release it in October.
Do you focus on one project at a time or do you have multiple projects going simultaneously?
Usually I focus on one project at a time. I may have ideas that I’ll write down, but I have to finish one before I can get started with another. I get confused easily.
What was your favorite subject(s) in school?
I would have to say I loved history. Do they still teach it? I had a really dull history teacher, but I still loved the class. I love Civil War history and lighthouses. I love the history of lighthouses, but that’s another story.
Speaking of books, what is your favorite book in the Bible?
I love Psalms. David was such a wonderful writer, and he used things he knew about, such as sheep. I love to read Psalms when I need encouragement. I also love James.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I think I answered that before with Keeper of the Stars and Death by Doubloons. I will have four more books, if I live long enough, in Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’m still mulling over this one. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Superman. If you are asking what makes me keep going, it’s the love of writing. I can visit so many places when I write. I return to memories I have about places and things. Readers keep me going. Can you imagine people reading what you write? It’s amazing when you think about it. I’m amazed that I, a small-town girl, a poor farmer’s daughter, and a grandmother and great-grandmother could write a book. It’s a dream come true for me.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Do not be afraid to do what you believe in. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything. Go for it!
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
As a publisher, we published several novels that were not on the Top 100, but two books we published were Amazon’s #1 Bestsellers. I still love these books. Irish Encounter by Hope Tole Dougherty and A Most Precious Giftby Jacqueline Wheelock.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I like to find a name that I think fits the character. In Bogged Down by Murder, I thought the main character was a “Daisy”. The last name, McQueen, was a name common in Shady Valley, Tennessee. A lot of first names have to do with the area and the time frame. If I know the area, I try to have names common with the area.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The first scene. I hate to write first scenes. I have a friend, Regina Merrick, that has helped me several times with my first scene. Your first scene should make readers want to read more. It has to have punch!
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
It would have to be bread. I love bread, but I’m gluten-free. When I sneak and eat it, I have horrible headaches. Therefore, I eat very little bread. It’s hard to find gluten-free bread that is good.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I loved Nancy Drew books. I think I read all of them.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Study harder. Be a better English student.
On average, how long does it take you to write the first draft of a book?
It takes me about three months to write a cozy mystery. I lock myself in my office, and my husband does not bother me. He even cooks for me. He knows I have to have time to myself to write. The internet is turned off when I write.
Has there been one particular person who has been a major source of influence for one of your characters?
I always have something about myself in my books. Daisy has a lot of me in her. I do not eat red meat, sugar, flour, rice, and anything fried. Let’s say I try to not eat most of those. I definitely do not eat red meant. I do not eat gluten, but that is about where it ends. I do not run, and I do not wear a size 2. I’m also a lot older than she is. My diet made me want to write about this book. I know I can eat healthier if we want to. I put some recipes in this book, and I will continue to do it in the future books.
How do you get inspiration to write?
If you mean daily, my husband tells me I have to get that book finished. If it is an idea of a book, several things give me ideas. My heritage made me want to write Callie’s Mountain. I wanted to tell people about the Melungeon race. With Bogged Down by Murder, my daughter made a statement when we left Shady Valley, Tennessee. We were talking about Shady Valley, and she said, “Well, you know nothing shady ever happens in Shady Valley”. That started the idea. With Coastal Promises, we talked it over with the four of us to write something on the Atlantic Coast. My daughter, Diane Turpin, wrote about St. Simons Island, Georgia, I wrote about Tybee Island, Georgia, Regina Rudd Merrick wrote about Pawley’s Island, and Pam Watts Harris wrote about Outer Banks, North Carolina. It just happened after that.
Kathy, you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for the ancedotes of wisdom, humor, and advice. And, again, thank you for visiting Madi’s Musings.
You can visit Kathy at her website or Facebook.
About Bogged Down by Murder (Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley, Book 1):
City girl, Daisy McQueen, inherits her grandmother’s farm in the mountains of East Tennessee, Shady Valley to be exact. Daisy owns a company, Smart Living, that teaches people how to live healthy, and she is used to city life. Shady Valley only has one small store and one restaurant.
Daisy finds a dead body in her cranberry bog, and she is the number one murder suspect. Harry Greer helps her with her investigation without realizing Daisy is one of the richest women in the world with her company, Smart Living.
Hunters are secretly entering her property from the Appalachian Trail at night. Harry wants to protect her, but Daisy wants to teach the people in Shady Valley how to eat and live healthy.
Someone wants her dead.
My review of Bogged Down by Murder can be found here, and the book is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.