Sunday, March 6, 2011

Inspiration Interview #4: Untreed Reads Author June Whyte

Time for another interview in the 2011 interview series, "Inspiration to Publication" on The Accidental Author.  Untreed Reads author June Whyte joins us in the interview e-chair today and gives us some insight on the inspiration to her mystery novel, Chasing Can Be Murder which can be purchased directly from the Untreed Reads store, as well as all major online retailers.

The Accidental Author: June, since the first part of the year on my blog is devoted to “Inspiration”, I'd like to ask you who or what inspired you to create your main character, Kat McKinley, in your mystery novel Chasing Can Be Murder?

June Whyte: Kat McKinley is like a bag of licorice allsorts. A little bit of me and bits and pieces of friends I know, who, for obvious reasons, shall remain anonymous. 

When I began writing this book it was more a matter of ‘write what you know’. After having my third child I gave up my job as a school teacher and became a greyhound trainer, first as a hobby, and then professionally. Two reasons – I could work from home and I figured training animals had to be easier than training kids.

Being horse-mad, I’d always wanted to write a book about a female race-horse trainer and call it ‘Trainer in Pantyhose’. I decided I knew more about training greyhounds, so I guess that’s how Kat was born and Chasing Can Be Murder unfolded.

AA: In the blurb for the book, Kat is (presumably) sarcastically described as a “soft touch”. However, it is clear that she has a certain depth and complexity that gives her both tough and soft dimensions. How did you strike the balance between those two extremes?

JW: As you say, Kat is a ‘soft touch’, rather naïve at times and doesn’t like to hurt people’s feelings. However, by the end of this, the first in the Chasing series, she toughens up considerably. Time spent locked in a coffin with the villain contemplating pressing the button to send her off to the crematorium usually does that to a girl!

AA: Since we're on the subject of inspiration, what types of things get you in the mood for writing? Music? People-watching? Reading? What stimulates to start putting pen to paper?

JW: Routine. I don’t particularly like music or any noise while I’m writing so I try to lock myself in the bedroom with my laptop at 10 o’clock most mornings and write until 1pm. This doesn’t always work, of course, because I’m a care-giver for my 90 year old mum, I have a horse called Honey who needs to be worked, a husband who hates his own company and I work as a muscle-person, checking greyhounds after they’ve raced for other trainers.

AA: You have a new release upcoming on Untreed Reads. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

JW: Sex on Tuesdays, is a humorous murder/mystery/romance with the sleuth a wannabe sex-therapist on the lookout for her own Mr. Right.  Although Dani writes a daily sex column for the Tribute newspaper, she has no certificates or qualifications on her wall.  Instead, she gets all her facts from the internet, self-help books and her friend, Megan, a retired prostitute who’s had sex with thousands of men.  However, when Dani’s column is mysteriously sabotaged and her client’s wife turns up dead, she and her long-time friend, Simon Templar, are forced to slip into gumshoes and investigate.

AA: What inspired you to write it?

JW: I love writing about the absurd and Sex On Tuesdays is a fun read.

AA: Do you enjoy reading mysteries? Who are some of your favorite authors?

JW: I read anything, Jesse – even bus tickets. But yes, I love reading mysteries. In fact I’ve downloaded a heap of cozy mysteries onto my Kindle, like Judi McCoy’s dog walking mysteries and Lois Greiman’s laugh-out-loud psychologist mysteries. However, my favorite mystery writer has always been Dick Francis. I have every one of his books on my shelves plus the last few which his son, Felix, helped him write. Let’s hope Felix can continue where his dad left off so I can fill another shelf in my lounge room. Having said all that, my two favorite authors, Jenny Crusie and Janet Evanovich aren’t mystery writers at all – but I adore their sense of humor.

AA: What are you reading right now?

JW: Funny you should ask that. I’m reading a category romance called, The Forbidden Enchantment by Nina Bruhns. Why? Because I’ve enrolled in Nina’s online workshop: Tips on Writing Category Romance. It’s been years since I’ve read a category romance so thought I’d better do my homework before the class started. So, of course, I downloaded one of the lecturer’s romance books onto my Kindle. Wow! It’s brilliant. If this is what category romances are like now – I’m off to download more. The male character in The Forbidden Enchantment is Captain Sullivan Fouquet, a pirate who’s been reincarnated after 200 years to exact revenge on the heroine’s dying baby brother. I found the character of Fouquet so alive, so real - he leapt off the page at me.

AA: If you don't mind my asking, what are you working on right now?

JW: I’m a third of the way through the next in the Kat McKinley Chasing series and tentatively called it, Chasing Can Get Deadly. There are more adorable racing greyhounds. More laughter. Another villain. And hopefully more romance.

