Who are you and why are you here?
I’m Judy Alter, and I’m here to tell readers about my mystery series, Kelly O’Connell Mysteries and Blue Plate Café Mysteries. In a long career, I’ve written over 60 books—many about women in the American West and many others on assignment for middle-grade readers. I always wanted to write cozy mysteries but thought they were on another shelf. Now I’ve had five published, and I’m having fun learning a whole new world.
Kelly O’Connell Mysteries
Police officer Mike Shandy says that Kelly O’Connell has a real talent for trouble. She maintains that she’s looking out for her daughters and her beloved older, inner-city neighborhood. He says she should let the police do their work and stay out of things. She argues that she would if they’d move fast enough and act on the tips she gives them. She has been vandalized, stalked, almost shot, almost asphyxiated, and faced an unwanted one-way trip to Mexico. Kelly is drawn into crime-solving by her curiosity, her compassion, and her outrage at injustice. Every time she thinks things will settle down, life throws another puzzling crime in her direction.
Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up. First there’s Gram’s sudden death, which leaves her suspicious, and then the death of her married sister’s lover. Kate runs Gram’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Café, but she must defend her sister against a murder charge, solve the murders to keep her business open, and figure out where the café’s profits are going. Even Kate begins to wonder about the twin sister she has a love-hate relationship with. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.
Kate’s adventures continue in Murder at Tremont House, when she still has to deal with a journalist, intent on probing small-town secrets, gone missing, contradictory stories about the local teen-age heartthrob, and the series of men who seem to rotate through her life.
More books in my two series, but I’ve also written a stand-alone that I hope to self-publish. Still in the editing phase. It’s called The Perfect Coed and is an academic cozy. I worked at a university for thirty years.
My greatest achievement was raising four children as a single parent. They are wonderful people who make me proud every day. And they’ve given me seven grandchildren that I adore.
When people discover you’re a writer, chances are good that they’ll pepper you with questions. What is the hardest question to answer?
Do you have a writing schedule? I don’t, and I’d love to but even in retirement, life gets in the way and I write when I can—often late at night.
Hell I couldn’t escape fast enough. Huge inner city public high school in Chicago. Loved college though, kept going back for graduate degrees until my then-husband said one Ph.D. was enough!
Worst job you’ve ever had?
Writing catalog copy for Tandy Leather Company. They sold hobby leatherworking kits and supplies. Boring.
Best vacation ever?
A trip to Scotland with my oldest son and oldest daughter. We drove ourselves to castles and pubs, visited the MacBain Clan Memorial Park (I’m a MacBain) and the battlefield at Culloden. Even ate haggis and blood pudding.
Web page: http://www.judyalter.com
Blogs: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com; http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com
Twitter: @judyalter, though I’m not good about checking it
Turquoise Morning Press: http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/search?q=Judy+Alter
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Judy-Alter?keyword=Judy+Alter&store=book