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Wednesday 30 September 2020

ℚ♫ Derailed: Kelly Pruett Mysteries [1] - Mary Keliikoa

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Derailed (, Camel Press, 234 pages), a Mystery, book one in the Kelly Pruett Mysteries series.

“Derailed has it all: an engaging heroine, a twisty, twisted crime, and plenty of food for thought about families and their secrets. I loved this debut and can’t wait to read about Kelly Pruett’s next case”. Kristen Lepionka, Shamus Award-winning author, the Roxane Weary mystery series

“Mary Keliikoa’s debut novel is an important addition to the PI genre – strong with voice, a compelling protagonist in Kelly Pruett, and unforgettable family secrets. Derailed was hard to put down – and I can’t wait to read the next book in this crackling new series.” Alex Segura, author, Blackout and Miami Midnight

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Mary Keliikoa; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Derailed , or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?
"Everything Lady Antebellum (Lady A now, I believe), Thomas Rhett and Dan + Shay. 😊  I’m a country girl at heart."
Here is a small selection for you; hope you enjoy it 😊
What was the inspiration for Derailed?
"PI Kelly Pruett came first.  I knew I wanted to write about a strong female character, but someone who was new to being a PI and had a complicated family.  Then I had to set out to find a case for her to solve.  That’s where my years working in downtown Portland at various law firms and riding mass transit came in.

It always intrigued me that the commuter train tracks were perilously close to the sidewalks.  One slip or push in front of an oncoming train, and you might not be going home in one piece that night.  Once that idea took hold, Derailed flowed from there."

How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I think like most writers, there is always going to be pieces of ourselves in our writing.  While I have definitely given each of my characters their own traits and viewpoints, I think you can see me reflected a bit in Kelly Pruett. She often doesn’t know how she fits into the world, and I can relate to that.  She loves her dog – check.  She loves her family, but sometimes it’s a challenge.  Check-check.  She wants to make her dad proud—triple check!  Also, because I worked in the legal field for eighteen years, it felt natural to have a law firm and lawyers involved in both setting and character in the novel."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Derailed - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I really love my cover because it captures the idea of the storm clouds brewing over the city of Portland.  I also wanted my PI to be walking towards the impending storm as it reflects that Kelly Pruett doesn’t run from trouble.  Of course Floyd, her sidekick, had to be at her side as he often is in the series. "
cover detail

Why should we read Derailed and what sets it apart from the rest?  What makes your book unique?
"First and foremost, the characters are worth spending time with.  Kelly Pruett is relatable in that she’s a single mom trying to make it in the world—and the fact that she is a mom and parenting a deaf daughter makes her unique in the PI genre.  She does share custody with her ex-husband, and they have to co-parent, which isn’t always easy.  And there’s his mother, who lives next to Kelly.  I think the dynamics of family and stepping into one’s own makes the Kelly Pruett series worth reading.

I’ve also had several readers tell me that Kelly reminds them of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone.  A very high compliment.  So if you find yourself a fan of Ms. Grafton, you’d really enjoy Derailed and the following Kelly Pruett novels to come."
Who would you recommend Derailed to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with complex characters.  There are a couple of scenes where Kelly needs to fight to survive, and if violence of any kind makes you uncomfortable, that is something to be aware of.  Otherwise, I think the relationships and the story itself have broad appeal."
If you could / wished to turn Derailed and the Kelly Pruett Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Oh that would be fun to see the Kelly Pruett series on screen!  Well, of course, it would have to be set in Portland, Oregon
As for the cast – Holly Marie Combs or Reese Witherspoon could play Kelly Pruett.  I’d have Mark Ruffalo as Kelly’s ex-husband and Chris Hemsworth as her love interest, Kyle.  Arlene, Kelly’s ex-mother-in-law could be played by Candice Bergen.  Kelly’s dog Floyd well, he could be any Basset hound because they’re all so cute."
  • R Witherspoon
  • M Ruffalo
  • C Hemsworth
  • Basset
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I love mystery and suspense and that’s what I stick to.  But more than just a good plot twist, I love character and exploring relationships.  Family truly molds us, or certainly influences who we become, and I love exploring that in my stories."
What is your writing process?
"I have a consistent writing routine where I spend 2-3 hours each morning putting words to the page.

As for creating my stories, I am Team Panster for the most part, which means I don’t spend a lot of time plotting out the story. I think best on the page.  I do have a writing goal though.  About 1500-2000 a day and I generally know the end of the story before I begin so I at least know where I’m going."
What is in store next?
"DERAILED is Book 1 in a 3-book series and Book 2 – DENIED – will be out in May 2021.  In the upcoming novel, Kelly will be taking on a case to help a former classmate locate her missing father.  Given Kelly’s issues with her own dad, you can imagine the case will stir that up!  But Kelly will also continue to grow as an investigator, her relationships with her family will continue to challenge her, and a potential relationship with Officer Kyle Jaeger will continue to be explored.  And Floyd might even take a bigger role in Book 2 than you saw in Derailed 😊 "
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Well, maybe not so quirky since I am married to a man from the islands, but I play the ukulele and have been teaching myself for the past few years.  Thank you You Tube!  But I also have a wonderful golden retriever named Bella and I serenade her quite often.  So here’s a picture of the three of us 😊 "
Fantastic! Thank you for sharing both with us :-)  Lots of head-scratches and belly rubs to gorgeous Bella!

We hope you are having a great tour.

A dying wish. A secret world.

Can this grieving investigator stay on the right track?

Available NOW!

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CMash said...

After reading the interview, I want to read this book and meet the characters.

Mary K. said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! Love the play list!!

BooksChatter said...

Hello Mary, thank you for popping by! This was fun :-)