Monday, October 4, 2021

Starting a New Series: Guest Post by Kim Davis

Kim Davis: Starting a New Series 

Starting a new cozy mystery series is a daunting task for me. While my literary agent shopped the first book in my Cupcake Catering Mystery series, she suggested I come up with an idea and start writing another series. One that wasn’t a culinary cozy mystery. I must say that I was caught off-guard… my life revolves around food. From what I plan and prepare for my family, to what I prepare and photograph for my blog (Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder), to the recipes I develop for my own books and for a few friends’ culinary cozy books, I’m always thinking of food. 

I spent a few weeks browsing through the myriad of cozy mysteries out there. Themes run the gambit from culinary, to crafty (which I’m not), to shopkeepers (which I have no experience). I was stumped. Then a burst of inspiration came in the form of my step-daughter delving into aromatherapy and essential oils to aid in promoting better health and well-being for my special needs granddaughter. 

Intrigued, I began using some of the products that boosted the immune system since I constantly caught colds and whatnot from the elementary school classrooms I volunteered in once a week. (All of this was obviously pre-covid.) I was amazed when my colds went from every few weeks to every few months. Allergic to most cold-relieving medications, I began using aromatherapy to help with cold symptoms when I did succumb, and from there tried other essential oils for other issues like headaches and tummy issues. I’d finally found something I thought I could incorporate into a mystery… with lots of research ahead of me. 

Next, I had to decide where to base the setting. Since my cupcake series is set in the Newport Beach area of southern California, close to where I live, I wanted some place different but it needed to have the feeling of a small community. I also wanted the locale to be a place I could somewhat easily visit for research, which ruled out anything outside the state of California. Then it dawned on me. My own hometown of Ojai, where I’d spent my childhood, was the perfect spot. A mere eighty miles northwest of Los Angeles, it’s a tourist destination despite its small size. However, I didn’t want to be constrained to the exact confines of Ojai, so I created my own town called Oak Creek Valley for greater leeway with the details of the town. 

Shortly after my decision on the town, a dear cousin decided to visit family in Ojai. I arranged to drive up to spend time with her as well, and combine it as a research trip. Imagine my delight when her daughter came along, and told me that her sister-in-law, A.C. Stauble, was a clinical herbalist and was known as The Traveling Herb Farmer. She put me in contact with A.C., who turned out to be a lovely young woman willing to share her expertise with me. She graciously answered my questions and gave me references for further research into the field of aromatherapy. 

Then I went to work and began writing. I both admire and envy those authors who can crank out manuscript after manuscript. I do realize that they’re dedicated to putting the time in to write and are not easily distracted, but for me, writing a book is generally a lengthy process. I wanted to make sure I incorporated enough factual information about aromatherapy since cozy mystery readers like to learn something while being entertained, but didn’t want to detract too much from the mystery. Plus, the more I learned about essential oils the more research I found I wanted to do. From the time my agent suggested I come up with a new series to the time I finished the first manuscript, over a year had slipped away. But, in the end, it was well worth it. I had a newfound respect for essential oils and I had a contract with Kindred Ink Press for three books in my Aromatherapy Apothecary Cozy Mystery series

Now about that food… I couldn’t not have a recipe in my book so I created an enticing baker, Jasper, who just might be a love interest for my protagonist, Carissa Carmichael. No matter what happens between the pair, she’ll always enjoy his to-die-for Triple Chocolate Rolls! 


Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband and mini Goldendoodle puppy, Missy. She writes the cozy Cupcake Catering Mysteries, the Aromatherapy Apothecary Mysteries and suspense novel A GAME OF DECEIT. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


Kim said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Janet! I truly appreciate all that you do for authors and readers alike!

holdenj said...

Nice post! I am looking forward to reading this and happy for her success!

Jackie Layton said...

Kim, this is fascinating. I want to read your book, and I am curious about essential oils.

Jackie Layton said...

Congratulations, Kim! I want tor read your book, and I am curious about essential oils now.