Death by Dark Roast is the first in a new series of mystery books, the Charleton House Mysteries. The series is set in beautiful Derbyshire, England, at a fictional stately home, which remains the home of the Duke and Duchess of Ravensbury, whilst also being open to the public. Catering manager and amateur sleuth, Sophie Lockwood, along with her eccentric colleagues find themselves solving murders, in-between serving coffee and cake. In this first book, the Charleton House Food Festival is abruptly brought to an end when the victim of a coffee-themed murder is discovered.
What's your writing process?
I’m very much a plotter and have the whole book set out before I start. Having said that, I’m always open to making changes as I go along and it’s not uncommon for me to discover, for example, that the person I thought was the killer, is actually innocent.
My books are deceptively simple. I do a great deal of research, and because I worked in an environment like Charleton House I have my own experiences to call upon, and many contacts who are always available to answer questions and send me information. I’ll go as far as checking, for example, the age and history of a door on a chapel that I’ve created in order to make sure the detail of the building works. Although my books are not ‘police procedural’, I do have a retired police officer with an incredible career behind him to check that what I’m writing is either entirely accurate or if I am playing with reality, I’m aware of what I’m doing and it’s intentional.
Once I’ve completed two or three drafts, I send the manuscript to my wonderful team of beta readers who give me feedback. I’ll then do further edits before it goes to my editor and then my proofreader.
Are there themes you like to explore in your books?
My books are very much intended as ‘feel-good’ books, that are easy to read and help you escape from some of the tougher realities of life for a while. Friendship is a key theme for me, along with the importance of preserving and communicating our history. I also want to introduce my readers to the work required to preserve and keep open to the public some of the most beautiful historic buildings in the UK.
Do you listen to music while you write?
Rarely, and usually only if the scene I am writing involves music. For example, I recently wrote a scene with Charles Dickens dancing the Roger de Coverley, so I played country-dance music as I wrote. I find it distracting otherwise, yet oddly, I can work in a coffee shop and have no issue with the background noise.
What's your favorite genre to read?
It’s entirely dependent on my mood or what my writing demands. I’m a big crime fiction fan, but you’ll also find me reading classics; from Austen to Dickens to Steinbeck. I also dip in and out of Shakespeare, and thoroughly enjoy non-fiction; particularly biographies and British history.
What are you reading right now?
Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
The Confessions of Frannie Langton – Sara Collins
The Drunken Botanist – Amy Stewart
What's the next project and when can we expect it?
The next two Charleton House Mysteries will be published in quick succession in April and May. After that, I’ll just keep going. I’m pretty sure there will be fifteen books in this series.
After 25 years working in some of England’s finest buildings, Kate P. Adams has turned to murder. Kate grew up in Derbyshire, England, the setting for the Charleton House Mysteries, and went on to work in theatres around the country, the Natural History Museum - London, the University of Oxford and Hampton Court Palace. Every day she explored darkened corridors and rooms full of history behind doors the public never get to enter. Kate spent years in these beautiful buildings listening to fantastic tales, wondering where the bodies were hidden, and hoping that she’d run into a ghost or two.
Kate has an unhealthy obsession with finding the perfect cup of coffee, enjoys a gin and tonic, and gets a kick out of exploring the world on a motorbike. Now that she lives in the USA, writing the Charleton House Mysteries allows Kate to go home to her beloved Derbyshire every day, in her head at least.