Readers sometimes tilt their heads at me and ask, “How much of you is Emmy Adler?”

Emmy is the heroine of my kite shop mysteries, including the second in the series, Live and Let Fly. Emmy is in her early 30s, an artist-kitemaker, and a bit confused about her romantic life. Since the series is written in Emmy’s point of view, it’s natural for readers to wonder how similar we are. Am I like her? Not a bit! And, yet, of course I am.

First for the “not a bit” part. Without getting specific, I’m, well, a bit older than Emmy. I’ve never crafted a kite. I live in a city, not a tiny beach town like Rock Point. While Emmy has Bear, an Australian Shepherd, I have two cats. Unlike Emmy, my romantic life is firmly under control.

At the same time, Emmy and I have a lot in common. First is our shared sense of humor. Emmy wouldn’t have parents who take part in a Watergate reenactment club if it didn’t crack me up. Emmy laughs at it, too, and she, like I, think it’s hilarious that the National Bloodhound reporter in Live and Let Fly is named Nicky Byrd the third, and that the murder victim, Jasmine Normand, was on a reality TV dating safari show called Bag That Babe.

Plus, Emmy and I also both like food. I didn’t intend it to happen, but when Emmy fetches a cup of coffee or a tuna melt at her best friend Avery’s café, the Brew House, we both luxuriate in its fragrance and taste. I know authors who dread that their characters have to eat from time to time, but I enjoy describing meals, from Rock Point’s Tidal Basin’s glass of pinot noir to its sautéed morel mushrooms and salmon steak.

Finally, Emmy and I both share a soft spot for misfits. While in Live and Let Fly the rest of the town dismisses cranky Marcus Salek as just another sourpuss, Emmy recognizes the hurt beneath his sarcasm. She’s also willing to understand the eloquent but clumsy Nicky Byrd as someone needing direction for his talent.

I feel that way, too. It’s the offbeat people around me who have inspired me to break off from corporate America. I can’t help but embrace dreamers and explorers, and I guess that’s why I write mysteries and why quirky folks will always earn a central place in what I write.

Really, the best people are just a hair off kilter. Emmy is, and so am I. Maybe you are, too?

READ AN EXCERPT of Live and Let Fly click here

About Clover Tate:

Clover Tate is a former congressional investigator and the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries, including Blown Away and Live and Let Fly.