Monday, March 26, 2012

Barnes & Noble top selling Mystery Writer Kathy Bennett does it again!

Kathy's A Dozen Deadly Roses hit both Barnes & Nobles and Amazon top 100 lists for her best selling debut novel. It is listed as one of the top cop dramas and police procedural mysteries to come along in quite a while.
Due out next month, her second book, A Deadly Blessing promises to be another great read.

     Kathy, I have to gush here for a minute. I read A Dozen Deadly Roses and became an instant fan.  
     Thank you so much! It’s good to know that my words connect with readers. 
     So I’m excited that your second book A Deadly Blessing is due out soon. I can’t wait to read it.
 I had hoped to have A Deadly Blessing out in February, but some revision issues slowed me down. I’m fairly certain the book will release in early April. (Kathy says while crossing her fingers.) 

1 1.)    Okay, gushing’s over. I know it’s been a year since your retirement from the LAPD. In that time, did you find more time to write or did you have to schedule your writing time because life took over?
     I have quickly learned that I’m doing retirement all wrong!  
     Prior to retirement, I already knew I’d be devoting about 20 hours a week to my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. I’m doing that and I love the time I get to spend with my mom.
     I also self-published A Dozen Deadly Roses. There was a tremendous learning curve in how to go about the mechanics of getting a book up for sale.  Once the book was available at all major e-book retailers, I had to get the word out.  For several months, I was at my computer twelve to fourteen hours a day – promoting my book and my name.  I was prepared for the time spent with my mom, but had no idea I’d be spending so much time trying to get people to ‘know’ Kathy Bennett. I’ve spoken at various conferences, taught several online classes, done a number of guest blogs, and joined the board of directors of my local RWA chapter. 
     Couple that with the regular stuff that goes on in a household, cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands and the list goes on and on.  Oh, and my daughter is getting married this summer so there are all kinds of wedding details and events to sort out. There are never enough hours in the day.

     2.)       I know your second novel A Deadly Blessing is due out next month, is it a continuation of your first book or is the story totally independent of the first? 
     Well, it’s not a continuation per se…but it’s not totally independent either. If I had to choose one answer, I’d say it’s more independent. Is that confusing enough? 
3.)    I need to ask, I sure you’re tired of this question by now, but why did you self-publish?     I never get tired of this question.  First, let me say that there are so many choices for authors today.  There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to publish a book.
     I chose to self-publish my book because it allowed me complete control over my career.  Imagine that – a former cop who wants complete control ;-)  I liked the idea that I would be able to keep the title I’d thought of for my book, that I’d be able to have a cover that I loved (and had final say on design,) and I loved the idea that if I did well, it was through my hard work.  If my book tanked, I had no one but myself to blame.  
     Self-publishing worked well for me.  That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. 

4.)    How much time each day do you spend promoting your books as opposed to writing? 
     I think the period after a book’s release is crazy time.  Once A Deadly Blessing is released I can see me spending twelve hours a day on the computer again.  
     However, I’ve also learned what works for me and what doesn’t.  With that said, the publishing industry is changing so quickly, what worked for me 9 months ago, might be a total waste of time at the present time.

5.)    What do you like best about your main character in A Dozen Deadly Roses? Her strength or her vulnerability?  
     Oh, good question! 
     I’d have to say, I like Jade’s vulnerability as a police officer and woman. When I first conceived the idea for A Dozen Deadly Roses, I wanted to write a story about street cops.  One of my pet peeves with police procedural novels is that the women police characters are often portrayed hard as nails and always with a sassy, witty remark to any given situation. 

6.)    What do you like about main character in A Deadly Blessing? 
     The main protagonist in A Deadly Blessing is LAPD Detective Maddie Divine. I like the fact that Maddie is a very strong woman. She has to be - she’s got a lot on her plate.  She’s recovering from a life-changing event in her life, all the while her husband is struggling after a traumatic incident as a SWAT officer.  To top it off, she’s involved in the biggest case in her career and, during the investigation she learns her partner might be involved in the crime.

