Q&A: K.D. Hays
Q: The Spyglass Lane Mysteries all have elements of romance,
faith, and suspense—which of those facets was hardest for you to write? Which
was the easiest?
The suspense was probably the most difficult. When I first set out to write the story that eventually became George Washington Stepped Here, I had this dark, revenge-oriented very suspenseful plot in mind. But my investigator heroine had entirely the wrong voice—lots of sarcastic mom humor. So murder and revenge weren’t working for me and I set the story aside. Years later I decided maybe I could make the mystery less serious and then it just seemed to fall into place. I don’t think I can convincingly write a dark story, and most tales of suspense have a dark side.
As for the easiest facet, in these stories it was the faith. My heroine is really in the beginning of her journey, moving from the institutional concept of “church” as she remembers it from childhood to the realization that she can have a personal relationship with God. It was easy to write because I vividly remember being in that stage—some days I feel like I still am.
Q: As a whodunit writer who is a Christian, in what ways did your faith
impact how you write a murder mystery?
I literally couldn’t do it—I think the Karen Maxwell mysteries are the only Spyglass Lane stories with no dead people in them...although the next book in the series was scheduled to include a dead parrot. To be honest, though, I have to admit that the lack of dead people has as much to do with wanting to avoid police procedure as it does my faith.
Q: Tell us about your sleuth.
Karen Maxwell is a divorced mother of two who works as an administrator in her brother’s private investigation firm. When his partner retires, her brother offers Karen the chance to go out on an undercover assignment and actually do her own investigative work. She’s thrilled until she learns that he’s just giving her the case because he thinks it’s a lot of nonsense.
Q: Do you base your characters on people you know or are they totally made
I don’t have a good enough imagination to totally make up anything, including characters. They are all based on bits and pieces of people I know, starting with myself. At least, that’s where I get the inspiration for all of their good traits…
Q: Who are the authors that inspire you as an author?
That changes all the time. Right after I finish a good book, the author of that book inspires me to take the qualities I enjoyed and translate them into my own work. Lately, I have not been productive at all, so the authors that inspire me the most right now are the ones who are disciplined about writing almost every day. It doesn’t even matter if the writing is “good” (an impossibly subjective term) or not. Bad writing can be revised and a flawed plot can be repaired.But a blank page is just paper.
Right now I have too much paper sitting in my office. I need to get to work!