Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kim Kash, Author of Ocean City Cover-Up

ocean city cover-up, kim kash, mystery novel, ocean city book, ocean city fiction

Kim Kash is the author of the mystery novel "Ocean City Cover-Up: A Jamie August Novel."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Maryland, and consider it home. However, several years ago my husband took a job in the Middle East. Since then I’ve been traveling like crazy, because we’re now so centrally located to much of the rest of the world. Since we moved here I have visited fifteen new countries. So, despite the twinges of homesickness, I’m incredibly grateful for this new life as an expat. Writing the Jamie August mystery series allows me to reminisce about my home state, and also make up fanciful stories about it.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Euro-trash collides with American gangsta in Maryland’s gleefully cheesy beach resort. Reporter Jamie August befriends a spoiled heiress who is being pursued by Russian mobsters—and a chart-topping rap star. Meanwhile, a raging crime spree is keeping Jamie busy—and so is a hot new boyfriend and a strict jogging and frozen custard fitness plan. Action careens from OC to Dubai, from the wild shores of Assateague to a wild-west campground. Will Jamie survive to debut her fringed leopard-print bikini?

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
My knee-jerk answer to this question is that it’s a chick-lit title, and would appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich (especially the early entries in her Stephanie Plum series.) However, the first book in the Jamie August series was recently reviewed over at Underground Book Reviews, and their take on it was quite different. They said, “Anyone looking for the mild-mannered lady detective usually found in G-rated cozy-mysteries won't find her here - Jamie August is no wallflower and has no problem using her sexuality to get what she wants. She can hold her own in the hardboiled detective tradition.” So, chick-lit or not? Hmmm.

The series is definitely comedic. That said, my hope is to write Jamie as someone to laugh with, not laugh at (at least most of the time.) Jamie is far from perfect, but she’s smart and she’s self-aware. And she’s definitely not waiting around to be rescued. I hate that! The helpless girl strategy is so tiresome—in real life and in fiction. If you’re with me on that, then "Ocean City Cover-up" may be for you.

In this book, Jamie is up against Russian mobsters who are gunning for the daughter of an oil tycoon. Without giving too much away, tell us a bit more about the mobsters.
I got some advice from someone in a position to know, that the Russian mafia is not a laughing matter. Basically, my friend said it’s really annoying when authors write about the cute investigator slipping out of a mobster’s clutches by twirling her hair and saying something flirty. I tried to keep that in mind when writing "Ocean City Cover-up." I hope I made these Russians scary enough. Well, except for that one time when a mafia hit man busts in on a meditation session in a New Age bookstore. It’s a balancing act, to write a comedic mystery that still retains some tension.

Jamie goes on a frozen custard fitness plan. What does a frozen custard fitness plan entail?
Not so fast, my friend. I cannot divulge this valuable trade secret. I’m hoping to sell millions of copies of "Ocean City Cover-up" for this piece of information alone. I may even do a spin-off diet book: "Jamie’s Foolproof Frozen Custard Fitness Plan: Leopard-Print Bikini-Ready in 30 Days." I’ll get celebrity endorsements, put up a web site full of testimonials, maybe do an infomercial. I’m going to be rich!

What places can readers expect Jamie to visit in this book?

The action is centered around Ocean City, with a big side trip to Dubai for a stay at an oil tycoon’s penthouse apartment. There are also stops in Hampden and Dundalk, two iconic Baltimore neighborhoods on opposite ends of the hipster spectrum.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
The early entries in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series were a big inspiration. I’m also a big fan of Elmore Leonard, especially his vivid evocations of place. When I’m in Ocean City I try to imagine how he would see it, the details he would think are funny or strange. Not surprisingly, I love Laura Lippmann’s Tess Monaghan novels. Her stories aren’t comic, but they sure are steeped in Maryland goodness (though almost always Baltimore rather than the Eastern Shore.) Lippmann clearly knows Baltimore like the back of her hand, and I can only hope to emulate her abundant and careful descriptions of place. As a kid I devoured the Nancy Drew and Dana Girls series, so I’m sure their influence is in there—at least the notion that girls don’t need to wait around to be rescued.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
I am more organized about my writing than I used to be. Writing is a creative process, of course, but it’s also a job that must be seen to on a regular basis. I now use the same deadline-driven schedule for creative writing that works for my freelance writing business. Oddly, the structure created by treating my fiction writing like a job gives me a greater sense of freedom to “play” when I sit down to research or write a Jamie August book.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I love it! It gives me another platform as an author. As an American reader living abroad it gives me a tremendously better selection of books than I can get locally.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

Ten years? That’s hard to say! In the next five years I hope to continue growing the Jamie August series, and see some commercial success. Beyond that, our family will likely be moving out of the Middle East, my husband having met his professional goals. Will we move back to Maryland? To Europe? To a boat, and wander the Caribbean? I’m sure I’ll keep on writing, but who knows? Maybe I’ll miss this part of the world and have to start a new series about an American expat. Certainly I’ve got stories….  

If there were a newspaper article about you, what would the headline be?
Millionaire Indie Author Kim Kash Funds Massive Literacy Project in Maryland

(Hey, I write fiction!)

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
In my freelance business, I write business reports, web content, and marketing pieces. I crank these things out, they get edited, and I don’t care. I mean, I enjoy the work but I have no emotional investment in it. With my fiction writing, I can’t help but take it personally. I get butterflies in my stomach when my editor sends a marked-up version back to me. Did he like it? Did he think it was stupid? I pull my socks up and do the edits; it’s not the end of the world. Still, it would be great if I could look at my fiction as dispassionately as the other stuff. Then again, maybe that would be a sign that I wasn’t fully expressing my own creative voice, wasn’t putting enough of my heart into it.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Book three in the Jamie August series is already in the works. I’m in the research phase right now, which I love! In this case research involves steeping myself in books and movies about … bank heists.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Yes! "Ocean City Cover-up" comes out in paperback and as a Kindle Edition on June 29. The Kindle book is already available for pre-order. I’ll be doing a book tour in July; if you’re in the Maryland area please check my web site for the tour schedule and stop by to say hello!

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