Interview with USA Today bestselling author, Kathi Daley.

Hello Kathi,

Kathi Daley - author pic

It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

I live in Lake Tahoe and enjoy activities associated with living near a lake surrounded by forest. I like to boat, ski, hike, and hang out at the beach.

How did you start writing?

I wrote my first cozy in August 2013 and published it a few weeks later.

What was your inspiration to create?

I was on Facebook and had this idea to share the page with my dog. I jotted down a paragraph which started with: My name is Zoe Donovan and according to my Facebook bio which I share with my dog Charlie…. I just kept writing and a week later I had a book. I now have 9 series and the Zoe Donovan series is on book 30.

What genre do you enjoy reading?

Mystery and thriller.

What’s your favorite book and why?

Halloween Hijinks because it was a fluke that started a career.

Halloween Hijinks

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I didn’t have a process so it didn’t change anything. I’m a total pantster. I just write whatever stomps its way through my brain.

If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

I have 9 series in print and two others on the way. They are all mysteries. Some are super sweet and cozy, others have a paranormal twist, and a couple are edgier with more suspense.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link?

I enjoy an ongoing story. I like to experience the lives of my characters, the good and the bad. I feel like I know these people some of whom have been in my life for five years.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?

I have considered writing romance. I enjoy reading romance and I do have one standalone romance in print but have considered a romance series.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

Hum. I honestly don’t know. I guess having my first book do really, really, well. I honestly wasn’t expecting that.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Pretty much every day but not usually because the writing isn’t working. It is usually because the internet is slow, the computer is freezing up, or my mail won’t load.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer? 

Pantster all the way. I couldn’t plot a book if I had to. I sit down, write out that opening paragraph, then keep writing until the story is done. I never know who the killer is until the end and rarely know who the victim is when I start.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

 I pay zero attention to commas one way or the other. That is what I have an editor for.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Tip one – just do it, if you want to write then write.

Tip two – don’t overthink it. I allot myself two weeks to write a book – I know people who have been struggling with the same one for a year of more.

Tip three – write what you want to write – don’t let anyone else including your agent or editor tell you what you should write – its your story to tell so tell it.

What are you working on now?

A Tess and Tilly Cozy Mystery titled The Halloween House.


What will you release next?

I will release Firework Fiasco – Zoe Donovan #29 on June 12 and Secrets by the Sea – A Haunting by the Sea Mystery #2 on June 29.


So… where can we get your books?

I’m on Amazon – here is the link to my author page –

secrets by the sea2 (1)

How would you define what being a successful writer means?

For me being successful means writing what I want when I want on my own terms – Making a lot of money doing it is a bonus.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A big ego hurts everyone.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend   researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the book – I like to visit any location I use so when I started my Alaska series I went to Alaska and when I started my Hawaii series I visited there.

Do you read your book reviews?

Nope, not usually.

How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Like I said, I rarely read them, although sometimes a reader will send me a link and then I’ll take a look. I don’t let bad reviews get to me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I know that no one can please everyone.

What was your hardest scene to write? 

I had an old dog in a series and I knew his time had come. I wanted to be sure to handle the situation in a loving and caring manner so as not to upset my readers. I took some time with that one.

What’s your writing schedule like?

I write 5,000 words a day usually 6 days a week.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have a TON of writer friends. Seriously hundreds. There is no way I am going to try to list them since I could never pick just a few to mention. I think most if not all my friends have helped my career in some way. The writing community is a very close knit community. We are there for each other to offer advice or provide comfort or congratulations.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?

It takes me about two weeks to write a book. I don’t really have a process. I just format a document and start writing. I do have a general idea of where the story is going in terms of backdrop. Is it summer? Christmas? Did we leave our heroine with a decision to make? When are those secondary characters going to finally get together?

How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?

My family and friends are very supportive. When my career took off and I needed help my husband gave up his career in real estate to stay home and help me. The reason I can write a book in 2 weeks is because he takes care of everything else. And I do mean everything.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Totally imaginary.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?

Well since I’m writing The Halloween House right now today I guess I would say Halloween was my inspiration.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

I’ve been to all 50 states – most multiple times. I’ve travelled in Canada but have not been overseas. We talk about it sometimes but so far we haven’t made the effort. There really isn’t anywhere I am dying to go.  

Tell us about how you develop your characters? 

My characters speak to me. They tell the story. I don’t develop them so much as I allow them to reveal themselves to me.

Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?

Zak Zimmerman. While my husband is not super rich or a tech guy a lot of who Zak is came from little quirks I related to my husband.

What would you like readers to know? 

I love to have a relationship with my readers so I am very active. I have a weekly newsletter, I do reader participation mini mysteries every week, I have multiple Facebook pages including a group page, book club, recipe exchange, birthday club, and author page. I do giveaways almost every day and I try to answer all emails and messages. I’m including a few, but not all, of my links.


Newsletter, The Daley Weekly:


Facebook at Kathi Daley Books:

Kathi Daley Books Group Page:


Twitter at Kathi Daley@kathidaley:

Amazon Author Page:



About eve culley

Children's Author, micro-farmer in the great state of Texas
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