Jackie King loves books, words, and writing tall tales. She especially enjoys murdering the people she dislikes on paper. King is a full time writer who sometimes teaches writing at Tulsa Community College. Her latest novel, The Inconvenient Corpse is a traditional mystery. King has also written five novellas as co-author of the Foxy Hens Series. “Warm Love on Cold Streets” is her latest novella and is included in the anthology The Foxy Hens Meet a Romantic Adventurer. Her only nonfiction book is Devoted to Cooking. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, RWI, Inc, Oklahoma Writers Federation, and Tulsa Night Writers.
Jackie, please tell us about your current release.
The Inconvenient Corpse tells the story of Grace Cassidy who finds herself abandoned by her husband and stranded in a bed-and-breakfast on the northern California coast. After a lifetime of affluence, she’s not only penniless and friendless, she’s also stuck with a naked corpse in her bed. She becomes the prime suspect, but with the help of some zany strangers she finds a job and solves the murder.
What inspired you to write this book?
Like most writers, stories constantly pop into my mind. Some seem to come from nowhere, but often these stories seem to be prompted by what whatever I’m doing at the moment. This was the case when I was vacationing at a Bed and Breakfast in northern California. Unexpected questions suddenly sprang to mind: What if I had found a dead body in my bed? And, what if he were naked? And what if his clothes couldn’t be found anywhere? Oh, I’ll make it worse! What if I were stranded in this strange town with no friends, no money, and no job skills? Could I survive using my own determination, brains, and moxie?
These were the questions that started me plotting The Inconvenient Corpse. I felt impelled to write the novel to learn the answers. Later, I added a teenaged son, my own experience as a woman who unexpectedly finds herself single, and a rescued cat–all to make Grace’s life even more complicated. And, because I love a touch of romance, I added a jaded police sergeant who was about Grace’s age.
The Inconvenient Corpse begins with the following sentence, then I built the whole book around these words:
“Grace Cassidy stared at the stranger’s body. He was about sixty, pot-bellied, naked, and very dead. She knew he was dead because his skin was the color of concrete. Worst of all, he was lying smack dab in the middle of her bed.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
My current WIP has the working title of Skeleton in the Closet. The story begins about five months after The Inconvenient Corpse ends. My protagonist, Grace Cassidy faces continuing complications in her personal life: developing the new career of inn-sitting, trying to save enough money to pay for a divorce, and the fear that her 19-year-old son, Brand, is about to ruin his life. Then of course, someone is murdered and circumstances compel her to try and solve the mystery.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I enrolled in a writing class at our local community college and was fortunate enough to have Peggy Fielding for a teacher. She insisted that if I wrote, then I was a writer. It took me awhile to get this down into the marrow of my bones, but after I sold my first short story to a national publisher my head started to believe what my lips had already spoken.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full time, and am currently living my dream life! I have three things that I must do each day: pray and meditate, write, and walk on my treadmill. The order in which I do these things changes from day to day, since I’m a bit haphazard. Sometimes I split my writing into different stretches of time. I might write a bit when I first get up, then have breakfast, and then go back to writing. As long as I do all three things each day, all is well.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My ability to write in the middle of a horrible mess! I keep most of my house reasonably decent, but my office looks as if someone threw a bomb through the door. Although this is somewhat embarrassing when I need a tech in to check my computer, the clutter does nothing to distract me from my writing.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oddly enough, my mother decided I should be a writer when I was very young. Perhaps because she saw that I lived in an imaginary world of my own making, much of the time. Of course, when I was 13 I wanted to be a movie star. (I expect all 13-year-olds want this.) But by the time I went to college at 16, I was back to wanting to become a writer and studied journalism at The University of Oklahoma.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d like to thank each person for dropping by to read the blog and to invite them to “friend” me on facebook, where I’m listed as Jacqueline King.
Last of all, I’d like to give each person a big cyber-hug and wish them happy reading.
Here are a few reviews and what other people are saying about The Inconvenient Corpse:
“A naked corpse in her bed is only the first surprise for our heroine in Jackie King’s charming bed-and-breakfast mystery. Cozy readers will be happy guests among these lively characters.”
–Marcia Preston, winner of the 2004 Mary Higgins Clark Award
If you like bed and breakfast settings, friendly cats, delightful, quirky characters and a little tea thrown in with your murder, you’ll love The Inconvenient Corpse.
–Bob Avey, Author of Beneath a Buried House and Twisted Perception
Jackie, thank you for stopping by and chatting with us for a bit. Write on!