Stephen Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls!  Let’s all take a little breather between festive rounds and get to know one of my dear friends, Stephen Kaminski.  He’s the author of the Damon Lassard mysteries and a fine young man.  We had such a good chat and such fun, especially with question number two, where yours truly obviously was spending a little too much time near the punch bowl and saw double ;-)…  Read along, you’ll see what I mean!

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

The Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series features amateur sleuth Damon Lassard.  Damon recently returned to the United States after a stint in the Japanese professional baseball league.  He moves to the Hollydale community of Arlington, Virginia, just west of Washington, DC to live near his twice-widowed mother, Lynne. Damon spends his days volunteering as Hollydale’s citizens association president, at the local branch library, and with a community crime solvers tip line – giving him just enough free time to solve the pesky murders that seem to keep popping up.
The cast of characters is a loveable one: Damon’s mother Lynne has a wicked sense of humor, Mrs. Chenworth is the local gossip who adores pushing Damon into corners, Rebecca (Damon’s best friend) and the breathtaking Bethany Krims add complicated twists to Damon’s love life, and Damon’s next door neighbor who is going through a mild depression allows Damon to demonstrate his compassionate side.   Cozy Cat Press has published two books in the series thus far: IT TAKES TWO TO STRANGLE (2012) and DON’T CRY OVER KILLED MILK (2013).  I’m working hard on a third book in the series and hope to have it ready for publication in the fall of 2014.

2. Being that there are two of you, how do you write?  Do you compose separately, or talk it out as you go along together, share or divide up characters, scenes or research?

I wish there were two of me – I could use 48 hours every day!  Happily for my wife and daughter, they only have to deal with one of me!

Right, let’s try that again (Stephen, what exactly did you spike the egg nog with to have me seeing double?)  What is your writing process like?  Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

My writing process is fairly regimented by necessity.  Between a demanding job and seven year-old daughter any chance of spontaneity in the writing process is largely squashed.  I write most evenings after tucking my daughter into bed, often with a strong cup of coffee or a glass of red wine (for the writing, not the tucking in).

3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”

I’d say there were three seminal moments that made me realize I was “really an author.”  The first was when my publisher, Cozy Cat Press, said yes.  The second was holding a copy of my first book in print.  And the third was signing my first autograph.  All three were amazing moments for both my writing career and my life in general.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

I take a break from the book I’m then writing. I am typically working on three books at any given time – marketing the last one released, writing and editing the “current” book, and plotting the “next” book down the line.  If I get stuck, I leave the current book for few days and focus on marketing or plotting (I try very hard to spend a bare minimum of an hour every day working on one of my books in some capacity).   Usually, I get so sick of marketing that I mentally force my creativity to come back to the book at hand.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

My favorite authors are: Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, M.C. Beaton, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, both Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, John Sandford, and Alexander McCall Smith.  So that’s a whole lot of British writers and a combination of historical fiction/thriller and mystery writers.  Interestingly, with the exception of M.C. Beaton (and arguably Agatha Christie), the mystery writers don’t write cozies like I do.  Still, each of these writers has influenced my writing style.  For example, P.D. James and Agatha Christie are master plotters who can twist and turn clues and red herrings like nobody’s business, Ken Follett is a master researcher, Lawrence Block adds tremendous wit, and M.C. Beaton is dynamite with physical comedy and character flaws.Don't Cry

Thanks so much for having me today!!!

Yes Steve, it was a good time had by all!  And fellow readers, be sure to check out his webpage at and be sure to check out his latest novel on Amazon.


Barbara Jean

About Barbara Jean Coast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. She is currently hard at work telling the cozy tales of the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50's, early 60's, known as The Poppy Cove Mysteries.
This entry was posted in Alter Ego, Characters, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Creativity, Dialogue, e-publishing, Fiction, Fictional Characters, First Novel, Guest Blogs, Humor, Indie Presses, Inspiration, Interviews, Mysteries, New Authors, Newly Published, Publicity, Publishing, Readers, Uncategorized, Unpublished, Writers, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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