Nov 022011
 


I “met” today’s guest on Facebook. I had been enjoying her books for years and was so happy when she accepted my friend request. With the advent of social media those names on the covers of books we love become up close and personal. We not only get to read about their struggles with writing and their joys of book release days but you get a peek at their personal lives as well. They truly become a friend you care about and so much more than a name on the cover.

This wonderful lady has had quite a year. She lost her husband, her best friend, her soul mate way too soon. One of the most terrible things anyone can go through. I didn’t know until I read this post by her on Cozy Chicks, just how difficult it was for her as a writer. I prayed for her as a friend to help her through her grief. She is still part of my daily thoughts because while I haven’t lost a spouse I know that when anyone you love passes away your life truly changes and their are many days we need to draw strength from others. I just never considered what she was going through as a writer. How important is is to have your “muse” there, with you, ready to take over and catch you before you fall.

I also never knew until I read that post how much my little review of her latest book meant to her. She generously sent me an advanced copy and I will treasure that copy always. I couldn’t wait to read it and then I couldn’t wait to tell everyone how much I loved it. Heck, I wish I could shout it from the rooftops! Stand outside of Barnes & Noble and make sure everyone buys it and the whole series! It is so good!!! I posted that review on the old blog so I will post it again at the bottom of this post.

Please help me welcome the sensational Kate Collins to Cozy Wednesday!

Hi Kate!

Hi Everyone,
I am happy to be here!

Let’s Play “Name That Fictional Character!”

To me, one of the most important aspects — make that critical aspects — of writing a novel is choosing names for my characters. If I don’t get the name right, I can’t hear the character speak, even though I may see his/her face clearly in my mind. If that sounds strange to you, consider the impact a name can have. For instance:

This fictional woman is stubborn, self-centered, driven, beautiful, willful, Irish by heritage, a Southern Belle by birth, and lets nothing stop her, not war, not starvation, not even losing the man she loves. Who is she?

I’m sure you guessed Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. But just think how well that name suits her. Scarlett is a hard, vibrant red color often associated with anger or passion, yet it’s also a delicate, sweet-smelling rose. Doesn’t that sum up the determined, high-spirited, lovely, multi-layered and often thorny character we love to hate?

Next up is a TV character who is scruffy, witty, egotistical, fiercely independent, highly intellectual, addicted to Vicodin, and as brilliant as a medical Sherlock Holmes.

If you’re a fan of the TV series House, then you probably recognized its main character, Dr. Gregory House. House doesn’t need anyone in his life, or so he says, yet he offers a kind of shelter to his underlings, where, like little birds, they learn from him until he pushes them out of the nest. A house is a place unto itself, standing alone, yet offering shelter. Cool, isn’t it?

Or how about a real life example — superstar Oprah Winfrey? When I think of Oprah, I picture a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. Say her name. Doesn’t it sound powerful? But – surprise! When I looked it up, I learned that it means a fawn. Sounds completely contradictory to who Oprah is today, yet consider that a fawn is a brand new life making its way in the world, tentatively at first, and then with more and more confidence as it learns to run like the wind. Look back at Oprah’s beginnings. She was something completely new and fresh to TV and had to make her way carefully along until she found her strengths and speed. Even her last name speaks of being “of the wind, being free.”

The main character in my Flower Shop mysteries is Abby Knight, a short, feisty, freckle-faced redhead who hates bullies and injustice. I chose her name carefully. Abby/Abigail is a young woman who hovers between being a full-fledged grown-up and a fledgling. Her last name is what she is, a knight, ready to fight battles for those she feels duty-bound to protect.

Abby’s assistant, Grace, is a gentle but firm, proper Brit who is the calm in Abby’s choppy seas, her grace. Abby’s mentor, Lottie Dombowski, is a lot of woman, big boned, big voiced, and big hearted. Then there is the enigmatic, dark and handsome Italian-American Marco Salvare, an ex-Army Ranger turned bar owner/PI who is always nearby in case Abby needs saving. Salvare is a savior in Italian.

