As an long-time avid reader of several different mystery series, I am always interested in coming across a new series to read. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is the author of a new series that is just getting started.
My guest is DK Coutant, who graduated from Davidson College with a Psychology degree, and applied her behavioral training at Sea World, training dolphins and whales. She says that realizing that scrubbing fish buckets might get old, she went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in Psychology. Her academic career actually began at the University of Southern Maine before DK made the jump to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, rising to Department Chair of the Psychology Department. After many happy years in Hawaii, DK made the move out of academics to become a professional geopolitical forecaster for GJP, Inc. (https://goodjudgment.com/Inc ) and INFER (https://www.infer-pub.com/ ).
DK, what do you enjoy about being an author?
It may sound strange, but I really enjoy researching my plot points. If I get a crazy idea of a weird clue, I google my fingers off figuring out if that could actually happen. It brings me great satisfaction if I can find a way to make it work. My readers can fact check me if they want, I don’t think they will be disappointed. And if they are, please let me know at my website. I love to learn something new and I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
Copy-editing. It is one of the last steps to publication or querying, and by that point I feel like I’ve almost memorized the manuscript. Focusing on each adverb, tense, punctuation mark is hard at that stage. A great trick my editor gave me was to read it backwards; last chapter first, etc. That helps somewhat, but it is still my least favorite part of the writing process.
Tell us about your road to publication.
I loved to write fiction as a teenager, but I packed it away when I grew up and had a job. Not enough time. I was an academic for many years in a psychology department. Research and writing up my findings was part of the job. But it never satisfied my itch for creative writing. When I started writing fiction again years later, it was like a breath of fresh air. I queried for several years with Evil Alice and the Borzoi before we found a welcoming home at The Wild Rose Press. And my experience there has been delightful.
What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
Evil Alice and the Borzoi, my debut, was released March 6, 2023. I was visiting a daughter in Guam and a bizarre murder there was in all the papers. I wasn’t writing fiction at the time but I remember thinking it would make a great murder mystery. Years later I was in an art gallery with the same daughter and we both loved a kind of steampunkish painting of a beautiful, but sad woman with a borzoi. Somehow that reminded me of the old bizarre murder and the title magically appeared in my head. I started writing it the next day.
Let's get a blurb:
Paradise is shaken when the body of a young woman is dragged onto a university research vessel during a class outing in Hilo Bay. Cleo Cooper is shaken when she finds her favorite student is on the hook for the murder. Danger lurks on land and sea as Cleo and her friends are enticed to search for the true killer. In between paddling, swimming, and arguing with her boyfriend, Cleo discovers all is not what it seems on the Big Island of Hawaii. But will she figure out the truth before she becomes the next victim?
Want more? Here's a short excerpt:
I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Almost as if he could feel my scrutiny, he turned his head and looked directly at me. My pulse quickened, and I froze—an impala trapped in the gaze of a predator. I couldn’t look away. A barely perceptible smile appeared on his face. He knew the effect he was having on me. Embarrassment gave me the strength to jerk my eyes down to my feet.
What the hell was wrong with me? Maybe low blood sugar? I didn’t eat much breakfast.
What are you working on now?
I have two projects in the works. The second Cleo Cooper Mystery is in final revisions before I start querying it. And I’ve outlined the third book in the series and written a few scenes. I’m looking forward to diving into writing Book 3 this summer. The protagonist, is a cross-cultural psychologist who loves to travel, so each novel is set in a different location. Places I love to visit and hope the reader will too.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Just do it (to borrow a phrase from Nike). I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to write a book. Find what works best for you, whether you are a plotter, or a pantser, practice your craft. If you don’t have an idea for a plot, describe your random ideas; a possible setting, a description of a character, a scene. Get something on paper (or computer). At some point you can figure out how they all fit together… but today is not that day (to borrow a phrase from LOTR). Good luck, and know that you can do this!
Good advice! Here are the buy links for Evil Alice and the Borzoi, followed by DK's, contact information if you would like to know more.
Social Contact Information:
Facebook: DK Coutant https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087049617707
Thank you, DK, for visiting My Writing Corner today. Any questions or comments for DK?