7.)    I always think cop equals tough—but Jade is not only the heroine, but also a victim in A Dozen Deadly Roses who over comes most obstacles. I guess my question is she is portrayed as an everyday individual who has a unique job. Would that be your assessment of your career and your characters?     Wow!  You’re making me see things about my own book I didn’t realize.  But I think you are right. 
     Jade is a single-mother who struggles to get through the day-to-day details of life – just like many women in the world do.  The difference between Jade and the every-day woman is the fact that Jade can take away someone’s freedom – or even end their life…in a matter of seconds. But if you take Jade out of the uniform, she’s woman and a mother just like many women in the world.
8.)    Do people treat you differently when they learn you were an officer of the law? 
     Ha! Not really. I do think many people are surprised when they learn of my former profession.  I’m generally very quiet and reserved – not the image most people have of a police officer.  However, if the situation calls for it, I have no problem morphing into my police persona.  
     If I may, I’d like to tell a quick story that illustrates this point. About five years ago I was at the RWA National Conference in Washington D.C.  I was a student in a workshop at the host hotel when the fire alarms began to sound. The room I was in was on a lower floor. At first, I don’t think anyone took the alarm seriously, until a hotel employee came and told everyone to get out and to NOT take the elevators or the escalators.
     I began to bark out orders about which way we should exit the building and recruiting some people to help me with a woman who was handicapped. I’m sure more than one person thought, ‘Who is this loud-mouth red-headed woman leading us through the loading dock?’ Bottom line – we all got out of the building safely. That really wasn’t that much of an accomplishment though…it was a false alarm!

This question is for me. Are you working on your third book and if so when would it be released?
     I’m currently working on the next book in the Maddie Divine series. In these early stages, it’s hard to know where the characters will take me.  If I could release the story early next year, I’d be thrilled. 

Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem.  After twenty-one years as a Los Angeles police officer, this retired cop’s authentic crime experience results in arresting stories. 
As a police officer, most of Kathy’s career was spent working patrol in a black and white police car.  Prior to retirement, Kathy was assigned as a Senior Lead Officer, with approximately five square miles in the City of Los Angeles her responsibility. Kathy also served as a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Police Academy, a crime analyst in the ‘War Room’, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments.  She was named Officer of the Quarter twice, and Officer of the Year once.
In June of 2011, Kathy self-published her debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses.  The e-book climbed the charts becoming one of the best-sellers at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  In April of 2012, Kathy will published her second full-length suspense novel, A Deadly Blessing, and is currently working on her third book.
She’s married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rick and they have one daughter and one granddaughter.
Kathy likes to go hiking with Rick and their three Labrador Retrievers, incorporating photography into many of their adventures.  Attempting to recapture some of the excitement of working the streets, Kathy can periodically be found in Las Vegas risking a few bucks on slot machines, blackjack or craps tables.     




            “Maddie, do not hang up the phone.”

            “Travis, I’m working. I can’t talk right now.”

            “You’re always working. What’s more important, our marriage or your job?”

            My partner, Darius Cutter, plucked my cell phone from my hand. “Hey, dude, she’ll call you later. The chief and the mayor are waiting for us.” He snapped my cell shut and handed it back to me. “Let’s go.”

            “You shouldn’t have done that.” Immediately, the phone vibrated in my hand. The display showed a smiling photo of my husband - a photo taken when Travis was okay and normal. A pang of sorrow invaded in my chest.

            “Ignore it,” Darius said, referring to the quivering phone. “Call him back when we’re out of our meeting.” He led the way out of the noisy detective squad room to the foyer where we’d catch the elevator.

            I knew Darius was right. When the Chief of Police calls and orders you to a meeting with the mayor, you hustle your ass to get there.  But my husband was on edge, to say the least. Guilt weighed heavy on me for putting work ahead of him, but I rationalized that Travis was a cop and knew sometimes it was necessary. Meanwhile, I followed my partner while we traversed through the new Police Administration Building and then over to City Hall.

            It’s not every day a girl gets to meet both the chief of police and the mayor of Los Angeles. I wondered why today was my day.  

Kathy, thank you so much for being my guest today. I'm looking foward to reading about Maddie in A Deadly Blessing. Marian


  1. Thank you so much for joining me here today, Kathy.

  2. Congrats on your indie-publishing success, Kathy. As a fellow self-pubbed, I totally hear you about the crazy hours required to produce and promote the books. Top 100 lists are tough to make, especially on BN. My sales there have been abysmal. How do you target Nook readers, if I may ask?

    1. Hi PJ Sharon!

      My apologies! Somehow I the message I wrote didn't go through. Let me try again.

      What I said was that I promoted on Facebook to Nook groups (actually any group interested in books) and I'd tweet using the #Nook hashtag. I'm not really sure why my BN sales took off like they did. BN took off several weeks before Amazon.

      One thing I found was that Nook readers were much more likely to leave reviews of the book. I'm not sure why, but that still holds true.

      While I plan on doing the same promotional things for A Deadly Blessing as I did with A Dozen Deadly Roses, what 'worked' then, may not be true now. I wish I had the definitive answer.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with me. I'm sorry for the technical difficulty and I appreciate your time.

  3. Paula, there may be a delay in Kathy answering here, she is on West Coast time. Marian

  4. Hi Marian!

    Thank you so much for having me today. I'm getting a little later start than I'd like today.

