Chocolate sweetens the plot for Carmel Valley writer’s new mysteries
By Samantha Tatro
Author Kathleen Krevat wakes up every day before the crack of dawn at 5 a.m., sits down at her desk, and starts writing.
“I love how quiet it is, before the neighborhood is stirring,” Krevat said. “I love the promise of a new day.”
While everyone else is finishing up a night’s sleep, Krevat, a Carmel Valley resident, is already typing away on her computer. Krevat, whose upcoming book, “Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates,” hits bookstores Sept. 2, says waking up early developed naturally and then became a habit.
“My energy is best in the morning, as well as my ability to focus and get into a rhythm,” Krevat said. “Writing at the same time makes it easier to settle down and get into the book the next day without spending too much time figuring out where I was in the story.”
In “Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates,” chocolatier Michelle Serrano and bookstore owner Erica Russell work together to discover who murdered the town photographer. Krevat wrote the book under a pen name, Kathy Aarons, and is the first in the Chocolate Covered Mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The book will be available Sept. 2.
Though she’s been writing on and off for 10 years, the hardest part for Krevat was writing the book in the time her contract gave her: one year.
“Writing every day makes it a lot easier to continue writing,” she said. “Right up at deadline, I was writing for 12 to 15 hours a day.”
The best part, however, was doing all the delicious research. Krevat spent a lot of time with Isabella Knack, the owner of Dallmann Fine Chocolates, while researching. Knack gave Krevat chocolate classes and answered questions about what it was like being a chocolatier and running a chocolate shop. Annette Palmer, co-owner of the now-closed Earth Song Books and Gifts, answered questions about being a bookstore owner.
“Both of these owners feel like they are doing more than just selling,” Krevat said. “They are selling little gifts of happiness, and that’s what I tried to portray in my book.”
The newly published author received her very first copies of the book last week. When she got home one afternoon, a medium-sized box was sitting on her doorstep.
“It was thrilling,” Krevat said. “My daughter was home, so I got to share it with somebody. We saw the box on the porch and I said, ‘I know what that is!’”
But Krevat did not grow up dreaming of becoming an author. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania and read what books were around as a kid. It wasn’t until college that she considered it a potential career path.
“I liked writing, but at the time I didn’t think of it as a career,” Krevat said of her youth. “When I went to college, I had a lot of writing classes, so I knew I wanted to get into some writing.”
She went into marketing and public relations and worked in New York City after college. After several years, she moved to San Diego with her husband, where she had two daughters. Once they went to school, she immediately became involved in the arts, becoming a self-declared super-mom.
She was PTA president and the Reflections Arts chairwoman, school foundation fundraiser, student newsletter editor and more at Carmel Creek and Solana Pacific elementary schools. She handled publicity and created costumes for J*Company and the Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theater programs, in addition to assisting with the Canyon Crest Academy Writers Conference. She recently joined the board of Playwrights Project, too.
Krevat started writing as a hobby when her daughter went off to preschool, but didn’t take it seriously for many years.
She spent a lot of that time working with the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America, who helped motivate her. She joined the chapter back when she first started writing. The first year she joined, the chapter offered workshops on all the writing basics: plot, dialogue, outlining.
“I was writing everything down because I hadn’t heard so much of it, and I was looking around and I was the only one writing stuff down,” Krevat said. “I was like, ‘What? This is good stuff, why aren’t they writing it down?’ but it’s because once you belong for a while, you’ve heard a lot of it before.”
When she started, she would attend conferences eagerly. “Anytime I went to workshops, I would most likely buy the book,” Krevat said. “I have every writing prep book.”
She would spend years mastering those skills before taking a year or so to casually submit proposals. If she didn’t hear back, she would start “diving back into her writing hole again.”
“When I took it seriously, it paid off,” she said of the story behind her first contract. Her agent on Twitter opened up submissions for just a weekend. Krevat jumped on the opportunity and submitted to her — and the agent gave her a call.
“I haven’t had free time since the contract,” Krevat said with a warm smile. “Writing used to be my hobby, but now it’s my job.”
Krevat may be exceptionally busy at the moment — she’s writing the third book, receiving edits for her second book, working on marketing for her first book and sending her daughter off to college, all at the same time — but she shows no signs of feeling overwhelmed.
“I’m still new to all of this. I’m not tired of it yet,” Krevat said with a laugh. “I’m excited for all of the next things.”
in San Diego will host a free book launch party for Krevat at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, where she will sign books, read an excerpt, and answer questions from the public.