Zombies For Everyone A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery Book 1 by Kimberly Wylie Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery
Jenna Sutton is nothing like the iconic vampire slayer of TV fame.
She’s the antithesis of a cheerleader. She’s not peppy. And she sucks at gymnastics. She has nothing in common with the fictional Buffy, other than being blonde and in high school...
Oh, and occasionally she kills vampires for a living as well as other things that go bump in the night.
Following an attack on an English teacher at a nearby school, it becomes clear this wasn’t an ordinary coyote bite. The gray-green Lichtenberg-like webbing of streaks making their way up Ms. Pruett’s arm can mean only one thing—zombies.
But this isn’t a normal zombie attack. The victims seem to be hand-picked.
Can Jenna complete her investigation without the school administrators figuring out she’s actually a high school student from another school? Will Jenna be able to find out who’s behind these attacks before a full-scale zombie outbreak overtakes the town? And, perhaps most importantly...
Why did her best friend kiss her after all of these years?
I got up and walked over to Ms. Pruett. I pulled back the covers covering her left hand. It was fine—healthy and whole. Five slightly chubby fingers. Not one of them gnawed on.
“Sorry,” Mr. Pringle said quietly, “the other hand.”
I walked around the bed and pulled back the sheet covering her right hand. Before I even got to her hand, I could see the greenish-gray marks trailing up Ms. Pruett’s forearm. The Lichtenberg figures looked like delicate ferns tattooed into her flesh but were slowly creeping up her arm and would eventually seek out her heart. Her hand was covered in a bandage, but I was sure if I were to remove it not only would I find two missing fingers, but the hand would be almost entirely green-gray, with blackened tissue necrosis starting already nearest to the bite wound.
Definitely a zombie bite.
Kimberly Wylie loves to write books about murder, mystery and mayhem.
Kimberly has been a full-time freelance writer and editor for more than twenty years. She has worked for both large publishing houses and small, boutique publishers, as well as magazines, Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of private clients. When people asked her, “What do you write?” Her standard answer was always, “Whatever pays.”
For the last two years, Kimberly has focused on finally writing what she wants to write. During COVID, she published an award winning cookbook--The Ambergris Caye COVID Relief Cookbook. This book was featured in Forbes, won a Gourmand International award, and helped provide more than 20,000 meals to the residents of the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. She’s also recently published a children’s picture book--Carl the Misunderstood Crocodile—and is donating profits to a local wildlife conservation and rescue group. Zombies for Everyone: A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery is Kimberly’s first foray into her favorite genre—Cozies!
When not writing, you can find Kimberly enjoying the sunshine, the beach or the reef, from her home on Ambergris Caye. She lives there with her husband and the best English Cream Golden Retriever in the world—Coco.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have had insomnia since I was a little kid. One of the tricks I use to fall asleep is to tell myself a story. Each night would be a continuation of the story from the night before, as if the day was simply a very long commercial break. Jenna Sutton and her series of adventures has been playing out in my head, each night for years.
What can we expect from you in the future?
You can definitely expect Book 2 of the Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery Series in November of 2021—Werewolves Everywhere. I also have another non-paranormal cozy started (no title yet), set on a small private island in the Caribbean.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
There are definitely side stories, especially about Aunt Cassie. However, at this point, there is a strong possibility some (if not most) will end up in the series at one point or another. I love Aunt Cassie. She may someday get her own series.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters inZombies for Everyone?
Jenna was orphaned at age 17 ½. She’s a senior in high school when we join her, just before her 18th birthday. She desperately wants to be like her mom—strong, confident, capable—but she’s still a young adult, now struggling on her own. This makes her also a bit insecure and unsure of herself. Jenna has had to keep so much of her life, and the full supernatural world around them, secret, it’s always been difficult for her to make friends. This has made most people think she’s odd and/or stuck up.
Kieron is Jenna’s best friend. He had a huge crush on Jenna when they were younger. The attraction to one another has been on and off over the years, where both are unsure how to make that jump from best friends to girlfriend/boyfriend. He’s really smart, and he’s very tech savvy. He’s one of those kids in high school that hasn’t locked himself into one clique. He’s friendly with and accepted by pretty much everyone.