  5. Not a problem us East Coaster understand the time thing.

  6. Congrats on your publishing success. And great excerpt. It has me interested. I have to it in my TBR list.

  7. Loved your first book, Kathy, and I'm eagerly awaiting the second one. Do you think having been a police officer helps you in being organized and handling/juggling the many different aspects of being an author?

  8. Hi Cynthia!

    Thanks. It killed me to leave such a short excerpt, but if I'd gone any further I would have had to have left a lot more of the book. There was just no good place to stop.

    Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

  9. Great interview and great excerpt!

  10. Hi Robena!

    I LOL at your comment! Yes, cops can and do multi-task. Has it helped with being an author? Ha! I've learned a whole new skill-set and haven't mastered this author thing yet. I always seem to be running behind with what I'm supposed to be doing.

    Oh, and Robena, thank you for interrupting your 'I'm a Golden Heart Finalist' celebration to visit me here!

  11. Hi Ericka!

    Thank you so much! I really love this story. It's longer than A Dozen Deadly Roses, but I think the story goes fast. You all will have to let me know if that's true!

    Thanks for taking time out of your day to stop by and see me here.

  12. I love your success story and how you chose to take the self-publishing route, Kathy--and I of course loved A Dozen Deadly Roses. Great excerpt, too. I'm now really looking forward to A Deadly Blessing!

  13. Hi Linda!

    Thank you very much. Self-publishing was a terrific leap of faith in myself and the system. So far, so good. I can't wait to see how the experience differs, or if it does, with A Deadly Blessing.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  14. It's great when a police story is actually written by a (formerly) working police officer. You can really trust the atmosphere and the interesting details, such as the way Jade had to interact with her boss. Looking forward to the release of the next one!

    1. Hi Alyssa!

      I try to be sure that my cop details come across as authentic; but even then, I have to do research.

      I get a lot of comments by readers who were former cops. Most of them cite the realistic details - especially the politics I've put in the story.

      Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to stop by.

  15. Congrats on your upcoming second (and third) book! I've got A Dozen Deadly Roses in my TBR pile, at the top of the list once my book comes out in May. Speaking as a newbie author with a book coming out: how did you DO it? Your success as a first-time author is the stuff of legends and I'm dying to know what sort of promotion you did that worked so well. I'm sure having a fabulous product is what really made it happen, but what did you do in terms of getting the word out? What worked and didn't work for you? Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura!

      I did submit my book to a number of review sites as well as guest blogged wherever anyone would have me.

      I will say that what worked regarding promotion less than a year ago may not be as effective now. I'm curious about how this next book will do.

      As far as what didn't work: Ha ha! Once you start selling some books you can't stay away from looking at how many books you're selling. If you're spending time looking at your sales numbers, you're not writing your next book. That doesn't work!

  16. Oh, so far behind on my TBR pile. Okay, must read, must read, must read A Dozen Deadly Roses so that I can get to the next one as soon as it comes out. Great interview.

    1. Hi Maria!

      That's the great thing about books, they just wait for you to come unwrap their stories.

      I had a great time in this interview!

      Thanks for visiting me here.

  17. Hi Kathy!
    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and the quick sniipet for book #2. Amazing to find out how hard you've worked for your success (12 hour days on promo) but it certainly seems worth it now, doesn't it?

    Book #2 sounds very good. Looking forward to April.

  18. Hi Lynne!

    I did spend a lot of time on promo, but self-publishing was really evolving at the time. I spent a lot of time getting clues about something on one blog and then being referred to another blog etc. It was very time consuming. However, it was time well-spent. I suspect it will be a little different journey this time around. It's exciting and a little unnerving at the same time.

    I'm pleased with how A Deadly Blessing (Book 2) turned out, but the readers will be the ones to decide.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  19. Loved your interview and the excerpt, Kathy. I hope you carve out SOME time to enjoy yourself. Retirement (LOL) can be exhausting. Your self-pub journey is an inspiration!

    1. Hi Rochelle!

      I've said it before and I'll say it again...I'm doing retirement all wrong! Something else I've said before: There is no right or wrong way to publish a book. You have to do what is right for you. Self-publishing was a good route for me, and if I inspire others I'm thrilled!

      Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to stop by.

  20. Kathy -
    I loved A Dozen Deadly Roses, and I'm looking forward to Deadly Blessing!


    1. Hi Leigh!

      Thank you. I hope you'll enjoy A Deadly Blessing!

      I appreciate you stopping by.

  21. Thanks everyone for joining Kathy here today. Kathy, thank you so much for being my guest and I look forward to hosting you again. Let me know, Marian--will switch things around for your release date if needed. Marian

    1. Thank you Marian! You've been a fabulous hostess. I had such fun talking with all the folks who visited.

      I'd also like to mention that Marian will be a guest in the Interrogation Room on my website on September 26, 2012. Come see what you don't know about Marian.