The Crime Fiction Lounge Podcast

Episode #18 – Kathleen Valenti, Author of The Maggie O'Malley Mystery Series

March 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 18
The Crime Fiction Lounge Podcast
Episode #18 – Kathleen Valenti, Author of The Maggie O'Malley Mystery Series
Chapters
The Crime Fiction Lounge Podcast
Episode #18 – Kathleen Valenti, Author of The Maggie O'Malley Mystery Series
Mar 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 18
Paul Stretton-Stephens
Paul chats with thriller author Kathleen Valenti about her latest mystery, As Directed.
Show Notes Transcript

Today I’ll be chatting with Kathleen Valenti the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol, fan favourite, 39 Winks, and Kathleen’s recent release, As Directed, which has been hailed as a “Gripping tale of malice” by bestselling author Liv Constantine. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humour and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. 

I hope you enjoy the interview?

Speaker 1:
0:01
Hello and welcome to the crime fiction lounge, or you're listening to episode 18 where I'll be talking with author Kathleen Valenti about her new novel as directed. It's a third in the Maggie or Molly mystery series.
Speaker 2:
0:15
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the crime fiction lounge, the place for crime fiction lovers. Sit back, relax and unwind by you, listened to some of your favorite crime fiction thriller authors, and here's your host, Paul Stretton Stephens.
Speaker 1:
0:42
Today I'll be chatting with Kathleen Valenti, the author of the Mcgill Marlene mystery series, which includes the Agatha and lefty nominated w novel protocol fan favorite 39 winks and Kathleen's recent release as directed, which has been hailed as a gripping tale of malice by best selling author lift Constantine when Kathleen isn't writing page, turning mysteries about combine humor and suspense. She works as a nationally award winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon, in the USA with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Hi Kathleen. Welcome to the crime fiction lounge. How are you today?
Speaker 3:
1:23
Hi Paul. Thank you so much. I'm well, how are you?
Speaker 1:
1:25
Yeah, I'm really good. I'm really good. Now you're over in Oregon in the USA?
Speaker 3:
1:30
That's correct. I'm actually in central Oregon in a town called bend. Is that because of the river? It is because of the river. It was originally called farewell bend because it was the last bend of the dish shoots river before people left the area.
Speaker 1:
1:44
Oh right, okay. Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. I never been in that part of the world, but so are you like south of Washington and
Speaker 3:
1:52
that's right. Yeah. So we're, we're smack DAB in the middle of the state and it's actually, I'm a little different from what most people think of Oregon as we're on the dry side of the mountains. So we're actually in a high desert and uh, just nestled up against the cascades. So we're, we're really a ski town, but it's a kind of a force season, recreation paradise.
Speaker 1:
2:12
Oh, right. Interesting. Sounds Nice. It is nice. Thank you. Yeah. I'll have to ask you before we go any further, I've seen your Twitter account and you actually say on there that you have a natural love for Monte Python, black micturition red wine. Now, where'd you get the love for multipart and from,
Speaker 3:
2:30
Oh, I dunno. I think it goes way back. I, the love affair started when I was probably a teenager and it's just continued unabated ever since. In fact, my favorite thing to listen to in the listen to in the car is, um, the holy grail. I have the album of the soundtrack of the trailer, of the film of Monty Python and the holy grail.
Speaker 1:
2:52
Oh Wow. Very interesting journeys.
Speaker 3:
2:56
Yes. It passes the time
Speaker 1:
2:57
I've read it. Does. I read? It does, yes. Now for our listeners, um, could you just give us a little bit about, uh, you know, your background and what life's like for you right now?
Speaker 3:
3:08
Sure. I'd be glad to. Well, I'm a, I'm an advertising copywriter and I like to say that I've written for my supper for more than 20 years. And as a copywriter, that basically means that I write ads for living. So everything from television to video to print, to bus benches, refrigerator magnets, if it takes words, that's what I do. So it actually was a terrific proving ground for being a novelist because you know, as a copywriter, you there, there's no time for writer's block. So it teaches discipline, perseverance, and you know, how to incorporate feedback and most importantly, how to tell a good story. Um, so that's Kinda my background. And then on the personal side, I just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary and my husband and I have two, two children.
