July 5, 2006

3 Questions: Kyra Davis (creepy coffee for afters)

I JUST finished running the full draft of Togwiss off my printer, and now I am going to go give his choppy, sloppy buttocks to KINKOS to copy him and send him to my editor/agent/readers. TOMORROW I am going to FORGET HE EXISTS FOR A MONTH and go tour. When I come back, I will be ready to perform radical surgery upon his quailing personage, a surgery of many months duration, slicing and dicing and stuffing in new bits.

I am by turns relieved to be mailing him AWAY to not think about and then horrified that ANYONE, most especially my editor, is going to see him all FETUSY with his GIANT NOSELESS ALIEN HEAD and his little lungs as dense as lima beans. I am having a terrible urge to call her right now and say YOU KNOW HE IS A FETUS RIGHT??? And he IS, he IS---he is currently completely non-viable outside the womb, and yet I am stuffing him in a box and posting him to NYC. What's WRONG with me?

Since my metaphors are about to run off the road and kill people, we better talk to someone with a brain cell left. That would NOT be me. That would be Kyra Davis, who actually has BILLIONS of the dern things, and has turned them all toward penning a series of hip chick mysteries starring Sophie Katz, her San Francisco living, coffee loving heroine. Check it out:


JJ: A lot of writers read this blog----how did you come to realize you wanted to pursue writing as a career instead of a personal passion or a hobby?

KD: I didn’t realize I wanted to become a writer until I was a writer. I began writing Sex, Murder And A Double Latte (the first Sophie Katz mystery) when I was in the early stages of my divorce. I was a newly single mom on the verge of bankruptcy and at the time it felt like everything I had worked for had been completely destroyed. I needed an emotional outlet. So at night, when I couldn’t sleep (which was pretty much every night back then) I sat down at my computer and created a parallel universe in which I could lose myself in. One that allowed me to laugh and…well…legally kill people. Fifty or so pages into the manuscript I realized that this wasn’t just an escape for me, it was a dream. Once again I had a goal to work toward and unlike everything else in my life at that time, this was totally under my control. I decided what to and not to write and if I succeeded or failed it was because of what I did, not because of what my ex or my lawyer did to/for me. I hadn’t written anything that would qualify as creative fiction since it had been assigned to me back in high school so I went to the bookstore and got a few how-to-write-a-novel books. I also joined a writing group and started reaching out to every published author who was willing to offer me advice. It took me two years and God only knows how many drafts and sleepless nights but I finished that book and less than three months after doing so scored myself an agent and five months after that I was offered a four book deal with Red Dress Ink. I know how many incredibly talented unpublished writers are out there. I know I got lucky. All I can say is that I did pay my dues, just in a different area of my life.

JJ: How important is location to you as a writer, or, a better way to say that might be, could these books be set anywhere else?

KD: Neither of the last two Sophie Katz books could have taken place anywhere other than San Francisco. San Francisco's the only city know where a person could realistically meet a Russian, a psychotic and a debutante all in the space of an hour. Then add to the mix Marcus, Sophie’s friend and hairstylist who periodically gives the reader a peek into the city’s gay social scene (which is like no other), the cosmopolitan restaurants and night life my characters always indulge in, the extreme-to-the-point-of-being-silly political correctness of the people they regularly interact with and…well I could go on and on. The point is that no matter where I move San Francisco will always be my home and these books are my way of both honoring and mocking that home.

JJ: Can you tell us about some of your experiences as a biracial Jewish woman and how they helped shape your main character?

KD: Early on in Sex, Murder And A Double Latte a stranger approaches Sophie in Starbucks and tells her how much she respects her “Native American culture.” Sophie of course is not Native American. She is, like me, a biracial (half black, half Jewish of Eastern European descent) woman and she’s not in the mood to explain her ethnicity to anyone at that moment so she says, “Actually I’m Irish. I just wear a lot of bronzer.”

I’ve delivered similar lines in my day to day life. It’s amazing, but if your appearance is on the ethnically-ambiguous side total strangers will come up to you and ask, “Where are you from?” or better yet, “What are you?” I don’t mind when people ask me about my heritage, I’d just prefer that they take the time to at least ask my name first. If they are rude in their questioning I’ll do something just to mess with them. For instance there have been times when I’ve invented a South American country or Pacific Island and claimed to be from there. Then when the person asking confesses that they’ve never heard of it I pretend to be incredibly offended and hurt. It’s evil, I know. But it’s fun.

