Guest Chick: Kate Lansing and #Giveaway

It’s Jen here, and I’m so happy to welcome fellow Berkley author, Kate Lansing, to the blog again. Kate writes the fabulous Colorado Wine Mysteries and is giving away a signed copy of A Pairing to Die For to one lucky commenter!

In the Name of Research

Thanks so much, Chicks, for having me as a guest!! I’m thrilled to be here.

A Pairing to Die For, the second book in my Colorado Wine Mystery series, came out yesterday—huzzah! This story involved a great deal of research, more than any other manuscript I’ve written.

Being a mystery novel, there was, of course, plenty of the police procedure/crime scene/forensic variety, which no doubt flagged me to whoever is monitoring the interwebs. But there were some pieces I couldn’t find online no matter how specific my Google search…like, the specifics surrounding the interior of Boulder County Jail, where my protagonist’s boyfriend spends time.

For that, I needed to visit in person. And let me just say, from cold-calling the sheriff’s office and explaining why I was interested in a tour to the actual tour itself, it was an experience! One that led to me rewriting multiple scenes for accuracy.

The rest of my research primarily revolved around wine, which, if I’m being honest, is a major perk of my cozy niche! Part of my decision in setting this story in the fall was to highlight the grape harvest. I wanted to show the painstaking process and cool chemistry behind each varietal and blend we enjoy swirling, sniffing, and sipping. Which meant I needed to, ya know, actually learn about the process and chemistry.

YouTube was definitely helpful, and there were a handful of videos I watched over and over (not as many times as my household has viewed Baby Shark, mind you, but still plenty). Where I learned the most, though, was from a trip to a local tasting room in Boulder.

I stopped by BookCliff Vineyards one afternoon (pre-pandemic) when the harvest was in full swing. I was lucky enough to sneak a peek at the back of the winery where I could smell the sweet and tart jamminess of the harvest, observe bins in early fermentation, and learn about the muscle involved in a step called punch-downs. And taste some wine, naturally.

Research can add richness and credibility to a story, and, in my humble experience as a writer, is generally enlightening, giving me a broader understanding of the world.

For a chance to win a signed copy of A PAIRING TO DIE FOR, tell me, writers, what’s the strangest bit of research you’ve ever done for a story? Readers, what’s something you’ve read in fiction that you were surprised to discover was true?



Kate Lansing is an award-winning short story author. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and a chair-napping tabby cat named Maple. 


About A Pairing to Die For:

A young winemaker is over a barrel when her new boyfriend is accused of murder in this delightful cozy mystery.

It’s fall in Boulder, Colorado, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. Parker Valentine, owner of Vino Valentine, is finally settling in to her winery and her new relationship with Reid Wallace, a local chef. But their delicate pairing is endangered when Reid’s estranged family comes into town to celebrate the opening of his new restaurant.

Reid and his family are immediately at loggerheads, given their often acidic temperaments, but Parker still wants to make a good first impression. However, her efforts might be in vain when Reid’s sous chef is found dead in the alley behind the restaurant, and Reid is implicated in the murder. In order to save Reid, Parker will have to find the real killer, even if the truth is difficult to swallow.

Penguin Random House:

53 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Kate Lansing and #Giveaway

  1. Congrats on your new release, Kate! I once called a utility company in Utah to try to figure out if they serviced the area I was using for my story. I thought it would be easier just to pretend I’d moved there instead of explaining that I was writing a book, which led to a series of questions like “what is your zip code?” that I had no clue how to answer. I finally told the poor customer service woman I would call her back.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I don’t know if it’s “strange,” but when I was researching P39 manufacturing for my WWII series, I learned the young women who worked on the planes used to autograph the components. For example, signing the back of the instrument panel before it was attached. The museum that provided this information told me they’d traced a woman who worked on the plane they had on display this way and flown her in from near Cooperstown, NY when it was unveiled.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Congrats on the new release, Kate! Hope you’re having a wonderful release week. In the second book of my Allie Cobb Mysteries, the murder victim is smothered under a huge pile of yard mulch. It was interesting going down the strange research path to determine how much mulch would be needed to pull that off!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Hi Kate,
    Congratulations on A Pairing to Die For. I’m always researching for my books, and somehow this week I found myself looking at pictures of Camp David. I’m still not sure how that happened, and I hope I didn’t send up any alerts to DHS.
    Again, congratulations!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks so much, Jackie!! Ooh, what an interesting place to research. I’d be curious to hear how much information you were able to find, or if they keep it under wraps?!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on your new book, Kate!!

