Katherine H. Brown talks about Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life and Pastries, Pies, and Poison

Escape with a Writer Sunday welcomes Katherine H Brown!

Katherine Brown is a wife, mom, and Texas author, lover of books and weaver of words. Katherine fell in love with books as a child and started “making” her own out of paper stapled between cardboard for book covers. She has written children’s books, poetry, and currently enjoys planting clues for her characters and readers in her two cozy mystery series. Katherine’s favorite place to travel is the ocean and she will tell you that Blue Bell Chocolate Chip ice cream or a Haggen Daaz chocolate shake is hands-down the best ice cream ever. Her love of chocolate and desserts led to the characters in her first cozy series owning the Ooey Gooey Goodness Bakery.

The questions:
1.    Tell us about your life outside of writing.
When I’m not writing (or sometimes when I’m supposed to be writing), I enjoy reading and sewing. I’m not a skilled sewer, but thanks to YouTube I did teach myself to quilt in 2019. I also love doing just about anything with my wonderful husband Patrick, whether watching TV, working on a home improvement project, or enjoying all you can eat steaks at Texas de Brazil.
I am blessed to do my writing at home and be a stay-at-home mom which means there’s plenty of cooking and cleaning going on in my day-to-day as well. We live in the country; I enjoy the quiet and the beauty of nature without stores and buildings and houses everywhere you turn.

2.     Do you have a work in progress?
Several; many more than is good for me! It never fails that in the middle of one work in progress, I suddenly have random ideas for another book or completely different series. I have notebooks and word documents full of notes and brainstorming thoughts.

My biggest work in progress is one that I hoped to finish in 2019, but got caught up in my cozy series instead. It is a bit of a mystery or YA (I probably won’t know until I’ve finished writing it) and features a sweet librarian who gets a visit from a mysterious stranger that is going to change her life and unlock her past, perhaps her future, too.

Aside from that one, I want to begin a paranormal cozy mystery series soon. I actually fell into that one on accident playing around with designing book covers one day and after a few hours, I had five of the cutest covers ever and absolutely zero stories to go with them. Writers get distracted by the pretty, shiny objects, what can I say?

If readers continue to enjoy my newest cozy series, the Adventures of Gladys, then I will also begin book three of it soon.

3.   What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
If you don’t mind, I’m going to answer that two ways. In terms of getting words on paper, one of the most difficult books that I’ve written is book 1 in the Adventures of Gladys series, Bonbon Voyage, in that I sat down to the keyboard often, but no words came. No scenes flowed. My head and hurt weren’t in it, I was exhausted and producing nothing, and I couldn’t figure out why because I had been so anxious to start writing it. Turns out, I was suffering from extreme fatigue, getting up every morning with no energy to face the day; it was the first sign of my pregnancy! Thankfully, once I made it out of the first trimester, my writing picked back up enough for me to finish the book and be happy with how it turned out.

Another piece that was difficult for me was an emotional rollercoaster. I wrote a book about my divorce, with fictional names and places under a pen name so as not to hurt anyone in real life, that came straight out of the pages of my journal from that time period. I didn’t write the book until 7 or 8 years later, happily remarried and at a wonderful place in my life. To read my words, my heartbreak, my confusion, to see myself at that weak and low point as I transferred all of the pain from page to laptop, it was hard. I typed and cried and cried and typed. But it was a nice release, a final letting go. It hasn’t sold any copies, but that doesn’t bother me. I think it was something I just needed to do for myself.

4.    What sort of research do you do for your work?
You’ve seen the jokes, right? “Don’t mind my search history; I’m really a writer, not a serial killer.” It’s true. I’ve researched everything from smuggling to poisons, spas, resorts, towns, you name it. And don’t even get me started on how many name meanings and symbolisms sites that I’ve perused for hours. Usually, that research is all for inspiration and ideas; I write fiction and I prefer to keep the people and places in my books strictly fictional as well. It’s more fun for me to get to make up all of the details. Still, when I want something to resonate with a reader, I do a little checking around first before embellishing or spinning for my book’s purpose. For the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series, I would often have an idea for something (example: watermelon pie) and then research recipes to see if it had ever been done and how.

I tried to convince my husband that multiple spa trips and treatments could serve as research for one of my books, but unfortunately, our budget didn’t agree with my plan. We did get to go to one spa as a vacation resort freebie together and, as it was my first experience with one, it inspired a lot of the scenes in Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life.

On the other end of the spectrum, as an author, I also do research on marketing and advertising. It is my goal to do more of this type of research in 2020 now that I have several books out in order to get all of those books in front of readers who might enjoy them. I love writing for its own sake and the joy it brings me; however, I do want to be able to contribute to my family with the work I love as well and I can’t do that if I don’t sell books.

5.    Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
I love to read cozy mystery, paranormal cozy mystery, historical fiction so a few of my go-to authors are:
Joanne Fluke, Amy Boyles, Jana DeLeon, Julie Klassen, and Karen Whitemeyer. I’m inspired by each of them in different ways. The first three because they continue writing books in their series (we are talking 15+, 20+ books) and their writing is still fun and fresh. The others because their Christian historical fiction books are beautifully written and they do a wonderful job of capturing God’s love and grace amidst the lives of relatable characters.

6.   Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
My parents always praised and encouraged my writing as a child. They were always impressed and nurtured my love of books, taking me to the library or bookstore when I got older and had gift cards to spend. They buy and read all of my books and continue to brag on me.
As an adult, my husband and I couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the type of book we like to read, yet he is fully supportive of all my efforts. When I told him that I was ready to quit my office job to write and be a stay-at-home mom, he said to do it. We made a plan and paid off some debts and within a year I had my dream come true. He promotes my books to people he knows and is proud of every one of my accomplishments even if that accomplishment is writing a paragraph, simply making progress on a book, or making twenty-dollars a month which isn’t even covering the cost of book cover design.
I am grateful for such a family and support system.

Website and other links to your social media pages.www.katherinebrownbooks.com

Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life
Best friends
A bakery.
What could be better?
How about a trip to the O Heavenly Day Spa?
Piper and Sam couldn’t believe their luck, winning the contest and getting a free spa weekend. But when mysterious notes start turning up everywhere, they can’t quite relax. And when Piper is kidnapped, she begins to wonder if her luck has run out.

Pastries, Pies, and Poison 

Lipstick and lies, pastries and pies, plus a little poison thrown in the mix.
Best friends, baking, and a body count - what's not to love?
Piper and Sam are excited to cater their first large event for a corporation’s weekend wellness retreat in a nearby town.
You know what that means? Road trip!

Piper thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to clear her head of men. With things left unresolved with Griff, plus an old friend popping back into her life, her mind and heart are in worse shape than a batch of burnt cookies.

Unfortunately, the weekend goes pear-shaped in a hurry. A man is dead and everyone at the retreat is a suspect.
Can Piper get out of this new pickle and solve the mystery in time to salvage the retreat and the catering job? Will Sam heed the warning to stay out of the police investigation? And will the Ooey Gooey Bakery survive the weekend without them?


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