Following our book discussion, the Book Buddies Book Club had the opportunity to call the author, Kate Klise, at her home in Norwood, Missouri. Kate was absolutely delightful on the phone and thoughtfully answered all of our questions.
We started by asking her how many books we could expect in the new series, 43 Old Cemetery Road. She is working on a third book, tentatively titled Til Death Do Us Bark and told us that in general, publishers like series to be in odd numbers. She asked us how many we thought there should be and a few of us told her we'd like to see four books.
She told us where the number 43 comes from in 43 Old Cemetery Road - 43 is the age she was when she started writing the series!
We asked her if she's ever experienced writer's block like Ignatius in Dying to Meet You. She said that she doesn't really believe in writer's block and that if she doesn't like what she's writing she takes a break but overall she finds that she never runs out of things to say.
She told us that she likes to write a first draft for a book really quickly (in approximately 30 days) and that she spends the bulk of her time re-writing. Often she writes 13 or 14 drafts and that the entire process usually takes 8 months to 1 year. Her advice to young writers is to constantly re-write; the more you re-write the better your work gets and it gives you the chance to take out things that might be boring or slow.
Her favorite place to write is on the 2nd floor of her renovated farmhouse. She often writes with her cat on her lap. The idea for Dying to Meet You came from the old book/tv show The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. She was a big fan of the book and tv show and likes ghost stories that aren't too scary. She's also interested in old houses and prior to our telephone interview did a little research about Newport, Rhode Island and all the old mansions we have here. She thought that the Breakers would make a great setting for a ghost story.
The best part of being a famous author is meeting young readers and writers. She also enjoys her work immensely and has great fun writing in letters. She advises anyone interested in her style to start writing letters. She wrote many letters as a child which gave her great practice for the graphic epistolary mysteries she writes today!
We asked her about working with her sister and whether or not they ever disagree about their work. She said that they don't really disagree about their books because she does all the words and Sarah does all of the illustrations as well as layout and design. She said that she often found group work difficult in school and would find it challenging to share the writing of a book. But the system that she and her sister have works out great for both of them.
She told us a little bit about the third book in the series, Til Death Do Us Bark. Iggy is a dog person and Olive is a cat person so there will be lots of problems along the idea of cats vs. dogs in book three.
We ended by asking her about one thing she'd like to learn to do (play guitar better) and what she's reading right now (Katie Fforde and other British writers). She is currently working on writing a novel for adults and is finding lots of inspiration in British writers.
Her parting advice for young writers is to start writing books and give them as gifts as she did as a child. The holidays are only a few weeks away and she encouraged all of us to write and give our books away.
We had a wonderful time talking with Kate Klise and learned a lot about her writing and her life as an author. A BIG thank you to Kate for her time and eagerness to participate in our book club. Thank you!