Guest Chick: Kaitlyn Dunnett

Lisa here, chirping in to announce that Kaitlyn Dunnett, a/k/a Kathy Emerson, is visiting us here on Chicks today—and offering a giveaway of A FATAL FICTION, the latest title in her Deadly Edits series. Take it away, Kaitlyn!

Senior Advantage

In my “Deadly Edits” series, my amateur sleuth starts out as a woman in her late sixties, and she’s seventy in the most recent entry, A Fatal Fiction. As I have reason to know, since I’m seventy-two, the older some women get, the less troubled they are by what other people think of them.

I mean that in a good way. My fictional Mikki Lincoln, a retired language arts teacher, feels she now has much greater freedom to express her opinions than she did when she was accountable to a rural school board and conservative parents. Although she’s not insensitive to other people’s sensibilities, she’s not afraid to speak up, either. Since she’s only responsible for herself, she’s also willing to take physical risks, attempting things she’d never have dreamed of trying when she was younger. 

That doesn’t mean she doesn’t worry about possible outcomes, or create worst-case scenarios in her head. But those ingrained habits no longer hold her back if it’s important to go forward.

In Crime & Punctuation, the first book in the series, Mikki is newly returned to her old home town, Lenape Hollow, New York, after more than fifty years of living in Maine. She was a recent widow when she was invited back for a class reunion. Tempted to attend, she googled Lenape Hollow and discovered that the house she grew up in was for sale. On impulse, she bought it. Well, why not? She’d already decided she didn’t want to remain in the home she and her husband shared, constantly reminded of her loss. Besides, since that house is way out in the country, she’d have had to learn to operate the John Deere in order to plow herself out in the winter. She was not looking forward to that prospect.

So, bag, baggage, and a calico cat named Calpurnia, Mikki returns to Lenape Hollow. It doesn’t take her long to realize that her old house needs expensive repairs, and that her pension and social security aren’t going to stretch far enough to cover them. To earn extra money, she starts a new business as a freelance editor, calling herself the Write Right Wright.

I didn’t think about it too much when I was creating Mikki, but in almost everything she does, from renewing old friendships, to going on a date, to dealing with the suspicious death of one of her first clients, she’s taking risks. Some are greater than others, like questioning someone she thinks may be a cold-blooded killer. Others are challenges only in her own mind, like the Mikki-pumps-her-own-gas-for-the-first-time scene that opens A Fatal Fiction. (For those who may not know, Maine still has full-service gas stations with attendants who fill the tank and wash your windshield; New York State, at least in the town that was the model for Lenape Hollow, does not.)

In Clause & Effect, the second book in the series, Mikki takes even more personal and professional risks. It isn’t that she’s unaware of them. It’s just that she’s old enough to consider that they’re worth taking. Common sense has her installing a security system in her new home, but she refuses to stay safely inside, even when others in her life are insisting that she should.

In A Fatal Fiction, to the consternation of her visiting nephew, Mikki is acting impulsively and “out of character” and he’s worried about her. Since she doesn’t want to alarm him, she resorts to behavior that is even more impulsive. She’s fully aware of the absurdity of sneaking out of her own house to do some late-night sleuthing, but the risk seems worthwhile if it will keep family friction at a minimum. It’s sneaking back in that’s the trick. She has to borrow a ladder from her next-door neighbor so she can climb back up to the little balcony attached to her second-floor office.

I hope readers will find such antics realistic as well as amusing. I can certainly see myself, were I in the same situation, doing just what Mikki does. For those who remember watching The Golden Girls, think of Sophia. She didn’t have any filter on saying what she thought. At least Mikki stops and thinks before she just blurts something out . . . most of the time.

How about you, readers? Are you a cautious person, or a bit more on the impulsive side? Let Kaitlyn/Kathy know in the comments, and you could win a copy of A FATAL FICTION! ***UPDATE: Kaitlyn’s winner is Lisa Brock. Congratulations, Lisa!!

About the Book:

For more info re: A FATAL FICTION, please visit: https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781496726865/a-fatal-fiction/

About the Author:

With the October 6, 2020 publication of The Finder of Lost Things, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-three books traditionally published. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary “Deadly Edits” series (A Fatal Fiction) as Kaitlyn. As Kathy, her most recent book is a standalone historical mystery, The Finder of Lost Things. She maintains websites at www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com. A third, at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, contains over 2000 mini-biographies of sixteenth-century Englishwomen.

