Kat Out of the Bag, Katherine Watson purse designer and amateur sleuth likes to gift purses year ’round. Some wonderful things can be gifted inside a woman’s handbag too. Sometimes what’s inside a purse can lead to a very cozy mystery indeed.
Bio: The result of Wendy Kendall’s passion for purses, mystery and romance is the intriguing In Purse-Suit Mysteries. Kat Out of the Bag introduces Katherine Watson purse designer/sleuth. As Kat moves from designer bags to body bags, she’s uncovering clues to a murder. The prequel, Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash delves into a chilling cold case. The romantic suspense, Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For creates a tangle of mystery and love and raises suspicions about Desiree’s romantic new sweetheart, Leo. A summer read that will keep you on the edge of your beach towel, Cherry Shakes In The Park blends danger, divas, and frothy delights. Wendy enjoys investigating the Pacific Northwest life, and she leaves a trail of her own clues as a blogger, YouTube podcaster, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Just wait until you see what Katherine Watson and her friends in Bayside face in their next adventure.
Avis: I’d like to welcome Wendy Kendall, my critique partner and friend, to “Your Next Favorite Author!” I’m so happy to finally have you as a guest, Wendy, and readers are going to be so excited to see that you have four titles they can read and a fifth releasing this holiday season! I’m know they are going to fall in love with your books, your characters, and you! So, let’s begin, shall we? Here’s question number one:
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Wendy: I’ve gone on a couple of wonderful research pilgrimages. I confess to a passion for purses. Give them a chance, they’re truly fascinating. Not only a fashion statement, what people carry gives clues to their personalities, actions, and even motives. That includes men carrying messenger bags or other accessories. How fun to have an amateur sleuth, Katherine Watson who is a purse designer. Her attention to detail and her creative spirit are traits enabling investigation.
My research for my books is always fun, but especially memorable was my trip to Little Rock, Arkansas where I visited the Esse Purse Museum that shows women’s history through their diverse display of each decade’s purses carried. It’s a fantastic collection and includes so many lessons about women’s lives during those decades. It’s one of only 3 purse museums in the world, not including the Purse-onality Museum Katherine Watson runs in Bayside, Washington.
During my visit to Esse Purse Museum, I not only studied the displays, I also interviewed the incredible, fun staff. I also met and interviewed the talented, energetic, visionary Anita Davis. In the front of my book Kat Out of the Bag you’ll see the Esse endorsement “. . . purses have a story to tell and for Kendall’s mystery, these stories unveil more than just purse-sonal history; they’re the clues to catch a killer.”
My second passion has to do with the K-9 officers. Katherine Watson’s investigation at times has her head to head matching wits with local Bayside cop Jason Holmes, and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although they disagree often, Katherine and Jason discover an undeniable attraction. They have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off. Faithful Hobbs is also suspicious of Katherine’s adopted cat, Purrada.
I also research local policing for my mysteries. I recently graduated from the Community Police Academy. I met great people, learned lots, and kept many notes for reference. When I was writing Kat Out of the Bag I went on a police ride along with K-9 partners. Very exciting! So, Hobbs in my book came from that experience. Here’s a picture of the inspiration for Hobbs while I was on my ride along.
Avis: I just love how you weave your passions into your books. This explains so much about Hobbs, and about Kat and her passion for purses! I’m sure so many readers will be able to relate to both these characters and will fall in-love with Hobbs! He steals the show sometimes! Let’s move on to question number two:
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Wendy: What I’ve heard from readers is that they not only love my characters in Kat Out of the Bag, especially Katherine and Moonjava, they love the community of Bayside and they’re interested in the characters who live there. I’m enjoying writing mysteries for Katherine, and for the citizens of Bayside. It’s the town of Bayside that ties my characters together. Katherine and Jason, with Hobbs, both appear in Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For with Desiree and Leo.
I’m so proud that Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For was a Finalist for Best Suspense at Killer Nashville in August, an amazing mystery writers and readers annual conference. And, if you’ve read and enjoyed my book, it’s also in the running for Readers’ Choice Award.
Romantic Suspense is a great combination, and this book practically wrote itself. Desiree is a first-grade teacher at Bayside Elementary, dedicated to her students. She’s a very warmhearted character and I enjoyed writing about someone in that profession. She’s at the beginning of a sweet, new romance with Leo who works on the school’s maintenance staff. Desiree’s suddenly being tormented by a secret stalker though, and the situation is dire. There are several suspects, including Leo. At the end, there is a shocking confrontation. Enjoy the cookies too, because the yummy, original Snow Kiss Cookies recipe is included.
The character Arturo Girardo is in both my summer beach reads, the Purse-Stachio Makes A Splash, and also Cherry Shakes in the Park. You just never know who’s going to pop up again in my books! Right now I’m writing the sequel to Kat Out of the Bag. It’s such an exciting case with returning and also intriguing new characters.
Avis: Bravo! I was hoping you’d mention a few characters from your other books! More great characters to fall in-love with! And congratulations on Snow Cookies to Die For! You are a seasoned author with several published books under your belt now, so I’d like to ask you this:
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Wendy: I’ve learned so much from my editor at The Wild Rose Press. Through working with me on edits, I’ve absorbed improvements and my first drafts have grown cleaner.
I’ve also developed a curiosity to expand my writing skills in more genres. Snow Kiss Cookies To Die For plunged me into Romantic Suspense, and it was an adventure in writing, for me.
I followed that with the Romantic Mystery Cherry Shakes in the Park. I was inspired by my love of the works by the Bard, William Shakespeare. This newest book is a great summer read which is a contemporary new twist on A Midsummer Night’s Dream including all the humor, romance, and adding an enticing mystery.