The reason I mention this is because I’m once again pondering names for characters in my next mystery, and trust me, it’s a slow process. Still, I love doing it. I love creating characters that move people, or touch their hearts, or scare the bejeepers out of them. And by the way, you’ll find all three in my brand new Flower Shop mystery, To Catch a Leaf, released yesterday.

Are there any memorable characters, real or fictional, with strong or unusual names that stand out in your mind?

Does it bother you if a character in a book has the name of someone you dislike? And by the way, if I’ve ever given a villain your name, I apologize.

~Kate

Thanks Kate, I don’t know about the rest of you but she has me thinking about names of characters I love to hate. 🙂

As promised here is my review of Kate new book.

To Catch a Leaf: A Flower Shop Mystery
Obsidian
New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Bloomers Flower Shop owner Abby Knight is engaged to be married to the love of her life, Marco Salvare, and nothing is going to bring her off the cloud of happiness she is riding on, not even her future mother-in-law who is trying to take over all the wedding plans.

Abby and Marco do get a bit distracted when Catherine Newport, one of the area’s wealthiest woman, and Abby’s assistant Grace’s friend, is found dead at the bottom of the stairs by none other than Grace. Then Grace turns out to be the prime suspect because she not only found the body but is left a huge sum of money in Catherine’s will.

Before Abby and Marco can take back control of their wedding they must do their own investigation to find the real story, the real killer and save Grace. Then maybe life can go back to tea, scones, and bridal bouquets.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
You already know I loved To Catch a Leaf but I truly believe this is the best book Kate has written. This story is multifaceted and complex and perfectly paced. There are twists and surprises along with the comfort of the characters we have all grown to love.

When reading about Marco’s mom trying to take over the wedding I had to pause and think “did Kate ever meet my mother?” While we are not Italian reading about Francesca was just like conversations I had with my own mother while planning my own wedding. I had a real feeling of Déjà vu. If you are a fan of this series you know Kate characters are so true they almost jump off the page as is absolutely the case in this installment.

I don’t want to give to much away.
This story is a must read!!
I wish I could give it 10 STARS!

If you have not started this series or are behind it is never too late to find out everything about Abby, Grace, Lottie, Marco and all the rest of the characters from New Chapel, Indiana.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the great people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway!

U.S. & Canadian Residents
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a Comment for Kate for 5 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 16 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  37 Responses to “Cozy Wednesday With Kate Collins (Giveaway too!)”

  1. I just love the title “To Catch a Leaf.” It is so humorous!

  2. I am just learning about Cozy Mystery’s, this sounds good.

  3. Love that catchy title, though I ask Kate, in lieu of Dolly’s remarks about how much she loved this cozy, how will you top it off with the next book?

  4. New-to-me author. Thanks for chance to have her book. The title is lovely.

  5. Love this book and this author! I receive her Facebook status updates, and she is so witty and enjoyable. Thank you!

  6. Sounds like a great mystery! I love the title. Very Catchy. Thank you for the giveaway!

  7. This is a great series and I can’t wait to read this one.

  8. Hi Kate, You are a new author for me but I love cozy mysteries so I am looking forward to reading your books. I love your title, so cute. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us.

  9. Thank you, ladies, for commenting! I work hard to come up with a new title for each book. They have to make me smile. Freda, you bring up a good point. It’s always a worry to me that my next will not be “up to snuff” so to speak. With this one, I was especially worried because of what I’d gone through while writing it. That’s why Lori’s (Dollycas) review – the first one that came in — was so special. I sat at my computer and cried. As for the next book, I will do exactly as I’ve done for the others — write the best story I can and hope people enjoy it.

  10. I am not worried a bit about Kate’s next book, she always amazes me with the ideas she comes up with. Plus after the stress she faced while writing this one I hope the next ones just flow easily for her.

  11. I’ve gotten to know Kate a little through the Cozy Chicks blog, which is a staple of my everyday blog reading, and just love this series. I’m only a few books in, but I love reading each installment to find out what kind of mischief Abby will get into!

