TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery!
Kari: Thanks! I'm happy to be here.
TQ: Writing quirks! What are some of yours?
Kari: I started writing so long ago that the only free time I had was during naptime. Even though my children are older, I still seem to do my best work during the afternoon. And I always have a diet soda while I'm writing.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers?
Kari: I love funny authors like Donna Andrews and Janet Evanovich. I also love witty, spunky authors like Liz Lipperman.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Kari: I tend to be a pantser when I write my romances, but for my teen superhero series and my mysteries, I find I have to be more of a plotter. But I still don't completely plot. I tend to be a bit of both.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Kari: Trying to outdo myself. I don't want to ever become stale or boring or predictable. I am always trying to find ways to surprise the reader and come up with a book that tops the last one. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else puts on me.
TQ: Your most recent novel is Corpse in the Crystal Ball (A Fortune Teller Mystery 2). What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?
Kari: I find the paranormal fascinating so I wanted to write a paranormal mystery series. After having had my tea leaves read once, I was hooked. I really wanted to learn more about all sorts of fortune-telling tools, and I thought it would be fun to share what I found out with my readers. And I thought if I focused each book on a different fortune-telling tool, that would make the series more unique. Throwing in an immortal cat and a haunted Victorian house were just added bonuses :-)
TQ: Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?
Kari: I find with each new fortune-telling tool I research, there's always a few differences. So I try to take all that I find and combine them to create the main character, Sunshine Meadows', way of predicting what's going to happen next or peeking into the past.
TQ: What sorts of research have you done for the Fortune Teller Mysteries? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research.
Kari: As a mom of 4, I don't have time to do the fun hands-on research I'd love to do. So I pretty much do all of my research on the Internet. There's so much out there that I find more than enough material to give me a good grasp on each technique. I haven't really found any odd information yet, just surprising information on how much there is to reading each tool. I was really fascinated with the preparation work that goes into grounding oneself before going into a trance-like state so you aren't vulnerable to negative energies out there. The same with preparing each tool as well as cleansing each tool when the reading is over to rid it of all energies, both positive and negative, that were picked up during a reading.
TQ: Tell us something about Corpse in the Crystal Ball that is not in the book description.
Kari: The entire town thinks the ancient Victorian house that Sunny lives in and nicknames Vicky is haunted, but Sunny suspects the large white cat she found residing within is the one doing the haunting. She thinks he might be immortal so she names him Morty, but it's clear from the start that she belongs to him more than he belongs to her. Vicky is his as well, and for some reason, even though he doesn't like most humans, he's taken a shine to Sunny and has decided to let her stay.
TQ: In Corpse in the Crystal Ball who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Kari: In book two I introduced a new character. Sunny's grandmother Gertrude. Granny Gert is for sure the easiest to write because she is based off my rea life Granny Gert and my mother, Marion. They give me so much material to work with, it was impossible not to put them in a book :-) The hardest characters to write are Sunny parents, Donald and Vivian Meadows. They don't get along and that is so opposite from my real life. I'm trying to keep that tension going among them all, yet I want to show they really do care in their own way.
TQ: Which character in the Fortune Teller Mysteries has surprised you the most?
Kari: Detective Mitch Stone. I just love brooding wounded alpha males. Yet he's more soft on the inside than I thought he would turn out to be. And even though he doesn't believe in Sunny's "gifts" and she drives him crazy most days, he does give her credit when credit's due and respect the information she digs up, even if she does so in unconventional ways.
TQ: What's next?
Kari: Book 3, Trouble in the Tarot, comes out in March 2013 and I am just starting on book 4, Peril in the Palm. I'm also working on more romances under the name Kari Lee Harmon.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Kari: Thank you so much for having me. To find out more about me and all of my books, check out my website at www.karileetownsend.com
Fortune Teller Mysteries
Corpse in a Crystal BallA Fortune Teller Mystery 2
Berkley, June 5, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
Psychic Sunshine Meadows makes a dark discovery in the woods...
After clearing her name as the prime suspect in a murder, Sunny Meadows hopes she can finally enjoy some serenity in the idyllic town of Divinity in upstate New York. She’d also like a second chance with Detective Mitch Stone. But when Mitch’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend Isabel Gonzales shows up, Sunny’s not sure she can compete. Then Isabel mysteriously disappears.
When the police turn to Sunny for help, her visions lead to the discovery of Isabel’s corpse in the woods. Before she died, Isabel scrawled a message in the dirt implicating Mitch in her murder. Now Sunny must help the man she’s falling in love with as she sets out to find the real killer. But this time Sunny’s clairvoyant abilities might not save her—as what she doesn’t see can hurt her...
Tempest in the Tea Leaves
A Fortune Teller Mystery 1
Berkley, August 2, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate...
Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune telling business in an ancient victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.
Trust me, people, my life is my material :-)
There is a giveaway of Corpse in a Crystal Ball (A Fortune Teller Mystery 2) with this interview. You can also enter to win the Grand Prize by using the Rafflecopter. The comment you leave to enter to win Corpse in a Crystal Ball may also be used to enter to win the Grand Prize. Both Giveaways are open internationally.
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