Speaker 1:
3:56
Oh, congratulations.
Speaker 3:
3:59
25. Right?
Speaker 1:
4:00
Yeah. Okay. I also see that in your ancestry, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, you're, you're blessed with Armenian roots.
Speaker 3:
4:08
That's right. Yes. And Armenian on my dad's side. So my maiden name was Mel Konijn. And so difficult for people to pronounce that going to Valenti seemed like an easier choice in to keep the maiden name.
Speaker 1:
4:19
Yes. Story with all your, all your routes important to you.
Speaker 3:
4:24
They are, um, so much so that I'll always have an Armenian character in every book that I write and my first book protocol that was [inaudible] and [inaudible] is named after my great grandmother who came over from Armenia at the turn of the last century.
Speaker 1:
4:42
Interesting. Okay. I'm sure the readers will be able to spot the characters then.
Speaker 3:
4:47
Yes, exactly. Yeah.
Speaker 1:
4:49
What do you do in your spare time?
Speaker 3:
4:51
Well, there's not a whole lot of that. Um, we do, since we live in bend and we're sort of known for recreation, we do a lot of outdoor things. So we like to snowmobile, we like to hike. I like to say that I pretend to enjoy running, which is pretty accurate. And then of course, time with the kids and um, you know, just being outside and enjoying nature.
Speaker 1:
5:14
Oh good. And you were in the ideal spot for that?
Speaker 3:
5:17
Absolutely,
Speaker 1:
5:18
yeah. Yeah. I think I was a little look earlier role anyway, a description about the area of Ben. Is it a massive forest as well to sort of the, the West, the east of you?
Speaker 3:
5:33
Yeah. It's very interesting because since we're right up against the cascades, um, against the mountains, we have beautiful pine forest. So it's very, very much what you think of as Oregon. Yeah. But since we're in a high desert, we also have a very arid climate, so you'll see a lot of a juniper and sagebrush. So it's this really interesting in between, um, you know, both this very arid climate and also, um, you know, you start traveling west, something more kind of lush and forested. Um, it is just beautiful and a lot of variety. Right now we have a huge amount of snow. We got about two and a half feet in the last 48 hours, so we're just buried here.
Speaker 1:
6:13
But you're all prepared for that. We're always ready. Always ready. So yeah, you're used to it. You're used to it. We are a little bit of snow and everything comes to a grinding halt.
Speaker 3:
6:24
Oh, I bet. Well, you know what, that's true actually here in Oregon and other parts of the state, especially in the Willamette valley where Portland is, for example, it doesn't take much snow to slow everything down.
Speaker 1:
6:34
Yeah. Yeah, they're heroes shut the schools. Transport doesn't work. You name it. Yeah. Just not used to it, you say. Exactly. Well, let's talk about your writing. Um, but before we get really into that, I mean, I hear you were nominated for an Agatha award. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Speaker 3:
6:52
Oh yes. Oh, such an honor. Um, yes, that was nominated for an Agatha for best first novel, uh, for my debut protocol, which was a huge honor. In fact, it was so funny because when I, when I heard news of the nomination, I actually had pneumonia and was very, very ill. And I was so shocked by the nomination that I was certain that I was hallucinating from my fever. But in fact it was true. And the book was also nominated for a lefty also for best debut. And, um, you know, it's an honor to not just be nominated, but to be in such a wonderful company. And I became really good friends with my fellow nominees, all of whom are wonderful novelist and human beings. And it was just such a pleasure to have the experience of being nominated. And getting to know them and getting to know readers as well. And um, you know, if you don't know the Agatha is a prestigious award that's given by malice domestic, which celebrates traditional mystery.
Speaker 1:
7:52
Yeah. Yeah. And the lefty, what, what was that one? Because I'm not familiar with that one.
Speaker 3:
7:55
Yeah. So that's for, um, another conference called left coast crime and it's also crime fiction, but a little bit of a broader care category. So we have everything from cozies too, you know, hard boil to police, procedural to thriller. And so, yeah. And it really is definitely concentrated in the west. Um, but Novelis from all over the country attend and that was a great honor as well.