  12. Hi Kate, what gave you the idea to place this mystery in a flower shop!

  13. A murder mystery and a flower shop…what a fun combination!

  14. I absolutely LOVE this series and can’t wait to read this most recent addition! My library doesn’t have it yet and that is how I have read the others…I might have to break down and buy one (that is if I don’t win one here 🙂 ). I enjoyed participating in the name a character voting a few months back on facebook, it was fun to help Kate come up with ideas for a character in an upcoming book 🙂 And I agree, names are huge when it comes to book characters…My daughter was named (in part) for Jo in Little Women!

  15. This sounds like a great series! I’d love to start reading it!

  16. Hi Kate! I love how you talk about naming characters. Quite like naming a baby, wouldn’t you say? 🙂 Oh – and House – he’s a card (that I enjoy).

    I’m looking forward to reading your mysteries. I haven’t had the pleasure YET, but am certainly adding you on my TBR list.

    Thanks for this peek into how you create, and thanks for the chance to win.

  17. I have not read this series yet. Going to add it to my reading. Love the cover and title to your newest book. The only that bothers me with certain character’s names is if I can’t say the name. LOL. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. Kate, I wish you continued success with this series! I’m anxious to read Abby’s new tale! Thanks!

  19. Janelle, I originally had planned to make Abby a new lawyer just going into practice, but my agent said “Boring!” She suggested I pick a setting that I would feel connected to and that readers would enjoy. And who doesn’t love being in a flower shop? Plus I’ve always loved growing flowers and veggies, so it was a natural fit. thanks for asking.

    Theresa, I put a lot of thought into my characters’ names, so it is a lot like naming a baby. I just get to do it a lot more often.

  20. sounds like another great mystery for me to want to read
    I love these title that are so quirky

  21. This looks like a fun book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  22. congrats to Kate!!! can’t wait to read To Catch a Leaf!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  23. It was so great having Kate here today!!! Pass the word giveaway runs two weeks!!!

  24. Just wanted to say I loved the post Lori though I can’t enter being an Aussie. And while I haven’t read any of Kate’s novels, I’ve seen them on your blog before & commented on the gorgeous covers.

    Kate I really enjoyed reading about the thought, & sometimes anguish that can go into choosing characters’ names. I must admit when I read “Lottie Dombowski” I immediately pictured the attributes you mentioned. An author friend of mine having difficulty with a character’s name choice put a description of her historical fiction gentleman on her blog and ran a contest for the best name. I was amazed at the thought/research that went into some people’s suggestions.

  25. Kate, my heart goes out to you with the sudden loss of your husband. It’s a testament to your courage that you continued to write and found the ‘sunshine transfusion’ that your novel needed and I’m truly delighted that you’re receiving such rich praise for your work. Maybe hubby was guiding you with angel wings 🙂

  26. I believe I read the first couple of books in this series quite some time ago and it is time to revisit this fun series. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity 🙂

  27. Sounds like a great book. I have to look into this series!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Mary

  28. The one thing I thought would bother me was romance heroes with my sons’ names, but I learned to set that aside. Sometimes the character with people that I don’t like names does annoy me but again most times I am able to set that aside. I have to say I have watched 6 seasons of House (we’re watching 7 now with Netflix) and never thought about his name like that. Cool. Now I will think about names in a new way.

  29. Kate and I are friends on FB and I love to chat with her. She’s always asking for help with names and such. It’s a hoot to try and come up with a good one. Thank you Kate for the chance to win a copy of your book.

  30. I loved the book. Kate’s books do seem to get better. Anyone who wins the book will probably fall in love with the characters and want to read the others.

  31. Now I am curious about the pre-wedding conversations between the main character and her mother. I would really like to compate the ones that my mother and I had. Not Italian but I believe that some topics are universal.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  32. I am so intrigued by this series! I have the first one just waiting to be read. The title of this one is very cute.

  33. I love the title! A mystery in a flower shop should be a fun read! I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  34. Once I’m into a story I don’t think about the names as belonging to people I know in real life.

  35. Amazing series Kate!! Absolutely A-MAZ-ING!! I recommend the series to everyone I know. I have my whole department following your series! Love it! Keep up the GREAT writing and can’t wait for the next book! 🙂

  36. Sounds like a fun addition to the series!

  37. I love Kate’s books and can’t wait to read this one!

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