A Writer’s Pandemic Survival Guide @kdkoppang

Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about how she’s been coping with the pandemic and staying at home.

Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, was released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.


We writers spend a lot of time by themselves, well, if you don’t count our imaginary friends, we do. Writers spend a lot of time in a world only we can see, talking with people only we can hear. You might run across one of us, apparently staring into space. We are not. We’re trying to figure out why that nice Miss Benson did what she did last night, and what she’s likely to do next.

I believe most writers have overdeveloped imaginations. Probably something in childhood we’ve never outgrown. If the second grade was just too hard, or seventh grade math class boring, we solved the problem by retreating into a world of our own making, I think that’s why we are, as a group, coming through this pandemic sane. Sort of. We are used to living by ourselves, within ourselves, so the isolation of our ‘sheltering at home’ doesn’t affect us as deeply as those who are used to working outside their homes..

That doesn’t mean our lives consist of nothing else but plot, write, and edit. We go to lunch with friends, to church, to soccer practice, and, of course to book related events at libraries, festivals, conferences, at least we used to. Now, going to the grocery store is a hazardous adventure and church is only available on line, and, out of necessity, soccer balls are forbidden in the house. So, what do we do to fill those extra non-working hours? As with the rest of the non-writing world, that depends.

I have a dear friend who scrapbooks. She is making one for each of her nieces for Christmas. I think that is a wonderful idea. Those children have their lives at their finger tips for, well, forever. I could do that, except all of the pictures of all my children and grandchildren over the years haven’t ended up in albums but in those big plastic tubs you buy at WalMart. Over the years and the many moves I’ve made, it seemed a safer way to keep them until I could get them into order. I doubt that is going to happen any time soon.

I have other friends who knit, embroider, tat ( whatever that is), water color, or can repaint their bedroom while getting most of the paint on the walls. I don’t fall into that category, either.

New recipes. That is something I love to do, cook. Old favorites and new untried ones, what fun. Only, its just me, the kids can’t come because of the virus, and I do not need a whole chocolate cake, so… I read. I have read I think 16 books in the last couple of weeks and my ‘have read’ pile is looking pretty impressive. My TBR pile still looks about as high, as when this whole thing started but that may be because I’ve purchased more books. I’m working on lowering it and having a great time in the process..

I’ve found some authors new to me that I have really enjoyed and gotten reacquainted with some of my old favorites. In no particular order, here are just a few I’ve recently read and enjoyed. .

1. Vicki Delany’s Elementary She Read.  You can always count on Vicki for a great read and this one is no exception. Had me guessing right up to the end.

2. Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima, her books are new to me and I will read more. Good characters and a plot that plays fair with the reader besides holding you fast until the last page. Love her K-9 partner, Robo

3. Pauline Rowson’s Lethal Waves. An intriguing plot and well drawn characters. I will look for more of her books

4. Elizabeth Peters. When ever I need to escape I can count on Amelia Peabody to take me into another world. Suspension of disbelief at its finest. I’ve re-read two this week and am sure will pull a couple more off the bookshelf before this is all over

5. Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce books. There are 12 over all, I believe, and I have read 6 of them, 3 in the last couple of weeks. I am pretty sure I will have read them all in the not too distant future.

6. Kate Atkinson’s One Good Time. I found this book on of my bookshelves while I was looking for something else and realized I hadn’t read it. Where I got it and why I haven’t read it until now, I don’t know, but I had to get very stern with myself to put it down to write this blog. Lots of characters and an intricate plot, but she writes so well I am following them with ease and watching this plot unroll slowly and deliberately is intoxicating. I am only half way through, but have no fears this one will fall apart. An excellent book.

That’s a few. There are many more I’ve loved, a few I thought had some fatal flaws, but to have read this many in only a couple of weeks has been such fun. I didn’t even feel guilty doing it. After all, we are all under lock down, and I have learned something from each and every one of these books. So, even if this goes on another few weeks, I think I’ll get through it, sanity intact. I’m making no guarantees about months.

Stay safe, everyone, and read on.