Speaker 1:
8:19
Oh, excellent. Congratulations. Thank you. Yeah. So when did you actually start writing novels?
Speaker 3:
8:26
Oh boy. So, you know, it's kind of embarrassing to say how long it took me to write my debut. Um, I'm going to say it was probably six years. So if we talk about the novel writing career, we're going on probably nine years now. And you know, despite the discipline that I have for writing, because of my job as a copywriter, it was so easy to put off writing a novel because they didn't have a deadline. And so I took my sweet time, uh, protocol and kind of getting it ready and I really wanted to go the traditional route of publication, which meant getting an agent. And that in itself took the longest time. And part of it is because, um, it's really hard to break in. The rejection rate among agents is 99%. So there's that. And also there's also, um, you know, just the readiness of the book. I know I look back at my early drafts and then what actually went to print and there was definitely some growth there.
Speaker 1:
9:26
Okay. I have to ask is why, why did you decide to write crime fiction and why medical or pharmaceutical series?
Speaker 3:
9:33
Ah, such a good question. Well, it's funny because I was actually an English literature major and so, you know, I love literature and I have, have read a lot of literature, but my heart really belongs to crime fiction. And so as soon as I graduated, I basically decided that's all I'm going to read. I'm going to read just for pleasure and I'm going to read only what I want to read, which as it turns out, is pretty much exclusively mystery. And so reaching for that particular genre to write in was an easy call. And then why would I write about pharmaceuticals when I'm a copywriter? That is an excellent question because I, you know, I don't know anything really about that world, but, um, I think it's because, you know, medications touch so many parts of our lives in the US, something like 75% of people take a medication on a daily basis and you know, that reliance on medicine gives pharmaceuticals a lot of power to do good and sometimes not so good.
Speaker 3:
10:32
I'm sure you've seen the headlines. Um, it's, it's definitely a category that's ripe for the picking, but because that's not really my background, it required a lot of research. Fortunately that, um, wasn't too difficult because my day job as a copywriter, I write about a lot of things. I mean, I write about everything from sports apparel to brake calipers to school buses. I mean, fruit stickers, anything you can imagine. I have to become sort of an instant expert on. So that part was familiar. And I also have a friend who works for big Pharma and he was absolutely instrumental in helping me write this book
Speaker 1:
11:12
can very well with one of my previous guests, Elizabeth doozy. She writes her pharmaceuticals for others as well.
Speaker 3:
11:19
Oh, very good.
Speaker 1:
11:20
Yeah, you owe, you will get on really well with her, I'm sure. Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, she did have a technical background in pharmaceuticals, used to run right. Training manuals and guidelines for larger companies, et Cetera, for many years. But, um, yeah, you, you too. We'll get on really well, I'm sure. I'm sure now which writers inspire you.
Speaker 3:
11:42
Oh, you know, there are so many wonderful writers, um, men and women I deeply admire. Stephen King is a favorite. That's not necessarily a mystery, but of course, you know, he'll always inspire me. Um, I've really lately been into the works of Ruth where a country Roman of yours. Um, Jonathan Kellerman Harlan Coben. I mean, the list goes on and of course I'm talking specifically about crime fiction because that's kind of where my head's at right now. Of course there are the, you know, the classics in Literature, um, Hemingway and you know, a host of others. There's just so much inspiration out there. It's hard to narrow it down and so, so much good work being done. I think that's the most interesting part for me, especially from a marketing perspective, is that there are a lot of books out there and a lot of really good books and that is very exciting.
Speaker 1:
12:35
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it is exciting. There's a lot of competition out there as a lovely collaboration out there as well, which are, you know, as I'm really, really keen on, but where do your ideas come from for originality?
Speaker 3:
12:51
Well, now that I'm in sort of this pharmaceutical world that narrows sort of, um, my ideas a bit. I will say a lot of my initial thoughts come from the news. Unfortunately, there's a lot of fodder out there. And so, uh, sometimes that's sort of a brain tickler and of course the power of what if that is oftentimes the way a story starts. Um, for my second book, which was called, um, 39 winks, that was actually a little bit more personal. It says sort of a sleep walking mystery, sort of sleep crime. And that was actually inspired by my own life because I'm a chronic sleep walker. So that was, yeah. So that one was kind of, you're no, fun is the right word, but interesting to write because it's something so close to me. And um, it actually worked really nicely. It was sort of this medical angle. Uh, anyway, there are a lot of forms of inspiration out there, but I will say the news is one of them. And then just being kind of in this medical world kind of directs and narrows the field.
