Friday, March 29, 2013


Readers, ever have one of those weeks when everything goes wrong? I made a big goof earlier this month. I was supposed to have posted an interview with author Josi Kilpack for her BAKED ALASKA blog tour. Unfortunately, cyberspace ate the interview. At least, it disappeared.  To attempt to make up this misfortune, I have the interview here today.

Trumpets, please! Since I can’t be certain whether cyberspace or my computer was to blame, I’m offering an e-copy of Josi’s book, BAKED ALASKA, to one person who comments on this blog.  

Now, here’s the interview:

Josi S Kilpack, Author

Caroline:  Readers love knowing more about authors whose books they read. Tell us something about your growing up.

Josi: I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am the third of nine kids, my dad was a teacher and my mom stayed home. We had a huge garden, which I hated, and canned everything, which I also hated. Our family was five girls at the top and then four boys, so I had two sisters just older and two more just younger. It was . . . intense. There was always something to do, someone to play with and someone to pick on. We were a wild crazy bunch and I thought books were about the worst thing in the world. I avoided them like the plague until 7th grade when the switch was flipped and I became a reader. That is a day that changed my life.
I grew up, graduated from high-school, went to college for a year and then married my cute husband. We have gone on to have four kids, ages 18-11 and after many years of counting the days until they were gone, I’m not panicking at the realization that they really are leaving. I’m trying to soak up everything I can in hopes of having as few regrets as possible.

Caroline: I loved having my children at home with us, but they do need to go out on their own eventually, don’t they? Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Josi: This is a hard one for me because it’s changed so much over the years. There was a time when I loved Romance and it was all I would read, now I am very selective of Romance. I love suspense but find a lot of Thrillers to be too gory or crass for me, so I am selective about that too. I’m not a big fan of Fantasy, yet I loved Harry Potter and Fablehaven. I tend to read a little bit of everything when I find an author I like, I read everything they’ve written. My current favorites are Lief Enger, Sue Grafton, and Kate Morton.

Caroline: I like those types of mysteries, too. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Josi: I relax by taking a nap, or crocheting, or playing a hand held Tetris game. At least, that’s what I’m doing this month. Next month I might be cleaning out closets or running or maybe fixing up my chicken coop. I am a busy person, I like having things to do and love the sense of accomplishment when a task is finished. I write to escape basic chores and then to basic chores to escape writing. I like a clean house, lunch with friends, and watching movies.

Caroline: Taking a nap sounds great right now. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Josi: “Use your talents, for use is why they were made. What is a Sundial in the Shade?” by Benjamin Franklin.

Caroline: That’s one of his I hadn’t heard, but I love it.

Joai: It took me awhile to believe I had any talents, and then even longer to really embrace it and see what it could do for my life. Since then I have become passionate about the topic of growing our gifts into talents and really getting the most out of them. This quote sums that up for me because if we insist in not exploring our talents, they will not be of use to us just as a sundial is nothing more than a statue if it isn’t brought into the sunlight.

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Josi: I started my first book when I was on bed rest with my son. He just turned 14, so I’ve been writing for nearly fifteen years. My first book was published in 2000.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?  

Josi: I need quiet and I need clean, which is why I don’t get much writing done at home. It’s too easy for me to abandon the writing when it gets hard in favor or some chore that will make me feel better. I do most of my writing at an office my husband and I own and run a business out of. I am good to write alone, but I often write with friends. We get together a couple of times a week at my office and work on our projects. It’s wonderful! We can brainstorm with each other, take a break to talk about life, but we all understand that we need the time to be effective and we get a lot of things done.

Caroline: That sounds like a great arrangement. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Josi: Panzer. Oh how I hate it! I have tried and tried to plot, and I do a great deal of it through the course of writing when I get stuck, but I have not yet figured out how to plot out the story before I begin writing it. I guess I shouldn’t complain, since it works for me, but it stresses me out a great deal. I’m always certain that plotters have it easier than I do.

Caroline: I firmly believe writing is never easy, but plotting makes it easier for me. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Josi: All the time. It’s amazing the character I can grow out of a woman I see at the mall, or the conflict I can create from overhearing someone’s cell phone conversation. It inevitably morphs into something very different than the original inspiration, but I feel like I am sucking up ideas everywhere I go.

Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

Josi: I don’t get to write every day and I currently have no daily goals. I just write when I can and hope and pray that I’m being diligent enough that I don’t end up in panic mode. That said, the last three books I’ve written have all being on hyper-panic mode. The one I’m working on now is actually going well so I’m hoping to avoid the worst of it.

Caroline: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Josi: I hope my readers have a really good time reading my books. If they get a fresh perspective on a specific element of the book, it’s even better, but I consider myself an entertainer, not a motivational speaker, or educator. I’m here to tell a good story that takes them away for a little while and, hopefully, inspires a yummy meal or two J

Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Josi: I haven’t put much thought into that. I am writing with such tight deadlines that I haven’t had much time to develop what comes next. We are planning 12 books in the Sadie series, and then a cumulative cookbook after the series is done. I’m excited to see how the rest of the series turns out. After that, I’m just not sure. I guess we’ll all see.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Josi: I am working on “Rocky Road,” book 10 in the Sadie Hoffmiller series. It takes place in St. George, Utah and involves a missing person case. It’s been fun to write about a place I’m somewhat familiar with and it’s coming together nicely. I also just finished edits on “Shannon” which is my second volume in the Newport Ladies Bookclub Series I’ve written with Julie Wright, Annette Lyon, and Heather Moore. Both projects have been really fun.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Josi: Learn your craft. Attend conferences. Learn your craft. Find a critique group. Learn your craft. Meet other writers. Learn your craft. Write. Learn your craft. Read. Learn your craft. Revise. Learn your craft. Don’t give up. Learn your craft. Don’t get cocky. Learn your craft.

