I’d like to welcome Christian mystery author, KC Hart to my blog today. KC and I connected on Facebook this year, and it has been my pleasure to get to know this sweet Southern gal. I’ve read the first two books in her series and enjoyed them both so much! I hope you enjoy getting to know KC through this interview. Following will be my review of her first book, Moonlight, Murder, and Small Town Secrets.
What prompted you to pursue publication?
I had been nursing for twenty-eight years and, honestly, I had not taken very good care of myself. I decided I needed to step down from this profession, at least for a time, and take better care of myself. After about two months of cleaning house, which I really enjoy, I was bored silly. I have been a closet writer for years, but never had the courage to let others read my work. With prayer and a lot of encouragement from my family, I decided to publish a book, just to see if I could. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I truly feel God has directed my path through all of this. There is no way I could have made it this far if He hadn’t opened doors and windows.
What inspired you to write mysteries?
I absolutely love puzzles and mysteries. Perry Mason, Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Scooby Doo… those are my kinds of shows. I love Agatha Christy books, Miss Marple being my favorite character of hers. I think I saw it as a challenge. Could I write a story that would stump readers? There is one thing I want to be obvious in my books, though, my good guys are good guys. You may be stumped by who the actual culprit is, but you know my sleuth, Katy, is a good guy. She has flaws, and messes up, and can be bossy and step on toes, but you know she’s a good guy. You know you can trust her.
How much of your main character, Katy, is patterned after you?
Oh my, you would not believe how many people have asked me this. She is my first fictional character, so there is a lot of me in her. Some of the physical things are obvious. She and I are nurses, and mothers, and musicians. There are some other things as well, like wanting to care for the ones we love. Katy, however, is so brave, and so intuitive. She’s also extremely blunt. Those things did not come from me. One of the biggest things we share is our faith. She does a lot of praying and tries very hard to let her faith flow through her daily life, even when she is dragging a dead body from a dumpster behind the Piggly Wiggly.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing your novel/series? The most rewarding?
The most difficult thing is pushing myself to do too much. I always set the bar too high, then get discouraged if I don’t reach it. Reminding myself that I wrote the best book I could write at that time is essential for me. Reminding myself that if I am doing the best I can, then it is good enough. If I write four books this year, my pushy side tells me to try to write five next year. I love to set goals, but I also have to set boundaries, or I will crash and burn.
The most rewarding thing for me is after I write the story, I lay it aside for a week (I try two, but that’s hard) then pick it back up. When I finally write the end, I think that this story is just not as good as the others, it’s a dud, nobody will enjoy this. Then, I pick it up and read it with fresh eyes. I get into the story and I am enjoying the book. That is the part I like. Reading it and seeing that I created something that someone will enjoy and that Christ is woven into the story and will reach someone through my efforts.
What do you hope readers will take away from one of your books?
I strive to write a story that the reader can lose herself in, but it will ultimately point them to Christ. It is more obvious in some of the books than others. That’s the way the stories flow, but if you look, He is there. If I can stump the reader with the mystery, that is just icing on the cake.
Which authors or books have inspired you the most, as a writer?
Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas. Agatha Christie weaves in clues to her books that you don’t even notice. I would get to the end of the book and say, that was not mentioned earlier. Then I would go back, and sure enough, the clues would be sprinkled through the story in a way that you just didn’t even see. I was amazed and started studying how she did this.
Jane Austin and Charles Dickens both write great characters. Austin’s family interactions are wonderful and Dickens weaves personalities into the story flawlessly.
The Count of Monte Cristo is my all-time favorite book. I also love The Three Musketeers. The guys in those Dumas’s stories knew what they believed, and their beliefs drove their actions and motives. The Count saw himself (though misguided) as an avenging angel of God, and this drove his life. The musketeers were so loyal to a code of ethics that they would die before breaking it. I want my characters to be steadfast in their character like this. I don’t want Katy to be one way in the first part of the book and then flip flop to someone you don’t recognize in chapter twelve.
What piece of advice would you offer aspiring authors?
Write routinely. I don’t write at the same time every day. My schedule won’t allow it. I do try to write every day. I set a word count for the day and for the week. This keeps me motivated. Because I usually write every day, it feels like something is missing when I don’t write. Don’t expect your story to be loved by everyone. Find your group of readers and fall in love with them. They will love your stories when you love writing the stories for them. I know who my audience is, and they are a great bunch of folks.
What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
A lot of things but being with family is at the top of the list. I love spending time with the grandkids. I love to read, I love to play the piano, guitar, and banjo. I found something new this year that I enjoy, and that is crafting trinkets with beads. I started making beaded bookmarks to give away to readers at book parties. Now, I have them everywhere.
What 5-10 adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
Talkative, optimistic, busy, motivated, forgiving, insecure, clumsy
What’s your favorite color and why?
My favorite color seems to change about every decade. In my fifties I am in love with light blue. It just feels soft and peaceful and calm.
Thank you, KC for doing an author interview with me! I’m so blessed to call you a friend. May God continue to bless your efforts as an author, to weave great mysteries with a steady faith.
Moonlight, Murder, and Small Town Secrets, by KC Hart
Katy Cross, a sweet middle-aged Nurse and guitar-playing band member of the Moonlighters, lives in the small Mississippi town of Skeeterville and uses prayer and her sleuthing skills to help uncover several murders.
Two women turn up dead. One under the stage at the local peanut festival and another on the floor of her own bedroom. Are the murders connected, and if so, is the culprit a jealous lover, a greedy family member, or someone hell-bent on revenge? Following the trail of clues, Katy discovers the truth and in doing so puts herself in danger.
This down-home mystery pulses with heartwarming and unforgettable characters and with each chapter increases the readers’ longing to discover who the murderer is. With plenty of suspense in all the right places, Moonlight, Murder, and Small Town Secrets will keep readers turning the pages to reveal the truth.
Hart has a natural, easy writing style that leaves a reader feeling like they just sat down on Katy’s front porch in Skeeterville to enjoy a glass of sweet iced tea and a large helping of her peach cobbler. Weaving faith into mystery in a skillful way, Hart portrays a depth that many mysteries lack and will leave readers coming back for more of her Southern charm.
Thanks for reading!
Do you enjoy cozy mysteries? If so, who are your favorite authors?