AA: Finally, you obviously have a love for animals that shows through in the character of Kat McKinley. Do you have any pets of your own?

JW: I love animals and I’ve always had pets. Most have just wandered into my yard, set up house, liked the food on the menu and decided to stay. Over the years there have been wild rabbits, snooping guinea pigs, a white rat, a bedraggled toothless Chihuahua and dozens of stray cats who’ve wandered in off the streets. And of course I’ve had lots of greyhounds. If they’re too slow or when they’ve finished racing, these dogs make the best pets. Honestly, if you invite a greyhound into your house you’ll have love and loyalty until the moment the dog stops breathing. Okay, he’ll probably take over the most comfortable chair in your lounge room but that’s a small price to pay for gaining a soul mate.

June Whyte lives in Elizabeth, South Australia with her husband, Jim, a horse named Honey and a soppy white whippet named Ralph.

June has worn many hats over the years (so many that she says she should have opened a hat store).  She's been a kindergarten, primary- and high-school teacher, and office administrative assistant, and a professional greyhound trainer where she trained a number of winners in very prestigious races.  She has published books on greyhound training with Rigby and text books on both racing greyhounds and horses for TAFE SA colleges.  In her spare time, she has competed successfully (and sometimes disastrously) in dressage, show-jumping and one-day-events.

Now, June write fiction.  After two humorous children's mysteries, Murder Sucks and Suck Eggs which were published by Zumaya, she's become an e-author in the innovative Untreed Reads stable.  With Untreed Reads, she has published Chasing Can Be Murder, the first in the Kat McKinley greyhound series (which hit online bookstores in September 2010) and Sex On Tuesdays, another humorous mystery which comes out some time in March.  In these eBooks, she straddles two genres:  mystery and chick-lit.


  1. What a great interview - fun, informative and interesting. Just like June's book!

  2. Great insight to a warm and witty writer and her inspirational book!

  3. Just like 'Chasing...' June's interview is easy to read and leaves you waiting for the next big adventure. Tell us more, please!

  4. Lovely interview, June. I can't wait to read what Kat gets up to next. Sex on Tuesdays sounds like an enjoyable read too - hope to see it soon.

  5. An entertaining and informative interview with a great writer. Love the covers of your books, June.

  6. June sounds full of fun and funny, just like' Chasing'. Can't wait to buy 'Sex on Tuesdays'.

  7. June, you sound like the perfect fellow writer to sit down and enjoy a girly luncheon with... lots of laughs! (Except I'll leave the muscle work with greyhounds to you...) No wonder your books are so much fun. You're just as funny as your heroines. Roll on the next book!

  8. Nice interview, and wonderful peeks into the author process. I like the blog title, too--glad I found you.

    June, you mention several new-to-me authors, but I wanted to mention that Judi McCoy will be on a panel I'm moderating in May in NJ. I'm really looking forward to meeting her!

    Thanks for the post.

  9. Great interview. I like blending personalities for my characters too.

  10. Thanks to all who commented on this fabulous interview with June. Be sure to check out the other interviews with some of our fellow authors at Untreed Reads by looking at past blog posts! If you are feeling really saucy, why not "follow" my blog?


  11. Hi, June,
    You're a new author to me, and your books sound like a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Keep up the good work and training those greyhounds..(fascinating animals)

  12. Awesome interview and the book sounds amazing. Congrats.

  13. I'm glad I found this author and this blog. Super place! I'm a fan of Untreed Reads and I'll bet you'll love it there.

  14. The books sound wonderful - anyone who loves Dick Francis is someone I want to read!

  15. Thank you for all the wonderful comments. You've made my day:) Jenny, you're lucky to have Judi McCoy on your panel. Unfortunately I live in Australia so there's no way I can get to NJ. Will you be putting the panel's discussion up online?


  16. Yes, Kay, I'm a fan of Untreed Reads too. Best place in cyberspace to have a book published:)

  17. Hello June,I think what you had to say was very interesting.I would love to read your books(being a greyhound trainer myself I can relate to June)All of her subject matter is interesting to me.Regards Sheree Way

  18. Great Interview! I found it interesting to read some 'behind the scenes' information that goes into writing a novel. If the interview is anything to go by, the novel will be a great read

  19. Fantastic interview. June, it's clear you really love doing what you're doing. All those years of teaching and greyhound training and horse jumping are paying off as "research" for the wonderful stories you write. It's also clear how much you love your Kindle!! (my daughter wants one) Keep on going. A dream without a plan is just a wish - and you've proved that dreams can come true!