I’m so delighted to welcome Mary Seifert to my blog today who has a new release out in her Kate & Maverick Cozy Mystery Series. I loved her description of her cozy mysteries as “throzies” since they include some thrilling elements! Below are her responses to my interview questions, followed by her bio and buy/contact links:
First off, congratulations on the sixth release in your Kate & Maverick Cozy Mystery Series today. Can you share with our readers a bit about the book and the series?
Thanks so much. I’ve had so much fun writing my cozy mystery series. Book six, Diamonds, Diesel & Doom, was inspired by my dad. He was a jeweler who loved his job, his town, his employees, and his customers – nothing like the cranky, grumpy jeweler in my book and the people unhappy with his business acumen.
My main character, Katie Wilk, and Susie Kelton have been at odds since the moment they met but when a new teacher ingratiates herself between Katie and her students, colleagues, and friends, Susie is the only one to see through the façade and read the signals correctly. Then Susie is accused of killing the jeweler who stole her engagement diamond. Katie puts their differences aside and she and Maverick come to Susie’s aid without putting themselves at risk. AGAIN.
The book release date, August 10, would have been my dad’s 103rd birthday.
I was fascinated that your protagonist, Katie Wilk, is a former cryptanalyst turned math teacher. I read that you were a former math teacher, but is cryptanalysis something you also have a background in?
Puzzles intrigue me and I study a bit of cryptography on the side but am more fascinated by the role female cryptographers have played in history. Each of my books contains a very short biographical mention of one of the many women contributors to our nation’s safety. I belong to the American Cryptogram Association and every month receive a pamphlet filled with coded messages I try, usually unsuccessfully, to decrypt, but occasionally stumble on a new way to encrypt messages.
I love that your amateur sleuth is part of a Search and Rescue team with her Labrador. How did you go about researching the preparation to do Search and rescue work and the experiences of folks in the field?
My sons were in Scouts and one of our leaders had a trained Search and Rescue Canine. He was a fountain of information, and my kids were riveted by the stories. So was I. I have also worked with our local Hospice Canine Care for the Journey program since 2009, and our educator has provided a treasure trove of training ideas for all kinds of dog behaviors. Of course, all of Maverick’s ‘mis’behaviors mimic those of my own lovable Labrador. I don’t have to look hard for those stories. Ya gotta love that dog.
Did you always know you wanted to become a writer? And what led you to decide you wanted to write cozy mysteries?
I loved teaching, and every fall I suffer from a bit of withdrawal, but when we had our wonderful children (wink and smiley face here) I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with them.
I’ve always been drawn to mysteries. My grandfather had a small library, and I could borrow any book as long as I promised to return it. I read shelves of Ellery Queen magazines, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dame Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Nancy Drew, Lillian Jackson Braun, P. D. James, Raymond Chandler, Tony Hillerman, and whoever else I could get my hands on. My mother and I shared Ludlum, Grisham, Connelly, McCall Smith, Cornwell, Reichs, and Turow titles forever. My dad was a notorious storyteller, so I learned from the best.
In the off hours, during naptime or after my children went to bed, I wrote everything from memoir and science fiction to romance and fantasy, but never finished a novel until 2014 when one of my friends asked what I’d done that day. I jokingly answered I was writing a mystery. She wanted to read what I’d written, and I had to confess it wasn’t complete. Her retort was, “Finish it.” Cozy mysteries fit my personality, although at times they are a bit thrilling so maybe they are more ‘throzies.’
You’ve received some wonderful reviews for your novels. What steps did you take to develop your craft as an author?
Thank you! I’ve taken classes at The Loft in Minneapolis whose mission is to “advance the artistic development of writers, foster a thriving literary community, and inspire a passion for literature.” I’ve attended conferences, joined critique groups and Sisters in Crime, allowed beta readers to make their opinions known (which helped a lot), listened to professionals in hybrid presentations, followed authors I admire, read much, and wrote more.
What is your writing process like?
I research. I create a basic outline for each book, although every day it changes with the surprises my characters provide. I edit pretty thoroughly as I move through my story. In each story I try to have a puzzle, a geocache, the female cryptographer, a fact about the Titanic which is a consideration I make in reference to Book 1, Maverick, Movies & Murder, and I have fun.
What’s a typical writing day like for you?
I try to write every day. I feed my dog, get a cup of tea, and settle in with him nestled on my feet or at my side. We take a break to walk and then I return, refreshed, and write into the early afternoon.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
I’ve begun book 7 and am overwhelmed with ideas. It takes place in my for-real hometown and although the places I am conjuring up are fictional, I want to use the location with as much authenticity as I can. So far, I love the story line in my head.
Authors today have various options on their path to publication. Did you decide to pursue Indie, traditional, or hybrid publishing of your work? What led to your decision?
I decided to pursue traditional publishing and have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a small room to prove it. I am so very fortunate to have been found by a publisher who wanted my stories. I love working with Columbine Publishing Group. They know answers to all my questions. They helped make the process as seamless as possible which has allowed me the freedom to write.
Anything else you’d like to add, or wish that I’d asked, but I didn’t?
I hope to keep the surprises coming. Maybe even another series. Who knows?
Thanks for visiting today, Mary!
Mary Seifert can’t leave a brain teaser or puzzle go unchallenged. A former math teacher, she ties numbers and logic to her Katie and Maverick Cozy Mysteries. When she’s not writing, she’s making incredible memories with family and friends, walking her dog whose only speed is faster, carefully deleting reference to murder from her web-browser, and pretending to cook. You can find her nibbling chocolate and sipping wine, both of which sometimes occur while writing and reading. Mary and her husband live in Minnesota where smiles are real, the skies are blue, and the weather can turn on a dime.
Amazon link to all books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2N876FZ
Barnes and Noble link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mary%20seifert