46 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Kaitlyn Dunnett

  1. I’m a very cautious person but I wasn’t always and bad things happened. But I enjoy reading books about risk takers as I know that it’s fiction and the good person usually wins. Thank you for this chance!! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree completely—in fiction the writer controls the consequences, and since I write cozies, they don’t tend to be too terrible. On the other hand, I always try to make Mikki aware of the risks so she can decide if they’re really worth taking.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome, Kaitlyn/Kathy—so glad you could join us! A Fatal Fiction sounds awesome. Who could not love an editor/sleuth who’s a bit on the cautious side, but branching out to take some big risks? I am our resident Scaredy Chick, but I used to be Drew Barrymore-style impulsive. I still need to make a conscious effort sometimes to stop for yellow lights, because I get very excited about things. (Yes, the traffic light deal is just a metaphor— I’ve always been a considerate, defensive driver, I swear.) But current times have shown me just how cautious and anxious I really am underneath.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if this means I’m cautious in my real life, but I always have several contingency plans. If my first idea doesn’t pan out, I don’t want to have to scramble for an alternative. I guess it’s my security blanket.

    And can I just say … 63 books is AMAZING!! Congrats on that and thanks for visiting us here today!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Right? My husband says, “See? You didn’t need to worry about that.” To which I remind him, “How do you know it wasn’t the mighty, mighty power of my worry that made it okay?”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always been fairly cautious, but it’s definitely true that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten bolder about expressing my feelings and opinions, and care less about what others think of me. (Though I’m still cautious–perhaps even more so–about other things!)

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Kaitlyn, and congrats on the new book–it sounds terrific!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve always been cautious, but as I’ve gotten older, shall we say, I’m coming out of my shell some! Now my 95 year old mom is a different story! She says she’s earned the right to do and say what she wants! And from your interview, Micki reminds me just a tad bit of my mom! I’m definitely going to check out these books!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for sharing your intriguing series. These books sound like just what I have been looking for.
    I was cautious when I was younger as well, but the older I get the less I care about what other people think or do just so they don’t try to make me THINK that way.
    I think I will like Mikki.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. For years I maintained an image of myself that was shy, afraid to speak up, not willing to take much risk and stand out of the crowd. I heard my mother brag once that, “My girls are well behaved. If they were told to stand in the schoolyard and the school was burning, they would still stay there.” Well, that bears thinking, doesn’t it? But several years ago I said to my children and grandchildren that I was shy when younger and they all burst out laughing and provided examples to disprove it. So I guess I’m not as quiet as I’ve always thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just checked my local library — “A Fatal Fiction” ebook, was not available but the audio version was, so I checked it out. I listen to audio books on my daily run (well, not run exactly, jog; really just walk, but you get the picture) I am almost finished with my current “listen” so Mikki will be next.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kaitlyn, thank you so much for guesting with us! I have to say, I cannot believe you’re 72. Wow. As to the question, I’m definitely a cautious person. Sometimes I wish I were less so but I think impulsive moves can get me into trouble. Then again, there are one or two times in my life when I wish I’d been impulsive because I missed an opportunity.

    Question for you: what town in NY inspired the location in your series? I’m from NY and wonder if it’s one of those that comes to mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m more physically cautious these days. I’ve always been a klutz, but as I get older I realize the consequences can be more serious. In other aspects of life I am still open to some risks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for being on the Chicks today! Congrats on your latest book!

    Can I just say that I loved Sophia on The Golden Girls? Your character, Mikki, sounds like a lot of fun, too.

    The reason I admire people who are impulsive (in fiction or real life) is probably because I’m so very cautious by nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kaitlyn, I love that your protagonist is older — and brave! I wouldn’t say I’m brave, but I’m definitely bolder than when I was younger. Thanks so much for visiting with the Chicks today — and congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m the type that if there is a closed door and spooky music playing, I’ll still open it. I won’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, but I will jump out of that plane.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Welcome, Kaitlyn! How wonderful to have a protagonist who’s coming into her own and unafraid to take some chances. Being the cautious type myself, I’m envious of Mikki and her boldness. I could take some lessons!

    Congrats on the latest and your many successes!

    Liked by 1 person

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