I’ve met some wonderful new writers at The Kill Zone. One is the delightful Kay DiBianca, critically acclaimed, award-winning author of a cozy mystery series set around the theme of TIME.
If you’re a fan of puzzles and lighthearted mysteries, I hope you enjoy learning about Kay’s creative process in this interview.
Debbie Burke: Welcome, Kay. What influenced you to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
Kay DiBianca: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but my profession of software development had me writing code rather than novels. After I retired, the writing bug bit me, and I’ve been happily tapping away on my laptop ever since. I started my first novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, in 2015, and it was published in 2019.
DB: How did you develop your two main characters, Kathryn and Cece?
KD: When I first conceived of the story, I immediately thought it would be interesting to have two half-sisters as the main characters. Kathryn and Cece are very different both in looks and personality, and it’s been fun to see them interact with each other.
DB: When thinking about a new book, where do you start? With character? Plot? Setting?
KD: That’s a great question. The creative process is an enigma to me. When I consider writing another book, I spend time reading good novels and thinking about the kinds of things I’d like to see in a book. Eventually, something bubbles up that captures my imagination, and I use that as the starting point. Each of my three novels developed in different ways. The first one had to do with family tragedy and relationship. The second one was focused on the determination to find the truth even in the face of danger, and the third book developed around a couple of secondary characters. I have no idea what the fourth book will be!
DB: The third book in your series, Time After Tyme, was recently published. When you embarked on the first book, did you have a series in mind?
KD: Not immediately. But as the characters developed, I sensed it would be a good series.
DB: Your series theme involves time, watches, and clocks. What role does time play in your storytelling?
KD: Time is a fascinating subject for me. Although we all come into the world with different talents and circumstances, we all get the same number of hours in the day, and we can choose what to do with that. Somehow that worked its way into my stories.
DB: Please share a little of your professional background. Did your work experience help or hinder you when you began writing fiction?
KD: I was a software developer and IT manager before I retired. For me, writing software is the equivalent of creating products out of pure thought. In that way, it’s similar to novel-writing. Of course, the software developer knows what the requirements are and knows how to gauge when he/she has completed the job. The creative writer has a much bigger task since we make up our own requirements and decide for ourselves when we’ve produced a good book.
Software development also gave me a love of puzzles and codes that are fundamental to mystery-writing.
DB: You’re a runner, a passion shared by your character Kathryn. How does that activity help your creativity?
KD: I have found running to be a great benefit in many ways. First, it’s healthy exercise that keeps me in shape and gives me energy. But aerobic exercise has also been shown to aid creativity! I often get new ideas when I’m out running.
DB: What do Kathryn and Cece do when you’re not watching them? Are they scouting for new mysteries for another book?
KD: I never know what those two will be up to. I suspect Cece is looking for interesting parts for her acting career, and Kathryn is training for a marathon. But they always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the bad guys show up.
Thank you, Debbie, for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today!
To learn more about Kay’s series, visit her website: kaydibianca.com
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Thanks for the interview! You’ve really piqued my interest. Looking forward to Tawney’s return.
Tawny’s hard at work on book #7, Until Proven Guilty. More news coming soon! Grateful for your continuing interest and friendship.
Thank you for stopping by, Mary Ellen. I’m also looking forward to Tawny’s return!
Great interview, Debbie and Kay. And great books, Kay. I’m about half way through #2. Great book!
Thanks for stopping by! Kay is a pleasure to chat with.
Thanks for the kind words, Steve. I hope you like Dead Man’s Watch. Those young women have a way of attracting trouble.