Welcome to my stop on the Death by Diploma book tour. It’s my first cozy and I’ll be sharing an interview with the author and a review. Many thanks to Kelley for allowing me to take part.
Death by Diploma
By Kelley Kaye
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Emma Lovett leaves her philandering husband and crosses the country to begin her teaching career at a high school in Pinewood, Colorado. There, she meets Leslie Parker, a fellow teacher given to quoting Shakespeare to fit all situations, and the two become fast friends.
Arriving at work early one morning, Emma discovers the body of the school custodian, a man who reminds her of her late father. When the police struggle to find the killer, the ladies decide to help solve the murder. Their efforts lead them to a myriad of suspects: the schizophrenic librarian, the crude football coach, the mysterious social studies teacher, and even Emma’s new love interest.
As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school, she and Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.
This was my first cozy so I didn’t know what to expect from this genre. I got a good little story about a new teacher, her new fast friend and fellow teacher who decide to solve a murder they’ve practically stumbled upon. I enjoyed the read and would recommend this book to those who like cozy mysteries.
Please tell me about yourself
My real name is Kelley Gusich, but I write cozy murder mysteries under the name Kelley Kaye (which is my middle name, but without the ‘e’.) I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, went to school in California to become a teacher. I started my career in Lake Tahoe, but then a 1994 diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis brought me back to Colorado and the comfort of family, where I taught at my old high school for 16 years. Issues with my health brought me back to California, to the more temperate climate of San Diego.I’ve been in SD since 2011, writing whenever possible, and now that my two little boys are in school full tIme, I get to write full time! My debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released in February! ;
Can you tell me something about you that no one knows?
I practice what I’m going to say in my head before I say it. All the time. I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing so much, because it’s the BEST way to practice (and practice, rewrite, ponder, reflect, redirect and obsess) what you’re going to say before you say it.
What are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading a book called Flesh and Blood, by Patricia Cornwell—it’s been a while since I read her, but Kay Scarpetta is a great character. I’m working on reading my next Book Club book, which is nonfiction titled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Have you ever heard of Hela cells? Well I hadn’t either, but it is fascinating! Also I’m working on two of the newest books by other RAP authors: Stephen Kozeniewski and John DeBoer.
Some favourite books and authors?
I think, until I die, I will read anything and everything written by Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. My favorite favorite titles by those three are, respectively, Innocence, Life Expectancy, and 11-22-63. Now that I say that, of course, forty other titles by those writers come to me and I want to change my answer—so many choices! I love Lee Child. I reread the Wrinkle in Time trilogy about every three years, also To Kill a Mockingbird and/or Of Mice and Men and I still cry every time.
What is your work space and routine like?
This is the corner of my bedroom, AKA my office (picture at bottom).
There’s a sign taped next to the chair, on the dresser. It lays out my schedule for each day, which starts with my magazine writing job—I write for a set of 11 community magazines in North County San Diego called Zcode Magazines. So I do that first, then the rest of the day is divided between writing (I have four fiction and one nonfiction project in progress right now), social media, sending queries and other marketing.
Did any of your own personal teaching experience end up in the book?
I think some of Emma’s interactions with students might be true to the way I would talk to students, but as far as specific experiences in the book—they’re all made up!
What do you have planned for the Chalkboard Outlines series?
All your cozy fun—more quirky characters, fun relationships, and of course more Shakespeare! Each of the books will have an alliterative title and be about teaching and murder!
What can readers look forward to next?
I’ve started writing book #2 in the Chalkboard Outlines series, so, more fun with Emma, Leslie and Shakespeare! I’ve just finished the first draft of a humorous self-help memoir (not a genre. Yet.) for which I’m seeking representation, and if I EVER get any more time it’ll be to work on more Cozy Mysteries, more Narrative Nonfiction, and more Young Adult Paranormal. Count on seeing me!
Kelley Kaye taught High School English and Drama for twenty years, but her love for
storytelling dates back to creating captions for her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created around her Barbie and Ken — whatever the case, the love’s been around for a long time.
Kelley is married to this amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and
wonderful sons. She lives in Southern California.
On Twitter: @kelkay1202
Check out the book trailer for Death by Diploma: https://youtu.be/CAMXkR3kA-8