by Kathleen Costa
This week we have a review of A Game of Deceit, and an interesting interview with author K.A. Davis. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either an ebook or print copy of this book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an independent bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
A Game of Deceit By K.A. Davis
Review by Kathleen Costa
Kathryn Landry, of Landry Designs, worries about making Saturday arrangements to finalize work with John Selton, owner of the Selton Investigating Firm. She was contracted to redecorate the offices as well as his residence, but Neil, her husband of eleven years, is extremely controlling of her time, her habits, her life. When she returns home to find him and all of his belongs gone, horrible memories bubble to the surface about the time when her father took a runner when she was fourteen.
The anger over Neil’s shocking departure turns more suspicious when Kathryn discovers he left behind his computer and his thyroid prescription…he’d never leave without these items. Making things worse, is the assignment of Detective Mike Williams to the case, the same detective that had been assigned to her father’s still unresolved disappearance. How can things get any worse?
This first suspense book from Kim Davis is a big hit with me. Starting off with a major hook, and then unfolding engaging, suspenseful and life-threatening events. From vandalized apartments, curious documents and hidden bank accounts to disturbing memories, suspicious law enforcement and amorous advances, I was never given the opportunity to put the book down. Kim did exceptionally well describing places, people, and fashion to clearly provide a marvelous picture in the reader’s mind’s eye which in turn also offered a few clues to consider. Dialog is realistic, adding to the suspense as well as defining connections and relationships.
The characters are well developed for a first book, with which I am now invested and rooting for a second. My favorite character, of course, is Kathryn ? Kat, at a few points was used as a nickname…like me! She may be uncovering way too many secrets in her life, but portrays strength and resolve, not a ‘wimp’ or a ‘victim.’ She seems to be capable of accepting her own role in ‘not seeing what may have been right under her nose.’
All this and recipes, too, but not just any recipes! Kim includes the recipes for comfort treats actually mentioned in the book. Marianne, Kathryn’s assistant and surrogate mother type, is said to be a great cook, so her best treats are included: Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, and Dark Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse. Just the thing to make one’s next book club delicious as well as exciting!
I highly recommend this book, and am on watch for another adventure from Kim Davis!
A Game of Deceit earns 5/5 Chanel Sunglasses to Mask Black Eyes!
Interview with K.A. Davis:
KRL: It is great to have with us a favorite blogger from the Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder who is now fast becoming a new favorite author. Drum roll, please! Kim Davis (penned as K.A. Davis) is celebrating the release of her first novel, A Game of Deceit. It must be so exciting to see your hard work actually in print. What inspired you to write a novel?
Kim: I’ve always enjoyed writing and was one of those crazy students who looked forward to essay assignments. Once my husband retired, I found I needed a hobby to occupy some of my time and decided to start a novel. A Game of Deceit started with a “what if” based on a true story: when I was 18 and visiting home for the first time in 3 months, I walked in to the house and found that my dad had moved out with all his belongings that day without saying anything to my mom. Nor did he leave a note, but instead of murder it was the case of another woman. However, that inspired me to start writing. You might say it’s been a bit cathartic. Both of my parents passed away numerous years ago so I feel free to share the story of how the basis of my book came about.
KRL: A Game of Deceit seems to be a cozy with an edge. Is there a reason you chose to write in the cozy genre? What is it about mysteries that interested you?
Kim: I know my book is kind of caught between two genres! I actually labeled it a suspense with cozy elements to it since some cozy readers might be put off by the darker edge. I don’t want to mislead them. I think starting out writing my book I had some angst that needed to be expressed, thus the darker feel, surprisingly, my characters strongly led to some of that darkness. I tried fighting them, but in the end they were insistent that their story needed to be told.
I remember telling my husband a few times while writing that, “I don’t want x,y, or z to happen to her!” I’d try to change the scene but it never worked and I’d go back to the original. After starting my blog, Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder, with my focus on cozy mysteries, I decided that my manuscript could remain true to the story but could also be toned down a bit. Plus I have a thing for food and recipes and wanted to work that in too, which I think adds a certain cozy feel to the book without detracting from the suspense.
I’ve been a huge fan of mysteries starting in elementary school and discovering Nancy Drew for the first time. Anything can happen in mysteries and I find that they present a challenge to me to solve the crime as I’m reading. I also greatly enjoy the mysteries that combine an aspect of learning something new while I’m being entertained.
KRL: How did you go about getting published? Did you try self-publishing or a publishing house? Do you have any anecdotes to share about getting your work published?
Kim: I gave the traditional publishing route a good shot and had a wonderful agent for a couple of years. While I had some great feedback from several publishing houses, unfortunately I didn’t have any takers for my manuscript. My blog has allowed me to connect with so many terrific authors, some traditionally published and some self-published, so I was able to get a feel for what worked for them. Once I decided to dust off my manuscript (again), I found that so many authors were willing to give me amazing advice on how to go the self-publishing route. So I decided to jump in and give it a try.
KRL: Can you give us some background into A Game of Deceit? Is there a story behind choosing to have your main character as an interior decorator?
Kim: I chose Kathryn to be an interior designer because I always wanted to be one. I never followed through to getting into that profession because my previous marriage never allowed me to settle down long enough to get a degree, since we transferred almost every year to a new location. However, a few years ago my husband (Mr. Right!) and I purchased property and designed our home from the ground up. I had an absolute blast creating the house and loved working with our designer.
KRL: Are any of your characters based on real people…friends or family? Names changed to protect the innocent, so to speak? Of course, I enjoyed Kathryn Landry. Are you like Kathryn in some way? Is there a character with whom you identify?
