Friday, September 13, 2013

Kathy Bennett – An Interview with the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on bestselling suspense Author Kathy Bennett. She is an author specializing in Mystery & Thrillers with Women Sleuths.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers - Women Sleuths

Website: Kathy Bennett
Author's Blog: Kathy Bennett
Twitter: @kathywriteslapd
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. A veteran of many years with the Los Angeles Police Department, her authentic crime experience results in arresting stories.

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 San Fernando Valley her responsibility regarding crime and quality of life issues.

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 addition to working on her next novel, she writes a weekly blog that can be found on her website, and writes a monthly column for the North Valley Community News, in Northridge, California.

She's married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, and they have one daughter and one granddaughter. Kathy has written two romantic suspense manuscripts and is currently revising her third book - a suspense novel.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called A DEADLY JUSTICE. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you for asking, James. The book is being released at all the major Ebook retailers on the very lucky day of Friday, September 13th, 2013. (See in Book List Below.)

A DEADLY JUSTICE is the second book of the Detective Maddie Divine suspense series. In this book, Maddie becomes partners with Jade Donovan, the protagonist from my debut novel, A DOZEN DEADLY ROSES.

There's been a 'shake-up' in the LAPD, and Maddie and Jade are transferred to Devonshire Division in the San Fernando Valley where they're faced with a brutal murder, a rash of sophisticated burglaries, and a serial rapist. As they dig deep into their investigation, the cases begin to unravel…threatening to expose one of Maddie's darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she's tried desperately to bury.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I love to meet with readers and do so every chance I get. I've had a lot of speaking engagements this year in the Southern California area, everything from speaking at libraries, writers groups, and civic organizations, to chatting to a local car club. If anyone would like me to speak to their group, don't be shy – email me. Even if you're far away, maybe we can work something out. My next event will be at the Bouchercon Convention in Albany, New York, later this month.

The two best ways to know what I'm up to and where I'll be are:
My website at: On my website you can contact me directly, or sign up for my quarterly newsletter. Be sure to check out the other pages on my website as well. I offer crime tips, writing tips, and if you want to experience the 'lighter' side of my personality, don't miss the Code 7 page.

I also have a Facebook page for my readers at: KathyWritesLAPD. I try to post on my reader page at least once a day. We have a great group of people there, and we're always growing!

You have outstanding covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Oh, I'm so glad you mentioned my book covers, and thank you for your kind words. I think the book cover, the title and the story are so important. Each element must work together, but they must be able to stand-alone as well.

For example, I think you could take any of my covers and strip off the title and still know what kind of book you're getting. The same thing when you hear the titles without seeing the cover. You know you're getting a mystery or a suspense book. The very first chapter of my stories set the tone of the entire book and you know right off the bat you're in for an exciting time.

My book cover designer is Donna Casey at For all three of my books she has taken my vision and made it so much more than I ever imagined. I can't say enough good things about Donna and her skills as a book cover designer.

You have great book trailer for A Dozen Deadly Roses. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? They look very professional.

Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

I'm not sure of the impact the trailer has had on sales, but it was one of my favorite parts of promoting A DOZEN DEADLY ROSES. I made the trailer myself…in a class about 'How to Make a Book Trailer'. It was my very first attempt at making any type of 'film.' I would have to look at my notes to remember the process.
Click here for YouTube presentation.

It was a lot of fun, but time consuming. I think I spent days looking for just the right music and photographs. During the selection of the photographs, I did my best to come up with pictures that were similar to what I'd envisioned while writing the story. I like to do the absolute best I can on any project, so I'm thrilled you thought the trailer looked professional. I haven't given up the idea for doing one for each of my books – the issue is finding the time to make the trailers.

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

After my formal education, the roots of becoming a writer began at the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writer's of America (RWA). I've been a member of RWA for seventeen years and currently belong to the Los Angeles Chapter (LARA) and Murder/Suspense Chapter known as Kiss of Death (KOD). I also belong to Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, the Public

Safety Writers Association, two different critique groups, and I want to join Mystery Writers of America, at the beginning of the year.

All of these groups and individuals have been highly supportive of my books and my career.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I have never given away my books for free…except…as prizes in a contest on my website or on a guest blog. Now, with that being said, my books have always been priced very reasonably. In fact many readers who reviewed my books would comment they would have paid more for my work.

I ran a contest on my website where I was giving away an 'official' LAPD coffee mug. One of the winners was in New Zealand. I tried sending him the mug, but for some reason it was returned. We'd verified the address, so I'm not sure what went wrong. We were both upset. He will be getting a free copy of A DEADLY JUSTICE.

How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you a library of incidents that you go to for inspiration or are they still vivid in your mind?

I'm always on the lookout for a good story idea. I have a cardboard box where I stash scraps of paper with story ideas, or title ideas or even character ideas on them. To this day, I've never used anything in that box. I usually come up with a main idea and then try to figure out the best way to make my main character miserable.

I don't do a formal outline or synopsis. I just have an idea of what kind of crime is going to occur, what internal conflict my protagonist is going to face while solving the crime, and then the ending.

Due to the structure of my book, with a rotating point of view of many characters, it can be extremely hard to keep things straight. My critique partners are very good at pointing out any inconsistencies in the story.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thank you, James. I think with my background as a former police officer, I find I continue to want to help people, whether it's providing crime prevention tips to the public or advising writers what I find helpful in creating a strong and suspenseful story.

