Our guest to day is Kate George.



Kate has enjoyed a life-long love affair with mysteries, and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella. She then wisely took a break from writing. When Kate realized that she could use her own off-beat sense of humor in her work, she began writing seriously again. Kate loves animals and they find their way into her writing. The incident with the crazy skunk in California Schemin’ (March 2011) is a true account. For the record, the dogs would rather stink than be washed with peroxide, baking soda or dishwashing soap ever again.

Kate is in the house!

Hey, Kate, how many books have you written?

I wrote Moonlighting in Vermont, a mystery which was released by Mainly Murder Press in 2009, and its sequel, California Schemin,’ due to be released in March of 2011.

Which authors influenced your writing?

Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and Enid Blyton.

So, Kate, where do you call home?

Although born and raised on the west coast, I currently live and write in rural Vermont surrounded by children, dogs, cats, horses, interesting neighbors and good friends.

Take it away, Kate!

People often ask me where I got the idea for my first book; Moonlighting in Vermont. Well out here in the boonies, in a town not too far from my home is one of the only five star hotels in the country. Not many of the locals could afford to stay there, the rooms start at one thousand dollars a night. But quite a few of us work there. It’s convenient, and they pay above minimum wage. I was in housekeeping, a turn down maid. They didn’t actually call us maids, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember my exact title.

The kind of people who do stay there are among the rich and famous. The reason they pay so much to stay at that resort is that they are promised several key things: no reporters or photographers, gourmet meals and no fan girls or boys hanging around them. The only staff they were supposed to see was the wait staff in the dining room, the front desk and the drivers, oh and sometimes they saw us turn down techs if they had room service instead of eating in the dining room. But we still weren’t supposed to talk to them.

Sometimes they talked to us though, and each one of the rich and famous that I came in contact with was kind and courteous. They appreciated the services we supplied, and probably the opportunity to relax and be themselves. They were friendly and frankly curious about us.

But those times were few and far between. We were meant to be invisible and to that end the place was built with a lot of hidey holes. There were rooms in the main building, and there were the halls and staircases that the guests used. But we used secret corridors and subterranean passageways and stairs and a hidden elevator. In the cottages scattered around the property there were secret rooms hidden behind bookcases or walls. In fact the select guests that saw us emerge from one of those rooms were surprised and delighted to find that their cottage has secrets.

For me those passages and rooms held possibility. From the moment I came to work there my mind turned to murder. There were just so many opportunities. So many places to hide a body. So many ways to disappear into the woodwork – quite literally.

And so when I foolishly bragged to a friend of mine that I could write a novel, and she dared me to do it, I had my setting. The hotel was already waiting in my mind. And I joyfully killed a character to maintain my reputation as a woman of my word. That book is Moonlighting in Vermont.

As writers I think it behooves us to keep an eye on our surroundings. You may not work in a place with secret passages, but there may be an idea waiting there all the same. You just need to open yourself up to it.

Thanks, Kate! Good advice.

For more information, check www.kategeorge.com

www.kategeorge.com

16 comments

  1. Patrice // November 9, 2010 at 8:35 AM  

    Welcome to the Fuzzies, Kate!
    Your background sounds fascinating and the hotel is the perfect place for your story. What an intriguing place to work. I wish you many, many sales and congratulations on getting your first two books published!

  2. Kate // November 9, 2010 at 8:59 AM  

    Thanks Patrice! I'm delighted to be here - It's very kind of you Fuzzies to host me.

    I have a pretty short attention span, so I've done a lot of different jobs. That really comes in handy while writing. I have no shortage of material!

  3. Mary Marvella // November 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

    Good morning Kate and Patrice! I enjoyed learning about Kate, too.

    Kate, which job did you enjoy the least?

  4. Nightingale // November 9, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

    Kate, I loved Mary Stewart. I'm sure you read the Merlin trilogy (or are there actually 4 books?) And your home sounds very pleasant--I'm a horse lover too. I think it must have been fun working at such a theatrical place.

  5. Kate // November 9, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

    Hi Mary,

    I always like the job I'm doing at the moment worst! My favorite year was the one I was able to stay at home and just write.

    Seriously, I was a forclosure officer for a bank when I was in my twenties. That was awful. I didn't last too long. And truthfully, I didn't enjoy working at the fancy hotel much. Some of the personalities were a bit much!! We were housekeepers for heaven's sake - but I guess there are divas in every occupation.

