MTW Interview: Catherine Dilts

Stone Cold Blooded – A Rock Shop Mystery, published by Encircle Publications LLC, is available in paperback, and in e-book for Kindle and Nook

Stone Cold Blooded – A Rock Shop Mystery

1. How old you when you wrote your first story?

My earliest memory of writing fiction was creating scripts with my siblings. We entertained our great aunts with what must have been dreadful one act plays. The aunts’ delight had to be due to timing our performances to coincide with their happy hour.

2. What genre was that?

We knew nothing about genre. There were farmyard animals involved, and there might have been a mystery. For our aunts, the mystery was probably whether this was a two or three cocktail play.

3. Do you think that or do you have another series in mind? 

Where would it be located?

I’ve been having so much fun with the Rock Shop Mystery series, I’m planning a fourth book. Like the others, it will be set in the Colorado mountains. I’m working on two stand-alone mysteries, one set in Oklahoma and one in Colorado. Are you sensing a theme? My fiction is all set in the West and Midwest USA.

4. Do you enjoy any sport? Crafts? Other?

I run and hike for fitness. Occasionally, I participate in races, just for fun. I have run two marathons, and my husband and I plan to run our second half marathon together this summer. In the arts and crafts realm, I am currently working on an applique quilt for my adult daughter.

5. Where do you write from?

a. .Place in your emotions

 That depends on the story. The first short story I sold was based on unpleasant work experiences with a coworker. I wanted to staple the woman’s head to a cubicle wall. Instead, I killed her. Fictionally, of course. When the story appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (April 2013) I realized tapping into strong emotions was the key to writing convincing fiction. So now, I often take a difficult real-life situation and resolve it in a fictional setting.

6. Place in your house? From your organizations? if so what organizations

The company that provides my day job and that annoyingly necessary paycheck did a major renovation. They gave away the old office furniture to anyone in possession of a truck, a strong back, and not much design sense. Now I have a sturdy, if outdated, desk in our home office. I feel quite professional working at a desk instead of the dining room table. But I prefer to work on the deck in the summertime.

I’m a member of the national groups Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Locally, I attend MWA and SinC chapter meetings when I can, and am a member of Pikes Peak Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

7. What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Drinking heavily.

8. How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

My husband and daughters are incredibly supportive of my fiction writing. When I sold my first novel, they were nearly as excited as I. They anxiously await the day when I buy an island, and we all spend the rest of our days lounging on a sandy beach. Please don’t shatter their illusions.

7. If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Writing is my first and abiding love. Blogging is just a meaningless affair. Seriously, I enjoy blogging, but if I had to make a choice, I would choose fiction writing.

8. How did you find your niche?

I hit my stride writing fiction when I finally heeded two bits of advice:

1) write what you enjoy reading, and

2) write what you know. Simple, yet it took me decades to work this out for myself.

9. How much research do you do for your books?

I research just enough to – hopefully – get the facts right. For a cowgirl short story, I am learning the horrors of hoof injuries. For my Rock Shop Mystery series, I attended lectures at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and visited the Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry Show, where I interviewed Dwayne Hall from television’s The Prospectors.

10. What surprised you most about the publishing process?

There were many surprises. One was how slow the publishing process moves – like a bowling ball through the intestines of a brontosaurus. It can be a year or more from story acceptance to appearance in print. Another surprise was how few writers make a living from writing fiction.

11.  What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Catherine accomplished a considerable chunk of her bucket list, and had fun along the way.

Biography –

Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, set in the Colorado mountains, while her short stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Catherine’s day job deals with environmental regulatory issues, and for fun she fishes, hikes, and runs.c-dilts-photo-for-directory

You can learn more about Catherine Dilts at:

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