Guest Chick: Kathy Lynn Emerson (a/k/a Kaitlyn Dunnett)

Today we Chicks are delighted to welcome back guest author Kathy Lynn Emerson, a/k/a Kaitlyn Dunnett, who has an exciting new book and venture to share with us. Take it away, Kathy!

Me, Myself, and I Come Out To Play

Over the years I’ve written under several names. I’ve written two contemporary cozy series as Kaitlyn Dunnett, six historical novels as Kate Emerson, and just about everything else as Kathy Lynn Emerson. My experiences under all three names have been the subject of a great many blogs, which leads me to the topic for this one—the collection of “essays” I recently self-published under the title I Kill People for a Living.

I’ve always been a great one for recycling ideas and when I realized I’d written almost two hundred and fifty posts for Maine Crime Writers, it occurred to me that I really ought to do something with all that material. Thus the idea for collecting and publishing some of the ones I liked best was born.

When I reread the two hundred and fifty blogs, I had to admit that they weren’t all gems. I ended up sorting a hundred and fifteen blogs into nine categories, ranging from essays about writing books and short stories (Cozy Mysteries, Historical Novels, Miscellaneous Thoughts on Writing) to more personal topics (My Life in Books, Climbing the Family Tree) to pieces on people (real and fictional) and places that influenced me or my writing or both. My personal favorite in the writing categories is a little number titled “Some Thoughts on Cussing in Cozies,” inspired by a critical e-mail from one of my readers. I grouped material that didn’t quite fit anywhere else under Odds and Ends. And, of course, there was one other topic that rated it’s own section, since I do (mostly) write cozy mysteries. There are eight essays devoted entirely to cats.

During last year’s Covid lockdown, I started experimenting with self-publishing. I’d already turned in Murder, She Edited, the fourth and last book in my contact for the Deadly Edits Mysteries.

Sadly, the signs were pretty clear that my publisher wasn’t going to want more. My Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries, also written as Kaitlyn Dunnett, had already been dropped after thirteen entries. So, I had time for a new project, and I have had plenty of experience reinventing myself. Before long, I’d produced e-book and print editions of several of my backlist titles plus e-book and paperback originals of a couple of books I wrote early in my career and was never able to sell to a commercial publisher. One is a biography of my grandfather. Others were written for young readers. Along the way, I discovered that self-publishing, although not particularly remunerative, is great fun. The best parts of the writing process remain intact. It was a no-brainer to decide to self-publish my collection of essays.

Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed the revising, because some of the original blogs were incredibly wordy. The “essays” are much better written! Although some were first posted a decade ago (I include the date of the original blog with each one), I felt they held up well in 2021, but to make sure, I sent the manuscript to a freelance editor (shades of my protagonist in the Deadly Edits books!). I also hired a professional to create the cover, using photographs I sent to him.

Whether readers want to consider I Kill People for a Living a book on writing, a memoir, or simply “a collection of essays by a writer of cozy mysteries,” I think I can safely say it has a little something for everyone.

About the Author:

Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett has had sixty-four books traditionally published and has self published several children’s books and three works of nonfiction. 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. Her newest books are Murder, She Edited (the fourth book in the contemporary “Deadly Edits” series, written as Kaitlyn) and, as Kathy, I Kill People for a Living: A Collection of Essays by a Writer of Cozy Mysteries. She maintains websites at www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com. A third, at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, is the gateway to over 2300 mini-biographies of sixteenth-century Englishwomen, now available in e-book format.

Readers, have you ever created something brand new from a past project–or gone back and made something even better? Let us know in the comments!

17 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Kathy Lynn Emerson (a/k/a Kaitlyn Dunnett)

    1. It does take having free time! My blogmate at MCW, Lea Wait, did something similar a few years before her death with Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’ve avoided self-publishing up to now simply because of all work it would take to do so, but could certainly see myself doing so sometime in the future if I had the right project.

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Kathy, and congrats on the new book–that essay about cussing in cozies looks like a hoot!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Kathy! I think repurposing those essays is a great idea! I’ve been thinking about something similar, since I’ve had my blog since Moses was a baby. So. Many. Words. I’m a big fan of indie publishing too, since I pubbed my first book in 2001. (I had to laugh at your comment, Leslie, since back then it was HARD to get a book out the door and now, ohmygosh, it’s so easy!) On the other hand, your compilation of 2300 (!!) bios of Tudor women seems incredibly complex. I’m guessing that was a labor of love!

    Good luck with it all!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Becky, Yes, it was a labor of love and for quite a few years was up at my website, being added to every time I started research for a new historical novel. I went to an ebook format when I wanted to make it more permanent.

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  3. Thanks for visiting the Chicks today, Kathy! I love the title of your essay collection and those photos! You’ll have to explain some of the amazing images, though. 😲

    As far as recycling stuff, I’ve only done so with shelved manuscripts, creating short stories out of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. The cats are mine, and show up in my books. The tombstone is in the family plot. The man in the barrel is a local landmark here in Maine. And the winter scene is our front yard.

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  4. Kathy, I love your cover–so fun and intriguing–and I’m sure readers will enjoy the essays all in one place. Thanks so much for visiting Chicks today, and also sign me up for Murder, She Edited. Story of my life, lol…

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  5. Congrats on the collection of essays, Kathy!
    No complaints from my agent or editor on the matter, but I did receive some feedback from a couple of readers about “cussin’ in cozies” after my first book came out, lol! Maybe we should all compare notes at a future conference! I look forward to reading your take.

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