Caroline: Very good advice. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Josi: I was a really lousy cook when I got married. I thought I was good and that I knew how to cook, but quickly learned that though I made a mean chocolate chip cookie, my actually cooking skills were abysmal. Luckily, my husband was easy to please and I was stubborn. I look back and shake my head at the amount of Hamburger Helper I cooked up . . . every single night. I’ve come a long way.

Caroline: What is something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Josi: I don’t read culinary mysteries. I’ve tried a few, but they were either boring, dumb, or talked about gourmet food that made ME feel dumb. I didn’t write Lemon Tart with the expectation of including recipes, that came later, and I have yet to find a culinary mystery I liked enough to read to the end.

Caroline: I’ve read a few I like. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?

Josi: It is a series but it’s considered a stand alone series which means you can read the books out of order without being confused or having the plots of the other books given away. That said, if you can start at the beginning, you’ll get the full benefit of the character growth that takes place along the course of the series, but it isn’t essential.

Caroline: I try to write my series books that way too. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Josi: Here’s the blurb for BAKED ALASKA:

An Alaskan cruise is the setting for amateur detective Sadie Hoffmillers latest adventure. Sadie plans to spend time relaxing with her two grown children, Breanna and Shawn, and her boyfriend, Pete, while enjoying the luxury and cuisine of an elegant cruise ship and helping to plan her daughters upcoming wedding. But even as the crew prepares to leave port, Sadie has suspicions about the voyage ahead and the relationship between her normally easygoing son and a mysterious female passenger he obviously knows but refuses to discuss. When the woman is discovered unconscious during the second night at sea, Sadies apprehension escalates. Over the last few years, Sadie has developed an extreme dislike for secrets and it would seem her son is keeping one from her. *Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadies Virtual Test Kitchen. *Josi’s culinary mysteries have become favorites with members of Goodreads and other book networking sites. *Readers guide available online.

Caroline: How about an excerpt?

Josi: Here’s one from Chapter 5:

Sadie ate another crepe and turned her worry from Pete’s opinions of her actions, to Breanna’s conflicts with the wedding. She couldn’t believe that Liam’s mother would take things over this extent. Carriages? Eight thousand dollars in flowers? Did the woman not know Breanna at all? Had she no respect for Sadie’s position as mother of the bride?

When those thoughts got too heavy, she ate yet another crepe and worried about Shawn again. Finally, about the time she felt ready to explode from both crepes and worry, the three of them made their way out of the dining room and Shawn said he was going to check out one of the clubs. Sadie stiffened. “You go to clubs?”

“Mom, I’m twenty-three.”

“What does being twenty-three have to do with going to clubs? I was twenty-three once and I never went to clubs. Breanna didn’t go to clubs when she was twenty-three.” Shawn had been away at college for four years—he had walked with his graduating class just last month, but had two online classes he needed to finish up this summer in order to complete his degree in criminal justice. During these years that he’d been so many states away, she always pictured him studying when she worried where he was or what he might be doing at any given time. Could he be one of those college kids that went to frat parties and locked their friends in the trunk of their car as a joke? Oh, she certainly hoped not. She’d been locked in the trunk of a car before and it was horrid.

 “Pete, maybe you can explain it to her,” Shawn said as they exited the dining room.

Pete draped his arm over Sadie’s shoulder and gave Shawn a nod. “I’ve got your back.” They both made a fist they then tapped them together. What on earth was that all about?

Sadie turned her head to look at Pete. “You’re supporting this kind of behavior?”

Pete steered her toward the open deck, away from Shawn. “We talked about this,” he reminded her as the doors whooshed open. He guided her across the open deck toward the stairs leading to Deck Thirteen Forward; where they’d gone last night. The ever-determined hot-tubbers were there again, basking in the steaming water and occasionally running across the deck to jump into the swimming pool. She’d worn better pants tonight and didn’t feel so chilled by the dropping temperatures, but could not imagine wearing a swim suit, let alone getting wet. On the port side of the hot tubs, someone seemed to be asleep on a deck chair and Sadie shook her head. Weren’t they cold? It had to be close to forty degrees tonight.

“I can’t believe he goes to clubs,” Sadie said when they reached the top of the stairs. They had the deck to themselves again. She waited until Pete looked at her and narrowed her eyes. “And I can’t believe you’re supporting him in that.”

“You’re going to let Shawn be a grown-up, remember?”

Caroline: That made me smile. How can readers learn more about you?

Josi: Find me at

Find BAKED ALASKA on Amazon here

Thanks, Josi, and continued success with your books.

Readers, don’t forget to include your email with your comment to be entered for a free e-copy of Josi’s book, BAKED ALASKA.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I loved the Benjamin Franklin quote and will have to remember it. As a child, I also spent a lot of time helping harvest our backyard garden and eating canned produce all winter. However, Mom also made some wonderful jams. Yum.