We're thrilled to share that Kathleen Kaska has joined The Stiletto Gang group and will be blogging on the first Friday of the month starting tomorrow! So we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce the award-winning mystery author and learn more about her.
Q: What do you write?
I write mysteries: mainly cozies, but also traditional and police procedurals, and some nonfiction. I like to try different styles of writing.
I write the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in the 1950s. This is lighthearted and humorous in the style of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plump series. Each book takes place in a different historic hotel. I also write the Kate Caraway Animal Right’s Mystery Series. I just finished a hardboiled detective mystery set in 1945 Manhattan and am halfway through a zany British detective story set on the North Cornish Coast.
Q: What got you started on your writing journey?
I knew I wanted to write mysteries but didn’t know how to start, so I joined the Austin Writer’s League, now the Writer’s League of Texas, and started taking creative writing classes. I collected how-to writing books, subscribed to writer's magazines, and joined a critique group. In doing so, I tried my hand at different things. Travel writing, articles about education (I was teaching at the time), and even became the editor of a local wildlife organization's newsletter.
Within a short time, I was asked to be a staff writer of an outdoor adventure and fitness magazine. A textbook publisher contacted me to contribute to middle school science textbooks. This didn't help in writing mysteries, but I knew I had to start somewhere. Breaking into the world of fiction writing, and getting published, was not going to be easy, so I started with nonfiction, writing three mystery trivia books. I landed an agent, and all three books sold. Only then did I start writing my own mysteries.
Q: Are you a “spoiler” and read the end of the book before you finish it or do you read cover to cover?
I’m a cover-to-cover reader. I read slowly, often rereading my favorite passages. If I miss the meaning of a sentence, I read it over until I understand. I read from the perspective of a reader and a writer.
Q: Did you have a favorite author as a child?
I wasn’t an avid reader as a child until I read The Island of the Blue Dolphins, followed by The Hound of the Baskervilles. Then I picked up Agatha Christie. Little did I know that I’d eventually write a book about Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I’m a runner and put in several miles every week. This is my quiet, contemplation time where I work out plot issues in my novels and design scenes and conversations between my characters. I am also a birder and enjoy being outdoors with my friends and family. My passion for birds led to the publication of the biography, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press of Florida).
Q. What are you working on now?
This year will be a busy, exciting year. I’ve started a new mystery series, I'm just barely into it, and I have a publisher eager to see it when finished. I have another publisher who’s interested in picking up and reissuing my Sydney Lockhart series. And I hope my third Kate Caraway mystery will be released by the end of the year; that’s a big hope.
One of my mystery trivia books, The Sherlock Holmes Quiz Book, was picked up, updated, and reissued on November 1, 2020.
I have podcast interviews coming up in the next few weeks. My website lists the podcast interviews and YouTube interviews, scheduled in the next few weeks, as well as previous events.
Where can readers connect with you?
I’m a Texas gal. Except for an eighteen-month hiatus living in New York City after college, I lived in the Lone Star State continuously for fifty years. Since then Texas has been hit and miss—a little hit, but a heck of a lot of miss. There was a time when I thought I would happily die in Austin, Texas. But circumstances and weather—especially weather—changed that. Now I spend most of the year on Fidalgo Island in Washington State with a view of the bay and the mountains. When I get homesick, my husband and I listen to Willie Nelson. Soon we are dancing the two-step, imagining we are at our favorite honky-tonk in Tokyo, Texas where the mayor is believed to be a dog. Who wouldn’t miss that?
I write the awarding-winning mystery series: the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series set in the 1950s and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Sherlock Holmes Quiz Book, which was updated and released by Lyons Press on November 1, 2020. My Kate Caraway animal-rights mystery series includes Run Dog Run (2017) and A Two Horse Town (2019). Eagle Crossing is scheduled for release in 2021. On my website, you can also find my Five-Minute Writing Tips and blog posts about publishing, marketing, birding, and quirky things that come to mind.