Thanks, Kyra. I hope you guys enjoy her books, and SINCE the first one features UPSCALE coffee, I throw in for free a link, courtesy of my friend Mr. Growlf, to the THE CREEPIEST COFFEE THEMED THING YOU WILL EVER SEE.

Posted by joshilyn at July 5, 2006 11:06 AM

My god... it's like Up With People meets The Night of the Living Dead. HORRIFYING. The books sound great, though!

Posted by: Aimee at July 5, 2006 11:37 AM

I may never drink a cup of coffee again!

OK, that WON'T happen, but sheez, that commercial..was was THAT ad rep drinking?

Posted by: kim at July 5, 2006 11:49 AM

What Aimee said, she's one hundred percent right on.

Excellent interview Joss.

Posted by: Cele at July 5, 2006 11:52 AM

Hey, thanks for the intro to a great new author! As much as I love Southern fiction, I am a Cali girl and have been missing locally set fiction. You rock, Joshilyn!

And, I confess, I couldn't wait to start gods. I took it out of my hospital bag and started reading it. I looooove it! I guess the new Evanovich will take it's place in the bag. If I can wait, that is. This baby better come soon or I'll have nothing to read!

Posted by: Jenn2 at July 5, 2006 12:06 PM

Couldn't even look at the coffee thing...drank too many cups last night to consider it. All safe and sound in Kansas but missing you already!
Don't forget Murrell's Inlet, Flo's Restaurant, fried dill pickles, call me after. And have a great time on your tour!!! :)

Posted by: Amy-Go at July 5, 2006 12:14 PM

Great interview! And, yes, that was the Creepiest commerical ever. I'm going to think about it every time I take a sip of coffee now - only partially due to the never-ending earworm I seem to have gained by watching it. Thanks. *grin*

Have fun on your tour!

Posted by: dragonfly at July 5, 2006 12:24 PM

I knew there was something weird about coffee. It already doesn't taste at all like it smells, and now we know it creates the Up With People Zombies from Planet Smileyface.

It's a good thing I drink tea.

Posted by: Shanna Swendson at July 5, 2006 1:04 PM

WTF????? That scares the ever loving bejezuz out of me.

Posted by: Angela at July 5, 2006 1:34 PM


*clinging to doorways, peering around nervously*

Green tea. Nothing but green tea. They don't have commercials.

Posted by: Mir at July 5, 2006 1:41 PM

Is that supposed to make you *want* to drink coffee? I think it was paid for by the tea lobby... Beyond upsetting.

Posted by: Laura at July 5, 2006 2:16 PM

1. The books sound good!

2. I wish someone would ask me rude questions about where I'm from so I could make up a country. I love that idea!

3. Is that ad a for-real-and-true commercial, not a parody?? Because Oh. My. DOG. That, um, oh my. I have no words. I DO, however have that damn song stuck in my head now. Aaaarrrggghhh! If I start to glow and chirp I swear to gawd I'm haunting you first, Joss, for posting that link.

4. Have a great tour! Sign my copy of Between soon!!!!!! :-)

Posted by: DebR at July 5, 2006 4:29 PM

I want to find Mir a creepy Green Tea commercial... just because.

That commercial was a bit creepy...

And Kyra, I love to see good things come out of a divorce. I had always been a writer but I hadn't been a PAID writer until I got divorced and had to write to eat.

Posted by: Heather Cook at July 5, 2006 5:56 PM

Based on the comments I didn't click the link at first -- being completely afraid of robet snakes on coffee -- but alas, peer pressure and all...

oh my!!! --- I think I'll have nightmares now. Hmmm, who shall I call at 2am when I'm a "Happy Morning" pile of goo? Hmm, let's think?

Posted by: Patricia at July 5, 2006 7:02 PM

ohmygod...first I watched the commercial without sound...then I watched it with sound...

please, oh please please please tell me this was a reject?

I am now going to lose myself in an old Morris West novel, just to take that image out of my mind.

I like the fact that the dog growled at them, though. Wise dog.

Posted by: Fran at July 5, 2006 9:55 PM

Good Grief, Joshilyn, where do you find these things?

Posted by: desi at July 6, 2006 2:34 PM