Saturday, August 9, 2014

AVOIDABLE CONTACT by Tammy Kaehler Interview &Giveaway

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by Tammy Kaehler

This fast paced page-turner will have you reading all night long.
~Shelley’s Book Case
…had everything you could expect when you combine NASCAR racing and mysteries… this book was fabulous…
~Community Bookstop
The book is suspenseful and I had no clue who the bad guys were until the author’s reveal.
~Author Michele Lynn Seigfried

AvoidableContact_2014-finalAvoidable Contact: A Kate Reilly Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press (August 1, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1464202384

Racecar driver Kate Reilly is suited up and ready for the start of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona. But what’s ahead will test her will and nerve more than any other endurance race.
Even before the green flag waves over Daytona International Speedway, Kate receives word her boyfriend Stuart is fighting for his life after a hit-and-run earlier in the day. Still reeling from that news, Kate must absorb other shocks in the race’s opening hours, including an on-track accident with tragic consequences and an eyewitness who claims Stuart was run down deliberately by someone from the race paddock.
Alternating stints behind the wheel of her Corvette racecar with stretches of quizzing colleagues and searching for clues, Kate taps every possible source—friend, foe, and family—to find out who’s after Stuart and why. As the race clock counts down to zero hour, Kate must come to terms with her own fears about the past anddecide who she’s willing to trust. Only then can she identify who’s willing to kill to keep a secret buried—and stop them before they lash out again.

About The Author
Tammy Kaehler’s career in marketing and technical writing landed her in the world of automobile racing, which inspired her with its blend of drama, competition, and friendly people. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike praised the first two Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries, Dead Man’s Switchand Braking Points, and she takes readers back behind the wheel for the third time in Avoidable Contact. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Find out more at

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I always want to add little tidbits to the book I’ve just finished. But they’re never about the story or the plot, they’re about the real-life details of racing or the race setting. Anytime I watch a race on television, whether it’s the race I’ve written about or not, I think of some other detail I should have added—the good news is can add it to the next book!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My day job has always been in technical, business, or marketing writing. But I’d never written fiction, ever. Eleven years ago I woke up with a scene in my head that was the perfect opening for a chick-lit, family-adventure book, which I eventually wrote. Mind you, I say “perfect opening,” but it was not a perfect book! That manuscript won’t ever see the light of day, but writing it taught me a whole lot—mostly that I could do it. I discovered racing soon after I started writing fiction, and it wasn’t too many months before I had the idea of writing a racing mystery series.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m just starting to write the fourth Kate Reilly Racing Mystery, which will be set at the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend. Kate’s going to be in Los Angeles (where I live) for about 10 days, starting with the Media Day at the Long Beach track, at which she’ll be the one giving local journalists and VIPs high-speed laps around the track in a real racecar. Kate’s also coaching one of the female celebrities taking part in the celebrity race, which means she’ll get to explore the celebrity and entertainment side of the LA experience. And of course, being a mystery, there’s a dead body around. Interestingly, it’s a victim Kate’s not exactly heartbroken to see, which will make it all the more interesting when family and business connections pressure her into finding the murderer.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting started! I don’t have fear of the blank page (not after a career as a writer-for-hire), but I have a hard time getting my butt in the chair to work. I know that if I sit down for long enough at my computer, I will produce something … but I can come up with a lot of excuses for not sitting down in a given day. I’ll be honest: for me, writing is both joy and pain. It’s hard to struggle with the details of word choice and the scope of a story arc every day, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling to know I’ve created something people enjoy and even love. Add to that a lazy streak and a huge TBR pile, and sometimes I find it too easy to procrastinate….

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My inspiration is Dick Francis. His writing is simple and spare, and I love how he teaches readers a ton about the world of horse racing while also presenting us with a first-rate puzzle to solve. My goal is to be the Dick Francis of auto racing—with a female protagonist.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I need to attend the races I write about, ideally two or three times. Of course, part of why I got into this in the first place was wanting to attend all of the great races and tracks in the world—think Monaco, Le Mans (France), the Indy 500, Monterey (CA), and the like. So while I say “yes, I have to,” it’s not actually such a great burden.

Who designed the covers?
My publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, arranges for the cover design, and I’m grateful they allow me to have some influence on the design. Mostly that influence consists of me pushing hard to ensure the images used are of authentic race tracks, cars, and gear. For Avoidable Contact, I finally had the bright idea to send a bunch of photos I’d taken at the actual track and race—the 24 Hours of Daytona in Daytona Beach, Florida—and as a result, the cover is race-authentic.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I set myself an interesting challenge with this book. I’d always wanted to start Avoidable Contact with the green flag for the start of the 24-hour endurance race and end it with the end of the race and the checkered flag. I thought it would be a great way to help readers experience just how long a 24-hour race really feels! What I hadn’t taken into account was that my protagonist, a driver, had to sleep a couple hours and had to drive for a few more—and no sleuthing can happen during those times, if I’m writing in first person! There’s also a strict timeline I had to stick to, given that drivers work in teams and have other duties while not in the car. In the end, I added an extra hour and a half to the start of the book, and a few minutes to the end, so the book takes place over the span of about 25-26 hours in total. But I had to watch the timeline very, very carefully throughout. Anytime I changed the slightest detail, I had to check every chapter for timing, and I certainly hadn’t expected my “clever idea” would be that much work!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I wasn’t sure I would be able to write a book set in such a short timeframe, but I got some good advice from the wonderful William Kent Kruger. He reassured me and urged me to give it a shot, telling me writers must try new things in order to grow. He’s right (probably about most things!), and I learned to have more faith in my abilities to tackle something I wasn’t sure I could accomplish.

On another note, I also learned I can make it through a day on only three hours sleep, at least when those hours are in the middle of the 24-hour race. I was at Daytona, embedded with a race team to fully experience the sights, sounds, and sensations … one of which was a bit of exhaustion by race-end. But knowing I was able to function after only three hours sleep gave me confidence Kate could do the same during her 24-hour race in Avoidable Contact.

What would you like my readers to know?
You don’t need to know—or care—anything about racing to read my books. In fact, I almost hope readers don’t know anything. I discovered racing and learned about it from the inside—from backstage. I found it so fascinating that I wanted to share that knowledge and experience with readers. Sure, if you’re a racing fan, you’ll enjoy the peek inside the racing world that much more. But if you don’t know anything, you’ll learn something new. I don’t know about you all, but that’s a large part of what I read mysteries for, to learn about new worlds. I hope you’ll get to know Kate Reilly!

Purchase Links:
Amazon   B&N

Tour Participants
August 6 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview, Giveaway
August 7 – Community Bookstop – Review, Giveaway
August 8 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Review, Guest Post
August 8 – Brooke Blogs – Interview, Giveaway
August 9 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
August 9 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
August 10 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post, Giveaway
August 11 – Mystery Playground – Review, Giveaway
August 11 –Cicero’s Children – Interview
August 12 – Mommasez… – Review, Giveaway
August 13 – Back Porchervations – Review, Guest Post
August 14 – fundinmental – Review. Giveaway
August 15 – dru’s book musings – Guest Post, Giveaway

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  1. I don't think I've ever read a mystery about a lady race car driver. I'd like to try this one.

  2. I read about that words are windows to the soul, and i truely believe that too, thank you for the giveaway