Speaker 1:
13:54
Yeah. Well, what's your process of writing? I mean, are you a, are you a real plotter? You're a planner, your outline?
Speaker 3:
14:01
I am a plotter. Uh, and I think some of that is sort of my discipline that I've gotten from running over the years. I, I admire those who can just buy it by the seat of their pants, but I just don't know how that can be done. I just can't even imagine, especially with mystery where you have, you know, you're going for this, you know, this one goal and you have to have red herrings and you have to clues along the way. So I am just in awe of those pantsers but I am very much a plotter. I do a very detailed outline, you know, like 30 pages where I have everything all worked out. And it's interesting because sometimes the outlines are not quite as complete or as foolproof as I think, especially like this last book. Um, I thought I was ready to roll but maybe two thirds in on my process I realized that it wasn't exactly what I was going for. So I had do quite a bit of Pantsing, which I think makes me a plant sir, I think is the term. Yeah. Was good.
Speaker 1:
15:00
Is there an interesting question that for authors, because everybody is so, so different. Um, I mean you're, you're very detailed. You say about 30 pages are people who just have, there's about 30,000 words, which is tremendous. And they spent a long time doing that. They say in the end it speeds up the actual novel writing process and the ad because they've got all their doing really is putting the flesh on the bones. They said, uh, and then there's other people like you say, a pastors, um, some people do the first seven chapters and then see what happens. Hmm. So it's really fascinating on, you know, how how people work.
Speaker 3:
15:35
It is fascinating. In fact, um, I was just reading an interview by another crime fiction novelist who said that she didn't even know who done it in the book that she was writing until she came very close to the end. And I thought how terrifying. But also how very exciting, I can't even imagine it, but I, I sort of love it.
Speaker 1:
15:52
Yeah, that would be exciting, wouldn't it? And how important our daily work counts for you.
Speaker 3:
15:58
They are absolutely essential. When I was first starting out with protocol and as I said, it took me a good long time. I actually met with a, uh, local novelist just to sort of get her read on how I was doing, where I was going. She asked me how long had been writing, how many words I had, and when I told her, she said, well, what are you doing? You're, you know, you're just editing the same words over and over again. You have to make a daily word count and you have to meet that count on no matter what. And that was so liberating because it got me out of this cycle of just, um, re-editing and it allowed me to turn off that sort of internal editor. So meeting those word counts is absolutely essential for moving forward because I do think otherwise it is just really tempting to sort of a craft each syllable and you know, just not really making any progress. And then you can always go back and fix whatever you're not happy with or smooth things out or we find the storyline. But I think, I think it's about progress, not perfection, especially on that first draft.
Speaker 1:
17:00
Yeah. And how'd you actually write, you write by hand, you work on a laptop or a PC. Do you dictate how, how do, how does it work for you?
Speaker 3:
17:08
I work on a laptop and I know that a lot of people use, um, wonderful programs. I just use word and um, you know, it's, it's sort of very basic, but it works for me and I'm very sort of catches catch can send people, you know, have a very, um, strict your team role. They'll get up at four o'clock in the morning and they'll write for two hours and that sort of thing. And I just sort of have to ride around the edges because I'm so busy with my day job and with the children, it's whenever I can, right. Is when I'll put in the time. So there I am on the laptop literally in the living room, just using, you know, Microsoft word in a way. I go,
Speaker 1:
17:46
yeah. Yeah. Great. Let's talk about you. Your new title that's coming out of it released on the 12th of March. So it's as directed, the third book in the Maggie O'malley series, is that right? Okay.
Speaker 3:
17:59
That's right. That's exactly right.
Speaker 1:
18:00
Yeah. Could you, without giving away too much, um, give us an idea about the plot.
