An engaging new mystery series is always a cause for celebration! Below, S.A. Kazlo talks about her new series and teacher-turned-writer career:
First off, congratulations on the release of KIBBLES AND DEATH, the first book in your Samantha Davies mystery series. Can you tell our readers a little about what inspired you to write it?
Thank you for your well wishes. I appreciate them. I’ve always been an avid reader and the cozy mystery genre really caught my eye. For years I wrote for children’s magazines. I even penned a couple of books but never really pursued publication for them. About five years ago I decided to give writing a cozy a try and really liked the challenge. Like many authors during the pandemic, I decided to get serious about finding a publisher for Kibbles And Death. I was fortunate that Gemma Halliday Publishing liked my characters and their story and picked me up.
I know that you’re a retired teacher. Teaching is such a demanding career. Were you writing at all while you were teaching, or is writing a novel something you began after retiring?
Teaching and raising my family pretty much occupied all my time during my teaching career. Towards the end, I started to dabble in writing for children and realized I had a talent for writing.
A related question: Did you always know you wanted to write?
Sort of. I was an editor of my high school paper, but didn’t really take myself seriously until my retirement loomed before me.
Were you an avid reader as a child? Any favorite authors or books during your childhood?
As a child no. I had a difficult time reading out loud which was the main stay of teaching reading years ago, but as a teen I loved historical novels, especially John Jakes. Now I feel naked if I don’t have a book in my hands.
Are there particular authors who’ve inspired you as an adult?
I love the cozy mysteries of VM Burns and Catherine Bruns.
What is your writing process like? Are you more of a planner, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?
My writing process is whatever time I can fit in around the schedule of my three grandchildren. I’m in-between a panster and a plotter. I have to have at least a loose outline, then I fill it in as I go.
A big decision authors have to make is whether to self-publish or to be traditionally published. What did you decide, and why?
I guess I’m more of a hybrid published author.
At the ripe age of 74 I didn’t want to waste time trying to get traditionally published. I certainly admire all those authors who are, though.
What advice would you give aspiring authors about honing their craft?
Simply go for it. You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
To find some more bodies for Samantha to stumble across.
Anything else you’d like to add, or wish I’d asked but I didn’t?
Book 2 in my Samantha Davies Mystery series, DOGGONE DEATH, will be released on November 8th.
About KIBBLES AND DEATH:
After a nasty divorce, Samantha Davies has finally gotten her life back on track. She enjoys her hobby of hooking—rug hooking, that is—and is fulfilling a lifelong dream by writing her first children’s book, featuring her dachshund, Porkchop. But the pleasant pace of her life in small-town Upstate New York is suddenly shattered when she finds the dead body of the local pet shelter owner—murdered and covered in kibble!
While Calvin Perkins wasn’t the most beloved man in town, Samantha’s shaken to think there’s a killer among them. Even more so when her octogenarian neighbor’s boyfriend becomes the police’s number one suspect and her neighbor pleads with Sam to help him. While Sam’s research skills have been honed in her pursuit of a publishing career, she’s not convinced she won’t be in over her head. Calvin may have been great with the animals, but he wasn’t well-liked by people, creating a list of suspects almost as long as Porkchop’s favorite bone. But with the help of her Southern belle cousin, Candie Parker, Sam vows to find the truth…even if she has to go toe-to-toe with the handsome new detective in town to do it. Old grudges, new secrets, and danger around every corner means Samantha better find the killer’s identity quickly…before they set their sights on another victim!
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Syrl, a retired teacher, lives in upstate New York with her husband and two very lively dachshunds. Kibbles and Death is the first book in her Samantha Davies Mystery series, featuring Samantha Davies and her loveable dachshund, Porkchop. When not writing she is busy hooking, rug hooking that is, reading and enjoying her family. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Mavens of Mayhem.