Interview with novelist Kate Dyer-Seeley

Novelist Kate Dyer-Seeley is here today to
chat about her new mystery, Violet
Dyer-Seeley is the author of In Cave
Danger, Scene of the Climb
and Slayed
on the Slopes
in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series, as well as the
memoir Underneath the Ash and Natural Thorn Killer, the first book in
her Rose City Mystery series. Kate’s writing has appeared in a number of
regional and national publications, including Climbing Magazine, The Oregonian, The Columbian, Portland Family
Magazine, Seattle Backpackers Magazine
, and The Vancouver Voice. She is an active member of the Willamette
Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the
Pacific Northwest Writers Association.
Welcome, Kate. Please tell us about your
current release.
I’m so
excited to share the 2nd book in the Rose City Mysteries with
readers! In Violet Tendencies, floral
artist Britta Johnston and her Aunt Elin have been chosen to design the
signature float for Portland, Oregon’s annual Rose Festival Grand Floral
Parade. They’re busy gluing seeds to their two-story float and stringing
together beautiful strands of violets when a violent protest breaks out and
threatens the entire parade.
What inspired you to write this book?
Growing up in
Portland meant that Rose Festival was always a highlight of the year. The Grand
Floral Parade was one of my favorite traditions. I loved watching the colorful
floats and even had an opportunity to march in the parade during high school. I
pulled from those memories for inspiration for the book. While the murder is
fictional, everything that I’ve weaved in about the Rose Festival is real. I
spent time volunteering as a float decorator when I was working on the book to
get a better understanding of how the magnificent floats come together. One fun
fact: everything on the floats has to be organic. That means that volunteers
spend hours and hours painstakingly gluing tapioca pearls and polenta and
draping branches of evergreen boughs and roses onto every float.
Excerpt from Violet Tendencies:
An uneasy
sensation swelled through my body as I walked with trepidation toward our
float. Something about the huge, cavernous space felt foreboding.
“Hello!” I
called again.
The only answer
was the sound of my own voice bouncing off the walls.
Shouldn’t the
other decorators and volunteers be here by now? We were supposed to report by
seven thirty
for the morning meeting. Had I missed a message? Was the parade canceled? I
thought about turning around but I willed myself forward.
Bad choice.
When I made
it to our float I looked up in horror. Our float had been destroyed. The arbor
that we had meticulously secured had been torn apart and were scattered in
broken pieces throughout the floor.
I stepped
forward and let out a scream.
Sham’s body
was sprawled out among the ruins.
A noose of
purple violets twisted around his lifeless neck . . .
What exciting story are you working on
I’m currently
working on a ton of research for my next project. Research is one of my
favorite things about the writing process. I used to say that I wished I could
be a perennial college student. Writing fulfills that dream. I love getting to
immerse myself in new worlds and learn new skills.
When did you first consider yourself a
I didn’t
consider myself a writer until my first book was published, despite the fact
that I had been writing for newspapers and magazines for many years before that
and getting paid for my writing. I can’t exactly pinpoint what the shift was,
but there was something about the fact that I had a full-fledged book published
that made me suddenly realize, “Oh, I am a writer.”
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. I write multiple mystery series so I’m basically always on a
deadline. I find that I do much better when I have structure and a daily word
count to hit. I like the routine of writing every day. I think it lends to even
more creativity because you’re constantly exercising your writing muscle.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I completely
change out my office every time I start a new book. I have a playlist for my
protagonists to help me get “in their head” so to speak. For example, when I
was working on Violet Tendencies I
had pictures of violets and pictures from the Grand Floral Parade posted on my
office walls. I edited the manuscript with a purple pen and lit a violet
scented candle when I was writing.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
I always
wanted to write, and I actually wrote my first mystery when I was in second
grade. However, in college I took a more practical approach and minored in
creative writing, while earning a degree in speech therapy. At the time I had
no idea what I wanted to write. It took me a lot of terrible first drafts and
years of writing workshops and conferences before I took the plunge.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Thanks so
much for having me on today, and to all of the readers who help champion books
and share them out in the world.
Thanks for joining me today, Kate.

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