Speaker 3:
18:07
Oh, I'd be glad to. Yes. Like you said, it's the third book in the series and in this book, Maggie has this big transition. She's gone from working in pharmaceutical development. You going behind the counter as a pharmacy tech and a drug store. And you know, this change in profession was really such a great opportunity for me and for Maggie to stumble into a new mystery and to somebodies. And I think that's one of the big challenges for someone who writes amateur sleuth is how do you keep involving your protagonist in mysteries. And so this sort of change in profession change in venue gave me that opportunity. And so early on in the book, Maggie discovers several customers who died or nearly died in the drug store. And it so happens that she actually helped most of those customers, uh, just previously. And because she is recovering from a head injury, which happened in the previous book, it's a little problematic because she's a little confused on maybe what she did in her role as a pharmacy, pharmacy tech. So that's sort of the backdrop. Um, the book was inspired by Maggie's new job and also partly by the Tylenol murders here in the u s in 1982. I was 12 at that time, and that's actually the same age as the first victim of, of those poisonings. And I really remember very well this sort of unsettling feeling of realizing that none of us are safe, not really. Um, and that became another point of inspiration for the book.
Speaker 1:
19:39
Oh, I see, I see. Can you tell us a little bit about Maggie?
Speaker 3:
19:43
Oh, Maggie. So she's a 20 something. She's hardworking, driven, and a little bit of a mess. Uh, shit, despite her brilliance and her brains, she's a little haphazard, like I like to say that she's held together by postit notes, dry shampoo and questionable choices. Okay. So she's very much a flood character, fiercely independent of very loyal, often to a fault. And, uh, driven by a desire to right wrongs, which makes her, of course a perfect heroin for crime fiction.
Speaker 1:
20:18
Oh absolutely. As she has a friend, doesn't she live at live Constantine?
Speaker 3:
20:22
Well, yeah. So, so it's funny because her, her best friend is Constantine and he is just a friend in the first book. And then by book three I'm giving a little bit of way, he becomes more than a friend and he's sort of her partner in crime or crime solving I should say. And very much an important character. He's almost there. They're a duo in many ways. And I would say he's almost important as she is. In fact, most readers love Constantine if not as much as more than Maggie. And I sort of agree with him. He's very funny and charming and irresistible.
Speaker 1:
21:01
Okay. So what was your inspiration or your motive for this particular story?
Speaker 3:
21:06
Well, it is a little bit about, um, like I said, the Tylenol murders and Maggie's, um, new job behind the counter at this, at this, uh, test, small town drug store, and just the way that she has no longer been able to trust herself since she's had this injury. So a lot of it is about, uh, whom can you trust? Can he trust yourself? Can you trust others? And the idea of poisonous relationships,
Speaker 1:
21:38
oh, I'm going to small town. Whereabouts is it? Sap.
Speaker 3:
21:41
So it's set in a fictional town called hollow pine. And it, I just say that it's in the Midwest. Um, and you know, some people sort of call this a cozy, I wouldn't call it a cozy, it's more of a traditional mystery. And there the, the focus isn't so much on the setting of the town, but more so the setting of Maggie's workplaces. You know, in the earlier books she was in, you know, pharmaceutical lab, now she's behind the counter of a drug store. So the setting is really the store. The town kind of provides a little bit of context, but it is sort of more of these work environments where all the action happens.
Speaker 1:
22:17
Oh, I see. Oh, sounds intriguing. They often say a good villain can be hard to write. How do you go about doing it?
Speaker 3:
22:26
Uh, I, you know, I think the most important, well, one of the most important things to consider when developing a villain is making sure that villain is human. Um, it's so easy to create these sort of stock characters where, you know, someone is all good or someone is all bad. But I think one of the most interesting parts of writing of a villain is what is his or her motive for the crime. And I think very often, not always, but very often it's rooted in, um, something other than evil. And so I explore those kinds of themes and all my books, you know, why are these villains doing these things? And in some cases it's not just for revenge or money or it sort of the traditional motives that we see. Some of it's rooted in the past and some of it's rooted in a desire that you might actually think is a good thing.
Speaker 1:
23:21
Yes. Yes. That's always a possibility. When was the possibility now in as directed? Which scene did you most enjoy writing?
