Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome A. R. Kennedy back to the blog.
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your new book.
My new book, Sleuth on Safari, was inspired by my travel to South Africa a few years ago. I love animals, especially my two pups, and I love to travel. My favorite trips combine seeing new places and its wildlife.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
I have two dogs. One is a rescue, H, and one is a miniature schnauzer, River. I’m sure their antics will be used in upcoming books and short stories.
My previous schnauzers, L & H who are still dearly missed, were the inspiration for Laude, in my Nathan Miccoli Mystery series.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
Animals are a huge part of all my novels. In Saving Ferris, failed out of service school golden retriever Ferris is the star of the book. In the Nathan Miccoli series, Laude is a scene stealer. In Sleuth on Safari, different types of animals play a role—the local wildlife. Searching for the Big Five, and other animals, on the game drives are key parts of any safari. I hope the reader finds themselves immersed in Naomi’s observations of the animals.
What’s your real-life, funniest pet story?
Shortly after graduating college, I got a beautiful black schnauzer puppy, L. One day, while walking the pup, I saw a neighbor who I was holding a package for. My puppy was rambunctious and quick. When I opened my apartment door, my pup saw my roommate’s cat and took off! Taking me with her. I fell flat on my face. I slowly got up, got the package and handed it to the neighbor. She never passed me again without laughing.
What’s the most interesting/fun/dangerous thing you’ve done in the name of research for one of your books?
I didn’t know it at the time but it was on the safari. I slept in a treehouse by myself! It was miles away from the lodge. I was the first in the group to go so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a night filled with fear, anxiety, and amazing sights. Everyone at the lodge, guests and staff, was so impressed I stayed out there the whole night by myself!
Where is your favorite place to read (or write)? Why?
I only write at home. The rescue pup is usually on my lap. The puppy is running wild, anywhere and everywhere. I think she wants to be involved in the writing because she loves to chew on my glasses, pens, paper, phone and even my computer!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
I would give the advice that was given to me when I started by German novelist Beate Sauer — Write. Take a writing class.
What is one lesson you learned about writing or publishing that you’d like to share?
Start branding and marketing months ahead of the book’s release. You need at least a six month plan for your release. The ‘write it and they will buy it’ strategy won’t work without a structured plan leading up to the novel’s release.
What do your pets do when you are writing?
Wreak havoc. No, that’s just the puppy. I’m fortunate my mother loves her ‘grand-puppy’ and watches her for me so I can write.
What’s next for you with your writing projects?
The Traveler Cozy Mystery series continues in Iceland. We follow Naomi as she travels with another family member and investigates another murder. The yet to be titled book 2 is expected Summer 2020.
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