This week I learned that Flower Shop Network guest writer and best selling mystery writer Kate Collins is about to launch her new website www.katecollinsbooks.com. Many of you will remember the great newsletter she wrote for Flower Shop Network (The Language Of Flowers). While she is exceptionally knowledgeable about the meanings of flowers, Kate’s biggest passion is her mystery series starring Abby Knight, an Indiana florist.
I love mystery novels. If I wasn’t in the flower business, I would love to be a mystery writer. I guess I could combine the two. But, Kate has beat me to it and in such a fabulous way.
Maybe I could solve a mystery instead. Combining my natural curiosity about all things related to florists and discovering the inter workings of a mystery writer. In essence, I want to know “why a florist”? On my quest to find an answer to this mystery, I decided to go strait to the source. So, I called Kate and bombarded her with a series of questions.
Here is how the conversation went.
Jamie: Kate, congratulations when will the new sight be up?
Kate: May 1st – May Day! I can’t wait. I’m so excited.
Jamie: So what will we see on the new sight? I understand there will be a virtual Bloomers Flower Shop.
Kate: Yes, a virtual photo of Bloomers Flower Shop, plus the floor plans, so anyone reading my books will be able to walk through the store with the characters. (I really had fun drawing up the plans from my imagination). Clicking on any of the rooms will link with another area on the site, with lots of fun things to see and do. I’m giving away fabulous prizes, including the signature “Abby Knight” Fire-and-Ice earrings, and an art glass Flower Power pendant, made by my creative artist friends in Key West. There are fun pages, a trivia game, photos of fans, friends, family, and my favorite travel pics, my bio, and more. You’ll have to drop by, Jamie.
Jamie: That’s great, Kate. I can’t wait to see it. Which brings me to the real reason for my call. I know florists are fun, exciting and all that, but why did you choose a florist to be your main character? How do you work the name of so many flowers into your story lines? How do you come up with those clever titles? Is your passion for plants and flowers related to your mother’s name (Rosemary – my favorite herb)? I’m sorry. I guess I’d get an answer if I shut up for a few seconds.
(For those of you who have spoken to me on the phone, you know random things pop into my head and how I am compelled to blurt them out. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege misfortune to talk to me via the phone, this is exactly how I am on the phone which is why I blog or email instead. Sorry Kate.)
Kate: I’ve always loved flowers, and gardens in general. One of my earliest memories is of following my grandma through her huge garden, stuffing my mouth with raspberries while she weeded. She grew everything – fruit, veggies, flowers, and herbs. (I think her fav was Rosemary, too, which could be why she named my mother after it.) Everything I learned from her carried over to my adult self, so as soon as I had my own house, I planted a perennial, annual garden, and vegetable garden. So when my editor suggested I come up with a setting for my mysteries that I thought women would enjoy, I jumped at the chance to “become” a florist. And after writing nine Flower Shop mysteries, I’m starting to think like one! I’ve made some great friends among the florists who’ve been kind enough to let me hang out and pester them with questions.
As for the titles, I search long and hard for just the right flower pun to fit the story. It’s not easy working flowers and murder references into a title, believe me. It’s kind of like chocolate and mustard! But I’m so grateful the publisher has used every one of them. And I love the covers, too. Their cover artist is fantastique.
I should mention that the ninth book in the series will be out February, 2010, with a title that the publisher at NAL thinks is the best so far. Want to hear it? Okay. Get ready….. SLEEPING WITH ANEMONE.
Jamie: I love it! I think it is my favorite title so far. Really, how can anyone be so clever.
Kate: Gotta love flowers.
So as you can see from our conversation, there really wasn’t any mystery to it. Kate loves flowers, herbs, and all things garden related. Why a florist. Well that is evident. Florists are amazing people who mysterious create a work of art using flowers. What other subject and character could be more interesting that flowers and a florist?