Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Author Interview: Kari Lee Townsend, author of Tempest in the Tea Leaves

Interview with Kari Lee Townsend

Recently I had the pleasure of reading Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend. I read this purely for my own enjoyment and I’m so glad I did. I love cozy mysteries and, to top it all off, this one had a beautiful cat on the cover – how could I resist? I loved it and gave it 5 kitties plus my Socrates’ Great Book Alert Award. Imagine my excitement when I discovered the author was a member of the same cozy mystery group that I was in! So, I asked if she’d be interested in being interviewed on my blog and she agreed! I’d like to welcome Kari Lee Townsend to the Socrates’ Book Review Blog…

Let the questions begin…

1) What was the first book you had published and how did it feel when you got “the call”?

Thanks for having me here, Yvonne. So glad you enjoyed the book free smileys

The first book I sold was a MG teen superhero series called The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused. It took me 14 years to sell, 3 of which were with an agent (Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency), so “the call” was amazing. I actually screamed in my poor agent’s ear, and then cried. I waited so long for this dream to come true, that when it finally did, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. But I’m better now…I think, LOL. Oh, who am I kidding…I’d still scream in her ear. Trust me, it never gets old.

2) How does your family feel about your writing career?

My family is very proud and supportive of me. I’ve been married for 22 years, and we have 3 boys and 1 diva to show for it. The kids love telling everyone their mom is an author, and my husband is my biggest fan. Having a family to share this crazy insane ride with is what makes the whole journey worthwhile. Not to mention I have a fabulous critique partner, Barb Witek (aka Barbie Jo Mahoney), who’s been with me from the start. I couldn’t do any of this without her.

3) What is involved in creating a continuing series of books? Do you prepare an outline?

I never used to outline, but now I have to. Writing mysteries and action/adventure superhero stories takes a lot of planning. If I didn’t write an outline, I’d forget where I was going and what I had already done. My outlines aren’t always complete when I start a book, but as I go along I continue to use a “working” outline that I keep tweaking as my story changes. I start with the bones of the story before I write, and then I add all the fun parts as I go along.

4) Do you plan the future books of a series ahead of time or do you concentrate on one book at a time?

I am such a linear writer. I can’t even write a later chapter until I’ve written the ones before it. I can jot down scene ideas, but can’t write a word until I get to that part. I know that each mystery will focus on a different fortune-telling tool, but that’s about it. I do know book two will be called Corpse in the Crystal Ball and it comes out in June 2012. And book three will be called Trouble in the Tarot and it comes out in March 2013.

5) What kind of research do you do before writing a book?

Even though I write about a psychic fortune teller, I am not one. So I do a lot of research on how to use the fortune telling tool Sunny focuses on in that particular book. It’s a lot of fun because I am fascinated by fortune telling in general, and I think psychics are amazing. I’ve had too many freaky readings that came true and events I can’t explain. I truly believe that anything is possible, you just have to keep an open mind.

6) What gave you the idea for the “Fortune Teller Mystery series?

I did a lot of research on Berkley Prime Crime because that is who I wanted to write for. There were a lot of fabulous cozy mystery themes out there, and some fun paranormal ones that were doing really well. So I wanted to write a light fun paranormal cozy. I have always loved and been fascinated with fortune telling, and I noticed they didn’t have a fortune-telling theme yet. My “now” editor Faith Black loved the idea, and bought the first three books. Now I just have to write them all free smileys

7) What type of books do you read for your own enjoyment?

I love funny cozy mysteries, romantic comedies, humorous women’s fiction, YA romances that are light and fun. Do you see a pattern? Whatever I read & write will always have humor and romance in it, as well as small towns, quirky characters, and mystical elements…oh and some form of a fascinating mystery to solve. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that!

8) What advice would you give for aspiring authors?

Never EVER give up. It might have taken me 14 years to sell, but then my agent landed me two 3-book deals at two different houses just 5 months apart. That never would have happened if I’d quit. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know what you might be good at or enjoy doing if you don’t give it a shot. And most importantly, do your homework. Pay attention to the market. Don’t just write what you want. Write what they “need!”

9) Any hints for the second book in the Fortune Teller series and when will it be released?

Corpse in the Crystal Ball will come out in June of 2012. Here’s a blurb: When fortune teller Sunshine Meadows helps the police find a missing person, her vision is crystal clear. Only, she never could have predicted the corpse in the crystal ball would be hunky, hard-nosed Detective Mitch Stone’s ex-girlfriend or that he would be the number one suspect. Can he put his pride aside while she clears his name this time? Only the future knows for sure…

10) Do you have any other books coming out? Can you tell us anything about them?

That’s it for now. The second book in my middle grade series has been pushed back, so stayed tuned for that. I’ll let you know when that one will come out soon. But for now, keep your eyes open for more Fortune Teller Mystery books. I adore this series and hope its future is very bright free smileys

Thanks so much for having me here. To find out more about me and all my books, check out my website at www.karileetownsend.com and my group mystery blog at
www.mysteriesandmargaritasblogspot.com Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/karileetownsend and like my Facebook Author Page at www.facebook.com/karileetownsendAUTHOR

Thank you so much for visiting us at the Socrates’ Book Review Blog!

Kari Lee Townsend lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter, who keep her grounded and make everything she does worthwhile…not to mention provide her with loads of material for her books. Kari is a longtime lover of reading and writing, with a masters in English education, who spends her days trying to figure out whodunit. Funny how no one at home will confess any more than the characters in her mysteries!
Kari writes fun and exciting stories for any age, set in small towns, with mystical elements and quirky characters. You can find out more about her on her website www.karileetownsend.com and also on the group mystery blog she cohosts, called Mysteries and Margaritas, at www.mysteriesandmargaritasblogspot.com

TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES: A Fortune Teller Mystery

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune-telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a ”non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.


  1. I love the same types of books as she does, with the addition of thrillers.

    Good interview!

  2. I did not connect the name at first but I have read the MG story :)

  3. Blodeuedd, hope you enjoyed the MG. I had a lot of fun with that story, too, and had a blast with Tempest!


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