Today, I’m pleased to have Molly Kate Gray visiting me. Her romantic suspense novel, Small Town Secrets, is a recent release by Crimson Romance, and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and ITunes. Here’s a taste:
Miller’s Grove’s most eligible bachelor, Josh Owens, could have a different date every night of the week, so he doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Tara since she’s obviously not interested in him. Tara Sullivan is angry that he’s stolen the coveted prime-time anchor position she’d been promised.
A stranger begins preying on the single young women in Miller’s Grove, and the story’s assigned to Tara. As the number of victims grows, Tara reluctantly accepts help from Josh. As he researches his top suspect in the assaults, he unearths events in the past that more than one resident of Miller’s Grove wants to keep hidden.
Together they discover a web of conspiracy and lies involving the most powerful family in town. Josh and Tara put their reputations at risk in the hope of exposing the truth and, perhaps, finally bringing Tara peace.
Now, let’s find out more about Molly Kate.
I love the name of your fictional town! Is the community you describe in your book anything like your own small town, or is it an amalgamation of several small towns? Or possibly the way you wish small towns were?
Miller’s Grove is fictional…kind of. I’d say that about 75% of it is based on a small town in Georgia my family almost moved to two years ago. My husband was being interviewed for a position in the town, and we flew out to take a look around. I totally fell in love, and we were really saddened when the company ended up doing a hiring freeze and we didn’t move there. When I started developing Tara and Josh’s story, I realized the town would be the perfect setting for their world. So, I got to spend more time there, even if it was just in my imagination. The park overlooking the Savannah River that’s mentioned in the book is a real park – located at the end of the street from the house we planned to buy.
The Miller’s Grove courthouse and town square also play significant roles in the story. They are actually part of the town where I live. I love the way the square is decorated for Christmas. The trees are always brimming with tiny white lights, so I added them to the décor for Miller’s Grove’s Heritage Days celebrations. (The cover artist was spot-on with the lights in the trees on my cover.)
Is this book going to be part of a series? Will we get to go back to Miller’s Grove?
I’d really planned for Small Town Secrets to stand alone. However, I’ve had a lot of people who’ve read the story ask if I’m going to revisit Miller’s Grove. I can’t say that I’ll definitely write a follow-up story; but if the right idea strikes me, I’d be happy to go back to Miller’s Grove again.
This novel revolves around jobs at a television station. How did you do the research for it?
I watched a lot of Lois and Clark and Murphy Brown when they first aired. I think they drew me into the dynamics of a newsroom – not just a television station. I was also on my middle school and high school’s newspaper staff. I basically just pulled the “news” experience I already had and combined it with what my daughter told me about being one of her school district’s reporters. She’s the anchor for her school, but she also does some of the camera work, so she helped me out with the right terminology for when a camera operator is filming.
I noticed on your website that you have a series about a different town in the works. Tell us about those books.
I do have another series planned. It’s a three book series – each set in a different Texas small town. Their common element involves the main character returning home to a hometown…and a past she’d thought she left behind.
The first in the “Welcome Home” series is complete. Playing with Fire should be coming from Crimson Romance in December.
Della Chambers, an FBI field agent, left Pearson Crossing when she was 18 years old and never looked back – at least not until now. When a string of suspicious fires draws her back to her hometown, she comes face to face with Camden Gibson. He saved her life once – and she’s never forgiven him for it.
Now the pair is forced to work side by side, and they discover the heat between them has nothing to do with fire.
What do you have planned next?
I’m currently working on the second book in the “Welcome Home” series. Fade to Black should be complete by mid-September.
Other than Agatha Christie, who has influenced your writing style?
Even though my books are romantic suspense, and that means I have to maintain a certain level of danger, death, and just all around scary stuff…I also like to make certain I sprinkle some lightness throughout the stories to give the reader a little chance to breathe and better-connect with the characters.
I think that my love for Diane Mott Davidson influenced that part of my writing style.
I’ve also always been drawn to “tracking the serial killer” type of stories. I’ve read a lot of Dee Henderson and Kimberly Derting.
What’s your writing style? Pantser or plotter? How long does it take you from idea to a complete manuscript?
I’m kind of a mixture of the two styles. I’m not one for planning every single scene before I get started – for me, that makes the story kind of “flat.” But, I do know where I’m going with the story before I begin typing chapter one.
I actually write the story a bit in reverse. The first scenes I work on are always my climax and final scenes. I need to see who ends up in those scenes. It also helps me to know exactly what elements and characters I have to ensure are mentioned in the story along the way.
How long does it take me? Hmm….it really depends. Some stories have flowed really quickly while others really haven’t. I’d say that my fastest story I’ve written from “little baby idea in my head” to polished manuscript is probably 6 months. I’m working on a young adult novel right now, that’s been over 2 years in development. Every project is different. While I’ve had to take a break in the middle of writing it, Fade to Black has been my main project for about 6 months so far.
What’s your best advice to someone just getting started in the business?
Are you really sure about this? I never want to dissuade anyone from pursuing their passion, but I think every new writer needs to have a firm grip on reality.
Writing is hard work. Really, it is.
Writing is isolating. The majority of the time, writers work alone (unless you have an amazing writing group who’ll help you brainstorm through your trouble spots). If you’re a really social person, just staring at your keyboard for hours can be…not fun.
You need a really thick skin and understand that critique/reviews of your work doesn’t mean people don’t like YOU. Creating a novel takes hours upon hours pulling scenes out of the depths of your imagination – sometimes ending up in places in your memory you didn’t really want to go. And just when you think your work is perfect, you take that nerve-wracking step of sending it to an editor or agent – generally only to be told they’re not interested.
Sometimes the story you want to tell isn’t the story everyone else wants to hear. You may have gotten caught at the end of a trend or picked subject matter that doesn’t have a wide appeal. If you believe in your story – keep going, keep pushing, keep trying to get it published. However, it’s also okay to consider a novel good practice for your next story and just tuck it away in a drawer for later when you’ve distanced yourself from it and might be able to rework it for broader appeal.
Ack! That was longer than I’d planned. Sorry about that.
How can someone get in touch with you?
I’d love to hear back from y’all. My website, www.mollykategray.com has information about my books and upcoming projects. I have to admit that I adore Twitter - @MollyKGray – and I likely tweet more than I should. If you’re more of an e-mail kind of person, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for letting me pop in and visit!