Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fat Cats, Music, and Mystery, Oh My!

Hi all and please help me welcome Kaye George to Killer Hobbies today!  I took piano lessons for  over a decade, but I  I never developed her love of music.  And be sure to look at the end of her post for information about her newest "Fat Cat" Mystery series.  Looks like a lot of fun!

If writing isn’t my hobby (which, for IRS purposes, it definitely is NOT), then music probably is. I didn’t intend to become a lifelong musician, but Dad intended for his children to become musicians. I never could understand why he liked music so much. He had a tin ear—or maybe it was made of rock—totally tone deaf. He had no sense of rhythm. He loved big band music and he would move his hands, nod his head, and snap his fingers, nowhere near where the beat was. His family was poor and couldn’t afford music lessons, so maybe he was proud that he could do that for his kids.

However, at many points along the way, we absolutely hated our music lessons. And we hardly ever practiced. Here’s what happened, though.

We were required to take a year of piano. After that, every new school year, we were given the option of having lessons or not. We fell for it every time. Then, the deal was that if we started we had to finish. That meant the end of year recital. Ugh!

After a summer off, we would want the lessons again the next fall. Gradually, we got so we could play. I switched from piano to violin in fourth grade, only because Mom had a violin. I never once heard her play it. She bought it when she was pregnant with me and bored because Dad was away in the Navy. The salesman played Air on a G String and she said it sounded so nice that she bought it. No wonder! The G string was the only one with any resonance. The other side of the top had been damaged and fixed with something that stopped the vibrations in the wood. In sixth grade I got a better violin, the one I still have.

When I started writing mysteries, I was told—along with every other writer—write what you know. Voilà—music. I invented a character who composed music and would conduct orchestras, kind of what I would want to do if I made my living as a classical musician. (There is a lot more money in almost everything else, by the way, so that didn’t happen.) That character is Cressa Carraway, the sleuth in Eine Kleine Murder.

None of the other characters in my other books are musicians, but I can’t resist having another one play music in her head. Honestly, I don’t know how to live without music in my head, therefore at least one of my sleuths has to have it, too. Charity “Chase” Oliver, hums show tunes throughout Fat Cat at Large (this one written by Janet Cantrell, who is also me). Her surrogate grandmother took her to summer musicals when she was little (guess who played in summer musicals for many years?), so she grew up knowing and liking the music.

The fact is, I do like knowing how to play the violin and I did thank Dad for persisting against our strenuous objections. Also, I like giving that depth to a character—another tool in my toolkit.

Kaye George, multiple-award-winning mystery writer, writes several series: Imogene Duckworthy, Cressa Carraway (Barking Rain Press), People of the Wind (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell, Fat Cat debuting in September (Berkley Prime Crime). Her short stories appear in anthologies and magazines as well as her own collection, A Patchwork of Stories. Her reviews run in Suspense Magazine. She lives in Knoxville, TN.

And here's a little about her newest mystery, Fat Cat at Large
The jig is up for Chase’s adorable plus-size cat, Quincy. His new vet says “diet”—that means no more cherry cheesecake bars. From now on he gets low-calorie kibble only. But one taste of the stuff is all it takes to drive him in search of better things. Quincy’s escape is the last thing Chase needs after the nasty run-in she has with underhanded business rival Gabe Naughtly.
Chase tracks Quincy down in a neighbor’s kitchen, where he’s devouring a meatloaf, unaware of the much more serious crime he’s stumbled upon. Gabe’s corpse is lying on the kitchen floor, and when Chase is discovered at the murder scene, she becomes suspect number one. Now, with a little help from her friends—both human and feline—she’ll have to catch the real killer or wind up behind bars that aren’t so sweet.


KB Inglee said...

Can't wait for my copy of Fat Cat.

Liz Straw said...

My Band instruction in grade school and jr. high has lead me to write a middle grade story about a nasty band instructor. I know kids always say their teacher's did not like them, but this guy really did not like me for some odd reason. I found out years later that he told my parents they were wasting their money on lessons for me and they should tell me to quit playing. My parents of course did no such thing. In high school I did so much more as I moved out of the school district. If I had owned a Bass Clarinet I might have continued, but it was a bit expensive and going to college at the time I just did not see paying for one and going on, perhaps if I had attended a smaller college it would have been different, but then we can't change time back to what could have been. ;)

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome to Killer Hobbies, Kaye! I'll look forward to your new Fat Cat mystery series. It sound fun --and compatible with my upcoming bakery/barkery series that'll begin next year!

Kaye George said...

Thanks, KB!

Liz, it's too bad what some kids go through, isn't it?

Linda, that's nice that our books will mesh.