Award winning Kathy Manos Penn writes the Dickens & Christie Mystery series. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and pets. Pets who have inspired the characters of Dickens and Christie. Kathy didn’t start writing until she had completed a successful career in corporate America and picked up her cozy pen and began crafting mysteries in her retirement. You can follow Kathy on Facebook or at her website. And you can check out all her books on Amazon.
She crossed an ocean to start her life over. Can she nab a killer before her quaint village becomes a graveyard? Recently widowed Leta Parker desperately needs a change of scenery. Pursuing her lifelong dream of retiring to the Cotswolds, she leaves her soulless corporate hustle in Atlanta and moves to England with her talking dog and cat companions—Dickens and Christie. But she’s barely begun making new friends when she stumbles across her housekeeper’s body …
And Now Let’s Here From Kathy…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story?
The mystery is #1, I suppose because I never intended for there to be a romantic element when I started the first book. Lo’ and behold, my characters took over, and before I knew it, a romance appeared.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friend to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else?
Widowed for 18 months and newly transplanted to England, my American main character hasn’t entertained thoughts of dating until a visiting American journalist asks her out. She knows he’s there on vacation and thinks of the invitation as a casual dinner out. Only after she nearly dies in an encounter with the villain—this is a cozy mystery, after all—does the relationship take a step forward. And that’s as far as it goes in Book I before he heads home to NYC.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist?
Not at first because it’s a long-distance relationship, and they only see each other for a few days, maybe a week at a time for the first few months. It’s magical—until his worry over her life-threatening confrontations with killers gets in the way. She’s a bright, independent woman and bristles at his suggestion that she cease and desist—that this sleuthing habit of hers is foolhardy.
What inspired you to start writing?
Believe it or not, on a whim, I submitted a few articles to a small weekly paper and they asked me to write columns! After I retired from corporate America, I published a book of my columns and helped my dog “write” a book, only because I had a slew of blogs he’d written. When a friend said, “You should write a cozy mystery,” I thought, Who me? But I decided to give it a whirl, and here I am six books later.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
That my characters move the plot and relationships to places I never envisioned. In that same vein, though I identify a few new characters for each book before I start writing, somehow another one or two will appear. Where do they come from? I have no idea.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
READ! I have to read every night, mostly mysteries, and I stay up way too late. I can do that now that I’m retired. Before the pandemic, I also looked forward to lunch with girlfriends, yoga class, working out, travel, and the occasional play or concert. Fingers crossed, all of that resumes someday.