When Abigail Keam wrote me about her new “Death by Bourbon” release, I know she’d be idea for the LouisvilleKY.com Local Author Spotlight.
Welcome, Ms. Keam!
Tell us about your latest project.
My fourth book in the Josiah Reynolds mystery series, “Death By Bourbon” was released on October 1st. It will be available on Amazon, B&N, and fine bookstores. Of all the books in the series, this was the most fun to write. I think it was because I had more confidence in my writing as I have had so much positive feedback from the readers and fans of this series. All writers want to please their readers but still be true to their instincts on where the series should go. Sometimes those two things clash. So far, this hasn’t happen to me. Knock on wood.
The Josiah Reynolds mysteries are located in the Bluegrass area and are about a beekeeper who turns into a sleuth after she finds a dead man in one of her hives. While each book in the series has a stand-alone mystery, the books are as much about this woman’s life as they are about who-dun-it. As readers are just as interested in Josiah’s life as they are in the mystery, they usually start with the first book as Josiah’s personal stories are told in linear fashion. They are fast reads and I hope entertaining. While I try to make the books fun and quirky, I do spend a great deal of time researching history, which I weave into the story line. The history and fun little vignettes give added texture and depth to the story lines.
Where do Louisville/Southern Indiana readers know you from, outside of your books?
Beekeeping. I am a sixteen-time winner of honey awards from the Kentucky State Fair and I have given talks to bee groups in the area. Also in Madison IN, I have been an author at the book fairs sponsored by That Book Place Book Store, which also has its own publishing line.
That Book Place is a fun little shop, and the owner Frank Hall is a terrific guy!
Now, how much do you love bourbon? Be honest.
I’ll have you know that I have two half-filled bottles of Kentucky bourbon sitting proudly in my pantry right now.
It’s important to support the local economy, isn’t it? 😉
Love those butter-yellow book covers. Who designed them? How did it feel seeing artwork on the cover of your book for the first time?
I love all my book covers. I think they really give an accurate impression of the Bluegrass area, and still are fun and funky. I was fortunate to have talented people in Lexington, Ky who were able to do this kind of work. Designing for book covers is difficult and so different from other design work.
I saw posters from an outfit called Cricket Press about town and I was wowed by their unusual designs. Cricket Press is a husband/wife team that specializes in posters. I called them and asked if they had ever designed a book cover. They said no but they wanted the opportunity to try. Well, their artwork and graphics of my first book, “Death By A HoneyBee” just won me over. Then my husband took the artwork and designed the total look of the book.
I think that cover sold the book and helped win its two writing awards. It certainly drew the interest of the readers.
Now all my covers are from Cricket Press. It is so important that the book covers draw the curiosity of the first-time reader. Sorry, but readers do judge a book by its cover. PS- I am proud to say Cricket Press is designing many covers for other writers now.
Who are your favorite writers from the local area?
You are really trying to put me in the hot seat, aren’t you! My area is blessed to have writers in so many different genres. I think Kentucky is currently undergoing a renaissance and we are going to see an explosion of talent. I will give you just a few of my favorites but there are so many more talented writers out there.
- Silas House and Lynn Pruett – Fine Literature
- Sheri Wright – Poetry
- Steve Zimmer – Sci-Fi Fantasy
- David King – Mystery
- Donna McDonald – Romance
Tell us about your favorite bookstores/coffee shops/writing haunts. What makes them special?
I love both of Lexington’s independent book stores – Joseph Beth located in Lexington Green and Morris Book Shop on High St. Both are fun and do a great job of supporting Kentucky writers.
As for writing, I just don’t see how people write in a public place. Too much distraction. I have to be in my office where it is quiet. Also I can write in my underwear if I should wish to – and don’t think I haven’t. Oh, goodness. What an image!
Ha ha! You naughty gal. What’s next on the writing slate, for you?
I am currently working on the next Josiah Reynolds mystery plus doing research on Kentucky history. I would really like to write a book about Jenny Wiley in a narrative form. I’m also dusting off old sci-fi ms and going to have a look-see. Maybe I’ll re-edit them and put them out for the readers or maybe I’ll just burn them.
But before I leave you and your readers, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to dish. It’s been fun.
Very happy to have you, Abigail, and best of luck with your latest release!
Readers, if you know an author who deserves to shine in the Local Author Spotlight, please get in touch. Either side of the river is fine–we speak Southern Indianaese, too! Books about relevant local subject matter are encouraged, as well. Email RedTashBooks@gmail.com and please put “LouisvilleKY.com Author Spotlight” in your email subject. Thanks!
Leslea Tash is a Southern Indiana journalist-turned-novelist. Formerly a freelancer best known for Guerilla Mothering, she now writes dark fantasy, horror, fairy tales, and other fun stuff including the 5 star Amazon hits This Brilliant Darkness & Troll Or Derby under the pen name Red Tash. She always welcomes your feedback on this column on the LouisvilleKY.com site, on Facebook, on her websites or twitter. Just about anywhere works. Get in touch!