You asked about my primary goal in writing. It's not intentional, but I find that my books tend to have an underlying theme or lesson in them. I've seen a lot of things in my life where people made poor choices, or bad decisions and paid heavily for their decisions. Those types of events tend to show up in my books. I know I've had at least one reader who discussed A DEADLY BLESSING with her teenage children as an example of how something as simple as a backyard party can go horribly wrong.

As for the time factor…I'm constantly striving to find balance in my life. It's no secret today that if you want to be competitive in today's writing market, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time promoting your name, your brand and your books. It's a fine line to walk because you don't want to become a spamming nuisance to your friends, family and readers.

Being retired, do you find you have more time to write or less time?

I get this question a lot, and I have to say that when I worked as a police officer for the LAPD I was a very hard worker, and known and respected for my work ethic.

I was assigned to ten or twelve hour shifts, and often worked overtime after my scheduled workday. However…I like to joke that I'm doing retirement all wrong because, let me tell you, I'm working even harder now that I'm retired and writing novels as a second career.

Three days a week, (and sometimes four) I drive seventy miles to visit with my mother who has Alzheimer's disease and lives in an assisted living facility. I do her laundry and handle her finances. I take her to the doctor, the hairdresser, and occasionally, to get a manicure and pedicure. I also lead gentle exercise classes for all the residents at the facility on two of the days I visit. For me, those days with my mother feed my soul. She is extremely good-natured, and we spend a lot of time laughing together. We like to say we 'crack ourselves up.'

I've found the optimum time for me to write is from nine at night, until about two in the morning. Unfortunately, my husband isn't retired and those hours don't work well for him. So, generally, I write in the late afternoon and evening, but if he's out of town or something, I burn the midnight oil.

Author's Book List
A Deadly Justice - LAPD Detective Maddie Divine 2
A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

Harley Elliot: The sleazy broken-down owner of a trendy pizzaria pays his employees well above minimum wage. What’s in it for him, and if he gets caught, will he go to jail?

The Saunders Brothers:
Blake – A cunning manipulator who knows he’s devised the perfect crime.
Logan – The hot-tempered middle brother whose careless misadventure made him a perfect target.
Jeremy – The peacekeeper for his older brothers and the calculating voice of reason in their dysfunctional trio.

Shelbie Saunders: The adopted little sister of the wild Saunder’s boys is trying to find her place in the family as she blossoms into a young woman. Trying to keep up with her new brothers is her first mistake.

Zak Murdock: The brawny sergeant of police has a troubling history with Maddie’s partner, Jade. When he’s assigned to detectives, he puts Maddie and Jade in his sights.

Walt Lamb: The hard-working bartender at Harley’s pizzaria keeps a low profile to protect his ‘side job,’ yet he misses nothing.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - KOBO
A Deadly Blessing - LAPD Detective Maddie Divine
The critically ill daughter of the governor of California has been kidnapped. LAPD Detective Maddie Divine is assigned to find her before it’s too late. But this high-profile case comes with secrets on every side: cops, politicians, even the innocent.

Maddie Divine: Her marriage hangs by a thread, her SWAT-officer husband has lost it, and almost as bad, she can’t trust her detective partner.

Travis Divine: After the death of a SWAT teammate, he’s a shell of the man he used to be. He’s lost touch with his work, his wife and occasionally even reality. Can he regain the warrior mentality needed to support Maddie and do his job?

Preston Truesdale: The California governor’s daughter has gone missing, and so has her only bone marrow donor. Is it coincidence or something more sinister?

Pilar Luna: The mayor of Los Angeles is a media favorite, and she plays Preston like a Vegas pro would play a Midwestern farmboy…all in hopes of reaching the White House. Will she hit the jackpot?

Tiffany Truesdale: The brainiac teenager evaded her security team to spend a night on the town with her girlfriends, but can she outwit the man who kidnapped her before time runs out?

A Deadly Blessing is a lightning-paced story of suspense that will keep readers on edge from beginning to end. Author's Note: This book contains commonly used street language.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
A Dozen Deadly Roses
Los Angeles Police Officer Jade Donovan is being hunted. There’s the lieutenant who’s out to get her, the psycho who’s stalking her and leaving dead roses at her door, but most frightening of all, she’s been assigned to partner with her son’s father, Mac Stryker. Mac doesn’t know he’s Donnie’s dad, and Jade will stop at nothing to prevent him from finding out and possibly taking away her son. She will protect and defend him at all costs.

Mac Stryker is a cop with something to prove. Five years ago, he’d been forced to resign the police department in disgrace when he was too drunk to take action during a shooting. Now, Mac is sober, back on the force and back working with Jade Donovan, the rookie who’d saved his life. Worse, he finds himself attracted to Jade and her precocious son, Donnie. But Mac is through with love. The violent death of his wife and daughter turned him into an alcoholic, and he won’t put his job or his heart at risk again. He will protect and defend them both at all costs.

But when the deadline looms on Jade’s dozen deadly roses stalker, will the two partners manage to put aside their differences in order to save their son?

Book Trailer: A Dozen Deadly Roses

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner.
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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