Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kathleen Delaney Combines Mysteries with Reality

Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Kathleen. When did you begin your Ellen McKenzie mysteries?
I came to writing rather late in life. Marriage, five children, a divorce and learning to live as a single mom took up a large portion of my early adult years. However, I think it was during those years I learned about writing through the hundreds of books I read, mainly mysteries. Without realizing it, I learned about plotting, character development, building tension and when to ease off with a little humor. Or, what I hoped was humor when I finally took a deep breath and decided to do what I had always wanted but had been afraid to try. Write.
The first piece I sold was an article about my children’s adventures in 4H and how they dragged their parents, kicking and screaming, into the up to then foreign world of animal husbandry. Family Fun bought it. For money! I was a writer.

 They say, write what you know. So, I did. My first mystery featured a woman in her middle years, divorce decree in one hand, new real estate license in the other, who returns to her home town to start life over. I knew about divorce and starting over. I even knew a little about real estate. There the similarity ended. For one thing, I have never found a dead body while trying to show a house. And, Ellen only has one child. If I gave her five, I knew she’d never have time to solve any murders, and I had several in mind.

Each of the five Ellen McKenzie mysteries has a setting that relates to the murder. Growth in a small town, horse shows, wineries, a bakery, and In Murder by Syllabub, murder that has its roots in the eighteenth century. The story opens when Ellen’s Aunt Mary bursts into her kitchen, stating she is going to Virginia. Her best friend has inherited an eighteenth century plantation, complete with a ghost who is trying to kill her. Ellen doesn’t believe in ghosts, murderous or otherwise but its clear something strange is going on at Smithwood.
When she can’t talk Aunt Mary out of rushing to the rescue, Ellen states she’s going with her, even though she’s convinced the ghost will turn out to be a common prowler. Instead, they discover a man, dressed in colonial garb, lying on the dining room rug, quite dead. Beside his outstretched hand is a small crystal glass, empty. The man had no way to enter the locked house, neither did whoever fed him the contents of the glass, nor did he have a way out as the doors to the old house only work with a key and the locks have been recently changed. But someone is still prowling the upstairs hallways of Smithwood, looking for something, and doesn’t seem to mind how many bodies he leaves in his wake. Looking for what? And, how is he getting into the locked house? And out again? Ellen has to travel far into the past to discover the answers.
KathleenDelaney enjoys writing characters over thirty. Her protagonist, Ellen McKenzie, is a woman in her forties but possibly the most memorable and certainly the most eclectic character in her books is Ellen’s Aunt Mary McGill, a woman of strong character who doesn’t let a little thing like being past seventy bother her at all. She lives in Georgia with her dog and cat and is close enough to two of her grandchildren to be a functioning part of their lives.

Kathlee's website is:, her  Facebook page is:  Kathleen Delaney Koppang. She's also on Good Reads, Twitter, and LinkedIn

1 comment:

Jean Henry Mead said...

Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Kathleen. Your book looks and sounds intriguing.