Colm is an Irish-born warlock. He’s confident to the point of being somewhat cocky. He knows he’s good looking. He rarely has trouble with women, and this only adds to the cockiness. He heads up a clean up crew for the Consortium. Jenna is unsure of how old he is. Because witches and warlocks age differently than non-supernaturals, Colm could be young 20s or much older.
Cassandra/Aunt Cassie - Cassandra was the daughter who was forced to take in Jenna’s mom, when Jenna’s grandparents were killed. They grew as close as sisters, so she’s always insisted Jenna call her Aunt Cassie. Cassandra was a Hunter who became a witch, which is a societal taboo. Currently, she is third in line for High Priestess of North America—an incredibly prestigious and powerful position.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Jenna is the name I almost named my daughter, Brittany. Many of Jenna’s characteristics are modeled after Britt. She’s one of the coolest, strongest, smartest young ladies I know, yet she still has that little bit of insecurity lingering.
Kieron is a name I found after I had my son. If I had had another boy, he may have been named Kieron. I’ve also always loved the name Colm. I have a list of names I love, just waiting to come to life in books!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing the clues was my favorite part. Cozy mysteries should have clues where the reader can figure out the Who Dunnit as they read. But they can’t be so easy that it spoils the ending. I’ve had several early reviewers compliment me on the ending and how going back they see the clues they missed. That’s a good mystery!
Who designed your book covers?
I designed the book cover. I hope readers like it!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m actually incredibly happy with it. I worried that when I gave it the final read over before the file went to press I was going to cringe, because I can be a bit over-critical of myself, but I’m actually quite content.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
There are a couple of actresses I could see playing Jenna Sutton, if the series every went to film.
Ava Elizabeth Sambora - who I didn’t know was Heather Locklear’s daughter until recently,
Gracie Dzienny, or
However, I almost would rather the part go to an unknown actress.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would love to spend the day with Kieron or Colm because both are fun-loving, good looking guys. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with them? However, I’d love to have a coffee with Aunt Cassie. She fascinates me.
Are your characters basedonreal people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
I don’t think any writer ever solely creates a character from their imagination. We are affected by people we’ve met, seen on TV, family members, etc.. It would be impossible to not include some of these characteristics in our fictional characters. Jenna definitely has some of my daughter, Brittany, in her. And I would say every character has a little bit of me in them.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
This is such a fun question! I think this book’s candle would be a pumpkin scent or a fall leaves type scent. It’s right before Halloween and fall is definitely in the air!
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to pick Adele Abbott’s brain. She has an amazing series—Witch P.I. Mystery. And she is so prolific. With 43 books in it, I would love to know more about what she wishes she had done differently early on and how she keeps her storylines so fresh.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
My top ten favorite books are (in no particular order):
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
And Then There Were None
From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Wrinkle in Time
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Dead Until Dark
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
What book do you think everyone should read?
I don’t think there’s one book everyone should read. That’s the beauty of books. They’re like ice cream. There’s no one “best” flavor. Some people love the simplicity and pureness of vanilla. Others want unique flavor concoctions like blueberry-caramel cheesecake.
How long have you been writing?
Professionally, I’ve been writing for over twenty years. During that time, I rarely had time to write what I wanted to write. I’ve only spent the last couple of years actually devoting small chunks of time to my inner muse. She is very happy to finally be free.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
In writing, there are two types of authors often referred to—pantsers and plotters. Pantsers let their inner muse take full control of their story. They have no set story arc. Their stories develop organically. Plotters, on the other hand, work from a carefully crafted outline. They have predefined characters, with predefined character goals. You’ll find debates Internet-wide about which is better.
I, personally, am a hybrid of the two. I have an idea of my story arc. From my cozies, I have specifically clues in my brain that I know need to be brought to light. However, as I write, I let some of it happen organically. This includes the appearance of characters. Betsy and Tom were two characters that my inner muse brought to life as I wrote.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I rarely do research before I begin writing a book. Instead, I research as I go. For Zombies for Everyone, I did a lot of research on voodoo to be able to build it into my world as the catalyst for the first zombie. Before I started writing, I wasn’t sure if I was going to touch on zombie history, but it felt like it was needed to further immerse the reader in the Jenna Sutton reality.