Kim: When I started writing this book I was in my late thirties so I identified with Kathryn and gave her a few of my own quirks. But, after it being SO many years later that this is finally published, I have to admit I am much more like Kathryn’s grandmotherly assistant, Marianne. I realize now that over the course of several rewrites, I added things to Marianne’s character in keeping with my own maturing. Along with basing Marianne loosely on myself, her husband is loosely based on my own husband. Other than that, the characters are figments of my own imagination… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…
KRL: Writing is often a very personalized activity. How do you go about writing? What is Kim Davis’ process? Do you outline, keep notes, just start typing? Do you have a writing team or editors that are part of the process?
Kim: I’ll admit… my writing practice is horrible!!! The only thing that got me to this point is stubborness… err, I mean determination! I binge write for hours at a time and then can forget about the book for months at a time. I try to jot down ideas for scenes when they come to me so I have a few ideas when I sit down at my laptop. I am a total ‘pantser’ (write by the seat of my pants)… I just start typing and see where the story takes me and then try to work in some of my ideas that I jotted down. I really am trying to break myself from this horrible habit and write a bit every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. But I haven’t been terribly successful. But there’s always hope! My husband is an engineer, and my writing practice drives him crazy. He’s all about needing outlines and knowing where you’re going. Despite that, he has read my manuscript a half dozen times and gives me a logical perspective that my creative self sometimes overlooks.
Once my manuscript was completed, I had several beta readers who gave me some good insight and recommendations. My agent was instrumental in getting me to do a major rewrite which tightened the plot and made it a stronger story. When I decided to self-publish, I put together a team to polish my book, based on recommendations from other authors.
I have a wonderful editor, Chandler Groover, who probably would love to rip the comma key from my keyboard. The talented Karen Phillips created my book cover, which captures my book perfectly. Honestly I hated every single title I thought of and that other people had suggested, but as soon as Karen put the title on the perfect cover I knew I’d found the right one. I’m also working with Sheridan Stancliff of SheridanINK. She’s been instrumental in formatting my book for all the different platforms and developing my author website.
KRL: What about research? Did you do anything special…travel, classes, using experts?
Kim: When I first starting writing my book I quickly realized I didn’t know how to write a book. I took a couple of writing courses including one of a children’s writing course and I’ve had several children’s nature articles published in kids’ magazines, from The Institute of Writing. I’ve also taken several writing classes and retreats organized by Writing Pad in L.A. The instructors know how to push you to expand your skills, and I always find invaluable help from their talented mentors.
I am a firm believer that you can find anything and everything on Google (and YouTube) and used them often to get a better perspective to describe certain scenes and scenarios. Since I based my book in the area I live, it was easy to describe the setting. I did drive around a few times looking at various locations from the eyes of a reader to enhance my descriptions.
KRL: What can we expect from you in the future?
Kim: While mysteries are my first love, my granddaughter convinced me that I needed to write a book for her. She is not a mystery fan (sob!) but instead loves fantasy. We plotted together one summer, and I now have a completed early middle-grade manuscript that I’m looking to publish. Like A Game of Deceit, I’ll give the traditional publishing route a good chance, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll self-publish.
I’m also 30% of the way to completing a culinary cozy mystery. I’ve had so much fun creating and testing recipes but need to discipline myself to actually finish the book now. I can see the cozy mystery as a series. I had originally planned on A Game of Deceit being a stand-alone, but something tells me Kathryn isn’t quite done with her story yet. I have a title that I really love (yay!) and several scenes sketched out and two chapters written. But, we’ll see…
KRL: You definitely have provided a great deal of entertainment for your fans, but is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Kim: I don’t think it’s ever too late to follow your dreams no matter how long it might take!
KRL: We know you write, but what do you read? Is there another author who inspires you or one you might consider a professional or personal hero?
Kim: I love mysteries and because of my blog, mostly read culinary cozy mysteries at this time. However, I do fit in some suspense novels from time to time, along with historical fiction set in the twelfth to eighteenth centuries. The authors who are my heroes are everyone who takes the chance to write and gets their book to market no matter what road they take!
KRL: So many authors say writing is all encompassing, but do you have any special hobbies? Favorite movies you like to watch? Any television bingeing? What about music you enjoy or hobbies that take up what free time you may have?
Kim: I’ll have to say my hobbies are all encompassing while my writing is something I try to fit in, lol! My granddaughters are my first and foremost love and I have had them twice a week since they were two weeks old! My oldest granddaughter has Rett Syndrome, so she is much more reliant on me. The younger one (close to being 13) is now a little too busy with school, dance and other activities to spend as much time with me.
I also bake and decorate cookies once a month for my oldest granddaughter’s class along with providing treats for her teachers and aides on occasion. My blog has turned into a semi-full-time job, but I love the variety it offers: reading and writing my reviews, baking the yummy treats from the recipes in the books, expanding my food styling and photography skills. When I’m working either on my computer or in the kitchen, I listen to jazz or classical music. When I do have any free time, you’ll find me with a book in my hand instead of watching TV. The last movie I went to see was Finding Dory with my granddaughter, but I love the Disney movies so I’m glad they still like to go see them too.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Kim: Despite all the yummy baking I do, I rarely get to indulge since I have severe allergies to gluten along with other foods.
KRL: This has been fun. Is there anything you would like to add?
Kim: Thanks so much for interviewing me, Kathleen! I feel honored to be hosted at Kings River Life Magazine and appreciate the opportunity to talk about my book and a little about me!
KRL: Thank you, Kim, for joining us and sharing a little about yourselves and your new book.
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To enter to win either a print or kindle copy of A Game of Deceit, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “deceit,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 9, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR KINDLE.
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