Speaker 3:
23:30
Uh, you know, I'd actually say it's the opening scene. It's kind of a prologue. Um, and it's, uh, I think that's when I knew what kind of book I was going to write. It sort of came to me in whole form and the first line is Claudia Warren took too long to die. And I knew right then what kind of book I wanted to write. And it just sort of flowed onto the page and set the tone for this book of, you know, what is going on, what is happening and who can we believe in, what can we count on? So I think that opening scene was actually the most enjoyable to write. And I guess the second would be the end, sort of a nice bookend to it.
Speaker 1:
24:10
Which scene was the most challenging to write?
Speaker 3:
24:14
You know, the most challenging was the revelation of the villain. And it was actually the thing that I had to write over and over again. This was where my outline failed me a little bit because I was so sure about how I wanted to make this happen. Um, and that's where I had to become a little bit of a plan stir. And I think what made it so difficult was I had to be true not only to the inevitability of that villain and the plot, but also Maggie's character and what would be required of her to grow as a character.
Speaker 1:
24:48
Hmm. Okay. Now I know your books often tackle some very serious topics. Yes. You also inject a fair amount of humor. How'd you create this balance?
Speaker 3:
25:00
Oh, that's such a great question. Um, yeah, I mean, so a lot of these books do contain not just, you know, the series topic of death and you know, violence and also some sort of social concerns. But yeah, I mean I think the humor comes from a lot of times the characters, the way the characters see the world. And you know, maybe there's a little bit of gallows humor, a little bit of black humor. And dialogue. Um, and especially think Constantine acts as sort of Maggie's foils. She's pretty serious. She can be funny, but she's pretty serious. He is a cut up. He likes to be sort of goofy and he's always one with a quick line to kind of lighten the mood.
Speaker 1:
25:45
Oh, okay. All right, good. Um, the, these issues that you, Taco within your books, I mean, how do you decide which issues to use?
Speaker 3:
25:52
Well, and the first book I want don't want to give too much of it away, but um, it seems like a must to talk about sort of marginalized populations, populations, um, specifically homeless people in the first book. So that was sort of a given through the book. You'll see why. Um, and then the second book, again, a lot of it is just sort of tied to the plot and to sort of the reason behind the crime. Um, but I talk about victimization of specific groups and this one is less of sort of a social commentary or has that social aspect and is more about personal relationships. And like I said before about, um, you know, healthy relationships, poisonous relationships, and what can kind of happen if bad feelings fester.
Speaker 1:
26:43
Yeah. Okay. And is there any part of you in any of your stories?
Speaker 3:
26:49
Well, like in, um, as er, the second book, 39 winks. Yes. That whole sleepwalking thing, that was so much mean. Uh, and that was really helpful to draw on in terms of my characters. You know, a lot of people ask if I am baggy and in many ways I'd like to say yes. I mean she's, she's a mess, but she's also incredibly brilliant and brave and I could never measure up to her. Um, but yeah, I mean, there's a little bit of me, I think in every character I'm a little Maggie, I'm a little Constantine. Um, and of course you do inform your writing from your own experience. I often joke, I wish I had written about advertising that make it a lot easier from a professional standpoint, but I think, you know, any experience that we have, we bring to our writing. So there's always that to draw on, especially from an emotional standpoint.
Speaker 1:
27:38
Yeah. Yeah, I would in some way. You're coming from there. Yeah. No, I have to say, I particularly enjoyed your article in the criminal criminal element last year. I think you would cook. You entitled it murder. She read why Nice woman love reading about and not so nice things.
Speaker 3:
27:53
Oh, thank you. Yes, I enjoyed writing that.
Speaker 1:
27:56
Yeah. Because I notice at the time there, um, I can only speak for here in the UK, but crime fiction outsold romance last year for it for the first time I believe. Interesting. So I'm not sure if that song was mirrored in the states, was it?
Speaker 3:
28:10
Well, I think, you know, I'd have to look at the current statistics. I think romance might be in the lead by, but not by much. I mean those are definitely the two best selling categories.
Speaker 1:
28:20
Yeah. And how much is that is in your mind when you write, you know, being attracted because there's a lot of female readers these days on there. Okay.