    I don’t know if this is the strangest research, but… For my story, “Those Holiday Blues,” in the Festive Mayhem anthology (limited-time only, and it’s ending soon!), I went sand sledding. It’s a very interesting and fun thing to do in the beach areas around the holidays.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jen!! What a fun bit of research–love it! In fact, I’m actually going sledding later today with my daughter 🙂 And guess I need to get a move on getting Festive Mayhem, it’s been on my list!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Oh, cool. I’ve never done either type of sledding, but I think I would much prefer the sand version. Kate, thanks for checking out Festive Mayhem! Sunday is the last day to grab it if you’re interested.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate, big congrats on A Pairing to Die For, and thank you for visiting Chicks today! We’re always delighted to see you. Loved learning about your research–wine is something I don’t know very much about, although I enjoy it. When I was growing up, my parents had a place on Keuka Lake, NY, and the whole area was full of wineries (Taylor, Widmer, Gold Seal, etc., and my fave, Bully Hill (I liked the labels and the funny names of the wines). I was dragged on a lot of tours, but my main focus was the grape juice I got at the end. I wish I’d paid more attention. My most interesting research was for Permanently Booked in my Ladies Smith & Westin mysteries. The main plot concerned a book club murder, but the subplot involved exotic animals–mostly of the super-giant snake, lizard, and spider varieties. The kind unlicensed people release illegally into the Everglades after they tire of them, or the animals grow too…large. It was terrifying!!! (And while my story treatment was comical, totally true.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa!! Keuka Lake sounds marvelous, and I bet that grape juice was delicious. Eep, that is definitely some terrifying research! o_o

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations, Kate! I LOVE this series. So excited to read A Pairing to Die For.

    Re: research, I spent a LOT of time reading about secret societies at universities, which was fascinating, for The Semester of Our Discontent. But the most fun was probably when we went to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and saw the illusionist show and took the ghost tour, when I was writing The Spirit in Question. My whole family got to participate in that. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Cynthia!! ❤ How cool you visited the Stanley Hotel! Did you have any eerie experiences?? And research that involves the whole family is the best kind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kate, congrats on the release of A Pairing to Die For — and thanks for visiting with the Chicks today!
    Hubs and I made a trip to Vegas as part of my research for Til Death Do Us Party. Tough gig, right? I may have embarrassed my husband a bit with my nosy questions — but I did learn a lot!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Vickie!! Research trips are such a fun perk of the writing profession–love that you went to Vegas! 🙂


  9. The book I just started writing is set in the early 1970s and I needed to know what a tape recorder cost back then. Simple, eh? But I could only find ads for ones sold in Britain. No big deal, I found an historical currency converter. But it didn’t have British pounds on it. If I wanted to know what it would have cost in Burmese kyats, I could, but not pounds sterling. After many ridiculous rabbit holes I finally found the price of one. An afternoon spent for one line in the book. How do historical writers do it???

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks so much, Becky!! I’ve asked that same question and have so much respect for historical writers! The worst is when you end up down a rabbit hole like that and then decide it doesn’t need to be in the story, lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on the new release, Kate, and thanks so much for being here!

    That sounds like my kind of research! (The wine part, that is, although truth be told, a trip to the jail sounds interesting, too!)

    Research for my books has involved conversations with medical and pharmaceutical professionals. Necessary, but not exactly exciting. I think my next series should take place in a licorice shop so that I can dig DEEP into that sweet, sweet topic.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I love doing research for my series, especially the chase scenes, which have ranged from backhoes to snowmobiles, ziplines to stagecoaches. My area is also host to many wineries and one of my scenes features a wine crusher. Not a way I want to go. I loved your first book, and I can’t wait to read this one. Congratulations!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Welcome, Kate! We’re thrilled to host you. I’d love to know more about that jail visit, lol. I’m so sorry that I forgot to comment yesterday. I got my days totally mixed up. I wish I could blame it on my own “wine” research. But no excuse except a befuddled brain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Ellen!! Hahaha, the jail visit was definitely interesting and extremely helpful–a kind deputy showed me around and answered my *many* questions, and afterward, I scribbled notes down in my car so I wouldn’t forget anything! And no worries, so lovely to have you comment, no matter when it is! 😉


  13. Sounds like some fun research! I know how much work many writers put into authenticity and I enjoy being able to learn something new even in a work of fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

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