Author Spotlight: Jenny Kales

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It is my pleasure to welcome Jenny Kales to Reade and Write today. Jenny is here to talk about On the Chopping Block, her new cozy mystery.

Tell me about your new book.

On the Chopping Block is the debut novel in my new “Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series.” It follows the adventures of Greek-American food business owner and single mom, Calliope (Callie) Costas, as she tries to figure out who killed her new boyfriend – before she’s the next victim! She does this while dealing with her colorful family and running her now-faltering business. Of course, since this is a culinary cozy mystery, there are some great recipes at the end of the book.

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who enjoys a twisty plot, fun, relateable characters and a mystery to solve will enjoy this book. If you are partial to culinary mysteries, even better!

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I chose to set my book in fictional Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, which is a picturesque waterfront town that is a destination for tourists, but with a very strong “small town” feeling where everyone knows each other. I based this setting on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a place my family and I enjoy visiting. I’ve gone there since I was a child (I live nearby, in Illinois.) With its natural beauty and plentiful small businesses and restaurants, I found it to be an inspiring location for a cozy mystery. I visit often, so I get a lot of research just observing places and talking to people. I collect local magazines and news when I visit. I also researched the local law enforcement procedures.

Vintage silverware on rustick wooden background

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

The novel was thoroughly enjoyable to write, but writing a mystery was a big learning experience. You have to approach it knowing who did it and why before you start. There was a lot of advance planning and revision once I got going.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

This is hard! OK, let’s see. Callie Costas I see as a cross between Jenni Poulous (of the Bravo TV show “Flipping Out”) and Jenna Fischer (“Pam” on “The Office”).  I see Betty White as Grandma Viv and Detective Sands could maybe be played by Colin Firth, because, well, Colin.

Have you written any other books?

Yes! My next book in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series is called Spiced and Iced and it will be out in early November – the book is set in the Christmas holiday season so that will be fun. I’ve also written a non-fiction book about how to take care of kids with nut allergies (my daughter suffers from those).

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a few writer friends who I work with – they share feedback on my work and I share feedback on theirs.

Do you write every day?

Yes – in some way, shape or form. When I’m finishing a novel I work on it every day. Other times it’s a blog post, marketing, some other type of writing, like outlining chapters for a new book.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I love to read everything. Besides cozy mysteries (and there are so many of those authors I enjoy – almost too many to mention. Linda Reilly, Susan Furlong, Lorraine Bartlett, to name a few), I enjoy suspense – Ruth Rendell is one of the greats – sad to lose her. I like Sophie Hannah – she writes great contemporary suspense. I love the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. I also love detective novels – Ann Cleves and Peter Robinson are two of my favorite authors in that genre. I also enjoy women’s fiction like JoJo Moyes, and one of my favorite women’s fiction writers just happens to be my writer friend Loretta Nyhan – she just had a new book come out on September 20th.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Three places I’d like to visit someday: Scotland, England and Greece.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Spend time studying your craft and most of all, don’t give up.

What is your favorite movie and why?

“The Sound of Music” – I used to watch it with my grandmother when I was a kid. It’s very positive and uplifting and I love Julie Andrews.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t worry so much.

Describe yourself in three words.

Creative, funny and tall (I’m 6 feet).

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

No, these were great questions. Thank you for hosting me!!

Where can readers connect with you?

Lots of places! I love to connect with readers. You can find me on my  Facebook author page, Goodreads, my website, Twitter , Instagram and Pinterest. You can also keep in touch via my free newsletter.

Where can readers find your books?

Currently my books are available in e-book format on Amazon.com. More formats may become available in the future – I’m working on it!

I loved having you on Reade and Write, Jenny! I hope you’ll come back and let us know when your new book comes out!

Until next week,

Amy