An Interview with Kathy Bennett

Please help me welcome Kathy to my blog. Leave her lots of comments and be entered into the drawing for a prize.

Tell us about your current series.

Like many things in my life, defining my book series isn’t an easy task. The first book I published is A Dozen Deadly Roses. In that story Los Angeles Police Officer Jade Donovan is being hunted. Her lieutenant is out to get her, there’s a psycho stalking her and leaving dead roses at her door, but most frightening of all, she’s been assigned to partner with her son’s father, Mac Stryker. Mac doesn’t know he’s Donnie’s dad, and Jade will stop at nothing to prevent him from finding out and possibly taking away her son.

I wrote the book as a stand-alone story. Then, I published my next book, A Deadly Blessing, the first in the LAPD Detective Maddie Divine series. The book deals with Maddie’s marriage troubles, suspicions regarding her detective partner, and investigating a high-profile missing person case.
While readers loved Maddie and A Deadly Blessing, they kept asking me to bring back the characters of Jade, Mac and Donnie from A Dozen Deadly Roses. My writing is all about providing stories that readers love, so…

I’m currently working on the next book in the series. I haven’t come up with a ‘killer’ name (pun intended) for the book yet. But in ‘Book 3,’ (as I call it,) Maddie and Jade are partnered together to work on solving a string of burglaries, which leads to an emotional turmoil for Maddie. Along the way, Maddie and Jade are making a name for themselves in their new assignment. They’re dedicated, smart and hard working, and at least one co-worker isn’t pleased with their achievements.

I’m only about a third of the way into this story, but that’s what I know so far…okay, I know more, but I’m not telling!

Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Hmm, let’s see. One of Maddie’s strengths…she’s been through several traumatic life-changing events and yet she still gets up every day and goes to work. She’s a strong woman.

One of Maddie’s weaknesses is her inability to acknowledge that she’s been changed by the events in her life.

Do you have critique partners?

Oh yes I do! My critique partners, Leigh Court and Alyssa Kress are crucial to my final product. They know my writing weaknesses and help me recognize and correct those failings. I’m sure they wish I’d retain more of what they tell me, but they keep letting me come back to the group week after week.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I like to say that no one is safe from me. However, I never use a person just as they are. I might take part of a physical description of one person and pair it with a personality trait of someone else.

People tell me I’m very quiet when I’m part of a group. I think I’m basically a quiet person most of the time…that’s because I’m watching and listening. You’ve been warned.

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?

My office space is in transition. So much transition that half of the office is in boxes in our guest room, and the other half is haphazardly set up in the room that is supposed to be my office. The really important stuff is in the room designated as my office. Most of what is in the guest room could probably be donated or something…but who has time? I’m writing!

As for a view, I just enjoyed a summer thunder and lightening storm – a real rarity in Southern California. My office looks out onto the street so I can tell how much rain we’re getting by the wetness of the street. My view isn’t worth taking any pictures.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

My reading time is really limited, but when I do read ‘for fun,’ it’s usually a mystery, suspense, or thriller.
I like reading in my genre because, generally, the bad guys get their ‘just rewards’ one way or the other. That doesn’t always happen in real life.

How far do you plan ahead?

I used to be a much better planner. I’m not sure what happened to that skill. But to give you an example, I have to put visits with my daughter and her family on my calendar – I’m not kidding and they only live about a half-hour away.

It’s not unusual for me to be scheduling things a year and a half ahead of time. Those come off fine. It’s the events that come up at the last minute where I don’t say ‘no’ to that cause all the trouble.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

As a very young child I wanted to open a no-kill animal shelter. Once I saw Jack Webb on TV in Dragnet, I wanted to be the female version of Joe Friday…at least that or a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas.

I’m glad being a cop won out.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

I’ve gotten some wonderful letters from readers. One young girl told me that, Jade Donovan, in my book A Dozen Deadly Roses, had given her a role model. This reader is a teenager and comes from a troubled family and wants to become a police officer after reading my book.

Another reader wrote to me and told me that she hated to read, but discovered my book A Deadly Blessing and couldn’t put it down. She uses my books to improve her reading skills.

Another reader, a mother, said that while the subject matter of teenaged sexual exploitation in A Deadly Blessing was tough to read, it allowed her to open up dialogue with her children about the dangers they might face as they grow into teenagers.

To have that kind of impact in people’s lives is not only thrilling, it’s a responsibility to be the best writer I can be – to tell my stories in a way where it’s more than just authentic crime told in an arresting story.

Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. After twenty-one years as a Los Angeles police officer, this retired cop’s authentic crime experience results in arresting stories.
As a police officer, most of Kathy’s career was spent working patrol in a black and white police car. Prior to retirement, Kathy was assigned as a Senior Lead Officer, with approximately five square miles in the City of Los Angeles her responsibility. Kathy also served as a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Police Academy, a crime analyst in the ‘War Room’, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments. She was named Officer of the Quarter twice, and Officer of the Year once.
She’s married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rick and they have one daughter and one granddaughter.
Kathy likes to go hiking with Rick and their three Labrador Retrievers, incorporating photography into many of their adventures. Attempting to recapture some of the excitement of working the streets, Kathy can periodically be found in Las Vegas risking a few bucks on slot machines, blackjack or craps tables.

“Maddie, do not hang up the phone.”
“Travis, I’m working. I can’t talk right now.”
“You’re always working. What’s more important, our marriage or your job?”
My partner, Darius Cutter, plucked my cell phone from my hand. “Hey, dude, she’ll call you later. The chief and the mayor are waiting for us.” He snapped my cell shut and handed it back to me. “Let’s go.”
“You shouldn’t have done that.” Immediately, the phone vibrated in my hand. The display showed a smiling photo of my husband — a photo taken when Travis was okay and normal. A pang of sorrow stabbed my chest.
“Ignore it,” Darius said, referring to the quivering phone. “Call him back when we’re out of our meeting.” He led the way out of the noisy detective squad room to the foyer where we’d catch the elevator.
I knew Darius was right. When the chief of police calls and orders you to a meeting with the mayor, you hustle your ass to get there. But my husband was on edge, to say the least. Guilt weighed heavily on me for putting work ahead of him, but I rationalized that Travis was a cop and knew that sometimes it was necessary. Meanwhile, I followed my partner while we traversed the Police Administration Building and then over to City Hall.
It’s not every day a girl gets to meet both the chief of police and the mayor of Los Angeles. I wondered why today was my day.

21 thoughts on “An Interview with Kathy Bennett

    • Hi Lorrie,

      It’s often said that police work is 95% sheer boredom and 5% sheer terror. I much preferred the 5%. Usually when I was involved with a 5% incident, I would think to myself, “I don’t get paid enough to be doing this.”

      Thank you! It’s always a pleasure to ‘meet’ new people and maybe introduce them to my books.

      I’m easy to find on the internet. You might enjoy my website and my author Facebook page.

      Thank you for stopping by a visiting with me.

  1. Yeah! I can comment now! :0) I love how you turned your experience with LAPD into something of use after the fact. :0) I’m originally from LA, and I can only imagine all the “interesting” things you had to deal with. Love the excerpt. Your books sound very interesting.

    • Hi Jesse,

      The truth is that I miss police work – driving around at 3:00 a.m. looking for bad guys, the possibility for adventure every night! Writing lets me structure my own crimes…and dole out consequences as I see fit. It’s a win-win.

      Quite a few people have liked both books, so I’m happy!

      Thank you for your persistence in ‘chatting’ with me.

    • Hi Linda,

      My first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses involves a female cop being stalked. I actually was the victim of a stalker (a neighbor), so while I didn’t investigate it, I lived it.

      I use bits and pieces of people I’ve met, or things I’ve seen or heard in my stories. Of course, a lot of it comes from my mind – which should make the rest of you afraid! 🙂

      Thanks for taking time from your day to leave a comment.

    • Hi Sophia,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Well, Cindy did a good job getting info out of me that I hadn’t revealed in other guest blogs. This was a fun interview.

      As for my interview techniques, I’ve had a lot of practice!

      Thank you for finding me here and adding to the conversation.

    • Hi Marilyn,

      I take great pride in the fact that I have a lot of current and retired police officers reading my books. The common thread in their comments is that I ‘get it right.’

      I would hope so! After eight years as a civilian for the LAPD and twenty-one years in uniform, I’d better know something about how the place works. 🙂

      I appreciate your support by commenting here, thank you!

  2. It’s just like you to say you prefer the 5 percent of sheer terror! Your books are just the opposite, 95 percent movement and excitement. Makes reading an adventure! I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next one.

  3. Kathy, I enjoyed your interview here today. I love your blog where you put people the intergation room. ‘A Deadly Blessing’ sound great. Being a workaholic I can relate with her. Hubby wants and needs attention too.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you, I had a great time doing the interview. In regards to the Interrogation Room, someone has to grill those authors!

      Yes, well Maddie’s commitment to her job is just one of the problems she deals with. The girl has problems!

      I hear you about husbands needing attention. My husband is home for the next few weeks and my writing time has certainly dwindled!

      Thank you for stopping by and visiting me here.

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