Speaker 3:
28:28
Yeah. And I'm often asked if my books are geared toward women or men. And I say neither. Um, I, you know, I'm just looking to entertain at the end of the day, I'm looking for books that entertain anyone who likes to read crime fiction men or women. Um, and you know, some, some authors are very calculated in going after a certain segment, um, a certain gender, a certain genre, uh, in order to capture sort of that commercial appeal. And I just basically write the kind of books that I like to read and that my friends like to read and kind of hope for the best.
Speaker 1:
29:03
Good. Very well. So far isn't it? So far so good. It feels good. And what's next for you in terms of your writing then?
Speaker 3:
29:12
Oh, well I'm add a little bit of a crossroads. I'd love to continue, um, and other Maggie mystery, but I'm also very interested in perhaps writing a standalone. Um, I've been toying with that idea just to take a little pill, pause on Maggie and maybe explore a new world, new characters, and just kinda see what happens there. I have a few ideas, so I'm just sort of sussing out what I want to do next.
Speaker 1:
29:38
Oh, you'll have to let us know. Oh, thank you. I will, I come to this part of the interview here where I ask you some rapid fire questions announced. There's just so the listeners can get to know you a little bit. That sounds good. You prepared for that? I'm ready. Okay. So if you could chat with any crime fiction also dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Speaker 3:
29:58
I think I'm going to have to go with James Patterson. Uh, he's actually a former copywriter and it's sort of a well known joke that all copywriters have a manuscript or screenplay in their desk drawer. Uh, and so I think a lot of copywriters look at Patterson as sort of our patron saint. So I'd love to hear how he made the transition from copy to novel. You know, here's some of his secrets, especially how he manages to be so prolific, not just when he's coauthor and because I know he does a lot of that, but just period. I mean the man writes a lot and I just love to hear how much of that is sort of that background and copywriting where you do have to produce a lot in a day. And how much of it is just kind of who he is. So I think that'd be fascinating.
Speaker 1:
30:40
Yeah. The men's machine, isn't he? He is a machine. Can you name a tool app or probably you can't live without and why?
Speaker 3:
30:49
Well, I'm not very technical. As you and I discussed, this is actually my first Skype experience. So my tools are a little bit, uh, less technical and more physical. So I would have to say coffee. It's an absolute necessity. I can't do without copious amounts of coffee and I don't think I'm alone there. I think a lot of, I share that with you. It's, it's a problem, but a, it's what I enjoy, so I'm never going to give it up.
Speaker 1:
31:15
Yeah. Well you can always go onto decaf.
Speaker 3:
31:18
There you go.
Speaker 1:
31:20
Can you tell us something unique and interesting about you is not many people know, would know.
Speaker 3:
31:25
Well, I'm, I'm a scuba diver, although not here in central Oregon because it's too cold and there's not a whole lot to see underwater. Um, so I scuba dive. I'm also a huge led Zeppelin fan, which is also not too much of a secret because I am obsessed with the band. And my other, a sort of secret talent is I can play the eye of the tiger on my flute, which was the theme song to rocky. I don't know if you remember that. You remember that? Yes. Yes. So those are my musical stylings right there.
Speaker 1:
31:50
Oh, well dumb. And what's a typical writing day for you?
Speaker 3:
31:55
Well, since I write for a living, both, you know, as a copywriter and as a novelist, it is pretty much all writing all the time. So typical day is, you know, I get up, I make the children's lunches, get them off to school, and then it's straight on to writing. Um, and I will take a break to do some sort of exercise like running or jazzercise or that kind of thing. But, um, it really is heavy on the writing. And then just trying to, um, nick time to connect with other people, you know, both in the real world and online via social media, but it is a lot of time spent in front of a screen.
Speaker 1:
32:29
Okay. So do you have anything specific that you would want to say to your fans or community members?
Speaker 3:
32:36
Well, the one tip I would like to give to new writers because I'm often asked is to persevere. Uh, this industry sort of seems to be built on. No. And you have to find your yes, whatever that means to you. Um, you know, like I said, when I was searching for an agent, it was pretty daunting and there were a lot of no's before I, before I landed an agent. So you have to just keep at it. If it's something that you believe in, you, we'll find somebody who believes in it too. You just have to keep working.