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing has been my career for the last twenty-plus years. Regretfully, to make a living writing, I was forced to write simply what others wanted written. Sometimes it was interesting. A lot of times it was not. But it paid the bills and sent my kids to college. Now, I see writing as a creative outlet that soothes my soul. The word ‘career,’ to me, means a focus on making money. I want my writing to be about the stories I tell, whether they sell or not.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
This is such an exciting time to be in publishing. Print on demand has opened up publishing to millions of authors whose works would’ve never seen the light of day even a decade ago. This is both a blessing and a curse.
Although this has allowed many, many excellent writers to bring their stories to life, it also has meant there are many books now published that really should’ve had a bit more vetting (and editing) before they came to market. It has also meant a lot more competition for all books.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I don’t know any fiction writer who isn’t an avid reader. I think we love stories, first and foremost. If we’re not telling them, we want to be told one.
My favorite genre depends on my mood. In fact, I usually go through spurts of reading a specific genre. Right now, perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been reading quite a few cozy mysteries. I love paranormal cozies, but also have been devouring regular cozies as well. This is not a new genre though for me. I love Agatha Christie, who I would argue is the queen of cozies, before there was the term ‘cozy.’
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I write one book at a time. Although I have a long list of books/book concepts I want to work on. If an idea for one of those books comes to mind, I will take a few minutes and jot notes down.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
I definitely write on the computer. When I was working as an IT recruiter, I had a book I started written in a notebook I kept on my desk. It was a mockumentary-style novel (think Christopher Guest movies or The Office TV series) and it was about an HR person hiring for a new manufacturing company that was coming to town. The town itself had been suffering since their last major employer, an Olestra-like food additive substance that gave everyone explosive bowel movements, closed their doors. Sadly, in a move, that notebook was lost. I vowed never again to write in a notebook. I now not only save my files on my laptop, but back up to a solid state external drive as well.
Advice they would give new authors?
I have several pieces of advice I give new authors.
Read, read, read. Read new literature. Read the classics. Read genres you’re writing in. Read genres completely different from your book.
Get feedback from strangers. Too often writers will share their story with friends and family. These people love us and are always going to be too kind. You don’t want that. You want people to tell you where the warts are in your story. So join a Facebook group or local writing group and get feedback from people who will be honest with you.
Listen to all feedback. Even if you totally disagree with what the person is saying, listen to it. Embrace negative feedback. Learn from it. Use it as the tool you need to improve your writing.
When you think your story is ready, hire a professional editor. There are too many people on the Internet who say they’re editors. They’ve even helped dozens of authors. But they are not editors. Never ever edit your own work.
Hire a cover artist. Your book cover is the first impression you make on a potential reader, even before they read your blurb. If your cover isn’t amazing, chances are the reader’s going to move on to the next book on the shelf.
What are they currently reading?
I’m currently reading the Witch P.I. Series by Adele Abbott. It’s a fun paranormal cozy series. Abbott continues to amaze me at how prolific she is at writing. Right now, I believe there are 43 books in this series alone. Amazing!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Someone once told me—Write stories you’d want to read. That’s what I do. It’s not about being original. It’s not about trying to fill some imaginary reader’s needs. If I’m happy with the story, if I’m entertained and engaged, I have faith others will be too.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self—Devote more time to writing what you want. Money is great, but you’ll be much happier and much more fulfilled doing something you actually enjoy. Oh, and buy Amazon stock.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a very real thing. What’s not real is that it has to be a wall that prevents a writer from moving forward. Instead, it should simply be a stumbling block that a writer must work around. This may mean working on a different part of the story or developing character backstory to distract your mind, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop writing completely. Too many times, newer writers encounter writer’s block and stop writing. Then the story gets left by the wayside and becomes just another uncompleted tale.
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