Friday, October 8, 2010

Author Interview: Josi S. Kilpack

This week I had my fill of food-lit ~and loved it!  I read and reviewed, Devil's Food Cake and Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack. Today, Girls Just Reading is thrilled to have a Q&A with the author.

GJR:  WOW! You’ve written more than a dozen books in a plethora of genres, ranging from Women’s Lit, to YA, to a Whitney Award Winning Suspense novel, to non-fiction books on publishing. Isn’t that genre span unusual for an author?

Josi S. Kilpack:  I’m lucky in that I started out writing a variety and therefore didn’t get pigeon holed like many authors do. It is unusual for an author to write multiple genres, and for good reason; a lot of fans aren’t multiple-genres so when it comes to branding yourself it’s best to focus on one thing. Even though I’ve published several books, the first several were in a small regional market and therefore I wasn’t going after a large enough demographic to feel the need to focus like most authors do. Now that I’m branching out into a more mainstream market, however, I’m very much shooting for that stable platform and easily-identified genre.

GJR:  Your last four books have been part of a series of culinary mysteries. What inspired this genre shift?

JSK:  I was in between projects and a fellow writer had a writing contest as part of his latest book’s promotion. The contest was for the first chapter of a mystery novel that involved food. I wrote the chapter as a bit of a break from my other projects and absolutely fell in love with it. For the next couple of years I worked on the story here and there until I decided to make it a focus and see where it took me. It was a good challenge for me in many ways.

GJR:  The recipes in your book sound delicious ~there are several I want to try! Are the recipes your own or did you work with a chef?

JSK: Ah, a chef! That would be awesome; maybe some day. For now, a lot of them are my own, but many of them are provided by my Test Kitchen, or rather Sadie’s test kitchen. It’s a group of 8 home-chefs, like myself, who offer up recipes and then help me try out the ones I want to use. They help me get it just right and have been a lifesaver. It’s one thing to play around with something new at home, it’s a whole other ballgame to put a recipe out to the world with your stamp of approval on it.

GJR:  Who is the hardest character to write for in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series?

JSK:  Sadie. I’ve never written the same main character in more than one book, so I’ve found it particularly challenging to make Sadie remain true to who she is and yet still grow and develop over the course of the series. It was a challenge I hadn’t anticipated and it’s turned out to be far more challenging than I’d have ever expected even if I’d known it would be an issue.

GJR:  Are you working on a new novel? Will it be a sequel to Key Lime Pie, or are you going to switch genres?

JSK:  I’ve JUST sent in the final version of Book five in the series, Blackberry Crumble. It will be out in the spring and will be followed by 3 more books in this series and then a cumulative cookbook that will have all the recipes from all the books. No genre switches just yet, but maybe when I’m done :-)

GJR:  Do you have plans to write sequels to any of your other novels?

JSK:  I do have some ideas, but as time goes on I have more ideas for totally new things as well, so I’m not sure where exactly all this thinking will take me. I suppose time will tell.

GJR:  Who are your favorite authors to read? Why?

JSK:  Even though I already said that most readers have specific genres they prefer, I read in a lot of different genres and can’t think of a particular author that really stands out. I do follow Sue Graphton; I get her books quick after their release, but overall I’m drawn to writers who write strong characterization and keep me guessing—whether that’s in a suspense novel or romance; a good author keeps the plot twisting from beginning to end and writes characters I can’t wait to read about. I love that.

GJR:  What are you currently reading?

JSK:  I have been waiting to read Catching Fire since after I finished The Hunger Games, and now I have Mockingjay to throw in there. I also set a goal to read Pride And Prejudice—I’ve only ever seen the movie (I know, I know, I’m a writing heretic!)

GJR:  What author’s have influenced you?

JSK:  Every author I’ve ever written has left their mark on my writer’s soul. Honestly, good or bad, I think every book I’ve ever read has taught me something, which is why I think it’s so important for writers to read, read, read. You never know when you’ll find yourself in an author’s classroom, learning as the story unfolds.

GJR:  If you had to prepare an impromptu dinner party, which recipe would you grab and why?

JSK:  I have a fabulous White Chicken Chili recipe that although it hasn’t shown up in a book yet, is a crowd pleaser and super easy to make. It’s what I throw together when real life brings me the need to entertain. While I love to cook, my first priority is that it taste awesome and my second priority is that it’s fast because I’m easily distracted :-)

We'd like to thank Josi S. Kilpack for taking time out of her schedule to answer our questions. Her recipes and the first chapter of each book in the series can be found on her website.  (I can't wait for the cookbook! )

If you love food and a good mystery (and quite frankly, who doesn't?) You need to check out the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series!

...and come by the blog again tomorrow for a chance to win Key Lime Pie!



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