  6. Cyrano // November 9, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

    Good morning Kate!
    Great question and answer post! I agree whole heartedly with what you said about getting ideas by being observant. I get ideas in all sorts of crazy places. TV is one of those inspirational mediums that helps me. I watch educational stuff all the time...the history channel, science channel, Discovery, NatGeo, to name a few. My teenagers can't imagine why I'd waste my time with shows on the universe, or the rise of the Roman empire, but not only do I learn amazing things, I also get ideas for new stories. Even if that idea is just a particle of an idea, a minuscule clump of imagination clay, I can still mold that sucker into something that intrigues me.
    I have pads of paper all over the house just in case I'm watching something that inspires a tale in my head. Don't want to forget anything. you never know, it might just intrigue a publisher:)
    thanks fo the info on your two books.
    They sound great!
    Have a wonderful day,
    Tamara

  7. Judy // November 9, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

    Welcome to the Fuzzies, Kate! Love the idea for your story. I'm interested in knowing what hotel you are talking about...Woodstock Inn? Great setting and fun story idea!! Wishing you great success with it!!

  8. Kate // November 9, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

    Hi Judy,

    NOT the Woodstock Inn. I'm not sure I should actually name the hotel I worked at. It's actually more exclusive and far more remote than the Woodstock Inn. And more expensive.

    I guess I can tell you if you remember that while my hotel is bassed loosely on this resort it is not actually the same place!

    The name of the property is Twin Farms. The rooms there run upwards of a grand a night! (I probably already said that in the blog, but oh well.)

  9. Kate // November 9, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

    Nightingale,

    Yes Mary Stewart is still one of my all time favorites. I did read her Merlin series, but it was her romances that hooked me to begin with.

  10. Autumn Jordon // November 9, 2010 at 4:49 PM  

    Hi, Kate. First, I love Vermont. One of my favorite places to visit. DH & I were married at Green Mountian Lake. I'm so jealous of anyone who lives there.

    Second, your story and background to write it sounds so awesome. I popped over to your website and saw it's available through amazon. Yeah. DH just bought me a kindle for my birthday. I can't wait to read Moonlighting In VT.

    Finally, I write suspense and would love to try a mystery. Any advice on writing the genre? Do you have a favorite craft book?

    Thanks, AJ

  11. Barbara Monajem // November 9, 2010 at 5:27 PM  

    Secret rooms and passages? Wow! Of course you couldn't help but write a murder mystery!

  12. Scarlet Pumpernickel // November 9, 2010 at 6:40 PM  

    Wow! Wouldn't it be great to win a stay at that hotel? That's the only way we could afford it. What an interesting way to come by you plot. Thanks for visiting with the Fuzzies. Great blog.

  13. Joanne // November 9, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

    Welcome, Kate, to the Pink Fuzzies. Vermont is beautiful. Many years ago, my dh and I stayed at the Grafton bed and breakfast. I have a beautiful oil portrait of the hotel in my upstairs foyer. I wonder if it's still there.
    Best wishes on your book!

  14. Kate // November 9, 2010 at 10:30 PM  

    Well I googled the Grafton B&B and there are so many now I couldn't hazard a guess about which one you stayed at Joanne! It might still be there.

    Winning a nights stay? Hmmmmm. I hadn't really thought they'd be interested in doing any kind of promo with me. But just maybe... I wonder if I can think of something that would tempt the management there?

    Advice on writing Mystery? You'll laugh but I think I'm the worst writer to ask that. I write by the seat of my pants. Mostly I go by what a YA Author - Dean Whitlock once told me - just keep making everything go wrong. I try to keep the who, how and why in my head when I write, just so I don't get too far astray, but other than that I just keep asking myself what could go wrong now. I know it's weak, but it's how I write.

    Favorite writing books? Stephen King's On Writing. I also found Janet Evanovich helpful - How I Write is her book.

    Thanks everyone for making me feel welcome, and feel free to ask more questions.

  15. Mary Marvella // November 9, 2010 at 11:58 PM  

    Good job, ladies!

  16. Mona Risk // November 10, 2010 at 8:18 PM  

    Kate, you got me hooked to your hotel, secrets doors, hidden rooms and celebrities. You have her an amazing setting.