Monday, July 29, 2013

Author interview with Josi S. Kilpack

Today is a great day!  Josi S. Kilpack has agreed to do an author’s interview with me.  She is one of my favorite authors and I love her character Sadie Hoffmiller.  Here is some info on Josi and her writing.  If you want a great cozy to read with a little romance, get one of Josi’s books, or several.  I have enjoyed all of the ones I have read.

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Author Josi S. Kilpack
Author Bio:
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13.  From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then.  She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped.  Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense.  Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009.  Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.
Information on the Whitney Award Josi won is: The Whitney Awards is a program meant to recognize great writing by LDS authors. The process starts with reader nominations and you can nominate your favorite titles by going to or sending an e-mail

1.      Tell us what was so special about The Witch of Blackbird Pond that you fell in love with reading?
I’m not sure what it was specifically about that book, instead I think it was a combination of things. I think that because I was a 13 year old girl, reading about a girl close to my age made an impact, I think I had reached a level of maturity where I could relate to her differently, and I think that because I had limited what I read before then to animal books (another story in there) I had very little experience with a book about a person that could feel “like me.” That story was the first time that I felt “caught up” in a book, as though I were there, as though I were a part of it. That feeling changed me forever.
2.      Did this book also make you think that you could write you own book?
No. I did not think about writing a book for many years—never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties and on bedrest and in the throes of a two-book-a-day habit to ward off a growing depression that I thought “I could do that.” Even then I thought I was writing a short story. But I stayed in bed, and stayed pregnant long enough that the story grew into something I had no idea I could create.
3.      What is your biggest inspiration for your writing?
I would have to say that regular people are my biggest inspiration. It amazes me that if I talk long enough to someone I can see their story come out—their trials, their hardships, their victories are reflected in who they have become. The thrill of creating that same realness in a fictional character is very exciting to me. My stories all start with a character I fall in love with and want to know better.
4.      I absolutely love Sadie Hoffmiller.  What made you, a young woman in good shape, write your heroine to be in her early to mid 50’s and having a little trouble with her weight?
When I started writing about Sadie she was closer to my age, but as I considered the story I wanted her to play a part in I realized that I wanted her to be a mother, but if she had children she was still responsible for, she couldn’t be so diligent in trying to solve a murder. So I made her older. Then I realized a husband would also make it tricky, so I made her a widow. As for her size—I made her the ‘average’ woman in every way. She is not brilliant, she is not a prodigy, she is not model-beautiful, or perfect in her relationships. Like every other average woman out there she’s imperfect. My favorite thing about her is that while she’s not as thin as she wants to be, she has made peace with her body. For every woman I know who worries about keeping herself in good shape, there’s a woman who at her core wants to be a peace with herself.
5.      I read them out of order.  I read book 5 first, Blackberry Crumble.  Did you intend for your books to be read alone, or did it just happen that way?
We tried hard to keep the books as stand-alone as possible. We wanted them to be readable out of order because we realize that not everyone will stumble upon a copy of Lemon Tart on their own. It’s been very tricky and as the series has progressed it’s been harder to do but we still work hard at it. We want to make sure that if you read Tres Leches Cupcakes, for example, you won’t already know the outcome of English Trifle. We want readers to see each new book as its own story. And yet there is a character arc that grows throughout the series too. I tell people that if they haven’t read any of the books, they might as well start with Lemon Tart, but if a particular book (cover) sings to them, they can start there.
6.      I love that you add recipes to your books.  Are these family favorites or are they ones you’ve come up on by yourself?
Some are ones I’ve made for years, but most are provided either through my test kitchen or from friends and family that I ask for permission. Other recipes I go on the hunt for because they will work well in my book but I’m unfamiliar with them. When that happens, I make a few versions of the recipe a few times and figure out my own recipe from that experience.
7.      Why a series related to cooking?
Originally it was just about an amateur sleuth that loved to cook. My publisher suggested I add the recipes which would make it a culinary mystery. I went along with their brilliance and Voila!
8.      What made you write Daisy, a different series?
As much as I love Sadie and have enjoyed writing her, I’m on my 5th year of her dominating my thoughts. With two books coming out a year I spend a whole lot of time with Sadie and her wild ways. Writing Daisy was like recess. I loved writing someone new in a new genre and it helped me enjoy Sadie as well. 
9.      How did you come up with writing with the other three ladies?
Years ago I had had the idea of writing a parallel series about a group of women, each volume being that woman’s story. On a book tour I took with Julie Wright we started discussing the idea and with her help we filled in the holes that existed in the idea. By the end of that trip we had come up with the idea for four books written by four different authors. Annette and Heather were friends of ours and solid writers who we knew we could work together with. After the first set we started working on the second set. It has been a remarkable experience.
10.  Will you start a new series, or will you add more to the Sadie Hoffmiller books?
I am working on book 11 right now and then will start the last volume, which will be book 12. I don’t see me writing more than that because I don’t think I can keep the story fresh for much longer. I try hard to keep each book its own story but that means having to come up with new motives, new methods, new internal and external conflicts. I don’t want the series to get bad before we end it. After book 12 we will be doing a cookbook that includes all the recipes from all the books.
11.  Pumpkin Roll is one of my favorites with its twist.  I won’t give it away, but why that little twist?  Was it to throw off your readers and keep them guessing?
I try to choose a theme for each book that sets it apart from the other stories. Pumpkin Roll was set in Boston at Halloween time, so it made perfect sense to play on the ghost story angle. As the story progressed, however, the ‘twist’ kept niggling at me. It would provide cause for different books and put Sadie in ongoing danger. So I went with it. For the most part I’m glad I did, but it has always painted me into a few corners. It’s the only book with a bit of a ‘to be continued’ feel to it which I have not yet resolved so I have to keep explaining it without giving away the ending. It’s been a challenge.
12.  Are you a member of a writing group or critique group?
I have belonged to my writing group for seven years. They are priceless on many levels and I count them among some of my best friends. Getting ongoing feedback helps keep me on track with the stories I write and helps fuel my flagging motivation at times.
13.  How long does it generally take you to write one of your books?
Before Sadie I was writing a book a year, but with that series we wanted to do two a year in order to keep the series moving quickly. So I learned to write in half the time.
14.  Where can my readers find your books for purchase?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Deseret Book, Seagull.
15.  Where can my readers fine you on the net?  There are links there for my social networks and blog
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16.  Is there anything else you want my readers to know about you and your writing?
Just that I love what I do and am so grateful to have the chance to do it. I have grown in so many ways that tie directly to my writing and though it is not a path without difficulty, it is a great joy of my life. We all have things that I believe were planted in us that will bring us joy while also influencing good in the world. I hope all your readers seek for that seed with them and find ways to nourish and grow it.

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