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Cozy up to a good mystery

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Featured, People in the News

Published on November 07, 2012 with No Comments

Author, Kate Collins

Kate Collins

Author Kate Collins coming to Valparaiso and Hobart

At a glance, “The Flower Shop Mysteries” might seem to be just another cozy mystery series.

In these books, flower shop owner Abby Knight–who does double duty as a small town super sleuth–pokes her head into cases and solves mysteries with an endearing and unique cast of recurring characters.

But if local audiences take a closer look, they might notice a few familiar sites from Northwest Indiana.

“They’re set in the Midwest,” said author Kate Collins. “Just to do something totally different.”

Collins came to her current career in a very roundabout way. Originally trained as an elementary education teacher, she taught children for six years before she had some of her own. After that, she decided that she wanted to stay home to spend time with her family and raise her children.  At the same time, Collins also wanted to find something to stay busy.

“I tried to find a niche,” Collins said. She tried knitting, crochet, needlepoint and a half dozen other craft projects, looking for something she really liked. Nothing really caught hold of her until she saw a correspondence course for writing. She took it, and that was the beginning of what has become an impressive career for her thus far.

Since she took that course, Collins has gone on to publish one book yearly since 1997. Her extensive resume covers a number of historical romance novels as well as “The Flower Shop Mysteries” series, which just released “Nightshade on Elm Street,” the 13th installment in the series.

Collins has been compared to Janet Ivanovich, both for her style and for her extensive cast of recurring characters that readers meet in her mysteries.

“There’s someone for everyone,” Collins said.

Collins explained how different readers have gotten attached to different members of the cast, whether it’s the female lead, her talentless mother who’s convinced she’s a creative genius, the 60-something British coffee shop owner or one of the other colorful personalities that fill the pages.

And for local readers, there’s the fun of trying to spot hints to Valparaiso that have made it into the small town where Abby solves her mysteries.

“Local readers will recognize landmarks,” Collins said. She’s often surprised when she does signings in the region that so few people realize where the various parts of the town are drawn.

Along with her hard work, dedication and good ideas, Collins admits that she’s had a lot of luck to wind up where she is today. A writer for Penguin since she started, she managed to have just the right manuscript and style at just the right time. She hit the ground running and she’s been keeping her readers in suspense with fast-paced, fun page turners ever since.

Collins will be doing two book signings in Northwest Indiana soon. On Saturday, Nov. 10 she’ll visit the Valparaiso Barnes and Noble and on Saturday, Nov. 17 she’ll be at the Books-A-Million in Hobart.

So whether you’re already a Collins reader or just looking for a new series to curl up with during the long winter months, “The Flower Shop Mysteries” are worth checking out.

For more information on Kate Collins, her books and upcoming appearances, visit her website at www.KateCollinsBooks.com.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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