Speaker 1:
33:09
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's very true. Yeah. Perseverance. Yes. If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Speaker 3:
33:17
Uh, I, I would say that you're stronger than you think.
Speaker 1:
33:22
Okay. Yeah. Very true. Okay. So what, what's your favorite book and why would it be, I mean, I have you mentioned Stephen King, get it your wrong. So cat carry maybe.
Speaker 3:
33:34
Oh, well, you know what, that was actually my first Stephen King Book and that's the one that got me hooked. And of course Stephen King, I mean a master. And you, you know, it's funny because when people ask about what's your favorite book is sort of like picking your most loved child, right? I mean it's,
Speaker 1:
33:48
yeah,
Speaker 3:
33:50
simple. It's impossible. So, um, I'm just going to go with my favorite book recently, which was, um, the death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware. I mentioned her earlier and um, you know, I don't want to say it's my favorite book ever, but man, that was a great mystery. It's funny because when I started it, I thought it was out. This is a pretty good book. And it was, you know, okay. But by the time I was two thirds of the way, I was reading incessantly, you know, ignoring my life. And then when I finally closed the book, I just had this sort of intense feeling of love for just the way that she had crafted the mystery. It was so well conceived and she did such a beautiful job of wrapping it up. It was a pleasure to read as both reader and an author.
Speaker 1:
34:39
Yeah, it's so good. And what's your favorite movie and why?
Speaker 3:
34:43
My favorite movies. The Godfather. Um, I know it's a classic, so maybe that's no surprise. I have noticed that it doesn't seem to receive quite as much love among women. I'm not sure why, but you know, here I am. I, I love it. And it's just such a compelling story. The characters, the era, the challenges faced. It's timeless. And here's a little confession. I actually prefer the movie over the book, which I feel really guilty about saying, but it's the truth. So I'll, I'll duck the flying tomatoes.
Speaker 1:
35:16
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Interesting. And what's your favorite piece of music or song?
Speaker 3:
35:24
Uh, well, you know, a lot of people have playlist that they listened to while writing. I can't, I can't really do that. I have to have no distractions so I can sort of listen to my characters. But if I am going to pick a music to listen to, it's going to be led Zepplin this is probably going to be like something like over the hills or the ocean or something. UPTEMPO and I'm pretty rocking.
Speaker 1:
35:45
Oh No. The mind getting muddy theories. I mean you've mentioned that the titles before. I just want to be clear for our listeners here, if they've not come across your, your writing before. So the first one of the series of protocol. Correct. And the second one, 39 weeks. Yep. And the one that's just coming out is remind me because I look after as directed, isn't it as directed? That's right. Directed and that's eye out on the 12th of March.
Speaker 3:
36:11
Yes, very coming up very soon. I think just a two weeks from today.
Speaker 1:
36:14
[inaudible] and what formats are your books currently available in?
Speaker 3:
36:18
Are there available in all formats? So available on paperback, hard, the hardcover and ebook.
Speaker 1:
36:24
Okay. Any, any audiobooks?
Speaker 3:
36:27
Not yet. Hopefully hoping that come soon.
Speaker 1:
36:30
Okay, that's good. And how can listeners get in touch with you and your box?
Speaker 3:
36:34
Well, people can find me on my website, which is Kathleen valenti.com. I'm also on Facebook, which is facebook.com/kathleen Valenti author. Um, I post occasionally not as often as I should, but I'm always so happy to talk to readers.
Speaker 1:
36:50
Excellent. Excellent. Well Kathy, um, it's been really great talking to you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule.
Speaker 3:
36:59
Oh my honor.
Speaker 1:
37:01
Yeah. Affects, will be it on the crime fiction knows. We'd really appreciate it.
Speaker 3:
37:04
Thank you for having me. It's been, it's been so much fun.
Speaker 1:
37:06
You're welcome. Now for all the listeners out there, um, Kathleen has contact details, the details of her books. We'll be on our website too and the, that's www dot p Stretton, heightened Stephens with a ph.com. Forward Slash podcast. I want to thank you for listening and let you know that our next guest will be crime writer at James. I'll see you next time for another. Don't miss interview. Bye for now.
Speaker 2:
37:33
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