Today’s interview is with cozy knitting mystery author Hilary Latimer.
Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
In my real life, I’m a knitting designer. I’ve been doing it for longer than I want to admit – but it’s been a fun ride! You can find me on the knitting social media site, Ravelry, where I run mystery knit-a-longs in my group: Criminal Knits. When I’m not playing with yarn and sharp pointy sticks I like to kill people…in my books!
I’ve been writing forever under a variety of names, but several years ago my editor looked at me one day and said, “Why are you not writing knitting mysteries?” To which I did not have an answer. We read about ten books in the genre by various authors and our take away was:
The main character needed to be a dumpy, female middle-aged knitting shop owner who hated men or had a semi-boyfriend about who they were indifferent. There needed to be a token, over the top, gay character. There needed to be waaaaay too many pages describing dusting, vacuuming, tea making and… by then I’d had enough. And so my sexy, hot FBI agents and their quirky girlfriends (the knitters) were born. I can not tell you how much fun I’ve had writing them!
I have a lovely husband who understands dinner is not happening when I’m writing, and two grown sons who turned out incredibly well despite having a slightly deranged mom! I’ve been owned by any number of Gordon Setter dogs, they will always have a special place in my heart.
How are your books published? Are you self-published, traditionally published, a hybrid? What lead you to choose that path?
I’m self-published. It’s less stressful and leaves me in control as to content, editors, when I publish and what my covers look like. Which, in this subgenre where all the covers look the same, is hugely important. I wanted to make sure my covers were something completely different – which they are!
Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
What are some books and/or authors who’ve inspired your writing?
I’ve come at this sideways. I was literally inspired to write in this genre when I finally read a knitting mystery and I was like – seriously? This is awful….
Is there a genre you would like to write in but haven’t or don’t feel that you’d be able to write?
I’d love to write a fantasy hero’s journey type of series – and I have an idea, but for now it’s just swirling around in my head!
What was the most challenging book you’ve written so far?
Dancing in the Dark. Romance is HARD. No lie. It’s much, much easier to kill people! Luckily the book had both. But, yeah, the romance bits almost killed me.
Would you ever want to co-write a book with someone else? And if so, who would you like to write with (alive or dead)?
I actually am! We’ve been working on a series about an all-female detective agency with a very – macabre – twist. Pen names for both of us as this most definitely does not fall into the cozy mystery sub-genre!
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you normally listen to?
No. I literally can not think with music’s going on. Or leaf blowers. Which explains why I’m up long after sensible people are in bed sleeping!
Do you write at a computer or do you still write by hand? With me, I write my poetry by hand, but mainly write prose on a computer.
I start off writing by hand on the back of old 8 x 11 sheets of paper cut into quarters. It started as a way to recycle old knitting patterns for general notes – like shopping lists – but since most of my books wander into my head while I’m designing new knitting patterns, they quickly became the scraps I could jot down scenes and ideas on while still designing!
Once I have a nice stack of scenes written out on my bits of paper I lay them out in chronological order and then start writing out an in-depth outline based off of them. Generally something in the realm of 12k – 20k words. Once I like the look of that I switch over to my laptop.
So, to answer your question, I start off writing by hand.
Is your reading mainly inside or outside of the genre you write?
Mostly outside. I do love a good fantasy, and a romantic murder…..!!!
For readers who haven’t read your work before, which book do you suggest they start with?
Either Malice in Wonderland – if they want a straight fluffy cozy, or Dancing in the Dark – if they’d like something a teeny bit less cozy. All my Knitting Game Mysteries can be read as stand alones, although the same main characters are in all of them.
Do you feel that your genre as a whole is becoming more diverse or have you not noticed a lot of change in recent years?
I can only speak for my sub-genre and no, it really isn’t. I’m the exception, with my main characters being hot male FBI agents who have girlfriends who knit, instead of middle-aged women who own knit shops. But that’s about as diverse as our genre gets.
How have you as an author helped the growth of diversity in the book world, whether in your own writing or actions in the community?
Wow, tough question, but a very valid one. In my cozy mysteries, which we’re talking about here, I haven’t really since my settings and characters are drawn from my own experiences.
Book adaptations…is there one that you’d say was great? Or is there one that you just couldn’t stand?
The Lord of the Rings. AWESOME.
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