Here’s how Bryson’s story begins –
Standing at the bottom of the wooden stairs to Girardo’s ice cream shop, Bryson wished he could shake off his broken heart as easily as he shook the beach sand from his feet. He’d missed Marta from the moment she got on that bus and left him. A rogue wave of sadness hit hard, splashing visions of their walks along the bay in his face.
There on the beach, Marta’s friends waved to him. Naomi stood in the sunshine, up to her knees in water. Next to her, Tara took pictures on her cell phone. The space between them where Marta should be standing reflected the hole in his heart. Bryson waved back. Nice girls, but neither were Marta.
He clenched his fists. Here he was, mid-twenties with plans for this decade of his life. Settling down with his girl, Olympic tryouts and qualifying, sprinting to a medal, product endorsements, and a happy new career. It all crashed and burned a month ago. His broken spirit affected everything, even track times. What do you do when your dreams hit a dead end?
As the story goes on, Bryson is faced with mysteries of the heart when Marta returns with the Not Royal Shakes Company to perform in the park at Bayside. Sparks fly as Bryson is torn between rekindling flames with Marta or a new spark with her co-star Senona. They’re racing to follow clues around Bayside, along with the Shakes Company cast of humorous characters, and of course a dog, to try and win the scavenger hunt prize.
In the meantime, Bryson faces the mysterious kidnapping of his beloved coach’s brother, and wants to help, but the clock is ticking to find and save him. Who knew that a comical midnight dalliance at Loon Point would merge clues to both mysteries and reveal the true danger Bryson faces?
I’ve followed these writings with a brave plunge into a full romance novel, Heart of Christmas Cookies and Dreams. You can watch for this book release this holiday season, and the recipe for the delicious, original cookies is included. George is a chef, and Liz is a corporate leader. What is it that can bring these two wandering souls together? Whatever it is, ribbons of love run through it.
I enjoy exploring some other genres. My roots are in mystery though. Right now, I’m finishing the sequel to Kat Out of the Bag, another cozy mystery. Just wait until you see what mystery Katherine faces this time.
Avis: Wow, Wendy! Books five and six are looming on the horizon! Such good news for all your fans! It’s so exciting to see you blending genres and having so much fun with it! I have loved seeing you go from “cozy” to “romance” to “romantic mystery.” You really capture that element of surprise in all your novels! Here’s my final question today:
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Wendy: The entrance fee to attend my first Writers’ Conference. It was for the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association. This event opened my eyes to the fantastic world of writing and gave me the hope that I could do it too.
I learned so much and met people with great advice and enthusiasm that rubbed off. I found a way to move forward. I even got to pitch story ideas to agents and editors. It was a very motivating time and has led me to where I am now with my writing. I sincerely believe that I could not have created all I have without the decision to attend that very first Writing Conference. I have found members of the writing community incredibly generous in giving back to new and aspiring writers, and it all started there.
Avis: Thank you so much, Wendy, for being my guest today! I’ve known you for years, and I learned new things about you, your writing, and your books! If readers haven’t already, you can find Wendy Kendall’s books wherever books are sold, and on all the social media platforms and her website! You can find links below to connect with Wendy and her wonderful books, and after the links, you will find my review of Kat Out of the Bag! A five-star book, for sure!
Visit Wendy at: wendywritesbooks.com
Some of her other books:
Review of Kat Out of the Bag:
Kat Out of the Bag, by Wendy Kendall is book one in An in Purse-suit Mystery series. Her protagonist Katherine Watson will keep you turning pages as she sleuths her way through this charming and mysterious who-done-it.
Katherine Watson, a celebrated purse designer of international fame, has returned to her hometown of Bayside, Washington, nestled on the shores of picturesque Puget Sound where she opens a Purse Museum. At the gala opening, we find Kat kicked to the curb, her dress in tatters, her hair flattened by rain, and her best friend dead.
Thus begins the story of Katherine Watson, purse designer, and amateur sleuth who works tirelessly with her family and close friends to solve the murder of her friend and mayor of Bayside, Brenda Dirling, much to the chagrin of the local law enforcement.
Wendy’s characters leap off the page, like Moonjava, or MJ, Kat’s mother. Hippie and yoga aficionado, her daily meditations delight with their wacky but “right on the money” focus.
Today’s mantra is—to be great, feel great, act great. I’m meditating on
There’s also K-9 officer Jason and his German shepherd, Hobbs, who take an interest in the case and Katherine.
Wendy’s knowledge of designer bags also shines through. She filters the history of purses throughout in her active setting of the museum displays, and also through her characters as they use the story of some bags as clues to Brenda’s murder. The purses and her friends help her catch the villain in the end, as her assistant Amber goes in search of clues.
[Amber] gently lifted the Whiting and Davis flapper bag and held it out for Francine to see. Francine’s hands went to her cheeks and her mouth popped open.
Through chance and mishap, we follow Kat as she finds suspects in the most unlikely places. Wendy ratchets up the suspense by leading us down the flower-lined alleys of Bayside and the hearthside chats in living rooms keeping us guessing to the very end.
The cast of characters masterfully drives the plot as they help Katherine Watson on her dangerous search for the killer, and in a surprising twist, Katherine shifts from pursuer to prey in the exciting conclusion.
I highly recommend Kat Out of the Bag for readers and cozy fans everywhere. Here’s another author to add to your must-read list—Wendy Kendall. Keep your eyes peeled for her other books and her new releases from The Wild Rose Press.
by Avis M. Adams